BW – EP77: The Birth Of The Radio Networks—From NBC To CBS To Mutual Broadcasting (1922 – 1934)

Posted on

In Breaking Walls Episode 77 we pick up our story on the history of American radio broadcasting, as a few ramshackle radio stations become large national networks, giving rise to an entire generation of entertainment giants during the roaring 1920s.

• July 2, 1921— Jack Dempsey defends his heavyweight boxing title in front of 80,000 fans as RCA broadcasts the event Closed Circuit to over 300,000 fans. Its the first broadcast of its kind.
• The Radio Craze begins as almost 600 stations sign on in 1922
• Herbert Hoover tries to better organize the radio dial and put small stations out of business
• AT&T’s attempt to monopolize radio broadcasting
• The formation of the National Broadcasting Company
• The Radio Act of 1927
• William S. Paley buys The Columbia Broadcasting System and turns it into a 2nd major network
• Rudy Vallee becomes radio’s first mega-star
• Chicago becomes radio’s 2nd capital
• Hollywood’s radio recording rise in the late 1930s
• The Mutual Broadcasting System is formed—The Shadow debuts
• War, once again, comes to Europe

Other Clips:

The WallBreakers:
Subscribe to Breaking Walls everywhere you get your podcasts.

To support the show:

Special thanks to our Sponsors:
• The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society
•Twelve Chimes, It’s Midnight

The reading material for today’s episode was:
• The Rise of Radio, From Marconi through The Golden Age by Alfred Balk
• Inventing American Broadcasting 1899-1922 by Susan J. Douglas
• The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning
• A Pictorial History of Radio’s First 75 Years by B. Eric Rhoads
• Hello Everybody! The Dawn of American Radio by Anthony Rudel &
• The Network by Scott Woolley

Featured on today’s show were interviews conducted by Dick Bertel and the late Ed Corcoran and numerous others for Westinghouse, CBS, and NBC.

Harold Arlin’s was interviewed by author J. Fred McDonald for his book Don’t Touch That Dial.

A Special Thank you to:
Rebecca Shield

WallBreakers Links:
Patreon –
Social Media – @TheWallBreakers
Online Store –