Friday / Weekend Open Lines


The history of radio and the presidency seems to center entirely on Franklin Roosevelt’s famous “fireside chats’ beginning in 1933 in the depths of the Depression. But the first president to address the nation from the White House over the infant broadcast medium was, ironically, “Silent Cal.” President Calvin Coolidge spoke to a coast to coast audience on the occasion of George Washington’s birthday in 1924, and his words were carried over just 42 stations. That year, there were 530 radio stations in the country, broadcasting to just 1.25 million households. Today, there are over 6,300 radio broadcasting firms, and 114 million or 99 percent of U.S. households have radios. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.