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The American Forum of the Air

One of the first Public Affairs Panel Discussion Programs, American Forum of the Air presented an often lively debate of National Issues.

American Forum of the Air

28 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 14 hours, 3 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
or
15 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from January 17, 1953:

"Women Changing Party Alignments"



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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2022 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

One reason that Radio became a dominant form of media in the Twentieth Century was that broadcasting relied on a relatively simple and accessible technology. An ambitious and knowledgeable operator could make his own serviceable broadcasting equipment, although there were several industrial manufacturers which built broadcasting gear for professionals. This was not cheap, but relatively affordable.

Theodore Granik and panelists in a July 1952 broadcastBroadcast is easy, but not quite free. There are essentially two ways to finance a broadcast, state-backed or commercially. State broadcasts serve the government (whether or not the government serves the People is a separate discussion) and may or may not respect Free Speech. Commercial broadcasting is sometimes derided for being profit-motivated. However, the profit motive in broadcasting helps to ensure that high-quality content reaches the airwaves.

A government-supported broadcast needs to satisfy the State's desires while a commercial broadcast has to attract listeners or it will come "unprofitable" and be taken off the air. However, because broadcasting licenses are issued by the Government, commercial broadcasters have a mandate to "serve the public interest". Serving the public interest can take several forms, although it generally needs to be entertaining and relevant enough to keep listeners from changing their dial settings.

One of the first public affairs panel discussion programs was Then American Forum of the Air, created and hosted by Brooklyn-born attorney Theodore Granik. While working his way through night school at St. John's University Law School, Granik was employed as a copywriter and sports reporter for WGBS New York, the station belonging to Gimbel's Department Store. Fascinated by his studies, Granik managed to convince the station manager to create Law for the Layman in 1928. The show enjoyed the support of the Law School, and several members of the St. John's faculty appeared on the air.

WGBS was bought by the Hearst Syndicate in 1932, and Granik moved on to WOR, which was in the process of becoming the flagship of the then-forming Mutual Network. The program went on quietly until an on-air debate between Representative Emmanuel Cellar of Brooklyn and Mrs. Elia Boole, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union; the subject was Prohibition. The debate soon became heated, and Mutual was delighted enough with the response to approve a series of radio forums built around a debate format. The American Forum was born.

Although 'Forum had found a permanent home on the Mutual Network, the Network was unwilling to pay for more than production expenses. A salary for Ted Granik was out of the question. Fortunately, he had earned his law degree in 1929 and hung his shingle in Brooklyn for a time before a four-year stint as New York Assistant District Attorney. The show moved to Washington DC when Granik accepted a posting as Special Counsel to the Federal Housing Authority. In 1941, he became an Advisor to Brig. General Hershey of the Selective Service Administration and in 1942 began serving with the Chairman of the War Production Board.

During his Washington stay, Granik used his connections to find guests for the program. At first, he found that Congressmen were reluctant to appear, but thanks to the show's national reach, House members soon saw a huge mail response to their appearances. Guests include Senator Harry Truman, N.Y. Governor Franklin Roosevelt, N.Y.C. Mayor LaGuardia, and many other political movers and shakers.

The American Forum of the Air stuck to a rather rigid format. The debaters were allowed to make opening statements, followed by a panel discussion of the issues. An audience Question and Answer period and closing remarks wrapped the broadcasts. Transcripts of the often lively debates were published in The Congressional Record.

The show was adapted for NBC TV in 1949 and continued on NBC Radio until March of 1956. At the time of his death from a heart attack in 1970, Theodore Granik had purchased WGSP-TV in Washington and was planning a return to the public affairs panel discussion program format that had made him famous.

See also: University of Chicago Roundtable, CBS World News Today, Democracy in America, Speaking of Liberty and Living in an Atomic Age with philosopher, Sir Bertrand Russel, and I Can Hear it Now (Edward R. Murrow).

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2022 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    28 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00. Total playtime 14 hours, 3 min
    28 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 14 hours, 3 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    1. 28 shows - total playtime 14 hours 3 minutes
    2. American Forum Air 390319 Small Business Credit.mp3
    3. American Forum Air 390409 Foreign Policy And Neutrality.mp3
    4. American Forum Air 450000 Rationing Price Control Nec Pt1.mp3
    5. American Forum Air 481228 Economic Forcast For 1949.mp3
    6. American Forum Air 500205 FutureMarshall Plan.mp3
    7. American Forum Air 500226 Atomic Secrecy.mp3
    8. American Forum Air 500305 What's the Road Ahead.mp3
    9. American Forum Air 500305 Whats Road Ahead.mp3
    10. American Forum Air 500312 Gov Provide Homes Middle Income.mp3
    11. American Forum Air 500325 Fed Rent Control Laws Expiration.mp3
    12. American Forum Air 500416 Where Is Our Foreign Policy Headed.mp3
    13. American Forum Air 500507 Should We Continue Rent Control.mp3
    14. American Forum Air 500611 Where's Our Economy Headed.mp3
    15. American Forum Air 500806 Controls And Taxes.mp3
    16. American Forum Air 500813 Is Labor Riding For Fall.mp3
    17. American Forum Air 500820 How Can We Best Combat Communism.mp3
    18. American Forum Air 500903 Why Congressional Immunity.mp3
    19. American Forum Air 500910 Our Foreign Policy.mp3
    20. American Forum Air 500917 What Do Controls Mean To You.mp3
    21. American Forum Air 501001 What Should Our Military Policy Be.mp3
    22. American Forum Air 501008 Should Women Be Drafted for War.mp3
    23. American Forum Air 501105 Correspondents Election Preview.mp3
    24. American Forum Air 501203 Prevent Stratgc Material USSR.mp3
    25. American Forum Air 501210 Excess Profits Tax.mp3
    26. American Forum Air 510114 Foreign Policy Whats Answer.mp3
    27. American Forum Air 510121 Foreign Policy Whats Answer pt.2.mp3
    28. American Forum Air 530118 Women Changing Party Alignments.mp3
    29. American Forum Air 540523 Supreme Courts Segregation.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    28 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00. Total playtime 14 hours, 3 min
    28 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 14 hours, 3 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    1. 28 shows - total playtime 14 hours 3 minutes
    2. American Forum Air 390319 Small Business Credit.mp3
    3. American Forum Air 390409 Foreign Policy And Neutrality.mp3
    4. American Forum Air 450000 Rationing Price Control Nec Pt1.mp3
    5. American Forum Air 481228 Economic Forcast For 1949.mp3
    6. American Forum Air 500205 FutureMarshall Plan.mp3
    7. American Forum Air 500226 Atomic Secrecy.mp3
    8. American Forum Air 500305 What's the Road Ahead.mp3
    9. American Forum Air 500305 Whats Road Ahead.mp3
    10. American Forum Air 500312 Gov Provide Homes Middle Income.mp3
    11. American Forum Air 500325 Fed Rent Control Laws Expiration.mp3
    12. American Forum Air 500416 Where Is Our Foreign Policy Headed.mp3
    13. American Forum Air 500507 Should We Continue Rent Control.mp3
    14. American Forum Air 500611 Where's Our Economy Headed.mp3
    15. American Forum Air 500806 Controls And Taxes.mp3
    16. American Forum Air 500813 Is Labor Riding For Fall.mp3
    17. American Forum Air 500820 How Can We Best Combat Communism.mp3
    18. American Forum Air 500903 Why Congressional Immunity.mp3
    19. American Forum Air 500910 Our Foreign Policy.mp3
    20. American Forum Air 500917 What Do Controls Mean To You.mp3
    21. American Forum Air 501001 What Should Our Military Policy Be.mp3
    22. American Forum Air 501008 Should Women Be Drafted for War.mp3
    23. American Forum Air 501105 Correspondents Election Preview.mp3
    24. American Forum Air 501203 Prevent Stratgc Material USSR.mp3
    25. American Forum Air 501210 Excess Profits Tax.mp3
    26. American Forum Air 510114 Foreign Policy Whats Answer.mp3
    27. American Forum Air 510121 Foreign Policy Whats Answer pt.2.mp3
    28. American Forum Air 530118 Women Changing Party Alignments.mp3
    29. American Forum Air 540523 Supreme Courts Segregation.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    28 recordings on 15 Audio CDs. Total playtime 14 hours, 3 min
    28 recordings on 15 Audio CDs
    total playtime 14 hours, 3 min

    American Forum of the Air Disc A001

    1. American Forum Air 390319 Small Business Credit

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A002

    1. American Forum Air 390409 Foreign Policy And Neutrality

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A003

    1. American Forum Air 450000 Rationing Price Control Nec Pt1
    2. American Forum Air 481228 Economic Forcast For 1949

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A004

    1. American Forum Air 500205 FutureMarshall Plan
    2. American Forum Air 500226 Atomic Secrecy

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A005

    1. American Forum Air 500305 What's the Road Ahead
    2. American Forum Air 500305 Whats Road Ahead

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A006

    1. American Forum Air 500312 Gov Provide Homes Middle Income
    2. American Forum Air 500325 Fed Rent Control Laws Expiration

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A007

    1. American Forum Air 500416 Where Is Our Foreign Policy Headed
    2. American Forum Air 500507 Should We Continue Rent Control

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A008

    1. American Forum Air 500611 Where's Our Economy Headed
    2. American Forum Air 500806 Controls And Taxes

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A009

    1. American Forum Air 500813 Is Labor Riding For Fall
    2. American Forum Air 500820 How Can We Best Combat Communism

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A010

    1. American Forum Air 500903 Why Congressional Immunity
    2. American Forum Air 500910 Our Foreign Policy

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A011

    1. American Forum Air 500917 What Do Controls Mean To You
    2. American Forum Air 501001 What Should Our Military Policy Be

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A012

    1. American Forum Air 501008 Should Women Be Drafted for War
    2. American Forum Air 501105 Correspondents Election Preview

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A013

    1. American Forum Air 501203 Prevent Stratgc Material USSR
    2. American Forum Air 501210 Excess Profits Tax

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A014

    1. American Forum Air 510114 Foreign Policy Whats Answer
    2. American Forum Air 510121 Foreign Policy Whats Answer pt.2

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    American Forum of the Air Disc A015

    1. American Forum Air 530118 Women Changing Party Alignments
    2. American Forum Air 540523 Supreme Courts Segregation

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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