Podcast #290 – Aimee Semple McPherson and the Early History of Radio Evangelists
One of the biggest celebrities in Los Angeles in the early part of the 20th century was Aimee Semple McPherson. She inspired scandalous headlines and fictional depictions, including the character Sister Molly on the Showtime series, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels and Sister Alice McKeegan on the 2020 HBO reboot of Perry Mason. Yet the story that is less frequently told is McPherson’s embrace of radio. She built her own powerful station, KFSG, in Los Angeles in the 1920s, which operated from the grand Angelus Temple, where her Foursquare Church was headquartered.
On this episode, scholar Tona Hangen joins us to shed more light into the radio work of Aimee Semple McPherson and to also provide some context about the early days of Christian radio evangelists in the United States. Hangen is the author of Redeeming the Dial: Radio, Religion and Popular Culture in America and is Professor of History at Worcester State University.
- The original broadcast of this episode, which includes 30 additional minutes of the interview with our guest. (The unheard portion begins after the initial 59 minutes.) Episode #250 of Radio Survivor
- Penny Dreadful: City of Angels – Sister Molly Explained (Den of Geek)
- Will Aimee Semple McPherson Win the Low Power FM Sweepstakes (Radio Survivor)
- Old Time Radio and the Power of Faith (Radio Survivor)
- Radio Survivor Podcast #186 – African-American Preachers on Wax
- There was a musical: Scandalous
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