Document Type


Publication Date



Scholars have argued that history provides ample evidence of the eager embrace of new communication technologies by Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals in the United States. However, closer examination of the first Christian fundamentalist venture into the technology of radio in the US reveals the ambivalence and anxieties of key leaders as they considered and adopted use of the new medium. This study, based on careful analysis of archival and press materials from the 1920s, reveals a “restless” adoption of radio that articulated the “menace” as well as the promise of the technology. While wondering aloud about radio’s shortcomings and dangers, faith leaders justified their uncertain investment in the new medium by employing discourses of conversion alongside an evangelistic entrepreneurism connected to the growing consumerism of the time.


Originally published in Journal of Media and Religion. Volume 21. Issue 3. 2022. Pages 125-138.