FDR Gave His First Fireside Chat 80 Years Ago Today

Obama may seem like a hip man of the people what with his Google+ hangouts and his Reddit AMAs and his talking to the kids over the Twitters and whatnot, but he's really 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 talks were meant to reassure an America that was suffering at the hands of the Great Depression after World War I. Never before had Americans had such a direct line of communication with the President—even a one-sided one. And especially with FDR's warm, personable nature, the broadcasts 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]

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