Ep. 3: The Sound of America

Father Coughlin starts broadcasting his religious services over the radio. As listeners flock to his broadcasts, he develops his signature sound and sharpens his message.

October 19, 2021

Father Coughlin’s decision to broadcast his sermons over the radio scandalizes the American listening public, with angry letters pouring in to radio stations and politicians. Preaching on the dial next to Amos n’ Andy was sacrilegious, inappropriate, crass. But soon listeners were hooked by the radio priest’s sonorous voice, and his increasingly deliberate messaging.

Radioactive is hosted by Detroit-based journalist Andrew Lapin and produced by Tablet Studios. The series weaves together archival material and present-day interviews to tell the dramatic story of Father Charles Coughlin’s embrace of radio, the nascent mass media of his day, to attain nearly unparalleled cultural influence and broadcast his antisemitic, nationalist views into millions of living rooms across America.

Our theme music is from The Ghost Writer and was composed by Alexandre Desplat. All speeches and material of Father Coughlin are authentic to the source, as well as music and other audio from his radio program.

For more information on all of Tablet’s podcasts, visit

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