The Great Radio Handicap

1923 was the first year that 1% of American households had a radio. That same year, New York Times Magazine reported that “radio parties” were taking off, and it was becoming harder to sell homes in areas with poor radio signals.

The radio party is becoming quite the thing, particularly among commuters. When the owner of a set has what is called an “amplifier” he can invite in the neighbors, and everybody may listen to the strains of a distant concert, the latest advice on how to save money though broke, and the proper way to treat a crying child. Often is is these radio parties which work havoc with early rising.

No wonder real estate agents were finding quality wireless reception an increasing mandatory attribute for a house.

It has reached the point that a suburban villa is difficult to sell if there is anything around to interfere with the radio connections. A gas tank, for instance, is very disturbing to a radio set because the mass of metal upsets the ethereal waves. And certainly the waves cannot be blamed.

Radios would be in a majority of American households starting in 1931.

The Great Radio Handicap

Published: Sunday, March 18, 1923

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