[Radio broadcasting]

Saturday, January 15, 1955

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

"A batch of assorted notes about broadcasting, mostly."

Gilbert Seldes mentions the bulletin published by the National Association for Better Radio and Television, and provides the contact information for interested listeners. He reads from the bulletin an argument about the FCC, and which political party appoints members of the committee. Seldes expresses concerns that the FCC will become just a committee of Congress that could change every two years with which party runs Congress.

He notes the general public's ignorance of how often broadcasters are required to justify themselves to the FCC for their broadcaster's license. He encourages dissatisfied audiences to find out when this happens and present themselves at the hearings (or at least threaten the stations with this action) to prevent re-issue of the license.

This leads to the media critic to discuss violence in television, which he views as bad, though he excludes the violence seen in Westerns. He quotes Variety magazine about the lack of "domesticity" on the air. He reads from Variety about the state of various soap opera programs.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70384
Municipal archives id: LT6747

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


More in:

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About Lively Arts, The

Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective.

Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts. Seldes, who was the first Director for Television at CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, was also a renowned critic, author, playwright, and editor. As a major social critic and observer, Seldes viewed theater, television, and radio with a prescient eye to the future based on a well-informed understanding of the past. 

These programs feature commentary and discussion on a wide range of topics — from sex and censorship in the movies to progressive education to juvenile delinquency to political campaigning on television — many of which are still hotly debated today. Serving as a precursor to Seldes's television programs and providing an audio context for his seminal books, this show is key to understanding today's cultural commentary.


Supported by