Weekly Radio Address of the President of the United States

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Barack Obama during his first address as President.
Franklin D. Roosevelt after giving one of his fireside chats. The predecessor to the Weekly Address.

The Weekly Address of the President of the United States (also known as the Weekly Radio Address or Your Weekly Address) is the weekly discussion of current events in the United States by the President. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to deliver such radio addresses. Ronald Reagan revived the practice of delivering a weekly Saturday radio broadcast in 1982,[1] and his successors have all continued the practice.

As the Internet became mainstream, the weekly address was made available on other media. George W. Bush introduced an audio podcast feed and Barack Obama introduced a weekly video address during his presidential transition period.


Franklin D. Roosevelt first began radio addresses as Governor of New York.[citation needed] As president he continued the tradition, which he called his fireside chats. The success of these presidential addresses encouraged their continuation by future presidents.

During a sound check prior to the radio address in August 1984, the then-President Ronald Reagan made the following gaffe as a way to test the microphone: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."[2] George H. W. Bush did not participate in the weekly radio address during his term, while Bill Clinton did so, often going over ten minutes with some speeches early in his term. George W. Bush began to have his addresses posted as an audio podcast once that technology became popular.[3]

Barack Obama used YouTube for regular video addresses as President-elect[4] and since his inauguration the weekly addresses have continued on the White House website,[5] YouTube, and networks such as C-SPAN, with the 24-hour cable news channels and network morning shows usually airing the full address only if the topic involves a breaking news event; short summaries of the address and the talking points within are otherwise edited and presented within regular news reports throughout each Saturday.

It has long become customary for the President's Weekly Radio Address to be followed by a "response" (not always a topical response) by a member of the opposing political party. A common complaint about the President's Weekly Radio Address is that only a few radio stations (mainly public radio and all-news radio outlets, a format very rare outside of major metropolitan areas) cover the very short broadcasts, they are not advertised publicly, and very few Americans are able to find address coverage on their local radio dial; Saturday mornings usually have brokered or paid programming carried on most commercial radio stations.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Reagan signs off with 331st weekly radio address". Deseret News. Associated Press. 1989-01-15. p. A3. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  2. ^ "Remembering President Reagan For His Humor-A Classic Radio Gaffe". About, Inc. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  3. ^ a b Viser, Matt (7 July 2014). "Obama holds to weekly radio tradition". Boston Globe. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  4. ^ The official channel of the Obama-Biden Transition Project's channel on YouTube
  5. ^ President Obama's Weekly Video Address from the White House website

External links[edit]