Donna Halper dlh@donnahalper.com
Wed Jul 11 03:14:25 EDT 2012

On 7/11/2012 2:27 AM, Thomas Heathwood wrote:
>    No, radio never "banned" radio dramas with simulated newscasts included.  The "War of the Worlds"  incident was largely overblown

In fact, if you lived in Boston, you had no idea what the fuss was all 
about.  The CBS affiliate, WEEI, chose not to air the Mercury Theater, 
due to lack of listener response.  Instead, they aired a sponsored 
program.  If you wanted to hear War of the Worlds, you had to pull in 
the CBS affiliate in Providence.  And yes, Tom is right-- today, with 
the benefit of hindsight and some accurate research, we know much of the 
"panic in the streets" narrative was in fact exaggerated.  But 1938-39 
was the era when scholars and media critics were worried about the 
effect of radio on impressionable youth-- there was fear that the kind 
of propaganda being done by Hitler in Germany might be used to sway 
American young people.  The narrative that War of the Worlds "proved" 
how dangerous radio could be became very popular in the press; it 
especially resonated with people who were already worried that radio was 
potentially harmful and wanted to see some better programs (more 
educational) on the air.

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