Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rant #671: First Radio, Then the World!

Today is the 90th anniversary of something that seems innocuous, at best, but was pretty revolutionary for its time.

On this date in 1922, President Warren G. Harding had a radio installed in the White House.

Well, this is no big deal in the context of today's world, but back then, this was pretty awesome.

Radio really hadn't been around too long back in 1922, but it was the first of the electronic mediums to usurp newspapers' hold on us as a deliverer of news.

So putting up a radio in the White House pretty much signaled an acceptance of this medium by the American public.

If the president could have one of these newfangled things in the White House, it was OK for the general public to have it in their houses too.

And Presidents have learned to weave the use of electronic mediums into their political lives. They make speeches, they appear regularly on whatever electronic medium is in vogue, and they have learned that these electronic mediums can be wonderful, but they can also be a curse.

But looking back to a simpler time, tthose radios, they were pretty ornate. I guess you had to have them "installed" in your home. They were like a piece of furniture that talked to you.

And for about the next 25 years, radio was the electronic medium of choice, until television took over in the late 1940s.

But for Harding to put a radio in the White House when there really wasn't even an electronic medium to speak of is something incredible.

It's probably the most impressive thing he did during his term ... do you know anything else that he did when he was in office?

As a President, he is nothing but a footnote in our history. And that's saying a lot about this guy.

But radio was the standard for about 25 years. Not only did it deliver news on the spot, but it delivered entertainment, sports, and probably the first instance of "white noise" in our history.

But it, too, was pushed out of the way by television, which right now, is being pushed out of the way by the Internet.

What electronic marvel will come next to make the Internet obsolete?

Who knows, but it all may have started with Warren Harding.

Show your friends how smart you are by telling them you actually know something about him.

I guarantee that they will be impressed.

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