December 9, 1932
Eleanor Roosevelt began her commercial radio career on a national, Friday night music and talk program sponsored by Pond’s Cold Cream. She was to provide commentaries on issues of interest to women.
She sparked controversy with her first broadcast. She noted ruefully that Prohibition seemed to have backfired. Because alcohol was forbidden, it had become all the more appealing to young people. As a result, she said, young women had to learn early how much liquor they could hold.
Temperance groups misunderstood her remarks as an endorsement of drinking and responded angrily in print and by mail. ER replied to many of the letters, saying her comments had been misconstrued. [No recording of the broadcast survives; it is read here by an actor.] -Stephen Smith