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Adorno. Lazarsfeld & The Princeton Radio Project, 1938-1941
Unformatted Document Text:  ADORNO, LAZARSFELD & THE PRINCETON RADIO PROJECT by Susan Cavin, Ph.D.(Adjunct) Professor of SociologyNew York University

Authors: Cavin, Susan.
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ADORNO, LAZARSFELD & 
THE PRINCETON RADIO PROJECT
by Susan Cavin, Ph.D.
(Adjunct)  Professor of Sociology
New York University
The story of how CBS radio was transformed into network television began with 
three men  in a brewery in Newark, New Jersey in 1937.
  Between 1937 and 1939, the 
Rockefeller Foundation awarded a grant to Princeton University to set up the Office of 
Radio Research in Newark with  psychologist Frank Stanton
 and Hadley  Cantril 
 as co-
Investigators;  and sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld as Project Director.
  Two of them, Stanton 
and Lazarsfeld,  consulted for the Office of Wartime Information (O.W.I.) during WW II. 
Frank Stanton got  his Masters (1932)  and his doctorate (1935) in psychology from 
Ohio State.
   “…Studying ways to measure radio audiences, he invented a kind of 
forerunner of the Nielsen audiometer.  Dr. Stanton’s device could be installed inside a radio 
receiver to register what programs listeners were tuning in.” 
    
By 1937, Frank Stanton was already  “the right-hand man of William S. Paley, the 
tycoon who built the Columbia Broadcasting System empire from a handful of struggling 
radio stations in 1928.  From 1946 to 1973, they operated as probably the greatest team in 
the history of broadcasting …
  Stanton and sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld invented the 
fabled “program analyzer” while at the Princeton Radio Project:  
“ …By 1938, Dr. Stanton had become CBS’s research director with a staff of 100.With the 
social scientist Paul F. Lazarsfeld, he invented a device called the program analyzer, which 
enabled CBS to track the responses of 100 listeners to a radio program, gauging their likes 
and dislikes.  CBS used it for a half-century.  Dr. Stanton remained with the network 
during World War II while serving as a consultant to the Secretary of War, the Office of 
War Information and the Office of Facts and Figures.” 
In 1946, Frank Stanton  became  president of CBS  for the next  thirty years.  
Dr. Stanton reorganized CBS into separate divisions for radio, television and 
laboratories….” 
“During the early days of television when Mr. Paley clung to the idea 


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