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How Radio Changed Womens Lifestyle In Rural Farming Areas In Wisconsin-Rayman’s Trac Two

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We take radio pretty much for granted don’t we. In the car, in the workplace, and at home. Turn it on and it instantly provide you with music, sports, news, and weather. Radio started to come into it’s own back in the 20’s, as radio technology became more accessible to all. Where I live, in Wisconsin, farm and weather reports broadcast on the radio were a life saver to rural communities,  especially farmers. The explosive growth of radio was evident by 1940, where nine out of ten Wisconsin homes had at least one radio.

Early radio programming was unique in that for the first time in history, radio programs were primarily geared to women. Women could use the radio programs as a consumer of products, and a vehicle to improve their lives. Daily radio shows were offered to help homemakers with food recipes, household advice, and information on running a more efficient home. Prior to radio, a woman’s  main task was to help maintain the farm. Radio programming was aimed at these women, to get them out of the field, and back into the home.

Radio shows confirmed to woman their natural roles were homemaking and child rearing, and offered advice on how to become a successful wife, mother, and homemaker. Recent technology made a women’s  daily tasks much easier through  use of vacuum cleaners, washing machines and so on, yet news of these advancements had not yet come to farming and rural areas. Radio delivered that message to them.

Over time, more rural women, with guidance and motivation from various radio programs, gradually spent more time in the home as a housewife, and less time working the farm. This change brought about new innovations in farming to compensate for any labor loss, and transformed the farming industry for the better.

Evenings were spent around the radio where families could hear news updates on the war, they could hear speeches by the President, get reports on prices of products raised on their farms, and even enjoy a laugh or two from  a comedy show. Radio, over a few short years, brought the world to those who hadn’t received it before.  Radio had found it’s place among the rural farming areas of Wisconsin.





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