The Terrible 30s
Profit amid Depression
In the 1930s, the number of radio sets in use continued to increase. In 1930 an estimated 40% of America’s homes had radios. Considering the state of the economy, that was a large number. Listeners heard more and more vaudeville-type shows. As the Depression proved the beginning of the end for vaudeville theaters, or houses, as they were called, the performers tried to recreate their acts on radio, some successfully breaking into network radio and others settling for a job—any job—at a local station. Throughout this decade, many future entertainment stars got their start working for peanuts on small radio stations.
Successful network programs were given long-term renewals, establishing a star system that ...