In uncertain times, Americans have always turned to their local radio stations for news and a sense of community. Perhaps the most well-known example of radio bringing listeners together during a crisis is President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s iconic fireside chats.
From 1933-1944, President Roosevelt addressed the nation regularly, quelling rumors and informing Americans about actions his administration was taking to handle social and political upheavals ranging from bank closures to World War II. His goal was to tell the public "what has been done in the last few days, why it was done and what the next steps are going to be," and millions of listeners tuned in to hear just that.
The fireside chats were a way for Americans to get their news directly from the president, and listeners found comfort in them. These chats were such a powerful tool for news dissemination that every president since has made similar addresses throughout their terms. In times of crisis, whether 100 years ago or today, Americans know they can turn on their radios and find news, comfort and community.
Click here for full audio and text transcripts of President Roosevelt's fireside chats.
November 2, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial radio broadcast. To celebrate this special anniversary, we’re shining a spotlight on 100 key moments in radio's history.
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating your favorite radio memories throughout 2020. Use the hashtag #Radio100 across social media to share these moments with the world. Here’s to 100 wonderful years of radio, and to at least 100 more!