ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Glory Days: Golden and Nostalgic Radio

Updated on August 7, 2016

1920 - 1930

Before 1923, there was no “real” radio programming as we have come to know, such as paid talent, a formal introduction or closing, no timed or weekly scheduling. There were no series of shows - programming was a one-time event. If a studio broadcast a show, it was usually talking, and music was minimal - usually a vocalist or trio or quartette. On occasions, there would be broadcasts of baseball, football, polo, and boxing.

Weather forecasts were the only broadcasting done on regular schedules. News had not even yet been developed, and stations were on the air for only four to five hours a day.

An improvement in the programming field came around 1923. It was the largest of the stations that began to form a “set program”, which would run 30 to 60 minutes. These shows developed a formal beginning and ending, used announcer-narrators, and, more or less, had a “theme”.

Successful shows included

  • Specialty orchestras
  • Concert music
  • Talks
  • One or Two-act plays
  • Variety shows, usually one or two hours, once a week, using local vaudeville acts, a studio orchestra, and announcer, were performed ad-lib.

Between the years of 1926 and 1930, sponsored networks took hold. They were at least 30 minutes long, with many of the evening programs, a full hour. Popular programming during this time was:

  • Using a “different” type of program each week. One week, a musical program, one week, a dramatization, another week, a debate, and so forth.
  • Dramatized short stories from books, or original material. These were an hour-long “drama” show, or 30-minute “thrillers”.
  • Informative, historical talk.
  • Comedy-variety shows consisting of a four or five single comedy acts in a 30-minute period.

Another popular programming was called the “song-and-patter” This consisted of a two-person “act” for 15-30 minutes, followed by “patter” held between songs. Eventually, around 1930, the “patter-only” programming filled the airwaves. The earlies of these was the famous “Amos ‘n’ Andy”.

Old Time Radio


During these 5 years, competition was strong among networks, and network sponsors and national advertisers. They all poured extreme amounts of dollars into network programs, which resulted in the development of more new program forms than any other 5-year period. Popular shows were:

  • Late afternoon children's adventures.
  • Women’s daytime serial dramas.
  • Public affairs programming such as “Town Meeting” or round-table talks - 5 times a week, 15-minute network news programs.
  • Amateur contest variety shows.
  • Human-interest such as “interview and advice”.
  • Hillbilly variety shows.
  • Comedy variety shows featuring one main comedian.


Popular Formats:

  • News commentary.
  • Quiz programs with audience participation.
  • “Crime-does-not-pay” dramas.
  • First and telephone give-away programs - 1939.
  • Comedy audience participation.

Drama Radio 1938-1950


This was the period during World War II when radio programming took a backseat to war efforts. Electronics were needed for war production, the supplies of tubes and broadcasting equipment; programming costs rose; and employees were being called to war.

In 1947, Bell Labs produces the transistor radio.

In the early 1950’s, many new radio stations emerged, but radio would meet its match in television.


This period saw television become the favored and dominant medium. The popularity of radio “shows” started a decline, and the larger radio stations playing them subsided, however; a great number of smaller radio stations grew nationwide with new and successful formatting.

You thought you only knew Agnes Moorehead as the intrusive Mother from the television show, "Bewitched"?..Take a listen to..."Sorry, Wrong Number"...

For A Creepy, Chillin', Good Time....Tune Into...Suspense...

Check out Jack Benny with guest stars Allen and Gracie Burns, Orson Wells, and much overwhelming selection of golden and old time radio shows! See links below.

Absolutely Tops in Golden and Old Time Radio Shows...

Calling all nostalgic radio fans, here is a fabulous collaboration made by that brings you something you do not want to miss! Check out these very, very, cool links! Be ready to be T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D...and maybe a little overwhelmed - there is so much music, and so many shows and dramas to choose from!

Available on Old Time Radio - and this is just the tip of the iceberg:

  • Gaucho Marx
  • Westerns
  • Vintage commercials
  • Mystery
  • Detective
  • Tommy Dorsey
  • Orson Wells
  • Decades radio
  • Adventures of Superman
  • Benny Goodman
  • Bob Hope
  • Children's series

Selections from 78 RPM's - plus much more!

  • Collected works by Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Billy Murray, Gene Autry, and more.
  • Golden Age Classical
  • Blues, Classical
  • Swing
  • Jazz Age
  • Decades
  • Banjo
  • Scores of "miscellaneous" such as Helen Kaneas as Betty Boop
  • Andrew Sisters

"And That...Is The Rest Of The Story..."

Radio Personality, Paul Harvey Aurandt (September 4, 1918-Febrarury 28, 2009) receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2005.
Radio Personality, Paul Harvey Aurandt (September 4, 1918-Febrarury 28, 2009) receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2005.

Nostalgic Radio - Songs Inspired by or involving DJ's and Radio - "Clap For the Wolfman"

Disco Duck

Life Is A ROCK but the radio ROLLED me...


Thank You For Stopping By...

I hope that you enjoyed going down memory lane, and that you checked out a spooooky radio show. I try to imagine what it must have been like to sit around the radio, before the dawn of television, listening to voices and sound effects, and tuning in on a scheduled basis for 'the continuing saga'.

How times have changed for radio. The popularity of shock jocks, the talk/music morning shows, the rise of satellite and internet radio - all made significant changes to the way we listen to music and other music mediums.

Hopefully, we never lose appreciation of these golden-oldies!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • EsJam profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Southern California

      Hi Suzette,

      I, too, had a transistor...I took it to bed with me when I was a was "cool"!

      It is amazing how many awesome oldie shows there were from years gone by. I still get a big kick out of them!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! essie

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      3 years ago from Taos, NM

      What an interesting history of radio. I was born too late for the radio period but my parents and grandparents would talk about listening to it. I thought I was pretty cool when I got my first transistor radio in the 60's. I did not kn0w it had been around since 1947.

    • EsJam profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Southern California

      Nell Rose,

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to give a few moments to the golden age of radio!

      And I agree....each era was distinctly different, and it is interesting to see how improvements were made along the way!

      How different radio has become. Standard radio, playing the same songs over and over....thank goodness for internet radio and satellite. Still, there is just something mystical about old time radio programming! I very much enjoy the nostalgia!

      Thank you for the vote and share! Essie

    • EsJam profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Southern California


      Thank you for walking down the lane of golden memories. And I agree with you in regards to standard radio programming, I get so bored of listening to the same songs over and over and get the point. Thank goodness for iHeart and internet, for me. I enjoy the opportunity to choose what me, myself, and I like!!

      Thank you, also, for the vote!!

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      Before the internet got big I used to enjoy both the older and newer entertainment programs on radio. Now radio is just occasional background noise. And when I need to think I have to turn even that off. Nice walking down memory lane with you. Voted up.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      How fascinating! Its not something I would have thought of before, but listening to the various videos its amazing how different they are into each era, interesting stuff! voted up and shared, nell


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)