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Heritage

Reminiscing About The Good Ol’ Days Of Radio

By Larry Ellis

Radio is one of our most important means of communication, and it enables people to send spoken words, music, codes, and other communication signals through the air to any part of the world. By using radio, people can also communicate far into space. There are two-way radio communications used by the military, air traffic controllers, truckers, police, firemen, construction workers, sportsmen and security officers. The most familiar use of radio is broadcasting; everyday millions of people throughout the world listen to radio programs in hundreds of languages. The radio is in the home, car, boat, aircraft, park and the beach. Radio broadcasting once had much the same entertainment role the television has today.

There is at least one radio station in every country in the world and altogether there are more than 30,000 stations. The world’s first radio station was XWA Montreal in 1919, now CFCF, and claims to be the oldest radio station in the world still broadcasting. In 1927, Canada’s Diamond Jubilee was marked by the first coast to coast radio network broadcast.

The “glory days” of radio are considered to be from the mid 1930s to the early 1950s.. Those were the days we heard Foster Hewitt broadcast the NHL hockey games; the World Series when almost nobody won except the Yankees; the heavyweight boxing matches when Joe Louis won the heavyweight crown every year from 1937 to 1948.

We listened to the wonderful sounds of the “Big Bands”; there was the Happy Gang with Bert Pearl; Fibber McGee and Molly; George Burns and Gracie Allen. Dramas included Buck Rogers and the 25th Century; The Shadow; The Lone Ranger with Tonto; The Green Hornet and Superman. Soap Operas included The Guiding Light, John’s Other Wife, One Man’s Family, and Ma Perkins. Radio’s famous comedians included Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Eddie Cantor and Bob Hope. Your impression of the people behind the voices on radio was, and may still be, limited only by your imagination.