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Kenaston presents essay at Business History Conference

Connor Kenaston

Connor Kenaston, assistant professor of history and the Ainsworth Visiting Scholar of American Culture presented his essay, “The Greatest Story: Commercial Radio and Religion in the American Century,” as part of a panel at the 2024 Business History Conference in Providence, Rhode Island.

The paper uses Goodyear Tire’s The Greatest Story Ever Told, a 1940s-era radio soap opera that dramatized stories from the Christian New Testament, as a case study exploring the surge of commercially-sponsored religious broadcasting during the early Cold War.

Kenaston argues that these programs demonstrated that radio networks could fulfill their legal mandate to operate “in the public interest” while generating revenue, which marked a shift in the industry. Previously, radio’s public interest mandate had been fulfilled by unsponsored religious and educational programming.


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