When Columbia Workshop debuted on CBS in 1936, the concept of network radio was still in its infancy, just 10 years old. Many within the radio business were undecided about various aspects of this new medium, including whether or not it could yield anything of value —something that can be seen as art and not simply a forgettable derivative of popular culture.
The concept of Columbia Workshop, conceived by Irving Reis, was essentially to try new innovations on radio, to push the medium's boundaries. Although early shows struggled to strike a balance between what the actors and the production crew contributed to the programs, the best shows from the program focused on both the cutting edge work of sound techs and producers, as well as the ability of performers to push themselves in ways other shows did not. Extreme attention was paid to every aspect of the show's production.