CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — It all started in 1930 with serial radio dramas. In the 30s, it was a lot more common for wives to stay home while their husbands went to work, so while doing their daytime housewifely duties like laundry, cleaning dishes or fixing supper, they would listen to the radio.

Radio dramas were very popular at the time, and the odds were high that you would tune into one if you flipped on the radio during the day. With so many housewives staying at home listening to the radio, they became the target demographic for advertisers. And what’s one thing you need if you’re cleaning the house all the time? Soap.

Soap advertisements became very prominent during daytime radio drama broadcasts, giving them the name ‘soap opera,’ but there’s more to it than just ads. Manufacturing company Procter & Gamble, which owns many household brands like Tide detergent, Febreeze and Bounty paper towels, produced many of its own radio dramas to sell its products and promote them to listeners.

SoapHub, a soap opera-focused website, conducted interviews with various P&G executives, one of which said other companies like General Mills also had their own shows to promote products. P&G had many shows under its belt like “Ma Perkins,” whose lead actress, Virginia Payne, played the main character for 27 years and was later inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

In the 1950s soap operas began transitioning into TV, some of P&G’s most notable shows that began during that time include “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns,” which was Procter and Gamble’s last soap opera until it was canceled in 2009.

There used to be dozens of different soap operas, but in today’s media landscape, there are only four that still air new episodes: “Days of Our Lives,” “General Hospital,” “The Young and the Restless,” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.”