RADIO IN THE U. S.: Early History, 1920-34
IT is not customary to look a gift horse in the mouth. This fact may account for the widespread ignorance about our system of broadcasting. From the very outset 'listeners had accepted radio broadcasting as manna from heaven. It came to them without money and without price, entertainment that was free as air.'1 The notion that listeners pay nothing for the services they receive is illusory. But at least no direct payment is involved either by way of tax or subscription, and the public has thus acquired the comfortable sense of getting something for nothing. The indifference that this outlook has bred toward acquiring any knowledge of the conditions under which radio operates is especially regrettable because, under the American system of broadcasting, the listener is called upon to play a role on the fulfilment of which the successful operation of the system in large part depends. Let us proceed, then, to a broad definition of the system we have and explore its historical origins and some of the more important aspects of its operation.
Radio in the United Statesis a system of free, competitive enterprise within a framework of governmental regulation. The____________________