While television's primary purpose is entertainment, it is also a medium that encourages the growth of communities around shared interests and disseminates information and news. Television broadens and educates the mind, provides millions of jobs for skilled workers, and stimulates the imaginations of artists, actors, singers and writers in the entertainment industry.
Although the seed of the idea that grew into television began during the late 1800s, programs were not broadcast until the 1930s. While World War II halted television's growth, the 1940s saw the industry roar back into life as new stars burst onto the scene and radio stars struggled to transition. 1949 also saw the continuous 27-hour coverage of a young girl in Los Angeles who fell into a well, demonstrating television's potential to spread information and unite communities together in support. Television was further integrated into American cultural history during the '50s when ABC aired the McCarthy hearings, though news broadcasts did not fully come of age until the '60s.
During the '70s, television aired shows that came to inform American culture and sensibilities. Shows like "All in the Family," "Good Times" and "One Day at a Time" covered territories that networks had previously avoided, encouraging American audiences to empathize with the disenfranchised, poor and marginalized.