Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first great American radio voice.
As President, his “fireside chats” drew more listeners
than even the most popular programs during radio’s Golden
Many heard FDR on the radio for the first time on July 2, 1932
when he promised a “New Deal for the American people”
as he accepted his first Democratic nomination for president. Beginning
March 12, 1933, Roosevelt spoke directly to the nation many times,
on topics ranging from agriculture and banking to war.
He first used the “fireside chat” format in 1929, while
he was Governor of New York. Roosevelt appealed to the public for
help in passing his agenda and they responded by writing letters
by the thousands. Once in the White House, he became the first chief
executive to take advantage of the tremendous power of the airwaves.
Radio allowed Roosevelt to share policy, but more importantly to
share his personality.
The use of radio came naturally to Roosevelt and he became an expert
at making each listener feel as though he were speaking directly
to them. He combined a born-for-wireless voice, a love of language,
and an actor’s timing and panache. Simply stated, FDR was
at home in front of a microphone.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. Roosevelt had
served for over 12 years, longer than any other President, and his
death was met with shock and grief across the country and around
Franklin D. Roosevelt was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame
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