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Radio's New Deal: The NRA and U.S. Broadcasting, 1933-1935
Unformatted Document Text:  2 Radio’s New Deal: The NRA and U.S. Broadcasting, 1933-1935 This paper describes the political process of implementing the National Recovery Administration codes in U.S. broadcasting from 1933, to the time when NRA legislation was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1935. Through this so-called first New Deal period, the NAB sought to maintain its corporate dominance of broadcasting that was codified in the Radio Act of 1927, and reinforced with the Communications Act of 1934. Due to a largely cooperative policy that favored President Roosevelt, radio interests sought to establish the medium as the best means to further and to protect political decision-making in the modern democratic (and capitalistic) society. As this paper will argue, the radio industry was largely successful in maintaining industry control through 1935 over the broadcasting status-quo despite challenges from organized labor groups such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and other labor organizations. To support this argument, I will focus on the following key turning points through the 1933-35 period: (1) the NAB organization of its battle plans to control the NRA code-making process in early 1933; (2) organization of the Radio Broadcasting Code Authority (RBCA) in September 1933; (3) the establishment of network company unions to thwart independent unionism in October 1933; (4) establishment of a temporary RBCA in December 1933 due to the fact that the NAB did not represent a majority of U.S. radio stations; (5) announcement of "Code of Fair Competition for Radio Broadcasting" in February 1934; (6) NRA radio hearings in June 1934 when the NAB essentially convinced NRA officials again to maintain the status quo in broadcasting; (7) the NRA is ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court and the radio industry’s response. The NAB’s New Deal January-June, 1933 The U.S. broadcasting industry braced for substantial regulatory changes almost as soon as the Roosevelt administration took office in January, 1933. As early as February 15, trade industry publications reported that the administration was about to make many personnel changes at the Federal

Authors: Mazzocco, Dennis.
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2
Radio’s New Deal:
The NRA and U.S. Broadcasting,
1933-1935
This paper describes the political process of implementing the National Recovery
Administration codes in U.S. broadcasting from 1933, to the time when NRA legislation was
overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1935. Through this so-called first New Deal period, the
NAB sought to maintain its corporate dominance of broadcasting that was codified in the Radio Act
of 1927, and reinforced with the Communications Act of 1934. Due to a largely cooperative policy
that favored President Roosevelt, radio interests sought to establish the medium as the best means to
further and to protect political decision-making in the modern democratic (and capitalistic) society.
As this paper will argue, the radio industry was largely successful in maintaining industry control
through 1935 over the broadcasting status-quo despite challenges from organized labor groups such
as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and other labor organizations. To support this
argument, I will focus on the following key turning points through the 1933-35 period: (1) the NAB
organization of its battle plans to control the NRA code-making process in early 1933; (2)
organization of the Radio Broadcasting Code Authority (RBCA) in September 1933; (3) the
establishment of network company unions to thwart independent unionism in October 1933; (4)
establishment of a temporary RBCA in December 1933 due to the fact that the NAB did not represent
a majority of U.S. radio stations; (5) announcement of "Code of Fair Competition for Radio
Broadcasting" in February 1934; (6) NRA radio hearings in June 1934 when the NAB essentially
convinced NRA officials again to maintain the status quo in broadcasting; (7) the NRA is ruled
constitutional by the Supreme Court and the radio industry’s response.
The NAB’s New Deal
January-June, 1933
The U.S. broadcasting industry braced for substantial regulatory changes almost as soon as the
Roosevelt administration took office in January, 1933. As early as February 15, trade industry
publications reported that the administration was about to make many personnel changes at the Federal


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