At Issue
Episode Number
The Noisemakers
Producing Organization
National Educational Television and Radio Center
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/512-vq2s46j69x).
Episode Description
This months At Issue surveys the growing number and variety of unpleasant sounds that are plaguing the American public today. Through narration, still photographs, film footage, sound recordings, and interviews with experts, the program views Americas acute noise problem, its many causes, the physiological effects, and the steps being taken to curtail it. The Noisemakers lays much of the responsibility for the countrys increased noise level on modern advances in technology (e.g. jet airplanes), the population increase resulting in new, but thin-walled apartment construction, the proliferation of noisy household appliances (e.g. vacuum cleaners, dishwashers), and the growth of the trucking industry and automobile traffic. According to Dr. Samuel Rosen, a prominent New York ear surgeon who appears on the program, this rising noise level is responsible for a great increase in the loss of hearing. The program looks at areas in America where the effects of noise have had their greatest impact. For instance, in the southern part of San Francisco viewers see houses that have been literally shaken to pieces by the noise of jet airplanes flying overhead. A renting agent in New York City describes the complaints of tenants concerning the flimsy protection modern apartment dwellings afford them against outside noise. New York City Housing Commissioner, Harold Birns leads substance to these claims by charging that apartments offer little refuge against the alien contraptions which incessantly seek to attack and destroy mans nervous system. The suburbs, once considered the hub of peace and quiet, have not been spared from the growing profusion of noise. According to a noise consultant, power mowers, chain saws, garbage trucks, road construction work, and commercial trucking have made the countrys suburbs sound almost as noisy as some of its big cities. Efforts are being made to reduce the noise level. Leo Beranek of Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, an acoustical consultant firm, describes how noise is transmitted, the various devices such as noise cushions that can be employed to reduce it, and the relative costs of such devices. Professor Cyril Harris of Columbia University, the president of the American Acoustical Association, points out that economics is the basis of the issue, and that noise can be suppressed effectively if dealt with at the source. However, he also notes that the technical problems are great and the constitutional restrictions, perhaps, even greater. At Issue: The Noisemakers also examine the legal restriction and their degree of enforcement in handling the noise problem. Focused on are New York and California laws which regulate the degree of noise permissible in industry, the provisions regarding noise that are currently being written in New York Citys building code, and the successful efforts of Memphis, Tennessees police and traffic departments to make that city one of the quietest in the nation. However, the overall picture shows that the number of anti-noise laws is inadequate, and the enforcement of those in effect is at best, spotty. Wolf von Eckart, architectural critic for The Washington Post, sums up the cultural implications of noise in America by concluding that it is detrimental to the art of living. Running Time: 59:05 (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Other Description
At Issue consists of 69 half-hour and hour-long episodes produced in 1963-1966 by NET, which were originally shot on videotape in black and white and color.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Talk Show
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Associate Producer: Show, Lois
Executive Producer: Perlmutter, Alvin H.
Guest: von Eckart, Wolf
Interviewee: Beranek, Leo
Interviewee: Harris, Cyril
Producer: Stern, Andrew A.
Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center
Writer: O'Toole, John, 1931-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047439-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047439-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047439-3 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047439-4 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Master
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2047439-5 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “At Issue; 50; The Noisemakers,” 1964-12-00, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 19, 2022,
MLA: “At Issue; 50; The Noisemakers.” 1964-12-00. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 19, 2022. <>.
APA: At Issue; 50; The Noisemakers. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from