Jeanette Lee Atkinson on Karl Ragnar Gierow (1980) page 2
A sceptic´s way
In 1930 the noted literary historian Fredrik Böök recommended Gierow for an advisory position with the prestigious Stockholm publishing house Norstedts & Sons, where he remained until 1937. During the years at Norstedts Gierow managed to produce a steady output of reviews, poems, translations and several feature programs for radio. Gierow joined the staff of the Swedish Radio Service, Radiotjänst, in 1937. During his nine-year stay he made a truly innovative contribution to Swedish radio programming. Sweden in the 1930s and 1940s was predominantly rural, with its sparse population scattered over a wide area. Radio was an effective and important medium for disseminating educational and cultural information. Demographic circumstances, combined with Swedish Radio’s close ties in personnel and repertoire to Swedish theatre and film, gave rise to the notion of radio as a kind of broad-based popular theatre. A similar development took place in England.
In keeping with the notion of radio as a folk theatre, Gierow translated and adapted dramas from classical and contemporary theatre repertoire for radio. He wrote introductions for these dramas as well as for various recital series. In addition he wrote radio dramas, travelogues and even a libretto for a radio operetta. A popular form developed by Gierow was the witty and humorous debate on unexpected issues. His most valuable contribution to radio, though, was the feature program. Gierow wrote features on a wide variety of topics from geography to ballads. His historical chronicles were particularly popular, blending factual reportage and historical documents such as letters or newspaper accounts with poetry, music, acoustical effects and bits of dramatic dialogue.