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Quotations about Radio



Popular radio is a publication alive with all the spirit and the thrills that ride the Hertzian waves and bring the broadcast news and joys of the world into the fireside circle of the home. Popular radio deserves to be popular! ~Popular Radio, April 1925


I have long thought, and still think, that radio is magic. Television is OK, but radio is magic. If television had been invented first and then radio had come along, people would think, "What a wonderful thing this radio is! It's like television except you don't have to look at it!" ~Charles Osgood, 1989


Of all the works of man, radio is the most cosmopolitan and far-reaching. The lights of his greatest projectors fade out and are unseen at 200 miles. The thunders of his mightiest cannon are unheard at seventy-five miles. The human voice, with its utmost physical effort, only reaches one mile. But radio, still in its infancy, already takes the word spoken almost in a whisper and hurls it thousands of miles, not in one direction only but in all directions. ~H.H. Windsor, in Popular Mechanics Magazine, 1924


Radio, that's it! And everybody's doing it, too, mostly boys and girls who can easily pick out of the air not only despatches on a championship golf or tennis contest, but stories, songs, lectures, and music by the hour! For to-day the world is just beginning to glimpse the possibilities of a new and wonderful invention called the radiophone, which, without doubt, is even more marvelous than the telephone, the aëroplane, the submarine, or any other of the seven wonders of the modern world. ~Christine Frederick, "Radio — The New Aladdin's Lamp," in St. Nicholas, 1922


Radio is for those not famous, or infamous, enough to make The Tube. ~Car and Driver, 1967


Radio is really a competitor of the newspaper... With it news can be accumulated and distributed with a rapidity that the newspaper cannot approach... The newspaper will probably remain just as popular as it is today for years to come, but the time will arrive when radio will run the printed page a merry race. Every wise newspaper editor realizes this, for he has lived to see radio grow from a scientific plaything to a powerful instrument of commerce. ~Raymond Francis Yates and Louis Gerard Pacent, "Radio and the Newspaper," The Complete Radio Book, 1922


Radio is not going to stand still. What is wonderful and new to-day is history to-morrow. Dreams rapidly mature into realities. The era of pocket wireless is yet to come. ~Raymond Francis Yates and Louis Gerard Pacent, "Radio and the Newspaper," The Complete Radio Book, 1922


Radio is the world's fastest purveyor of information. By its very nature it does a job peculiar to itself — because it is radio. It's not a magazine, it's not a newspaper — it's an electronic instrument that has access to every nook and cranny of this land — in the home, the automobile, at the beach or in the mountains — and its outstanding ability to present the sounds and happenings of our world instantly. ~Broadcasting, Telecasting, 1957


There's something always exciting and mysterious about operating a radio set. Perhaps that's its chief fascination. You never know exactly what to expect!... Yes, radio is a real "sport," because the results always have an element of uncertainty — you don't know absolutely what you're going to catch! You plan to tune in to Pittsburgh, KDKA — but hark! what is that strange music behind the Pittsburgh voice? Can it be WGY at Schenectady? No, the voice says it is speaking from Anacosta; and where in the world is that? The more distant and doubtful, the more delight and fun in landing your man or your station!.. And how proudly you go around saying: "I heard Chicago last night — would you believe it?" ~Christine Frederick, "Radio — The New Aladdin's Lamp," in St. Nicholas, 1922


But here steps in the radio, with a fresh approach to a fast-vanishing world. What happens is really creation. The man who spends hours every evening at his set, hearing music or the song of the nightingale, is creating his own world of sound where chaos had ruled before. The radio seems a definite step toward the making of a new universe, where people shall listen instead of see... it uses a part of our nervous system which there is a tendency to neglect, and it rests a part which there is a tendency to overwork. ~George Humphrey, "What Is Radio Doing to Us?," in Collier's, 1924


The British broadcasting authorities know full well that the first function of radio is — frankly and explicitly — entertainment. Yes. "Entertainment. Amusement. Distraction. Surcease from care. A little relief from the day's toil. A little more joy of life" —that's the way Mr. William Hard describes its mission. ~National Association of Broadcasters, "William Hard Has a Few Words to Say," Broadcasting in the United States, 1933


Entertainment is the first function of radio and always will be, whether presented through a majestic polyphonic ensemble or through a lone artist whose talent grips millions by a single word. ~Radio News, 1933


The everlasting radio controversy of education versus entertaining is, I believe, of secondary importance. The first function of radio is... news. I want radio to bring me close to the events I cannot see; I want it to give me the word of the eyewitness; I want to feel, like a good citizen, the excitement of national happenings, and I want through radio to be part of them. ~David Cleghorn Thomson, Radio is Changing Us, 1937


Truly, the radio is the new Aladdin's lamp, for by merely rubbing it, there comes forth news of sports, news of the day, reports of Scout activities, weather-reports, and even standard time as set from the Arlington Observatory. Broadcasting via radio has already proved a service to the community. Although only in its first stages, there is every reason to think that the broadcasting idea is too big to be devoted exclusively to music and amusement features and that very soon it will be a recognized means of education. Lessons by wireless? Impossible! But even now the way is being shown. ~Christine Frederick, "Radio — The New Aladdin's Lamp," in St. Nicholas, 1922  [remote learning, distance education —tg]


"What Fruits," the Speaker jeered, "can Science show?"
And Science brought his Words by Radio.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Self-Esteem," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924


Each week in the sample of 3,500 homes:  16 hours were spent reading newspapers, 25 hours watching TV, and 47 hours listening to the radio. If radio is dead, they'll have a hard time convincing it that it should lie down. ~Lee B. Wailes, 1952


It looks as if radio is the most popular, talked-about and worth-while invention of the century. Are we going to talk to London just as we now talk to Chicago? Are we going to put a nickel in the slot and be able to draw out five cents' worth of "canned" wireless music? Are we going to "plug in," as we now do an electric fan or a vacuum cleaner, and by means of "wired wireless" listen to the features broadcasted by the community electric-light company? Are we going to receive a wireless message from Mars? Are we going to have radio-controlled traffic as we now have radio-controlled battleships? Who knows? Perhaps if you are one of the army of live radio fans, you will be able to find out! ~Christine Frederick, "Radio — The New Aladdin's Lamp," in St. Nicholas, 1922


Radio is the only medium appealing to the ear alone. ~Morton Walker, 1979


When buying a used car, punch the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there's a good chance the transmission is shot. ~Larry Lujack, as quoted in Robert Byrne, The Fifth and Far Finer than the First Four 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1993


Radio is quick; it's responsive, it's adaptable. An idea can be translated into a broadcast almost instantly. ~Harold B. McCarty, "Educational Radio's Role," 1959


The boy who sits pushing the bare wire over and back along the worn copper track on his $3.49 set is not "listening to the radio" in adult terms... A boy at the radio is not a man — with a twenty-nine-inch measurement round the trouser tops instead of forty-nine. He is not a ninety-pound copy of dad, and he is not listening to the radio like his dad, to hear the stock reports. He is a boy working the radio, and, especially when he has built the set, he is receiving a valuable training in mechanics. ~George Humphrey, "What Is Radio Doing to Us?," in Collier's, 1924


Radio is all nostalgia. Childhood sprawled before a big cloth-front cabinet while the Lone Ranger loosed a fusillade of silver bullets. Radio is Jack Armstrong with his All-American ass in a sling and Superman getting liverish with kryptonite poisoning. And radio is the Green Hornet — without wondering why Bret Reed always rousted Kato in the middle of the night to drive him out to the scene of the crime. Radio is about eight boxes of unwanted breakfast cereal, stripped of their tops so that you can keep up to date with the latest means of transporting secret messages... ~Car and Driver, 1967


Radio travels 186,000 miles a second, the same speed as light, or around the world about eight times a second, so radio is making the world smaller and better acquainted. Last month President Coolidge sat in his study and talked to millions of Americans by radio, and nothing is as intimate of personality as the voice. ~American Lumberman, 1924


Radio is truly the most intimate medium of all. For a listener, it can be a cross between access to a party-line and an interior monologue. ~Canadian Theatre Review, 1982


The radio is another wonderful discovery. It has made the world as small as a house. ~Frank C. Laubach, 1947


The radio broadcast has a unique function to fill in bringing nations together. It can be used for strengthening that feeling of mutual friendship which so easily turns into mistrust and enmity. ~Albert Einstein, "On Radio," Cosmic Religion with Other Opinions and Aphorisms, 1931


I call to mind a picture of a friend sitting with his eyes closed listening to the radio concert, and sometimes turning down the light when he had tuned into a particularly pleasing program. Another friend, a press photographer, asks why it is that the men in his office, and virtually all the other photographers he knows, are such unusually devoted radio enthusiasts. The answer seems to be that the photographer makes his living by looking, and it is natural that he should prefer to take his amusement by listening. ~George Humphrey, "What Is Radio Doing to Us?," in Collier's, 1924


In this narrow sense, World War II is a radio war, and radio is clearly an important weapon of warfare. But creatively, editorially, radio is an art, a business and a science, in that order of importance. ~Sherman Harvard Dryer, 1942


Being a poet, he was afflicted — with nerves and with imagination. The poet's nerves are a sort of radio sending and receiving station; they quiver to waves which leave the stolid undisturbed. It is the joy and the agony of the poet to feel more than what happens to himself; to feel and respond to what happens to people he has never met, never seen, far away, nothing too far away. It is the curse of his imagination to see — to see, though staring at a blank wall. ~Dorothy Thompson, "Death of a Poet," 1939  [Ernst Toller —tg]


Television, like all new arts, when they are new, is having to work its passage to respectability... The cultists of radio held that there was a purity in their medium absent in television. Nor is their claim foolish: radio drama was, and remains, unlike anything else; the wireless liberated poets and writers to an imaginative articulation which does not quite resemble, yet can sometimes give rise to, literature... The radio listener is provoked to a fruitful participation, as a good reader is... One need but cite the early plays of Harold Pinter, who seemed to write in a dark script of "negative meaning" which lurked in the silences between his lines. Words, isolated in the velvet of radio, took on a jewelled particularity. Television has quite the opposite effect: words are drowned in the visual soup in which they are obliged to be served. ~Frederic Raphael, "The Language of Television," in The State of the Language, edited by Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks, 1980


When television came roaring in after the war they did a little school survey asking children which they preferred and why — television or radio. And there was this 7-year-old boy who said he preferred radio "because the pictures were better." ~Alistair Cooke, unverified


If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners. ~Johnny Carson, unverified


One claim that is constantly advanced for radio is that it has brought an end to loneliness, making rural life richer and more tolerable... ~David Cleghorn Thomson, Radio is Changing Us, 1937


Almost everyone, it seems, at first glance expects television to dig radio's final resting place. ~Lee B. Wailes, 1952


Radio is an electrical action which is radiated out in all directions through the air. Just as there is one kind of electrical action known as the electric current which goes along wires and turns machinery and lights our homes, so radio is another form of electricity... Because radio thus produces an electrical effect at a distance without connecting wires, it was formerly called wireless... and its effect can be picked up at an unlimited number of places simultaneously. It may thus be spoken of as a highly democratic, even communistic, kind of communication, being available to everyone... Radio is in fact very much like light — except that instead of using our eyes to detect it, we use special receiving instruments. ~J.H. Dellinger and L.E. Whittemore, "What Radio Does," Lefax Radio Handbook, 1923


I love the radio... It is so meaningless — and that after all is the fascination of life. The moment it begins to mean anything it ceases to interest me. ~"James T. Blivvens, the Celebrated Skylight Salesman, Reaches His Thirty-Seventh Anniversary and Celebrates His Birthday Quietly, From an Interview by Our Staff Correspondent," Vanity Fair, April 1923


I'm not a good radio listener, but then very few fans are... Radio football is football reduced to its lowest common denominator. Shorn of the game's aesthetic pleasures, or the comfort of a crowd that feels the same way as you, or the sense of security that you get when you see that your defenders and goalkeeper are more or less where they should be, all that is left is naked fear. ~Nick Hornby, "Filling a Hole: Arsenal v Liverpool, 1.5.80," Fever Pitch, 1992


The important part is that radio is in its infancy and is continually changing, some changes coming overnight. What was an excellent radio outfit two years ago is antiquated today. What is new tomorrow will be scrapped two years hence. ~Hugo Gernsback, "Outfits vs. Parts," Radio News, 1923


Internet radio is the digital way to find my path back to my analog heart. ~Guy Gilchrist, Nancy (comic), 2012  [Fritzi —tg]


But if I wasn't reading, I was listening to the radio with my parents. I liked Jack Benny and Fred Allen the best, I guess, because Daddy loved them so much. He used to laugh until I thought he'd get sick. ~Stuart Mitchner, Let Me Be Awake, 1959


I have to confess, I love old-time radio and am convinced that a good bit of impetus in my becoming a writer can be traced to my imagination being stirred there in the close dark of our bedroom when, as a boy, my brothers and I, watching the transfiguring dial-light above the mesh of our little clunker of a Philco radio, would listen in the dark to one dramatic show after another, programs like Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, The Jack Benny Show, I Love a Mystery, and The Shadow... ~Alexander Theroux, "That's Entertainment?," Estonia: A Ramble Through the Periphery, 2011  [I listened to The Shadow and other old time radio shows in the dark as a child too, and those are some of the fondest memories of my life. Nowadays it's known as OTR. —tg]


The contemporary listener new to old time radio is in for a real treat... when played back it begins its magic and the listener becomes absorbed by the program and spellbound by the power of the imagination. For those listeners who have experienced this often enough, it is almost second nature to describe radio as the "theater of the mind." ~James R. Powell, 2001


Radio is truly the theater of the mind. The listener constructs the sets, colors them from his own palette, and sculpts and costumes the characters who perform in them. ~Mercedes McCambridge, The Quality of Mercy, 1981


Radio is the theater of the mind; television is the theater of the mindless. ~Steve Allen, unverified


A woman came up to me and asked, 'You mean to say you didn't have anything on when you had that calendar picture taken?' I drew myself up and told her, 'I did, too, have something on. I had the radio on.' ~Marilyn Monroe, as quoted by Pete Martin, 1962


Pierpoint:  I think I'm really starting to enjoy jazz these days.
Gunther:  Did you know that the radio is stuck between different stations?
Pierpoint:  Shh!.. I'm diggin' it.
~Bill Schorr, The Grizzwells (comic), 2010


With radio the whole world is brought to your own fireside. ~American Lumberman, 1924


Science... liberates the spirit of man from the infinite by means of material rewards. Thus, each time that man succeeds in casting off one of the spiritual husks of his being, Science provides him with an exact equivalent in the world of matter. When in the eighteenth century, man ceased to believe in the fire and smoke of hell, Science provided him with immediate compensation in the form of steam and gas... When he ceased any longer to heed the words of the seers and the prophets, Science lovingly brought forth the Radio Commentator. In place of revelation, he now has... Journalism. ~Jean Giraudoux, The Enchanted: A Comedy in Three Acts, 1933, adapted by Maurice Valency, English Acting Edition, 1950  [altered —tg]


The chief reason why America leads the world to-day in radio progress is just because Uncle Sam is a wise old person and allows the radio amateurs to remain unmolested by hampering government restrictions... In England, the laws against the radio amateur are so strict that there is scarcely any use buying or making an outfit. In France, the boy "wireless fan" must do everything under the bed — if he lets a single ether whisper get into the air, why there'll be a government policeman in his room in a jiffy, for the French army owns the air! And in Germany it's the Government that controls the air. ~Christine Frederick, "Radio — The New Aladdin's Lamp," in St. Nicholas, 1922


One ought to be ashamed to make use of the wonders of science embodied in a radio set, the while appreciating them as little as a cow appreciates the botanic marvels in the plants she munches. Let us not forget how humanity came into possession of this wonderful means of communication... Remember Oerstedt, who first discovered the magnetic influence of electro-magnetic currents; remember Reis, who first employed this influence to create sound in an electro-magnetic way; Bell, who, by using sensitive contacts, transferred sound waves with his microphone into variable electric currents. Remember furthermore, Maxwell, who mathematically proved the existence of electric waves, and Hertz, who first created them with the help of a spark. Think especially of Lieben, who, with his Fleming valve, invented an incomparable detector organ for electric waves... Remember thankfully the army of nameless technicians who simplified radio instruments and adapted them to mass production so that they became accessible to everybody. ~Albert Einstein, "On Radio," Cosmic Religion with Other Opinions and Aphorisms, 1931


My small boy sits at the radio and spends his time getting first this station and then that. In the course of half an hour he will hear five minutes of grand opera, part of a bedtime story, the closing bars of a string quartet, and the beginnings of a speech of advice to young mothers. ~Anonymous father, quoted in George Humphrey, "What Is Radio Doing to Us?," in Collier's, 1924


The radio is, indeed, a great blessing of the modern times. It has become a necessity now. ~Badruddin G. Hussain, 1961





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