From the most recent of Michael Kennedy’s recent series of blog posts on Calvin Coolidge over at ChicagoBoyz:
[Coolidge] used radio addresses very effectively long before Roosevelt adopted the medium. Coolidge’s voice, unlike most politicians of the era, was well suited to radio but could not reach the back of large crowds. In a 1927 poll on radio personalities, Coolidge came in fourth, after three musicians.
This being the age of YouTube, I went looking for audio so I could hear the voice of Silent Cal whisper from the dust:
This led me to a collection of YouTube audio of presidents that were even more dead than Silent Cal. Quoth the collection:
Scholars routinely observe that the advent of radio reshaped political speech. But for more than a decade before the first commercial radio broadcast station was inaugurated in Pittsburgh in 1920, citizens had been listening to candidate speeches. This feat was made possible by the phonograph.
I’m old enough to remember being chided by my parents or older siblings not to jump up and down as a small child because I might make the record player jump and scratch the record. To the youngins of today who grew up sniffing heavy doses of Steven Paul Job’s Reality Distortion Field, this might as well have happened long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away where dinosaurs and discos ruled the Earth by walking 100 miles to school through 1 mile deep snow uphill both ways. But digital audio only discriminates based on the skill of the encoder and the compression algorithm used to encode so here’s a few highlights from the Dead Presidents Society on YouTube: