Historical Highlights

The first live radio broadcast of a House debate transpired

December 19, 1922
The first live radio broadcast of a House debate transpired Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Serving one term in the House, Vincent Brennan of Michigan did not seek re-election to the 68th Congress (1923–1925). In 1924, he became a district judge and served in that capacity for 30 years.
On this date, the first live radio broadcast of a House debate transpired. In 1922, two years after the earliest commercial radio broadcast in the United States, Representative Vincent Brennan of Michigan sponsored path-breaking legislation to promote the use of radio in Congress. Although the resolution, which called for the installation of radios in Capitol offices failed to pass, interest in the new communication medium intensified in the House. During the December debate on a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate federal tax-exempt securities, the local government station in Washington, D.C., broadcast the proceedings live. Congressman Brennan applauded the historic occasion and reiterated his support for increased radio coverage. “It is my purpose to enable all members of Congress as well as the country at large, to ‘listen in’ on the doings on the floor of the House,” he declared. Regular live radio broadcasts of House Floor proceedings, however, did not occur for another half century because many House Members feared it would radically alter the chamber’s culture and debates.

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