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Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
1930s - The Amazing Radio
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
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The introduction and widespread availabiltiy of the radio in the 1930s was as exciting to the population of that era as the Internet has been to us. It is hard for us to think of sitting around as the people in the photo are doing just to listen to the radio. We play it all day in the background in our homes and offices and automobiles and don't give it a second thought. Prior to this the major communication channel was the newspaper. The radio offered entertainment, music and news with a voice. In the 1930s a naive populace panicked when H. G. Wells tale of a Martian invasion was broadcast and many thought it was real.  It is still one of our major resources for music and news while we are on the move. In Elmira's 1923 Directory only three businesses were listed as offering Radio Supplies and two as Radio Apparatus Manufacturers. The 1936 Directory  lists 26 businesses under the heading of Radio Sets & Supplies. By 1940 WENY was the sole entry under the heading Radio Broadcasting Stations in Elmira. Radio Repairing had been added as a heading with just one entry, and under the heading of Radiotricians, a word lost to the language if it ever in fact was admitted, was Douglas Radio Repairing as the only entry. 36 businesses were listed as selling radios and associated apparatus. It was less than a decade later that the first television sets entered the scene.

More information about Early Radio History can be found at

Proud to show off the new radio, my mother, Marcella Miller, demonstrates its use.
Photo by Veryl WELCH "Miller" whose photo also is on the top of the radio.

For those of you seeing this who remember when radio was new, send me a note about  what it meant to you and your family and I'll add it to this page. 

For myself, I don't remember when there was no radio, but I paid no attention to it. My first memory of it was the program "Little Snookums" that (correct me if I am wrong) was by Fanny Brice. I remember that she died and they played funeral music during the scheduled broadcast. I'm not sure I knew what died meant but I could tell it was not a good thing and it meant she would not be doing the program any more. 

Walt Samson tells me that Fanny Brice played Baby Snooks. I knew there was something wrong with my memory of that- close but no cigar.

Joan NASH O'Dell comments on the radio - The other thing that I remember about early radios other than the fact that I was a great radio fan---still am! When Aunt Myrtle (Myrtle McCONNELL Updyke)  lived in the Carolyn McCONNELL - Alvie Gray farm she had a floor model radio that had a bright green eye. The eye's iris changed like our pupil does telling you if you were exactly "on the station".
Probably the first radio I ever saw was electric (not sure) & it was at my Aunt Lena BEARDSLEE Canedy's house in Sylvania.  No big horn  but I don't remember it ever playing---it was just there. Our first radio was a table model. Gam had a shelf built for it to set on near the outside dining rm. door so the wire could be threaded  outside for better reception. Henry & Gam always listened to Fulton Lewis, Jr. every night for the news. I listened to the usual when I got home from school like Jack Armstrong, Fibber McGee & Mollie & the Shadow Knows. Gam often listened to classical music when it was available from WHCU in Ithaca after she got an FM radio Guess I have rattled on enough
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 17 JAN 2004
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice

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