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President Franklin D. Roosevelt is the first President to utilize the radio for keeping in close touch with the people. Will it lead to a new order of things?
AT 10 p. m. on the night of Sunday, March 12, radio , definitely became a powerful instrument of the Government of the United States. It took its place among the most effective assets of the Presidency. The date will become historic in the whole chronicle of broadcasting.
On that tense Sunday night, Franklin D. Roosevelt resorted to radio as the most direct, complete and "human" method of lining up behind him the American people to support him in the tremendous tasks to which he has set his hand.
In simple, friendly fashion our new President "went on the air" to explain to those who might not have understood the subject why banks must put to work the money of their depositors.
He made it clear that the solidest and soundest banks cannot possibly have on hand, at any one time, the cash necessary to meet the sudden demands of all who entrust
their cash to the banks. n w C H \A/ I
He asked for faith and loy D 7 C U VV I alty and courage. A remarkable talk, perhaps the most C H I L momentous that was ever broadcast.
Possibly 50,000,000 American citizens heard that sane, friendly human talk from their President. The response was immediate and magnificent.
When the banks opened eleven hours later there was a rush on the part of the people to return the money they had withdrawn in fear and panic.
Within eleven hours after the President had finished his radio speech there was a miraculous transformation of the public mood. Confidence and cheerfulness had replaced the doubt and gloom of many months.
It was not that single talk by the President on the night of Sunday, March 12, that worked this national miracle. Bold, striking and almost revolutionary decisions and orders by the President and his financial lieutenant, the Secretary of the Treasury, William H. Woodin, had preceded that talk. But the talk was "the clincher."
The orders and the proclamations had been written on paper and published in the press and even put on the air by radio speakers and persons connected with the government.
But on that historic Sunday night the people heard the
voice of their President, just as if he were sitting among them as one of the home circle, tell them what was necessary and right and just, and assure them that all would be well with the old U. S. A. if they played the game.
NEVER before had radio been used by the chief of the Republic in such intimate, human, direct and powerful appeal straight to the heart and understanding of his fellow citizens. Never before had a President's voice on the air carried a message of such thrilling import. Never had it penetrated so intimately into the homes of the people.
It was as if a wise and kindly father had sat down to talk sympathetically and patiently and affectionately with his worried and anxious children, and had given them straightforward things they had to do to help him along as the father of the family.
That speech of the President's over the air humanized radio in a great governmental, naM tional sense as it had never before been humanM ized.
The response that flowed back to the White L House was magnificent and uplifting. Probably the President's secretaries have not yet had time to read, much less answer, all of the thousands and thousands of appreciative and thankful telegrams that were the vibrant echoes of the President's talk.
The President was so moved and gratified, so impressed by the magical power of radio as an indispensable facility of his great office that the announcement has come that he intends to use radio in reaching the people "as often as circumstances warrant."
It is known that Mr. Roosevelt believes in going directly to the people in explanation of his programs and plans, and that radio is the simplest, most effective medium for reaching the people.
Now what is likely to occur is this: the time will come, perhaps within a few months, perhaps not until more time has passed, when certain groups or sections, or certain selfish interests, will pluck up courage enough to oppose the President regarding certain legislation or policies which he believes are in the interest of the whole people and not for the benefit of any group or section or selfish interest. Human nature being what it is, and politics being what they are, it is at least unlikely that any President, however decisive and determined he may be, can have smooth sailing (Continued on page 43)