In the Spotlight

News & Features

The Radio  Century
Long before there was television, there was radio. Every evening during a good portion of the 1900s, the American family huddled around it for news and entertainment. It changed society and as the century fades, MPR's John Rabe looks at its legacy.

Franklin D.  Roosevelt

FDR (RealAudio 28.8)
The radio was the family's lifeline during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was the first president to use mass media with his "fireside chats." FDR understood, as very few did, the intimacy of the new medium.


Alan Freed


Alan Freed (RealAudio 28.8)
Alan Freed was the messenger for Rock 'n Roll, the music that drove the wedge between the generations that led to the "generation gap" of the '60s. He was toppled in the payola scandal.

The Hindenburg

The Hindenburg (RealAudio 28.8)
Was the forerunner of the television talk shows of today, the Hindenburg disaster of 1937? It will never go down in history as journalism's finest moment, but media historians say the moment was the downbeat of something would become prominent: live news broadcasts.

Edward R.  Murrow

Edward R. Murrow (RealAudio 28.8)
Like Socrates who taught Plato, who taught Aristotle. Murrow taught Cronkite, who taught Rather, Jennings and Brokaw. He made his mark with live reports from London during World War II. Vietnam was the "living room war," but Murrow was the first to bring the war into people's homes through the radio.

War of  the Worlds

War of the Worlds (RealAudio 28.8)
Most people knew the 1938 broadcast of the invasion was a fake, but most people didn't know they were witness to an historic moment. The decision to retell the H.G. Wells' story by feeding on the fear created by a real world war that was about to break out is one of the most sophisticated uses of the medium.