Radio, a political affair

Radio, a political affair

  • Place de la Nation, July 14, 1936, Édouard Daladier at the tribune.

    ANONYMOUS

  • Léon Blum at his office in Matignon in front of a radio microphone.

    ANONYMOUS

  • Édouard Daladier giving a speech on the radio.

    ANONYMOUS

To close

Title: Place de la Nation, July 14, 1936, Édouard Daladier at the tribune.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1936

Date shown: July 14, 1936

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: At his side Léon Blum, Maurice Thorez, Roger Salengro.

Storage location: Eyedea - Keystone website

Contact copyright: © Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

Place de la Nation, July 14, 1936, Édouard Daladier at the tribune.

© Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

To close

Title: Léon Blum at his office in Matignon in front of a radio microphone.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Eyedea - Keystone website

Contact copyright: © Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

Léon Blum at his office in Matignon in front of a radio microphone.

© Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

To close

Title: Édouard Daladier giving a speech on the radio.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Illustration

Contact copyright: © The illustration - rights reserved

Édouard Daladier giving a speech on the radio.

© The illustration - rights reserved

Publication date: October 2005

Historical context

Is radio a public affair or a private hobby in which the state should only intervene?at least ? In the 1920s, when the first radio stations appeared, born out of the passion of a few amateurs fascinated by wireless telegraphy, the question of status arose strongly. The French system is original since it sees a double sector coexisting until the Liberation: half of the thirty or so stations broadcasting in France are private, but subject to state authorization; the others are public, but with rather loose state control.

Until the 1930s, politics were concerned with broadcasting mainly from a legislative and technical point of view. The public authorities are also looking into the technical operation of the broadcasting and distribution of frequencies, and place the radio under the authority of the Ministry of Posts, Telegraphs & Telecommunications. But the programs and the news themselves were of little interest to politicians, until at least the mid-1930s.

Georges Mandel is the prime minister in charge of radio who, between 1934 and 1936, proposed an ambitious policy for this new medium. In 1935, he organized elections open to all, including women, to choose the heads of public radio stations, considering that they should be accountable for their actions to all citizens.

These are the beginnings of a politicization of the media. The economic and political crisis, the rise of perils, but also the increasing diffusion of radio receivers among the population and foreign examples then transform the leisure of radio amateurs into a political instrument.

Image Analysis

With the Popular Front, politics now permeates more and more the programs and the life of the stations. For the first time, in May 1936, the electoral campaign was broadcast by radio and all parties had access to the microphone, under conditions negotiated with the presidency of the Council. Innovation ultimately has a limited impact. Most speakers do not know how to express themselves into a microphone and hesitate between the bombast of the meeting and the soothing tone of the conference. Parties are somewhat neglecting the forum available to them and are not using all the time allotted. The newspapers give it little importance, both out of vague fear of competition, but above all out of mimicry with the public, which is not in favor of this politicization of the airwaves. The day after the campaign, we see here, on July 14, 1936, behind Édouard Daladier, half hidden by the microphones, Marceau Pivert, who takes care of media questions as President of the Council and, in the gallery below, Léon Blum, Maurice Thorez and Roger Salengro.

The "great cultural hope" raised by the Popular Front government hardly resonates on the radio. The new President of the Council, Léon Blum, like his party the SFIO, wants above all that it be accessible to all parties and sheltered from the omnipresence of the "money powers", even if it means being more submissive. to the public authorities. Programs continue to become politicized; political speeches are more present; the pace of the radio is picking up and news coverage is getting faster.

At the end of the 1930s, as the international situation tightened, successive governments gradually increased their control over radio. The stations, however, did not get involved in the political struggle and remained, with a few rare incidents, confined to a role of prudent neutrality. But it is still too much on the eve of the war. The government of Édouard Daladier imposes the control of the broadcast information, by the private stations as public; then, in July 1939, he placed all stations under the direct authority of the President of the Council. We see here that in 1939, for important communications in the country, the President of the Council Édouard Daladier now goes through the microphone.

Interpretation

With the electoral campaign of 1936, the radio became a player in the political game. If its influence on the election of the Popular Front government is undoubtedly limited, this campaign nonetheless shows the way of the microphones to politicians, until then rather indifferent; it also makes them more attentive to broadcast information. This somewhat brutal eruption of politics is hardly appreciated by listeners: half of the French who have access to a radio on the eve of the war do not appreciate political talks and speeches; they very much prefer entertainment broadcasts or the spoken word: it is now to the radio that they turn for the news. This interest in radio also follows the progress of equipment: from around 50,000 receivers in 1920, they numbered 5 million in 1940. However, French radio remains a dwarf in terms of propaganda, in a Europe which will soon experience a very strong wave war.

  • July 14th
  • Popular Front
  • Blum (Leon)
  • propaganda
  • radio
  • Daladier (Edouard)
  • telecommunication

Bibliography

Christian BROCHAND, General history of radio and television in France, volume I “1921-1944”, Paris, La Documentation française-Comité d'histoire de la broadcasting, 1994. Jean-Noël JEANNENEY (dir.), L ' Echo of the Century, Dictionary of Radio and Television in France, Paris, Hachette-Arte-La Cinquième, 1999, 2nd updated edition, coll. “Pluriel”, 2001.Cécile MÉADEL, History of the radio of the thirties. From the wireless player to the listener, Paris, I.N.A.-Anthropos-Economica, 1994.

To cite this article

Cécile MÉADEL, "Radio, a political affair"


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