The Media History Digital Library has always been about more than movies. The national collection of radio and recorded sound is held at the Library of Congress National Audio Visual Conservation Center, and we have been pleased to facilitate access to their collection of classic radio publications that complement their audio collections.
This history is reflected in the collections of the Library of Congress. The magic decade of commercial radio from 1923 to 1933 can be recaptured from the pages of Radio Digest Illustrated. The pictures of early radio sets, ads for an wide variety of radios (as well as batteries and transformers) show the hardware, while the program listings and profiles of stations help recreate the magic of the new technology. Other magazines with program guides include What’s on the Air (1929-1931) and Radio Dial (1931). The new medium was still finding its way in those early days, as shown by the headline in the June 5, 1931 issue of Radio Dial: “Dance Orchestras, Famous Humorist, Boxing Match and Plays are Booked for Your Entertainment This Week.”
- “Father Coughlin, the Man Behind the Fighting Priest” in Radio Mirror from June 1934
- “How Swing Music Started” by Robert Benchley – with drawings by Charles Addams in Radio Mirror for June 1938 “I feel particularly fitted to speak on swing music, because I can’t carry a tune either.”
- “My Husband, Al Jolson,” by wife number four in Radio Mirror for December 1947
- “My Mr. Powell and His Mr. Diamond,” a profile of Dick Powell and his radio show Richard Diamond, Private Detective by wife June Allyson
- Color behind-the-scenes photos of Milton Berle and Texaco Star Theater in Radio Mirror for June 1949
- Profile of actor Jack Webb, star of radio’s Dragnet in Radio-TV Mirror for July 1954
- An ad for the “amazing new 1935 super deluxe 16 tube all-wave radio” - only $57.50 in the October 1934 issue of Radio Mirror
- An ad for Karo syrup (Dextrose) from the May 1937 issue of Radio Mirror endorsed by the doctor for the Dionne Quintuplets
Until now you had to visit the Recorded Sound Reference Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, to conduct research into these materials. Thanks to the work of the National Audio Visual Conservation Center, all of these materials are now available online for free reading and download. We have consolidated all of the links on our Broadcasting Collection page, which also includes Radio Broadcast (1922-1930) and the RCA research publication Radio Age (1942-1957) from the Prelinger Library. At the Media History Digital Library we have a near-complete print run of Radio Daily and Radio-Television Daily, which await funding for digitization. We are a free library and depend on your support and contributions.