Lecture: Electrical Power Industry: Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a United States history class. Professor: Now, when you were doing your reading assignment, some of you must have been struck by how many major changes were happening in the 19th twenties, here in the United States. For example, the growth of the automobile and film industry, which led to profound changes in American society. But I'd like to talk a little bit about the electrical power industry, and one way it affected American life. As more and more people got access to electrical power, big changes took place inside their homes. Ice chests were being replaced by electric refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners allowed people to clean up more efficiently. So there was the electrical power industry and a whole new category of industry being created as a result of the electrical power industry – the consumer goods industry. All the new goods made home life more pleasant. But I would argue that no new product of all the goods that relied on electrical power was as important as the radio. But let me explain. In 1920, the first commercial radio station went on the air. On election day of that year, it broadcast the results of the presidential elections. However, radios were something of a rarity at that time and not many people heard those results. But radio caught on with the public, and by the end of 1923, there were over 500 commercial radio stations throughout the country. The stations began selling airtime to advertisers in order to pay for the cost of equipments, announcers and performers. Radio advertisements proved to be quite profitable. Networks of local stations were established, and it didn't take long before the first national network of radio stations was created. It was the dissemination of programs and news to listeners all across the country that changed the United States. Today it's easy to take mass media for granted, but back then, news could travel only as fast as the newspapers. So with the advent of radio, location wasn't an issue anymore. Even people living in secluded rural areas were able to get the news quickly. And regardless of where they lived, people had access to free entertainment in their own homes. They could enjoy music and other kinds of entertainments without paying for tickets. And as a result, the popularity of radio grew quickly all over the country. Shared cultural experiences became the norm as radio brought people together. In 1927, a sports game was simultaneously broadcasted all across the United States, an event considered the first true nationwide broadcast, a sure sign that radio had become a national medium. And I think from then on the nation was being propelled toward a standard culture – mass culture. Across the country, people were listening to much of the same music, the same news, and the same comedy and drama programs. In this way, radio promoted similar tastes and lifestyles. For example, the 1920s are often referred to as the 'jazz age', in part because of the popularity of jazz music that could be heard on the radio. But the term 'jazz age' was also something of a catchall. It didn't just refer to the music of the era, but to a certain lifestyle as well. It meant liberation from 19th century traditions, especially for young people in the cities. So by promoting a new form of music, radio helped create a new popular culture.