Obama may seem like a “hip” man of the people, with his Google+ hangouts and his Reddit AMAs and his talking to the kids over the Twitters, but he’s just following in FDR’s trailblazing footsteps. Because, on March 12, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the very first president to reach the people on a more intimate level — through radio.
Broadcast from the White House, the broadcasts were meant to reassure Americans suffering in the depths of the Great Depression after World War I. Never before had Americans had such a direct line of communication with the President, even if it was just one-sided, and especially with FDR’s warm, personable nature, it worked.
You can listen to his first chat of 30 above, which focused on banking and financial insecurity, a major concern for virtually everyone at the time. In it, he reassures the public that the banks had to close to prevent mass withdrawals, which would have crushed the banks and any real hope of recovering from their economic turmoil.
These fireside chats were a massive success, but it’s hard not to wonder how he’d have fared on Reddit. Fortunately for FDR, he never had to find out. [Geekosystem]