Most radios during the middle period of the 1920's were battery-operated because electricity was available only in the bigger cities. As it was not possible to recharge batteries without some secondary source of electricity, battery life-time was short and batteries required considered considerable care and attention - the mixing and replacement of acid solutions and the replacement of the metallic electrodes. Some of the better known brands of battery-operated radios included the RCA Radiola (RCA became the parent company of the National Broadcasting Network, the first American radio network) and the DeForest (Lee DeForest invented the first triode tube). Magnavox and Majestic were some other common brands from this period.

Radio broadcasting was much more chaotic at this time than later on since everyone was trying to do their own broadcasting. Radio Station KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the first licensed station in this country. One of its first broadcasts consisted of presidential election results. In general, radio programming at this time can be considered more as "transmissions" rather than continuous broadcasts. There were lots of classically-oriented musical programs featuring mostly a singer and a few musicians as it was all live, of course, and a full orchestra would simply not work. Church services and some sporting events (baseball and boxing) were also frequently broadcast. Some local stations began experimenting with dramatic material, but mostly vaudeville-style song-and-dance and various comedy acts were being sent over the radio in transmissions lasting an hour or so, or a couple of hours.