Radioactive: The Father Coughlin Story
The story of how a crafty bigot used a new medium to spread hate and get much too close to political power
Before CNN and Fox News, before shock jocks and powerful pundits, there was Father Charles Coughlin, an ambitious priest who invented political talk radio as we know it, brought down one president and crowned another, and was at one point considered the most powerful man in America. He was also a rabid antisemite who wrote fan mail to Mussolini and cheered on Hitler, and who used his enormous platform to spread hate.
In this 8-part podcast, Detroit journalist Andrew Lapin weaves together archival materials and incisive interviews to tell the story of Father Coughlin’s alarming rise and dramatic fall. It’s a cautionary tale of how an unscrupulous bigot can manipulate mass media to spread hate and gather far too much political power. Radioactive is produced by Tablet Studios in association with The WNET Group’s reporting initiative, Exploring Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and Extremism.
- RadioactiveEp. 8: The Ghost of Royal OakFather Coughlin disappears from the public eye, but his legacy looms largeNovember 23, 2021
- RadioactiveEp. 7: SeditionFather Coughlin incites his most extreme followers to violenceNovember 16, 2021
- RadioactiveEp. 6: Social JusticeFather Coughlin’s political movement gains momentum as his church superiors look the other wayNovember 9, 2021
- RadioactiveEp. 5: His Cross to BearPresident Roosevelt embraces radio while distancing himself from Father CoughlinNovember 2, 2021
- RadioactiveEp. 4: ‘Driving the Money Changers From the Temple’Father Coughlin expands his pulpit to politicsOctober 26, 2021
- RadioactiveEp. 3: The Sound of AmericaFather Coughlin starts broadcasting his religious services over the radioOctober 19, 2021
- RadioactiveEp. 2: Radio DaysFather Coughlin builds his church, with a little help from famous friendsOctober 12, 2021
- RadioactiveEp. 1: In the BeginningWho was Father Charles Coughlin, and what were the conditions that allowed for the rise of the first mass media demagogue?October 5, 2021
- RadioactiveRadioactive: The Father Coughlin StoryThe story of how a crafty bigot used a new medium to spread hate and get much too close to political powerSeptember 29, 2021