The missing element

After being relatively inactive for a couple months, American Radio Library is flooding their website with new and interesting materials. In previous post I was reading some Education in Radio journals from an arrogantly elitist group. Now a larger pile of more general discussions has appeared.

From 1922 to 1952 to 2022, one crucial element has NEVER been part of the distance education package, whether by radio or TV or Wi-Fi.


Educational radio and TV and computers have always tried to provide access to the “best” teachers and the “best” classical symphonies and the “best” classical science experiments. They do an excellent job of passive access, but they stop there.

Before radio, distance education by mail order was full of Kits and Packs and Sets for all subjects from meteorology to electricity to biology.. These Kits were still available from outfits like Gilbert and Edmund and Tinkertoy in the ’50s, but they were not included or used or mentioned in the radio and TV offerings. There was no opportunity or invitation to run your own experiments and have your own fun.

Commercial programs did a MUCH better job of providing and using low-cost interactive materials, most of which were genuinely educational AND entertaining.

Betty Boop said it best, in 1938 of course.