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.
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