Woody and Lefty Lou's broadcasts were met with great enthusiasm among displaced Okies who had settled in the Los Angeles area, and the show quickly acquired a regular audience. But after a short time, they had exhausted their repertoire of hillbilly ballads, and Woody tentatively began to air some of his own songs, such as "Do Re Mi" and "Talking Dust Bowl", songs with their roots in his anger at the deprivations of poverty he had seen while riding the boxcars up and down California. Upon suggestions from his audience, Woody authored several new songs which would become folk music standards. One of these was "Reno Blues," better known as "Philadelphia Lawyer," a ballad based on an incident in which a cowboy had killed a lawyer in a fight over a woman. Woody's sympathy for the common people and disdain for city slickers, such as the deceased Philadelphia lawyer of the song, is evident, but his political consciousness was still rudimentary and evolving rapidly.

He continued to use the old tunes for his words -- "Reno Blues" is set to the tune of the old folk ballad "The Jealous Lover" -- and wrote more and more songs about the plight of the poor and the displacement of the Okies, a comination well received by his audience.

Around the same time, he landed a contract for the continuation of the radio show which included a salary, and suddenly had enough money to send for Mary and the two children, whom he had left behind in Pampa. He did so immediately, but failed locate a place for them to live. As a result, they spent several weeks in a desperate and rushed apartment search -- a challenging prospect, especially with young children as two of the potential tenants. In response to the difficulties they faced, Woody spent much of his radio time on an anti-landlord campaign.