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Jump Back in Time Great War & Jazz Age (1914-1928)
Atwater Kent, standing by radio, and seven other people listening to the radio
People gathered around to listen to the radio in the 1920s and '30s

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President Harding Installed a Radio in the White House
February 8, 1922

Starting in the 1920s, people gathered around the radio to listen to programs or the news, much like we gather around the TV. With its new popularity, radio became a powerful communication tool in politics. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who became president in 1933, used the radio to deliver regular updates to the American public. In his first address, he explained his plan for fighting the Great Depression, "My friends, I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, why it has been done, and what the next steps are going to be." The talks became known as "fireside chats," named by Harry Butcher, a CBS station manager in Washington.

Today, although we still have radio addresses by the president, more people see the president speak on television than listen to him on the radio. In 1939, Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to deliver a televised speech. The "golden age" of radio was about to fade as television entered its "golden age."

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