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Radio's AmericaThe Great Depression and the Rise of Modern Mass Culture$
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Bruce Lenthall

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226471914

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226471938.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Radio's Champions

Radio's Champions

Strange Gods?

Chapter:
(p.115) 4 Radio's Champions
Source:
Radio's America
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226471938.003.0005

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.

Keywords:   radio champions, Franklin Roosevelt, Charles Coughlin, Alan Brinkley, mass culture, personal power

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