Please press play on the viewer to the left to hear soundtrack. Advance the slides by hand. Radio Orphan Annie (1930-1942) sold Ovaltine from 1931-1940 on NBC Blue whenever children collected labels and box tops to “earn” compasses, pedometers, and decoder rings with their hero’s face on them. Premiums were an important way of measuring both the size and consumer-friendliness of a given program’s audience. Ad agencies like Blackett-Sample-Hummert (BSH) were at the center of a discursive struggle over childhood. On the one hand, many of their properties were designed to bring children to clients. On the other hand, there was growing concern that children needed to be shielded from the blatant commercial appeal of these properties. In a February 9, 1933 memo, Enid Beaupre, NBC’s standards and practices monitor for children’s programming, noted that the network had received telephone complaints that “some of the incidents [on Radio Orphan Annie] had been disturbing enough to make children almost hysterical,” adding that such practices on behalf of the series’ sponsor were “incongruous for a product supposed to soothe nerves and induce restful sleep.” In a February 10, 1933 follow up memo, Beaupre suggested that this is perhaps “a new way of selling Ovaltine,” sarcastically pointing to the unethical economics of scaring children so as to then sell the sponsor’s product that was intended to relax them. BSH’s authoring strategies, however, were designed to promote Radio Orphan Annie as beneficial for children, justifying its commercial value by pointing to their ability to manage Annie’s ‘moral’ values. In fact, in 1938, BSH issued a protest of its own to NBC over the “blood and thunder tactics used in child radio.” While the ad agency’s intentions were to attack the merchandising strategies of another children’s series, Terry and the Pirates, whose sponsor directly competed with Ovaltine, the argument it presented drew a clear correlation between the economic value of commercial brands and the need to project the right values. Objecting to Terry and the Pirates “for selfish reasons, as well as moral reasons,” BSH bluntly stated, “This is another instance where ‘good morals’ are ‘good business.” Of course, this did not prevent manufacturers, sponsors, agencies, and networks from pursuing the children’s market; it merely demanded that such pursuits be justified on moral, civic and educational grounds, and not merely commercial terms. Hence, corporate authors like BSH worked to alleviate anxieties over exploitation by arguing that Radio Orphan Annie also taught important moral lessons and instilled good character values. In other words, corporate authors argued that it was all right to sell directly to children so long as what was being sold had moral, not merely financial, value. By keeping the child’s best interests in mind (at least rhetorically), BSH demonstrated to NBC its ability to balance consumer and cultural concerns and proved their right to claim the mantle of cultural intermediaries between consumers and sponsors.