Here, from a 1938 Radio Guide, we have a pre-Nielsen cross-section of American listeners: the inhabitants of insane asylums
In first place is, of course, Burns and Allen
-- and I don't think you had to be crazy to find them hilarious, but it helped. In second place, H. V. Kaltenborn
, the respected radiojournalist, whose commentary show apparently spoke to those who are usually only spoken to by people in their own heads. Bringing up the rear, Guy Lombardo
and his orchestra, their dance-hall tunes soothing the savage breast.
I doubt, if I were a radio personality, I'd ever want a radio magazine to explain my popularity as having anything to do with insanity. Granted, at the time things like homosexuality, sexually-liberated women, and writing inflammatory pamphlets would get you tossed into the booby-hatch, so you can't count the listeners as all giant-rabbit-channelers.
A critical eye will note that each of these entries hails from the CBS studios, and the notes describing the 'winners' is rather average advertising copy. Why CBS would entertain the notion of promoting their shows in the guise of 'sanitariums love us!', I can't say -- although there's the possiblity that a competitor, when approached for such a thing, said, "hey, we'll pay you double if you put CBS shows in there."
Labels: 1930s, cbs, radio, radio guide magazine