Crosley: In Tune With The Times

In the 1920s, the two brothers—bold, brilliant Powel Jr. and businesslike Lewis—figured out how to produce radios that ordinary folks could afford. Then they created a station so that families would have a reason to buy them. The industrialists scored with other products, too: auto parts, appliances, even the first refrigerator with—Eureka!—shelves in the door. And in the 1930s, their ownership of the Cincinnati Reds kept the team in town and gave the city night games. Powel’s dream of automotive triumph never really got in gear. If it had, the brothers might have paved the way for the Queen City to become another Motor City. But it seems we got the best of what Crosley ingenuity had to give: By birthing powerful WLW (a.k.a. “The Nation’s Station”) they gave Cincinnati news and entertainment and put talent to work—announcers, singers, musicians, and writers for the newfangled, highly-addictive daytime dramas that came to be known as soap operas. And in a grueling era—the Great Depression, WWII—that provided another precious commodity: hope.

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