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Radio's New Deal: The NRA and U.S. Broadcasting, 1933-1935
Unformatted Document Text:  18 And it was precisely such outside pressure that seemed to improve the salaries and working conditions of most broadcast employees, and aided recovery efforts. By mid-December, both CBS and NBC announced full reinstatement of salary cuts that had first taken effect in June 1932. More than a few interested observers raised questions about the timing of the salary cut restorations. Clearly, the broadcast networks were enjoying high revenues, even before the pay cuts were instituted in 1932. From 1930-1933, the U.S. broadcast industry enjoyed explosive growth and profits. Both NBC and CBS had record levels of revenue--totaling some $137 million. 18 Radio Broadcast Codes, February, 1934 On February 5, 1934, the NRA released its eagerly awaited "Code of Fair Competition for the Radio Broadcasting," which covered not only labor issues, but also specified conduct that would bar cut-throat competition. In addition, the NRA gave broad powers to the RCBA to crack down on violators of the codes, it also granted the RCBA permanent status. The NAB convinced the NRA that its membership roster of stations, which by then comprised less than half of the 604 U.S. stations then operating, were responsible for generating 85 percent of total U.S. radio revenues. 19 Most of the income was generated by the largest stations in the NAB, those owned and managed by the national radio networks. With Broadcasting describing it as an "economic police force," the RCBA held a series of meetings between March 3 to 8 to assess code compliance nationally in the broadcast industry. The increased NRA and labor pressure on U.S. broadcasters led to a positive turn around for broadcast technicians. During the last six months of 1933, the time when the networks established company unions to meet the IBEW threat, average technician wages were up on average $2.72 per hour at most stations, at least according to a RCBA survey of U.S. radio stations. This resulted in a December average hourly wage of $35.51 per week (up from $32.79 in July, 1933). The average work time was cut from 49.1 hours per week to 44.3 hours (also for all categories)--a reduction slightly greater than the general industrial average under NRA codes. A corresponding 213 new

Authors: Mazzocco, Dennis.
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18
And it was precisely such outside pressure that seemed to improve the salaries and working
conditions of most broadcast employees, and aided recovery efforts. By mid-December, both CBS
and NBC announced full reinstatement of salary cuts that had first taken effect in June 1932. More
than a few interested observers raised questions about the timing of the salary cut restorations.
Clearly, the broadcast networks were enjoying high revenues, even before the pay cuts were
instituted in 1932. From 1930-1933, the U.S. broadcast industry enjoyed explosive growth and
profits. Both NBC and CBS had record levels of revenue--totaling some $137 million.
18
Radio Broadcast Codes,
February, 1934
On February 5, 1934, the NRA released its eagerly awaited "Code of Fair Competition for the
Radio Broadcasting," which covered not only labor issues, but also specified conduct that would bar
cut-throat competition. In addition, the NRA gave broad powers to the RCBA to crack down on
violators of the codes, it also granted the RCBA permanent status. The NAB convinced the NRA that
its membership roster of stations, which by then comprised less than half of the 604 U.S. stations
then operating, were responsible for generating 85 percent of total U.S. radio revenues.
19
Most of the
income was generated by the largest stations in the NAB, those owned and managed by the national
radio networks. With Broadcasting describing it as an "economic police force," the RCBA held a
series of meetings between March 3 to 8 to assess code compliance nationally in the broadcast
industry.
The increased NRA and labor pressure on U.S. broadcasters led to a positive turn around for
broadcast technicians. During the last six months of 1933, the time when the networks established
company unions to meet the IBEW threat, average technician wages were up on average $2.72 per
hour at most stations, at least according to a RCBA survey of U.S. radio stations. This resulted in a
December average hourly wage of $35.51 per week (up from $32.79 in July, 1933). The average
work time was cut from 49.1 hours per week to 44.3 hours (also for all categories)--a reduction
slightly greater than the general industrial average under NRA codes. A corresponding 213 new


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