Time for Reason about Radio: From a Series of Broadcasts on CBS

Time for Reason about Radio: From a Series of Broadcasts on CBS

Time for Reason about Radio: From a Series of Broadcasts on CBS

Time for Reason about Radio: From a Series of Broadcasts on CBS


On December 1, 1946, the Columbia Broadcasting System began a series of informal talks that were unique in the history of American radio.

It was the first time that a major network had used its own facilities to tell listeners, in an extended series of talks and discussions, about the problems and possibilities of radio in America as broadcasters themselves see them. Here was one of the major networks recognizing public confusion and criticism about radio, and trying to do something about it by discussing broadcasting as a public question.

The series occupied the Sunday afternoon "Time for Reason" period which Lyman Bryson, CBS Counsellor on Public Affairs, had filled for more than a year with his discussions of postwar political problems. Mr. Bryson was asked to convert "Time for Reason" into "Time for Reason -- About Radio." This he did for twenty-seven Sunday afternoons, until June 8, 1947, when he left for Europe and resumed his earlier discussions of political questions on "Time for Reason."

The idea of such a series about radio was proposed in the address which William S. Paley, Chairman of the Board of CBS, had made before the National Association of Broadcasters a few months earlier. Mr. Paley asked for more intelligent criticism of the industry, and for more activity by the industry in helping to provide the necessary background information for such intelligent criticism.

Appearing with Lyman Bryson on the opening broadcast of the series, Mr. Paley said in part:

We have thought for a long time at CBS that the general public, the listening public for whom we do our work, does not really know very much about what we call the American system of broadcasting and that it is our own fault because we do not talk enough about our own enterprise.

The idea was well received by the critics, judging from their comments in newspapers and magazines, and by the general public, judging from the letters that CBS received. Continuing interest in the content of the series, on the part of many people both within the broadcasting industry and outside, has led to the production of this volume.

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