This chapter tries to demonstrate that talented speakers did find in the medium a means of securing greater influence. Franklin Roosevelt, Charles Coughlin, and Alan Brinkley represent an extreme illustration of the many types of champions listeners found on the airwaves. Roosevelt proposed to humanize and moderate some of the massive networks of power that tangled up so many Americans by the Depression, while Coughlin and Brinkley attacked the modern world more directly and claimed to offer alternatives to restore the potency of the individual. Through radio, Roosevelt, Coughlin, Brinkley, and similar speakers indisputably transformed mass popularity into a source of personal power. Part of the reason radio champions might be able to manipulate their audiences was because those proxies often did in fact offer those audiences something important to them.
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