The Press: Question of Responsibility

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"It was the sponsored program [i. e. advertising] that saved broadcasting from extinction. The goodwill of the public can be gained through broadcasting only by giving the public what it wants to hear."—Merlin Hall Aylesworth, president of National Broadcasting Co.

". . . So to us it seems perfectly natural that advertising and not a license fee [as in England] should 'pay the freight' . . . when it comes to broadcasting."—William S. Paley, president of Columbia Broadcasting System.

Every evening, a half hour after Pepsodent's Amos 'n Andy sign off, Pepsodent's "Goldbergs" sign on. This program, a continued story of the fortunes of a middle-class Jewish family, was created for her own amusement by one Mrs. Gertrude Edelstein Berg of Manhattan. At the instance of friends she offered it to NBC, which took it as a sustaining feature in 1929. The part of Mother Goldberg was taken by Authoress Berg herself, who said it represented her grandmother. Last July Pepsodent adopted The Goldbergs as a secondary battery to supplement their Amos 'n Andy.

Last month Pepsodent announced that the program might be discontinued unless enough listeners wrote letters asking for its retention. (As an inducement, a beetle-ware tumbler was offered to every writer who sent in part of a Pepsodent carton.) Candidly Pepsodent admitted it wanted strong evidence that the expense of two nation-wide programs every night was justified. Last week Pepsodent announced that the returns warranted keeping "The" Goldbergs."

Last year TIME made its large-scale radio debut on Columbia Broadcasting System with a program every Friday evening, called "The March of Time," a half-hour's re-enactment of significant news stories of the week. The feature won instant popularity with a smaller audience than "The Goldbergs" and was often called "the only intelligent broadcast on the air." Last week it was announced that "The March of Time," having completed its pre-arranged schedule of presentations, would be discontinued, at least temporarily. Listeners were invited to write letters stating whether or not they desired "The March of Time" to be brought back to the air. (No beetle-ware tumblers were offered, since it is contrary to TIME'S policy to offer any inducements except its own merits.) The letters received last week were distinguished not by their volume, but by their insistence—in some cases indignant—that the program be retained for its educational value, its adult mentality. Typical: "Under no condition deprive the American public of the education and the pleasure. . . ."

"Its removal from the air would constitute an irreparable loss . . ."

"Would you force your listeners to a life of listening to toothpaste propaganda and vacuum-headed crooners?"

"I realize that TIME itself may dispense with this feature as an advertisement, but your radio audience can ill afford to lose such a delightful source of information."

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