Radio: With Significance

Soap opera's biggest single earner (as high as $250,000 a year) is a 43-year-old ex-Ohio schoolmarm named Irna Phillips. Weekday mornings the 45 characters of her three current shows (The Guiding Light, Today's Children, The Woman in White) troop past an NBC microphone in 45 minutes of virtually nonstop emotionalism. Last week, on the anniversary of her 15th year in radio, Writer Phillips was wrestling with a newly publicized approach to her craft. She called it "social significance."

Irna Phillips suddenly realized one day that she had been "subconsciously" educating her listeners all along. Thereafter, she resolved to do it consciously. She...

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