Few genres used radio's strengths of live broadcasting, spontaneity, and listener involvement more effectively than audience participation programs and their most successful incarnation, the quiz show. Few genres created as much of a sensation as quiz shows at the height of their popularity, or as much of a backlash when condemned by the institutions of broadcasting. And few genres demonstrated the radical transformation of radio in the television era by so quickly abandoning the very medium that gave birth to the quiz show itself. Although quiz shows are best remembered at the center of the infamous TV quiz show scandals of the late 1950s, the genre had a rich history in the early days of radio.

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