How Eleanor Roosevelt became the first lady of radio

The First Lady of Radio, by Stephen Smith
The First Lady of Radio, by Stephen Smith
Book cover courtesy of the author

It's easy to forget that the first voice from the White House that Americans heard after the attack on Pearl Harbor was the president's wife.

Historian David McCullough describes Eleanor Roosevelt as "one of the most effective speakers of her time."

She used her talents to embrace the relatively new mass medium of radio to calm fears, encourage participation in the war movement and later to rally people towards the cause of peace and an effective United Nations.

Stephen Smith, the executive editor of American Radio Works, wrote about it in his new book, "The First Lady of Radio: Eleanor Roosevelt's Historic Broadcasts."

From Publishers Weekly:

Eleanor didn't shy away from difficult topics; an advocate for women, she promoted the value of the female wartime labor force on the home front. She also grasped that social roles were changing for women. The fact that her show was commercially sponsored by the likes of Sweetheart Soap and Pond's Cold Cream opened her up to criticism, as did some of her other political activities, such as her stint as an assistant director for volunteer coordination in the Office of Civilian Defense, a post she had to give up after only five months.

Smith joins The Daily Circuit to talk about his book.

More: The First Family of Radio

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