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Radio's New Deal: The NRA and U.S. Broadcasting, 1933-1935
Unformatted Document Text:  4 Broadcasting Company (NBC) and the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). These networks, consisting of some of the most powerful broadcasting stations in the U.S. with the most recognized stars and programs, acted through the political lobbying group, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to steer and maintain the advertiser-supported broadcasting system. Though this organization, national broadcasting industry interests usually won out over the concerns of local or small-town broadcasters. Taking no chances on having any of its earning power eroded with the impending New Deal, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Board of Directors developed a set of "’war plans’ to protect advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, alike from attacks by unfriendly groups and to speed up the movement toward a more stabilized broadcasting industry." The most prominent enemies of the broadcast industry at the time were those in labor, education, and political circles who had protested the almost complete commercial re-orientation of the industry. 4 The NAB war plans called for the political neutralization of potential enemies in government. The NAB hired James W. Baldwin, a former secretary at the FRC, in 1932 had threatened the industry with a national survey of broadcasters. Baldwin’s hiring signaled a major renewed NAB effort to shape national communications policy and debate during Roosevelt’s New Deal, as it had done so successfully since 1922. By the middle of June, as New Deal reform and recovery legislation was being negotiated in Congress, the NAB’s battle plan to win control of any industrial reform mobilization efforts seemed to have won a preliminary, if not a substantial victory. Roosevelt’s plans for the National Recovery Administration called for granting major trade organizations, like the NAB, the privilege of overseeing recovery and reform compliance under any new legislative advances. With a self- regulation plan in place, trade groups like the NAB could reasonably expect the government to step in, only if they proved that they could not govern themselves. 5 After a closed door meeting on June 8 to decide how best to implement reform and recovery measures (open only to trade organization representatives), the NAB decided that a meeting of radio

Authors: Mazzocco, Dennis.
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4
Broadcasting Company (NBC) and the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). These networks,
consisting of some of the most powerful broadcasting stations in the U.S. with the most recognized
stars and programs, acted through the political lobbying group, the National Association of
Broadcasters (NAB) to steer and maintain the advertiser-supported broadcasting system. Though this
organization, national broadcasting industry interests usually won out over the concerns of local or
small-town broadcasters.
Taking no chances on having any of its earning power eroded with the impending New Deal,
the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Board of Directors developed a set of "’war plans’ to
protect advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, alike from attacks by unfriendly groups and to speed up
the movement toward a more stabilized broadcasting industry." The most prominent enemies of the
broadcast industry at the time were those in labor, education, and political circles who had protested
the almost complete commercial re-orientation of the industry.
4
The NAB war plans called for the political neutralization of potential enemies in government.
The NAB hired James W. Baldwin, a former secretary at the FRC, in 1932 had threatened the
industry with a national survey of broadcasters. Baldwin’s hiring signaled a major renewed NAB
effort to shape national communications policy and debate during Roosevelt’s New Deal, as it had
done so successfully since 1922.
By the middle of June, as New Deal reform and recovery legislation was being negotiated in
Congress, the NAB’s battle plan to win control of any industrial reform mobilization efforts seemed
to have won a preliminary, if not a substantial victory. Roosevelt’s plans for the National Recovery
Administration called for granting major trade organizations, like the NAB, the privilege of
overseeing recovery and reform compliance under any new legislative advances. With a self-
regulation plan in place, trade groups like the NAB could reasonably expect the government to step
in, only if they proved that they could not govern themselves.
5
After a closed door meeting on June 8 to decide how best to implement reform and recovery
measures (open only to trade organization representatives), the NAB decided that a meeting of radio


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