The March of Time Radio Docudrama: Time Magazine, BBDO, and Radio Sponsors, 1931-39


Journal article


Cynthia B. Meyers
American Journalism, vol. 35(4), 2018, pp. 420-443


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Cite

APA   Click to copy
Meyers, C. B. (2018). The March of Time Radio Docudrama: Time Magazine, BBDO, and Radio Sponsors, 1931-39. American Journalism, 35(4), 420–443. https://doi.org/10.1080/08821127.2018.1527634


Chicago/Turabian   Click to copy
Meyers, Cynthia B. “The March of Time Radio Docudrama: Time Magazine, BBDO, and Radio Sponsors, 1931-39.” American Journalism 35, no. 4 (2018): 420–443.


MLA   Click to copy
Meyers, Cynthia B. “The March of Time Radio Docudrama: Time Magazine, BBDO, and Radio Sponsors, 1931-39.” American Journalism, vol. 35, no. 4, 2018, pp. 420–43, doi:10.1080/08821127.2018.1527634.


BibTeX   Click to copy

@article{cynthia2018a,
  title = {The March of Time Radio Docudrama: Time Magazine, BBDO, and Radio Sponsors, 1931-39},
  year = {2018},
  issue = {4},
  journal = {American Journalism},
  organization = {},
  pages = {420-443},
  volume = {35},
  doi = {10.1080/08821127.2018.1527634},
  author = {Meyers, Cynthia B.},
  howpublished = {}
}

Article of the Year Award, 2018

The 1930s live radio docudrama The March of Time, created to promote Time magazine, was actually produced by an advertising agency, Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (BBDO). Exploiting the sonic possibilities of what was then a new medium, The March of Time featured actors impersonating newsmakers in scripted scenes based on actual events, accompanied by live orchestration and sound effects. Audiences were encouraged to imagine they heard history unfolding. Although now dismissed as an embarrassing detour from journalism, the program was, in fact, innovative and influential. Analysis of BBDO's role, based on the agency's private archives, reveals the crucial impact of sponsor control of radio program content on the development of broadcast news in the 1930s.

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