Radio Competition with Newspapers

May 21, 1931

Report Outline
Radio as a News and Advertising Medium
Radio Competition in Advertising
Radio Competition in the News Field
Free Publication of Radio Programs
The Lottery Laws and Broadcasting
Newspaper-Controlled Radio Stations
Special Focus

The question of radio as a growing and formidable competitor of newspapers, both in news distribution and advertising, has been the subject of heated discussion at recent meetings of publishers, press associations and editors. Formerly regarded as a matter giving little cause for concern, radio, through its rapid and steady advance as a news and advertising medium, is now seriously alarming many publishers. Substantial losses in newspaper advertising linage, many of them traceable to radio competition, underlie and support their apprehension. At its convention in New-York, April 22–24, 1931, the American Newspaper Publishers Association took steps to combat such competition and protect the interests of newspapers. Action has also been taken in Canada through appointment of a committee representing the Canadian Press, a coöperative news association, and the Canadian Daily Newspapers Association to make a study of radio in its relation to newspapers.

In most countries abroad radio broadcasting is under government control and the programs are supported mainly by the proceeds of taxes on receiving sets, advertising being largely eliminated. Various methods of financing broadcasting were attempted or suggested in this country in the early days of radio's development. Proposals for contributions from the radio equipment industry or the public, for endowment of broadcasting stations by philanthropists, and for licensing and taxing receiving sets failed, however, to solve the problem. The commercially sponsored program was finally fixed upon as the most practical and acceptable method of providing the necessary funds.

There are now about 500 active radio stations in the United States which accept advertising. The National Broadcasting Company, organized in 1026, and the Columbia Broadcasting System, organized in 1928, have affiliations with considerably more than 100 stations and provide nationwide chain broadcasting facilities. The radio equipment industry, in the infant stage only a decade ago, has advanced to sixth place among American industries. Preliminary figures issued by the United States Census indicate that there are between 13,000,000 and 14,000,000 receiving sets, two-thirds of the world total, in the United States. It is asserted that more than 90 per cent of the country's newspaper subscribers own radios and that the national radio audience now numbers some 50,000,000 persons.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Apr. 29, 1994  Talk Show Democracy
Feb. 19, 1938  Regulation of Radio Broadcasting
May 25, 1932  Radio Advertising and Radio Regulation
May 21, 1931  Radio Competition with Newspapers
Mar. 31, 1924  Radio Development and Monopoly
Print Media
Radio and Television