Attention spans: Thanks to the

Attention spans
: Thanks to the University of Virginia [via Die Zeit], here is a full day of radio programming for a Washington station on Sept. 21, 1939. Note:

: Most shows were 15 minutes long. Since when — and why — did 30 and 60 minutes become the standard? And why are we latter-day Americans accused of developing short attention spans? Radio back then was short and sweet — and it was onto something. All you have to do is watch one episode of Dateline NBC that stretches a six-minute story into 60 minutes and you’ll agree that TV could stand a haircut.

: The quality of the programming is not what it is cracked up to be. I have long said that the supposed Golden Age of TV was just shlocky vaudeville; this is the real Golden Age. I have been similarly suspicious of the wonders of radio. This bears out my suspicion. It has its moments (for example, the news writing on old radio is so much more vivid, since it does not rely on either pictures or sound) but all in all, what we have today beats the hell out of what they had then.

: Listening to radio is frankly boring (unless you’re stuck in your car). TV is better. That is why I now push vlogs. Many of us had experimented with audio blogging but that just didn’t work for me; it was boring (and a bit embarrassing) just sitting there listening to my PC. We expect more today and there’s nothing wrong with that.