Beginning in the 1930s, American corporations increasingly turned to radio for their public relations campaigns. Major firms, including Ford, Du Pont, and General Motors, sponsored network radio programs that carried messages designed to improve their image. Other large corporations funded national radio news commentators, while smaller businesses sponsored weekly or even daily local radio programs. For twenty years, radio was an important component of corporate public relations, allowing businesses to speak more directly to the public than print advertisements had. By the mid-fifties, institutional broadcasting, combined with other public relations activities, had succeeded in helping business improve its status in American society.