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Q&A: President Ronald Reagan started weekly radio addresses

President Ronald Reagan gave his final radio speech to the nation on Jan. 14, 1989.

Associated Press (1989)

President Ronald Reagan gave his final radio speech to the nation on Jan. 14, 1989.

Reagan started radio addresses

When President Barack Obama was elected, he started posting his weekly radio address online and releasing it as a video. This led me to wonder: How long has the Saturday radio address been around, and why was it started? Has every president since it got started recorded a weekly address?

President Ronald Reagan created the weekly radio address. He went on the air from the Oval Office on April 3, 1982, to reassure Americans about the nation's sickly economy — much as Franklin D. Roosevelt had done during the Great Depression with his series of evening radio addresses that became known as fireside chats.

Reagan was an experienced broadcaster, with skills honed as a radio sportscaster, movie actor, public speaker and radio commentator. In his first White House radio address, Reagan said he wanted to talk about the problems facing the nation and what to do about them.

"I can't cover all that territory in five minutes, so I'll be back every Saturday at this same time, same station, live," he said. "I hope you'll tune in."

The radio addresses endured throughout Reagan's presidency, giving him the opportunity to create news for weekend broadcasts and Sunday newspapers. Every president since then has continued Reagan's tradition.

Web-based e-mail fights spam

Although some spam is something I can live with, recently it seems like my inbox is flooded with junk. Has the number of spammers increased, or have they just gotten better at bypassing barriers? Is the government doing anything to crack down on this invasion? Is there anything I can do about this besides changing e-mail addresses?

Sadly, the amount of spam is still increasing year by year, and volumes are more than 200 billion messages per day, according to Secure Computing Corp. There's an annual boom in messages around the holidays.

The federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 has had a minimal effect at best. It has led to charges against some high-profile spammers, but given how easy it is to set up as a spammer, this is a game of whack-a-mole.

As an individual user, it's not easy to set up an efficient spam filter on your computer. However, today's Web-based e-mail services like Yahoo Mail and, in particular, Google's Gmail, are very good at shunting spam away from the inbox.

You don't need to give up your old e-mail address to use them, either. You can set up the Web-based service to fetch your regular mail from its so-called POP server — check the "Options" or "Settings" menus to find out how to configure this.

Q&A: President Ronald Reagan started weekly radio addresses 08/17/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 17, 2009 4:50pm]
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