RCA "Freedom to Listen" Ad
January 1948 Radio-Craft

January 1948 Radio-Craft

January 1948 Radio Craft Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Craft, published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

Norman Rockwell's "Four Freedoms" - RF CafeThis RCA (Radio Corporation of America) advertisement from a 1948 issue of Radio−Craft magazine packed a lot of meaning to American citizens who had recently experienced the trials, tribulations, and ultimately victories of World War II. Company president David Sarnoff, a well-known electronic communications industry titan before the war, served under a special commission as a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army during WWII to oversee radio communications. He was very familiar with the tragedy of Communism and Socialism, having experienced its ruinous philosophy. Hitler and his minions forbade citizens, under threat of imprisonment or worse, from listening to radios lest they learn of the war's progress or of the freedoms experienced in other parts of the world. Propaganda via radio was a daunting weapon for and against all engaged nations, and even some Allied governments outlawed both transmitters and receivers for the duration*. This advertisement represents the appreciation Mr. Sarnoff and his countrymen had for simple the ability to listen to radio broadcasts without fear of retribution. The scenario depicted in the picture is similar to the famous "Four Freedoms" paintings done by American artist Norman Rockwell in 1943. RCA added "Freedom to Listen" to Rockwell's list for a total of Five Freedoms.

* See "Europe's Undeclared Radio War!"

RCA "Freedom to Listen" Ad

RCA Five Freedoms Ad, January 1948 Radio-Craft - RF Cafe"Our American concept of radio is that it is of the people and for the people."

Freedom to Listen - Freedom to Look

As the world grows smaller, the question of international communications and world understanding grows larger. The most important phase of this problem is Freedom to Listen and Freedom to Look - for all peoples of the world.

Radio, by its very nature, is a medium of mass communication; it is a carrier of intelligence. It delivers ideas with an impact that is powerful ... Its essence is freedom - liberty of thought and of speech.

Radio should make a prisoner of no man and it should make no man its slave. No one should be forced to listen and no one compelled to refrain from listening. Always and everywhere, it should be the prerogative of every listener to turn his receiver on or off, of his own free will.

The principle of Freedom to Listen should be established for all peoples without restriction or fear. This is as important as Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press.

Television is on the way and moving steadily forward. Television fires the imagination, and the day is foreseen when we shall look around the earth from city to city, and nation to nation, as easily as we now listen to global broadcasts. Therefore, Freedom to Look is as important as Freedom to Listen, for the combination of these will be the radio of the future.

The "Voice of Peace" must speak around this planet and be heard by all people everywhere, no matter what their race, or creed, or political philosophies. '

David Sarnoff

President and Chairman of the Board,

Radio Corporation of America.

*Excerpts from an address before the United States National Commission for UNESCO.

Radio Corporation of America

Freedom is Everybody's Business



Posted April 10, 2024
(updated from original post on 12/13/2017)