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A Word from Our SponsorAdmen, Advertising, and the Golden Age of Radio$

Cynthia B. Meyers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823253708

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823253708.001.0001

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(p.xii) (p.1) Introduction
A Word from Our Sponsor

Cynthia B. Meyers

Fordham University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the role of the advertising industry in the “golden age” of radio. The majority of nationally broadcast sponsored programs on network radio during the late 1920s until the late 1940s were created, produced, written and/or managed by advertising agencies. A few examples of these programs are J. Walter Thompson's Kraft Music Hall; Benton and Bowles' Maxwell House Show Boat; Young & Rubicam's Town Hall Tonight for Bristol-Myers; and Blackett-Sample-Hummert's soap operas for Procter & Gamble. The advertising industry became deeply involved in broadcast programming because advertising agencies addressed the needs of broadcasters and advertisers. This book challenges conventional views about the role of advertising in culture, the integration of media industries, and the role of commercialism in broadcast history.

Keywords:   advertising industry, radio, sponsored programs, advertising agencies, soap operas, broadcast programming

Jack Benny:

  • “Oh, come on in, Dennis. I’ll be with you in a minute. I’m calling Mr. Duffy of Batten Barton Durstine & Osborn, my advertising agency.”
  • Dennis Day:

  • “Why do you need them?”
  • Jack Benny:

  • “Well, Dennis. They put on my program for Lucky Strike. They handle all the publicity, the exploitation, the advertising, the commercials. They hire the musicians, the writers, the actors. They do everything!”
  • [a beat of silence]
  • Dennis Day:

  • “Why do they need you?”1
  • In this 1948 broadcast, radio comedian Jack Benny, who specialized in self-deprecation, acknowledges the key role of an advertising agency in producing his show: “They do everything!” In fact, the majority of nationally broadcast sponsored programs on network radio during the “golden age” of radio, from roughly the late 1920s until the late 1940s, were created, produced, written, and/or managed by advertising agencies. Consider a few examples: J. Walter Thompson produced Kraft Music Hall (1933–49); Benton & Bowles oversaw Maxwell House Show Boat (1932–37); Young & Rubicam managed Town Hall Tonight with comedian Fred Allen for Bristol-Myers (1934–40); and Blackett-Sample-Hummert produced dozens of soap operas, including Ma Perkins, for Procter & Gamble (1933–56). The historian Michele Hilmes, noting that advertising agencies of the radio era resemble today’s television production companies, argues that “[t]he full chronology of advertising agency involvement in radio does indeed deserve a history in itself, (p.2) not least because it is virtually coterminous with commercial radio broadcasting.”2

    And yet, in popular memory and in most broadcast histories, the importance of the advertising industry’s work in golden age radio is obscured, if not invisible. The reasons for this are many. One is that advertising agency staff did not receive on-air credit for their work, as in the case of J. Walter Thompson’s Carroll Carroll, who went unheralded for writing clever lines for Bing Crosby on Kraft Music Hall.

    Cast member:

  • “Are you all set for Christmas, Bing?”
  • Bing:

  • “Yep. I made the last of my resolutions just a little while ago.”
  • Cast member:

  • “Resolutions? You’re supposed to make resolutions on New Year’s Eve.”
  • Bing:

  • “Oh, not me. I’ve got me a system. I find it’s kind of tough keeping resolutions from New Year’s to Christmas. So I make mine on Christmas and it’s a cinch to keep ’em ’til New Year’s.”3
  • The lack of on-air credit was the outcome of the decision by advertising agencies and their clients—the sponsors—not to distract audiences from the product being advertised; they hoped listeners would smoothly associate the pleasing entertainment with their products, with Kraft cheese or Lucky Strike cigarettes. Drawing attention to the construction of the entertainment would undermine that association. And listeners were drawn to radio not by the producer but by the entertainment and the stars. Batten Barton Durstine & Osborn (BBDO) needed Jack Benny very much. Without the star, there would have been no show and, consequently, no audience organized to attend to the sponsor’s message. Yet, despite their invisibility, advertising agencies were arguably the most important sites of radio entertainment production in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.

    Why did the advertising industry become so deeply involved in broadcast programming? The short answer is that advertising agencies were best positioned to address the needs of broadcasters (for programming) and the needs of advertisers (for reaching audiences) during a period when most programming was fully controlled by advertisers (p.3) and at a time of economic exigency. The longer answer is what I intend to provide in the rest of this book. Hilmes remarks:

    During the formative decades of American broadcasting, as genres were invented, basic structures set in place, and the industry’s cultural role extended throughout the world, the main innovation in programming took place in the offices of advertising agencies. Despite this fact, not a single book-length scholarly work has focused on the role of the advertising agency.4

    What follows is just that book. In the course of it, I challenge conventional views about the role of advertising in culture, the integration of media industries, and the role of commercialism in broadcast history. I mean in doing so to revise how we view media industry history, especially as to the advertising industry’s role in that history.

    Jennifer Holt and Alisa Perren argue that media industry studies scholars must move away from the Frankfurt School approach, which assumes that media industries are monolithic, the beneficiaries of a “one-way flow of communication from a central industry out to a passive audience.”5 John Hartley and Ian Connell argue that media industries have no “fabulous” powers or shared consciousness.6 Rather, they are made up of individual agents negotiating various social, economic, and cultural structures and constraints.7 Media industry studies, as articulated by Holt and Perren, seek to analyze “culture and cultural production as sites of struggle, contestation, and negotiation between a broad range of stakeholders,” presuming those sites to be “anything but monolithic.”8 Such studies, moving beyond the texts available to audiences, must not only construct “behind the scenes” narratives of media production but also take account of those industries in all their complexity, as made up of overlapping and intersecting fields, systems, actors, and dynamics.9 As an example of this approach, Alexander Russo argues that radio cannot be considered a single field or object of inquiry; instead, radio “is actually the result of the ‘dynamic interplay’ of a system of technologies, industrial and regulatory dynamics, programming, and practices of reception and use.”10

    Likewise, advertising is not, any more than radio, a single phenomenon. It has been well analyzed as a vehicle for ideological and hegemonic values;11 as a means for creating false needs;12 as a mirror of (p.4) American culture;13 as an economic force in “free” media;14 as a functionalist method of persuasion;15 as a form of social communication;16 as a mediating text;17 and as a discourse intersecting with multiple other cultural discourses.18 Building on existing advertising history scholarship,19 I treat advertising as a media industry deeply integrated into other media industries, especially broadcasting, which throughout most of its history has depended solely on advertising revenue. I consider differences among individuals, agencies, affinity groups, organizations, and institutions within the industry, without a knowledge of which we can hardly hope to understand the historical contingency of advertising theories and practices and the social, economic, and cultural constraints in which those entities operate. Like John Caldwell, I seek to “look over the shoulder” of advertising practitioners not to construct some “behind the scenes” story of how they work but to register all the complex and multifarious ways in which they understand their work, represent themselves to one another and to their clients, and respond to technological, social, and cultural changes.20 In all of this, I resist simplistic models of the relations of advertising, culture, and commerce. Advertising’s structuring force is its economic function, to sell—yet to be effective it must articulate contemporary cultural meanings in ways intelligible to its audiences.21 It is therefore involved in a complex negotiation of meanings and outcomes that its makers cannot fully comprehend or predict. My aim is to map these negotiations in all their complexity.

    Revisionist broadcasting histories reject the notion that commercial broadcasting was the inevitable use of radio technology.22 Erik Barnouw, Susan Douglas, Susan Smulyan, Robert McChesney, and Kathy Newman regard commercial broadcasting’s development as hotly contested.23 Utopian aspirations for radio as a vehicle for education, democracy, and cultural “uplift” are, in the work of each of these scholars, crushed by a triumphant commercialism, although each identifies a different historical moment for this triumph.24 Although I build on these revisionist histories, I believe, with Hilmes, that there was no one single moment of decline into commercialism: Radio was commercial from its “earliest moments.”25 Hilmes considers commercialism not as a force corrupting broadcasting but as an “avenue of access to (p.5) the popular,” not unlike other commercial media such as the penny press, vaudeville, and movies.26 In his research into independent radio stations of the 1920s, Clifford Doerksen finds that broadcast commercialism “originated at a grassroots level, as a populist deviation from polite corporate practice.”27 Independent commercial stations, which broadcast “lowbrow” music such as jazz, were viewed as endangering the “cultural uplift” and educational potential of radio. Though a highbrow minority fretted about on-air advertising as a source of cultural degradation, Doerksen concludes that “[c]ommercialism triumphed in the American airwaves because most Americans did not object to it.”28 Russo also challenges the top-down narrative of most broadcast histories in his study of non-network radio institutions and practices throughout the radio era, enriching our understanding of the multifaceted phenomena we call commercial radio.29 Like Hilmes, Doerksen, and Russo, I analyze commercialism not as an outside force silencing the voice of the people but as a set of beliefs, practices, and economic incentives that not only created dominant institutions but also helped build authentic popular cultural forms.

    Historical research in media industries in general and in advertising in particular is made difficult by the ephemeral nature of media products. Vast numbers of media texts (such as radio programs and commercials) and the documentation of their production (such as scripts, memos, and correspondence) were discarded by their producers long before any scholar could identify and analyze their significance. Like the drunk forced to look for his lost keys under the streetlight because that is where the light is, a media industry historian must search within the constrained light of what happens to have been preserved. Thus, while CBS records are largely unavailable to scholarly researchers, NBC’s, deposited at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Library of Congress, have led historians to build NBC-predominant narratives, because that is where the streetlight is.30 Likewise, the archival primary source materials for advertising agencies of this period are limited and fragmentary; the J. Walter Thompson papers at Duke University provide the most complete agency records, including staff meeting transcriptions, memos, house organs, and account histories, and thus figure prominently in narratives such as this (p.6) one. This book is based as much as possible on this and other archival sources, including the partial agency records of BBDO; Benton & Bowles; Young & Rubicam; and N. W. Ayer, and, most important, the voluminous correspondence among NBC and agency executives. Contemporaneous trade publications fill in some of the gaps left by this partial record, particularly concerning internal industry debates. Within the pages of Printers’ Ink and Advertising & Selling, as well as other magazines aimed at members of the advertising industry, we can find various and conflicting perspectives, allowing us to “look over the shoulders” of advertising practitioners when they communicate with one another rather than with consumers or clients. Advertising agents’ reminiscences and oral histories, though also useful, are less reliable, in part because hindsight usually colors memory and, in the case of many admen who had labored anonymously on famous campaigns, leads to the claiming of credit whether or not it is due.31

    In using these sources, I apply critical and interpretative methodologies that contextualize them as much as possible, with an awareness of the positions and perspectives of the writers and readers of those documents. Advertising men, as Roland Marchand notes, represented themselves one way to their clients, another to consumers: To the former, they claimed strong powers of persuasion; to the latter, they claimed only to reflect consumers’ existing desires.32 This is not to say that all advertising practitioners were liars, only that context matters in interpreting their self-representations; and so I have sought to take it into account.

    A Word from Our Sponsor is structured chronologically, beginning with a brief survey of the pre-broadcasting advertising industry, moving through the rise of commercial broadcasting in the 1920s and 1930s, and ending at network radio’s apogee in the late 1940s. However, some chapters are structured to analyze key advertising agencies and how they engaged in specific debates and practices. To frame this study as one focused on the advertising industry, in Chapter 1, “Dramatizing a Bar of Soap: The Advertising Industry before Broadcasting,” I draw on existing scholarship to provide an overview of how the modern advertising industry developed, then analyze key debates within the industry. Some of these debates shape the emerging commercial (p.7) radio industry, such as the difference between “hard sell” and “soft sell” advertising strategies. I also introduce recurring issues such as advertising’s cultural salience, innovation in advertising, the problem of instrumentality undermining advertising’s credibility, the frustrations of admen’s anonymous authorship, and the demands that advertising agents wear “two faces” to service the conflicting needs of clients and audiences.

    Chapter 2, “The Fourth Dimension of Advertising: The Development of Commercial Broadcasting in the 1920s,” shifts focus to the origins of commercial broadcasting, which emerged with little assistance from the advertising industry. As Susan Smulyan remarks, at the time of radio’s widespread adoption in the 1920s, few were sure how best to commercialize it.33 I recount the process by which broadcasters developed the radio business model of renting airtime to advertisers, who were then responsible for filling airtime with programming in order to attract listeners. Men trained in advertising were hired by the newly established national networks to “sell” the new medium to advertisers, who were initially suspicious of that untested medium.

    Once convinced they could reach consumers over the air, advertisers were unsure how to attract listeners to their messages. Chapter 3, “They Sway Millions as If by Some Magic Wand: The Advertising Industry Enters Radio in the Late 1920s,” explores how and why advertising agencies became program suppliers. The advertisers, known as “sponsors” because they paid for programming that listeners received for free, needed program oversight services. They worried that Broadway producers, musical directors, stage directors, and other potential program producers would favor artistic concerns over selling. Advertising agencies offered to provide programming that would sell. However, advertising agencies at first resisted entering radio. Their traditional expertise was in print media; translating print advertising strategies to the aural and evanescent medium of radio proved a challenge. Once the demand for ad agency oversight rose, from both advertisers and broadcasters, many advertising agencies established radio departments.

    Yet, in the early commercial broadcasting industry, neither the business model nor the lines of authority were clearly established. Advertising agencies, sponsors, and broadcasters debated who should (p.8) control programming, advertising standards, and radio revenues. In Chapter 4, “‘Who Owns the Time?’: Advertising Agencies and Networks Vie for Control in the 1930s,” I draw upon the archival record, specifically the NBC Records, to identify the battles for control between national networks and advertising agencies. Networks and agencies debated acceptable standards of commercialism and programming, how those standards would be determined and policed, the importance of live broadcasts, and the role of network programming departments.

    Agencies differed among one another as to how to sell audiences by radio. Chapter 5, “The 1930s’ Turn to the Hard Sell: Blackett-Sample-Hummert’s Soap Opera Factory,” begins with a look at why the economic crisis of the Great Depression stimulated advertisers’ interest in “hard sell” advertising. Hard sell advertising uses repetitious hectoring and direct, rational appeals, consisting of product attributes and “reasons why” to buy, often presenting the product as solving a problem. An example of hard sell advertising is a 1935 Campbell’s tomato soup advertisement that claims the soup has a “distinctive flavor universally acclaimed,” an “enchanting bright red color,” and a “taste that sets the tongue a-tingling!” If that does not convince, the ad suggests that “children should get the invigorating benefits of wholesome soup, for its nourishing food and its aid to digestion.” If the reader is still in doubt, the ad copy includes more “reasons why” to buy: “Campbell’s soups are made as in your own home kitchen, except that they are double strength”; after adding water, “you obtain twice as much full-flavored soup at no extra cost.”34 In a case study of the hard sell, I focus on Blackett-Sample-Hummert, an agency that specialized in daytime radio programs, especially soap operas, aimed at housewives. I show how many of the elements of Hummert soap operas, known for portentous seriousness, repetitiousness, drawn-out narratives, and clear enunciation, were deliberate choices made in alignment with hard sell advertising strategies. Frank and Anne Hummert structured radio soap operas as they would advertisements; their advertising strategies directly shaped their programming strategies.

    “Soft sell” agencies, on the other hand, believed in the efficacy of the indirect appeal, couched in the audience-friendly context of humorous entertainment. Soft sell advertising often emphasizes emotional (p.9) appeals, such as the need to be loved, as in the Woodbury soap campaign “The Skin You Love to Touch,” in which a woman is depicted as enjoying the loving embrace of her husband because she uses Woodbury soap. While hard sell proponents believed humor undermines the selling message, soft sell practitioners argued that humor helps disarm consumers and makes them more receptive. In Chapter 6, “The Ballet and Ballyhoo of Radio Showmanship: Young & Rubicam’s Soft Sell,” I analyze the advertising industry debates over the use of entertainment and “showmanship” as a selling tool on radio before turning to the case study of Young & Rubicam, probably the most prominent of the soft sell agencies. Y&R’s involvement in top radio comedy shows, featuring stars such as Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Eddie Cantor, and Burns & Allen, reflected its commitment to soft sell advertising strategies.

    In Chapter 7, “Two Agencies: Batten Barton Durstine & Osborn, Crafters of the Corporate Image, and Benton & Bowles, Radio Renegades,” I analyze two other important radio advertising agencies. BBDO approached radio as an ideal medium for building a corporate image, overseeing programs for large advertisers concerned not with product sales but with improving consumers’ views of them as good corporate citizens. As a case study, I use the Du Pont archives to discuss BBDO’s oversight of Du Pont’s Cavalcade of America. In contrast, Benton & Bowles, though serving large companies such as General Foods, approached radio as an opportunity for innovating advertising by breaking rules and challenging advertising industry conventions.

    By the time radio was established as a central entertainment medium in the late 1930s, star-driven entertainment forced Madison Avenue (as the advertising industry was known) to set up outposts in Hollywood, the better to supply radio with stars. In Chapter 8, “Madison Avenue in Hollywood: J. Walter Thompson and Kraft Music Hall,” I trace the intra-industry tensions between “Hollywoodites” and the colonizing admen from New York. Members of the film industry believed advertising agencies knew little about entertainment; members of the advertising industry believed the film industry understood little about how to appeal to audiences in the family stronghold of the home environment. I draw on the extensive archival records of the J. Walter (p.10) Thompson (JWT) agency, which had a major Hollywood branch office, and construct a case study of how JWT produced the Hollywood-based program Kraft Music Hall, featuring Bing Crosby, that was based on their advertising strategy to associate celebrities with products.

    World WarII at first threatened to dismantle the commercial entertainment radio industry, but the federal government ultimately decided to employ the existing radio industry in propaganda efforts on the home front. In Chapter 9, “Advertising and Commercial Radio during World War II, 1942–45,” I look at how the advertising industry and then the commercial radio industry responded to the war and participated in the war economy. As a case study, I draw upon the papers of William B. Lewis, an advertising and broadcasting executive who oversaw the coordination of radio propaganda at the federal Office of War Information. Instead of separating war propaganda from entertainment, at the risk of losing the attention of millions of Americans wearied by didactic propaganda, Lewis asked agencies and sponsors to choose how to integrate propaganda messages into entertainment programs, thereby reaching the listeners willing to hear their favorite stars explain why, for example, they should plant their own food in victory gardens. As Bing Crosby urged listeners:

    This is the old Kraft Music Hall, friends, battle station bound to every spot on the globe; where men are digging for victory in Tunisia, and in the Solomons they’re digging foxholes, and from the skies above Germany they’re digging up Berlin streets. The least we can do is dig a little too. We’ve got to dig for war bonds and we’ve got to be doing a little digging for that victory garden.35

    After the war, however, listeners, reformers, and even members of the advertising industry criticized commercial radio for its very commercialism. Chapter 10, “On a Treadmill to Oblivion: The Peak and Sudden Decline of Network Radio,” examines the “revolt against radio,” the spread of the critique of sponsor control of programming, and advertising industry anxieties over the arrival of television. The transition to television in the late 1940s and early 1950s was a tremendously complex process that is beyond the scope of this book, so I focus on Sylvester “Pat” Weaver as a case study of how one adman (p.11) helped shape the transition.36 While president of NBC-TV, Weaver, a former Young & Rubicam executive, favored a system whereby networks, not sponsors, would control television programs. Weaver’s “magazine plan” offered sponsors not thirty or sixty minutes of airtime to use as they liked but one-minute time slots within NBC programs, which, like ads in a magazine, were independent of the content amid which they appeared. This system soon changed the industry. The resulting shift to network programming control led to the eventual exit of advertising agencies from program production. Advertising agencies gradually built a more profitable business buying interstitial minutes of airtime for advertisers and producing television commercials.

    That advertising agencies surrendered direct control of programming during the network television era, roughly the late 1950s through the 1970s, does not negate their seminal contributions to commercial broadcasting. Advertising agencies helped build radio as a popular commercial entertainment medium by producing programming designed to appeal to wide audiences, and they were the key developers of program forms such as soap operas. Advertising agencies developed audience-responsive strategies for entertainment and advertising. Advertising executives, some of whom became top broadcasting executives, took lessons from their work mediating between sponsors and broadcasters to help reformulate the structure of the broadcasting industry away from advertiser program control and toward the more flexible and effective commercialism of network television.

    Mary Livingstone:

  • “Jack, who’re you calling?”
  • Jack Benny:

  • “Batten Barton Durstine & Osborn.”
  • Mary Livingstone:

  • “Sounds like a trunk falling down stairs.”
  • This joke, from the same Jack Benny episode quoted above, has survived its origins and has entered the lore of BBDO’s history.37 Mary Livingstone, a tart-tongued foil to Jack Benny, sounds as if she has dismissed one of the most important advertising agencies as a series of crashes, and by extension, a crashing bore. But, as in all humor that embraces contradiction, her joke highlights how important BBDO (p.12) actually was. In the subsequent chapters, I tell a hitherto little-known story of American radio and advertising, one that repositions the advertising industry from the margins into the center of one of the most significant popular culture forms of the twentieth century. Not only do I expect my readers to rethink how and why twentieth-century broadcasting developed the way it did, I also hope they will apply these historical perspectives to understanding the changes affecting media industries in the twenty-first century, as program providers revive program financing forms such as sponsorship and advertisers and their agencies once again reformulate their theories and strategies of reaching and motivating audiences.


    (1.) The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny, “Jack Tries to Reach His Advertising Agency,” broadcast on 11 November 1948.

    (2.) Michele Hilmes, Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), 89; Michele Hilmes, Radio Voices: American Broadcasting, 1922–1952 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 114.

    (3.) Kraft Music Hall, broadcast on 14 December 1942.

    (4.) Michele Hilmes, “Nailing Mercury,” in Jennifer Holt and Alisa Perren, eds., Media Industries: History, Theory, and Method (Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 24.

    (5.) Jennifer Holt and Alisa Perren, “Introduction,” in Holt and Perren, eds., Media Industries, 4. The classic statement of the Frankfurt School position is Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, “Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” in M. Durham and D. Kellner, eds., Media and Cultural Studies, 2d ed. (Boston: Blackwell), 41–72.

    (6.) John Hartley, “From the Consciousness Industry to the Creative Industries,” in Holt and Perren, eds., Media Industries, 232; Ian Connell, “Fabulous Powers: Blaming the Media,” in L. Masterman, ed., Television Mythologies (London: Boyars, 1984).

    (7.) John Thornton Caldwell, Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film and Television (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2008).

    (8.) Holt and Perren, “Introduction,” 5Christine Gledhill, “Pleasurable Negotiations,” in E. Deidre Pribram, ed., Female Spectators: Looking at Film and Television (New York: Verso, 1988).

    (9.) John Thornton Caldwell, “Cultures of Production: Studying Industry’s Deep Texts, Reflexive Rituals, and Managed Self-Disclosure,” in Holt and Perren, eds., Media Industries, 201.

    (10.) Alexander Russo, Points on the Dial: Golden Age Radio beyond the Networks (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2010), 7.

    (11.) Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976); Judith Williamson, Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising (London: Marion Boyars, 1978); Charles F. McGovern, Sold American: Consumption and Citizenship, 1890–1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006); Katherine J. Parkin, Food Is Love: Advertising and Gender Roles in Modern America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006); Inger Stole, Advertising on Trial: Consumer Activism and Corporate Public Relations in the 1930s (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006).

    (12.) Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966); Raymond Williams, “Advertising: The Magic System,” in Television: Technology and Cultural Form (New York: Schocken Books, 1977).

    (13.) Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920–1940 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985); Stephen Fox, The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators (New York: William Morrow, 1984).

    (14.) David M. Potter, People of Plenty: Economic Abundance and the American Character (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).

    (15.) For example, Neil H. Borden, The Economic Effects of Advertising (Chicago: Irwin, 1942); K. Rotzoll, J. Haefner, and C. Sandage, Advertising and Society (Columbus, Ohio: Copywright Grid, 1976).

    (16.) William Leiss, Stephen Kline, Sut Jhally, and Jackie Botterill, Social Communication in Advertising: Consumption in the Mediated Marketplace, 3d ed. (New York: Routledge, 2005). For a view that advertising is a less effective form of social communication than either its critics or practitioners may acknowledge, see Michael Schudson, Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American Society (New York: Basic Books, 1984).

    (17.) Nick Browne, “The Political Economy of the Television (Super) Text,” in Horace Newcomb, ed., Television: The Critical View (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).

    (18.) Jackson Lears, Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America (New York: Basic Books, 1994); Jennifer Wicke, Advertising Fictions: Literature, Advertisement, and Social Reading (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988); Ellen Gruber Garvey, The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s to 1910s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

    (19.) Marchand, Advertising the American Dream; Fox, Mirror Makers; Daniel Pope, The Making of Modern Advertising (New York: Basic Books, 1983); Pamela Walker Laird, Advertising Progress: American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

    (21.) Marshall Sahlins, Culture and Practical Reason (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 117.

    (22.) Examples of the so-called “consensus” history they reject include Gleason Archer, History of Radio to 1926 (New York: American Historical Society, 1938); William Peck Banning, Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1946).

    (23.) Erik Barnouw’s three-volume history includes A Tower in Babel, The Golden Web, and The Image Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966, 1968, 1970); Susan Douglas, Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899–1922 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987); Susan Smulyan, Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting, 1920–1934 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994); Robert McChesney, Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928–1935 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); Kathy M. Newman, Radio Active: Advertising and Consumer Activism, 1935–1947 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).

    (24.) See also Clayton R. Koppes, “The Social Destiny of Radio: Hope and Disillusionment in the 1920s,” South Atlantic Quarterly 68, no. 3 (1969): 363–76; Daniel Czitrom, Media and the American Mind: From Morse to McLuhan (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982); Mary S. Mander, “The Public Debate about Broadcasting in the Twenties: An Interpretive History,” Journal of Broadcasting 20 (Spring 1984): 167–85. For a nuanced view of the “civic ambition” of commercial radio, and how liberal ideals were debated and enacted through programming and network policies, see David Goodman, Radio’s Civic Ambition: American Broadcasting and Democracy in the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

    (27.) Clifford J. Doerksen, American Babel: Rogue Radio Broadcasters of the Jazz Age (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), x.

    (28.) Ibid., 17.

    (30.) Michele Hilmes, ed., NBC: America’s Network (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), xii.

    (31.) This American Life, originally broadcast on 19 June 2009: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/383/transcript.

    (34.) Julian Lewis Watkins, The 100 Greatest Advertisements (New York: Dover, 1959), 4.

    (35.) Kraft Music Hall, broadcast on 1 April 1943.

    (36.) See James L. Baughman, Same Time, Same Station: Creating American Television, 1948–1961 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); William Boddy, Fifties Television: The Industry and Its Critics (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990); Michael Mashon, “NBC, J. Walter Thompson, and the Evolution of Prime-Time Television Programming and Sponsorship, 1946–58” (PhD diss., University of Maryland–College Park, 1996).

    (37.) Stuart Elliott, “An Old Industry Name Signals a Shift into a New Era,” New York Times, 22 November 2010, B6.