The Philadelphia Orchestra website has published a fascinating exchange between its conductor, Leopold Stokowski, and its manager, Arthur Judson, over the 1929 first US broadcast of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Stoki was a popular performer, prone to get his own way. Judson, in addition to managing orchestras, was also – conflictually – co-founder of Columbia Artists Management Inc. and of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).
I have looked over with interest your Radio programs. … I am frankly afraid of the Stravinsky number on the second program. Millions of people who have never heard an orchestra are going to “listen in.” They are going to be greatly pleased with the first number [Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances], but after about five minutes of the Stravinsky they are going to say “Oh, hell!” and turn off the radio.
Stoki, bless him, replies:
Thank you for your frank criticisms of the radio programs. … I am sure what you say about the Sacre of Stravinsky is … true, but I feel it is the greatest work of our time, and for that reason should be played. Expressed in broad lines, my feeling about radio is that if I cannot [program for] radio the best music at present I will wait until I can, because I am not willing to lower my flag.