Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Presidential Radio Address

We all heard George W. Bush say the word "Internets" on the national news. It was not an impressive moment, but my dad's not so great with computers either. ...And to that point, American presidents have been very slow to take to new technology. While most of you know, the first licensed radio broadcast was on KDKA-AM and for announcing the presidential election returns, the president wasn't involved. It was years before the President of the United States was on the radio, and many years more before it became a fixture.

Coolidge racked up a number of Presidential radio firsts. President Coolidge's inauguration was the first presidential inauguration broadcast on radio. He made history when the largest radio audience ever tuned in to the broadcast of his final campaign speech. Coolidge won the election easily, and in March, Americans listened for the first time to their president take the oath of office on the radio. There are some recordings of Coolidge on the radio, these may or may not be recreations.

It's arcane but he's also said to have made a plea on the radio to find his lost cat "Tiger." "The President's cat is missing," the audience of WCAP-AM was told. He described the cat, told how the cat answered to the call of "Tiger", and gave the White House phone number. A navy captain named Edward Bryant found Tiger at a millitary building about a quarter mile from the white house.

On 6 December 1923, Coolidge was the first President whose address to Congress was broadcast on radio It was on February 22, 1924 that president Calvin Coolidge gave the very first Presedential radio address. The address was made form the Whitehouse and while not a regular feature, Coolidge's address for George Washington's birthday was heard on 42 stations from coast to coast.

Presidents were good media consumers. President Warren G. Harding had a Radio installed in the White House February 8, 1922. It was the entry of mass media into the white house. This White House was on the technological cutting edge, already having an edison turntable. http://www.historyplace.com/specials/sounds-prez/

Became a regular event with: Franklin D. Roosevelt. He marked the 4th of July in 1941- with a live address to the nation from theRoosevelt Library at Hyde Park.

Before that historic broadcast, radio had played a big role in Coolidge's victory in the 1924 presidential election. The night before the election, Coolidge made history when the largest radio audience ever tuned in to the broadcast of his final campaign speech. Coolidge won the election easily, and in March, Americans listened for the first time to their president take the oath of office on the radio.

The first president to speak on college radio was Dwight D. Eisenhower. On December 10, 1952, the voice of Dwight D. Eisenhower welcomed Winter Park's first FM radio station WPRK through 10 tiny watts on 88.1 FM.