This whole Imus/Shock Radio thing.

Donna Halper
Sun Apr 15 17:02:24 EDT 2007

At 04:26 PM 4/15/2007, Dan Strassberg wrote:
>I don't know the dates for the beginning and end of Coughlin's program,
>which I understand was broadcast nationally on CBS. It may well have
>continued into the early 40s, but I think it would be more correct to
>call its era the 30s.

He started locally in 1929, but by the early 30s, he was national and 
very popular.  The height of his fame was the mid 30s--  in fact, in 
Boston, he was run by the Shepard station, WNAC (and at times 
WAAB).  Shepard was sufficiently uncomfortable about the rhetoric on 
the show that he placed talks by the late great Harry Levi (the Radio 
Rabbi) right after Coughlin's show.  Coughlin got incredible ratings, 
which once again proves that hate sells-- in fact, thousands of 
PRO-NAZI supporters met in Boston and demonstrated in favour of 
Hitler, and yes I do have the newspaper accounts.  We forget that 
alas, even in the USA, there were bigots, and demagogues knew how to 
harness all that negative energy.  My grandfather (rest his soul) 
told me once that after Coughlin's Sunday rants, marauding groups of 
boys would go into the Jewish neighbourhoods and break the windows of 
shops they knew were owned by Jews.  After years of assorted people 
complaining, the FCC finally acted-- in 1941 (!) they took the radio 
priest off the air.

Dan also wrote--
>[snip] but Wm Paley, the president of CBS, the
>network that carried Coughlin's rabidly antisemitic diatribes, was, himself,

A fact he hid as much as possible.  Very assimilated, but in fairness 
to him, even if he had been very religious, the popularity of the 
radio priest was a real quandary for Depression-era 
broadcasters.  Yeah Father Coughlin was a bigot (he not only hated 
Jews but Protestants and immigrants-- and anyone who wasn't his 
version of ultra-populist and ultra-jingoist), but so many people 
listened and loved him that it would have really cost stations who 
took him off the air.  A few brave stations did so, but most just let 
him rant and looked the other way, no matter how much harm it caused.  

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