Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Perhaps not quite as funny as George Burns or Jim Jordan; not possessed of the voice of Orson Welles; maybe not as bracing a presence as Vincent Price. But then again, Jimmy Carter never tried to be a radio star. He wanted to make a difference in the lives of the poor, the working class, Americans in general and humankind across the globe. He was the 39th U.S. President, deep into the tradition of the weekly radio broadcast and a couple of decades before Twitter.
In March of 1977, Carter used the existing technology to try to anticipate the immediacy and open access of today's social media. He hosted a live radio program entitled "Ask President Carter," allowing everyday folks to ask him unscreened questions. More people seem to remember the Saturday Night Live parody starring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.
Available recordings of Carter's speeches include remarks of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran, and issues involving importation of oil from the Middle East.