Past Times

NC began ‘Radio school’ for kids in 1931

These Murphy School first graders were getting started the same year as the radio program.
These Murphy School first graders were getting started the same year as the radio program. State Archives of North Carolina

When educational television got its start in the early 1960s, it was not the first venture in educational broadcasting to the students of North Carolina. In 1931, N&O readers learned of the launch of educational radio, or “radio school,” the first of its kind for school children in the South.

Within a radius of one hundred miles, with Raleigh as the center, there are a number of public schools equipped with radio. Into these schools it is planned by WPTF, through cooperation of the North Carolina Department of Education, to broadcast daily programs beginning this week, supplementing school work and making it more interesting and beneficial through bringing new thoughts and modern ideas before the children. These programs to go on the air each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week, are to be known collectively as the “North Carolina Radio School.”

The purpose of this school of the air, the first extensive educational broadcasting project yet planned in the South, is to provide this particular radio audience with an educational program designed to meet their special interests and needs. In arranging the program, the chief aim has been to outline a course which would enrich and supplement regular class room instruction. The scope of the course – the wide range of subjects and topics – should provide in a measure for the varied interests and needs of the individual pupils who will enroll.…

Governor O. Max Gardner will open the radio school in the inaugural program Monday morning at 11 o’clock, by addressing the student body on the educational advantages offered to them through the radio programs and this special opportunity to become better acquainted with North Carolina, its interests and progress.

The State superintendent, Dr. A. T. Allen, will introduce the educational program and present the faculty committee who will bring to the radio audience from day to day interesting material supplementary to the regular school curriculum.

Mrs. E. L. McKee, State Senator, will speak about many interesting things concerning the opportunities of present day life for the boys and girls of the public schools.

The North Carolina Radio School programs are to be definitely divided into groups in the following order: On Monday of each week the subject will be “Citizenship,” on Tuesday, “Science,” on Wednesday, “Social Studies,” and on Thursday, “Art, Music and Literature.”

A list of the men and women cooperating in broadcasting these programs discloses the names of the most prominent educators in North Carolina.…

Of course, on Friday the local station has scheduled as usual the National Broadcasting Company’s nationally-known educational program, the Music Appreciation Hour, conducted by Walter Damrosch.

Saturdays not being included in the school week, the Raleigh station still schedules two educational features. The first of these will be an entertaining thirty-minute program at 11 o’clock, to be known as the “Children’s Hour.” Miss Charles Westbrook of Rocky Mount will introduce this program this week, with a group of amusing folk stories gleaned from the nations of the world. Miss Westbrook is a specialist in first grade work and has been very successful in it.

And following the “Children’s Hour” Saturday the National Broadcasting Company presents “Keys to Happiness,” a semi-educational feature as enjoyable and instructive to adults as to children. During this program internationally known pianists, composers and singers greet the music-loving public as friends and play and sing in the most charming informal fashion, giving their own colorful interpretations of great works. The N&O Feb. 22, 1931

The radio school program ran for several years and was a model for others interested in educational broadcasting.

Miss Hattie S. Parrott of the State Department of Public Instruction has been invited to take part in the program of the Fourth Annual Institute for Education by Radio.…

As director of the North Carolina Radio School, Miss Parrott will report the activities of the radio education program conducted over Station WPTF for the past two years. This State is one of the few which provide educational broadcasting for the public schools. The N&O April 30, 1933

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