Re: Washington Post article asks if this is radio's second golden age


While I appreciate the history the writer’s sharing with a broad general audience,   I don’t really buy into the “Second Golden Age” idea. Although to be fair to him, the “Second Golden Age” stuff seems more an opportunity to make his article talking about the history of Golden Age Radio be a bit more relevant and are given minimal passing references.


I think parts of what made the golden age of radio in the United States so unique is how it was the a universal form of free entertainment. Because of radio’s popularity, it drew large national sponsors, the best writers, and high quality actors and music. Though, this became less true as the Golden Age came to an end.


Our audio entertainment phase is something else entirely.  While there are some interesting and decently popular audio drama podcasts, I don’t think many approach even the sheer numbers (let alone percentage of the population) that Golden Age programs have.  Individual podcasts haven’t made the level of impact on culture. If you watch a Looney Tunes Cartoon, you’ll find references to lines like, “You’re a hard man, McGee.” Or “I wouldn’t say that.” Let someone try to slip a reference to something from Serial into a Pixar film and see if anyone gets it.


The Second Golden Age formulation ignores a lot of productions that came between the Golden Age and the Podcast Age, namely the “radio revival” stuff in the 1970s.  If this is the Second Golden Age, what was the 1970s with its soap operas  and CBSRMT? More people listened to Mutual Radio Theater than listen to any given Audio Drama podcast or audiobook.


So while I like that the author is reminding readers in multiple publications that the Golden Age of Radio happened, the second Golden Age formulation is a bit awkward and kind of leaves out a lot of history. I’m wondering. Has anyone ever come with a more concrete formulation as how to define the different eras of radio/audio drama?



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From: Joe Webb via
Sent: Thursday, April 7, 2022 1:35 PM
Subject: [OldTimeRadioResearchers] Washington Post article asks if this is radio's second golden age
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