"It’s also astonishing to discover how much restraint programmers exhibited at the dawn of the radio age. Fearful that overt pitches might sour new listeners, promoters favored “indirect advertising” to keep the medium afloat. Warnings like “the family circle is not a public place” and “the announcer is an invited guest” echoed across magazine editorials. The most effective way for advertisers to generate goodwill was to provide music programming, which dominated the airwaves in the ‘20s. Announcements and ads were carefully woven into the shows, to minimize intrusion. Behind the scenes, however, advertisers were maniacal about securing their target demographics. The choice of music was endlessly debated and test-marketed. Researchers went door-to-door to thousands of homes to pinpoint preferences. Pollsters wanted to know: Pipe organ or Hawaiian? Ultimately, the consensus was jazz—or, as Taylor more accurately defines it, “highly arranged quasi-classical dance tunes performed by white musicians.”
Listeners ate it up. By the early ‘30s, newspapers were running profiles on not just band leaders but the production men and control engineers who made the programs possible. As the decade drew to a close, producers feared that music was becoming too familiar and might fade into background noise, so they pursued radio personalities who packed maximum punch. Though this was a far cry from the shock jocks of today, the foundation had certainly been laid."