1940s Radio

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12605

It’s the 1940s, and the hottest new technology everyone needs to have is … the radio. Go back in time to listen to real 1940s-era shows, news, music, and advertisements, and plan your own radio hour!


Musical Arts, United States

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Imagine a time when this was the hottest technology money could buy!

You may not think a whole lot about it in your daily life, but radio was the Internet of its era.

Much like the rise of desktop computing and home Internet, a technology that few thought would last became almost universal in a short period of time. Take a look at the explosive growth of radio during the twenty years between 1930 and 1950:

image courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio

Read more about the impact that radio had on people’s lives in its “golden age.” Before you read, write down the years from 1935 through 1950, one-by-one, along the left-hand side of a piece of paper. As you read, write down a one-sentence summary of each year’s events. What was the major development in the world of radio in that year?

Now, read the article, Golden Age of Radio 1935-50 by Steven E. Schoenherr, courtesy of the University of San Diego. Share your timeline summary with your parent or teacher, reflect on the following questions, and create a journal entry to record your thoughts:

  • What important services did radio provide for society during the years 1935-1950?
  • How did the medium develop over that time period?
  • What do you think were some of the drawbacks of this then-new technology?

Technology has continued to advance to the point where we have many sources of information, music, and entertainment.

In the Got It? section, compare radio programming of the 1940s with the media in which we are immersed in today.

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