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Radio's New Deal: The NRA and U.S. Broadcasting, 1933-1935
Unformatted Document Text:  19 technicians were hired since the codes were first instituted in Fall 1933 (Nationally, this added up to total number of 2,006 technicians who were working full-time at 476 NAB-member stations during this time in 1934.) Despite some promising figures released earlier from the NAB, the NRA hinted that further hourly cuts and wage increases were necessary. It suggested during the first week of April that the technician’s weekly hours be cut from 40 to 30 hours, reducing those shifts of workers from more than 40 hours to 36 hours maximum. The NRA said their wages should be raised another 10 percent from the December levels. While the NRA’s action seemed to come like a "bolt out of the blue," it essentially followed AFL proposals to speed recovery efforts made in February 1934. James Baldwin, executive officer of the RCBA, vigorously opposed the cuts. He said that the radio industry would suffer enormously from such government intervention. 20 At about the same time, Variety reported that Baldwin, and Frank Russell, Washington (NBC vice-president for government lobbying), had been selected by the RCBA as a liaison committee to meet with the NRA film and theater code authority groups. Both had been charged with fighting off charges of monopoly and unfair competition raised by radio industry enemies. Behind the scenes, Russell expressed confidence to upper-level NBC management that the broadcast industry (through the NAB) could "successfully withstand any effort" to undermine its unwavering position on labor or regulatory matters. Their appointments with the RCBA seemed again to reflect a growing fusion of U.S. film, broadcasting, and theater owner/management interests. 92 A few weeks later, the RCBA asked Gen. Hugh Johnson that the administration take no action for at least one year to change code provisions. The RCBA based its decision on the following: 1) employment of technicians had increased 11.9 percent. 2) hours of labor had been cut by 9.8 percent 3) payrolls bounded 21.1 percent 4) true effects of code had been sufficiently documented 5) support for commercial programs, the only basis of revenue, continued to fluctuate materially 6) employment is at record peak

Authors: Mazzocco, Dennis.
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19
technicians were hired since the codes were first instituted in Fall 1933 (Nationally, this added up to
total number of 2,006 technicians who were working full-time at 476 NAB-member stations during
this time in 1934.)
Despite some promising figures released earlier from the NAB, the NRA hinted that further
hourly cuts and wage increases were necessary. It suggested during the first week of April that the
technician’s weekly hours be cut from 40 to 30 hours, reducing those shifts of workers from more
than 40 hours to 36 hours maximum. The NRA said their wages should be raised another 10 percent
from the December levels. While the NRA’s action seemed to come like a "bolt out of the blue," it
essentially followed AFL proposals to speed recovery efforts made in February 1934. James
Baldwin, executive officer of the RCBA, vigorously opposed the cuts. He said that the radio industry
would suffer enormously from such government intervention.
20
At about the same time, Variety reported that Baldwin, and Frank Russell, Washington (NBC
vice-president for government lobbying), had been selected by the RCBA as a liaison committee to
meet with the NRA film and theater code authority groups. Both had been charged with fighting off
charges of monopoly and unfair competition raised by radio industry enemies. Behind the scenes,
Russell expressed confidence to upper-level NBC management that the broadcast industry (through
the NAB) could "successfully withstand any effort" to undermine its unwavering position on labor or
regulatory matters. Their appointments with the RCBA seemed again to reflect a growing fusion of U.S.
film, broadcasting, and theater owner/management interests.
92
A few weeks later, the RCBA asked Gen. Hugh Johnson that the administration
take no action for at least one year to change code provisions. The RCBA based its decision on the
following:
1) employment of technicians had increased 11.9 percent.
2) hours of labor had been cut by 9.8 percent
3) payrolls bounded 21.1 percent
4) true effects of code had been sufficiently documented
5) support for commercial programs, the only basis of revenue, continued to fluctuate materially
6) employment is at record peak


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