Drawing on a broad range of American and French archives, Derek Vaillant joins textual and aural materials with original data analytics and maps to illuminate U.S.-French broadcasting's political and cultural development. Vaillant focuses on the period from 1931 until France dismantled its state media system in 1974. His analysis examines mobile actors, circulating programs, and shifting institutions that shaped international radio's use in times of war and peace. He explores the extraordinary achievements, the miscommunications and failures, and the limits of cooperation between America and France as they shaped a new media environment. Throughout, Vaillant explains how radio's power as an instantaneous mass communications tool produced, legitimized, and circulated various notions of states, cultures, ideologies, and peoples as superior or inferior.
A first comparative history of its subject, Across the Waves provocatively examines how different strategic agendas, aesthetic aims and technical systems shaped U.S.-French broadcasting and the cultural politics linking the United States and France.
Started by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company in 1925, WSM became one of the most influential and exceptional radio stations in the history of broadcasting and country music. WSM gave Nashville the moniker “Music City USA” as well as a rich tradition of music, news, and broad-based entertainment. With the rise of country music broadcasting and recording between the 1920s and ‘50s, WSM, Nashville, and country music became inseparable, stemming from WSM’s launch of the Grand Ole Opry, popular daily shows like Noontime Neighbors, and early morning artist-driven shows such as Hank Williams on Mother’s Best Flour.
Sparked by public outcry following a proposal to pull country music and the Opry from WSM-AM in 2002, Craig Havighurst scoured new and existing sources to document the station’s profound effect on the character and self-image of Nashville. Introducing the reader to colorful artists and businessmen from the station’s history, including Owen Bradley, Minnie Pearl, Jim Denny, Edwin Craig, and Dinah Shore, the volume invites the reader to reflect on the status of Nashville, radio, and country music in American culture.
Before the Internet brought the world together, there was border radio. These mega-watt "border blaster" stations, set up just across the Mexican border to evade U.S. regulations, beamed programming across the United States and as far away as South America, Japan, and Western Europe.
This book traces the eventful history of border radio from its founding in the 1930s by "goat-gland doctor" J. R. Brinkley to the glory days of Wolfman Jack in the 1960s. Along the way, it shows how border broadcasters pioneered direct sales advertising, helped prove the power of electronic media as a political tool, aided in spreading the popularity of country music, rhythm and blues, and rock, and laid the foundations for today's electronic church. The authors have revised the text to include even more first-hand information and a larger selection of photographs.
During the 1980s war in El Salvador, Radio Venceremos was the main news outlet for the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), the guerrilla organization that challenged the government. The broadcast provided a vital link between combatants in the mountains and the outside world, as well as an alternative to mainstream media reporting. In this first-person account, "Santiago," the legend behind Radio Venceremos, tells the story of the early years of that conflict, a rebellion of poor peasants against the Salvadoran government and its benefactor, the United States.
Originally published as La Terquedad del Izote, this memoir also addresses the broader story of a nationwide rebellion and its international context, particularly the intensifying Cold War and heavy U.S. involvement in it under President Reagan. By the war's end in 1992, more than 75,000 were dead and 350,000 wounded—in a country the size of Massachusetts. Although outnumbered and outfinanced, the rebels fought the Salvadoran Army to a draw and brought enough bargaining power to the negotiating table to achieve some of their key objectives, including democratic reforms and an overhaul of the security forces.
Broadcasting the Civil War in El Salvador is a riveting account from the rebels' point of view that lends immediacy to the Salvadoran conflict. It should appeal to all who are interested in historic memory and human rights, U.S. policy toward Central America, and the role the media can play in wartime.
Nicholas J. Schlosser draws on broadcast transcripts, internal memoranda, listener letters, and surveys by the U.S. Information Agency to profile RIAS. Its mission: to undermine the German Democratic Republic with propaganda that, ironically, gained in potency by obeying the rules of objective journalism. Throughout, Schlosser examines the friction inherent in such a contradictory project and propaganda's role in shaping political culture. He also portrays how RIAS's primarily German staff influenced its outlook and how the organization both competed against its rivals in the GDR and pushed communist officials to alter their methods in order to keep listeners.
From the occupation of Berlin through the airlift to the construction of the Berlin Wall, Cold War on the Airwaves offers an absorbing view of how public diplomacy played out at a flashpoint of East-West tension.
Drawing on a rich base of British archival materials, Arabic periodicals, and secondary sources, Colonialism and Christianity in Mandate Palestine brings to light the ways in which the British colonial state in Palestine exacerbated sectarianism. By transforming Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious identities into legal categories, Laura Robson argues, the British ultimately marginalized Christian communities in Palestine. Robson explores the turning points that developed as a result of such policies, many of which led to permanent changes in the region's political landscapes. Cases include the British refusal to support Arab Christian leadership within Greek-controlled Orthodox churches, attempts to avert involvement from French or Vatican-related groups by sidelining Latin and Eastern Rite Catholics, and interfering with Arab Christians' efforts to cooperate with Muslims in objecting to Zionist expansion. Challenging the widespread but mistaken notion that violent sectarianism was endemic to Palestine, Colonialism and Christianity in Mandate Palestine shows that it was intentionally stoked in the wake of British rule beginning in 1917, with catastrophic effects well into the twenty-first century.
Drawing on the perspectives of literary and cultural studies, science studies and feminist theory, radio history, and the new field of radio studies, these essays consider the development of radio as technology: how it was modeled on the telephone, early conflicts between for-profit and public uses of radio, and amateur radio (HAMS), local programming, and low-power radio. Some pieces discuss how radio gives voice to different cultural groups, focusing on the BBC and poetry programming in the West Indies, black radio, the history of alternative radio since the 1970s, and science and contemporary arts programming. Others look at radio’s influence on gender (and gender’s influence on radio) through examinations of Queen Elizabeth’s broadcasts, Gracie Allen’s comedy, and programming geared toward women. Together the contributors demonstrate how attention to the variety of ways radio is used and understood reveals the dynamic emergence and transformation of communities within the larger society.
Contributors. Laurence A. Breiner, Bruce B. Campbell, Mary Desjardins, Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Nina Hunteman, Leah Lowe, Adrienne Munich, Kathleen Newman, Martin Spinelli, Susan Merrill Squier, Donald Ulin, Mark Williams, Steve Wurzler
As either observer or participant, radio deejay and political activist Richard E. Stamz witnessed every significant period in the history of blues and jazz in the last century. From performing first-hand as a minstrel in the 1920s to broadcasting Negro League baseball games in a converted 1934 Chrysler to breaking into Chicago radio and activist politics and hosting his own television variety show, the remarkable story of his life also is a window into milestones of African American history throughout the twentieth century.
Dominating the airwaves with his radio show "Open the Door, Richard" on WGES in Chicago, Stamz cultivated friendships with countless music legends, including Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Memphis Slim, and Leonard Chess. The pioneering Chicago broadcaster and activist known as "The Crown Prince of Soul" died in 2007 at the age of 101, but not before he related the details of his life and career to college professor Patrick A. Roberts. Give 'Em Soul, Richard! surrounds Stamz's memories of race records, juke joints, and political action in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood with insights on the larger historical trends that were unfolding around him in radio and American history.
Narrated by Stamz, this entertaining and insightful chronicle includes commentary by Roberts as well as reflections on the unlikely friendship and collaboration between a black radio legend and a white academic that resulted in one of the few existing first-hand accounts of Chicago's post-war radio scene.
The Hayloft Gang draws on the colorful commentary of performers and former listeners to analyze the National Barn Dance, its audience, and its impact. Contributors trace the history of barn dance radio, explore the paradox of a foundational country music program broadcast from a major city, investigate notions of authenticity in the presentation of country music and entertainment, and delve into provocative issues raised by the barn dance phenomenon.
Contributors: Chad Berry, Michael T. Bertrand, Lisa Krissoff Boehm, Don Cusic, Wayne W. Daniel, Loyal Jones, Kristine M. McCusker, Stephen Parry, Susan Smulyan, Paul L. Tyler, and Michael Ann Williams.
Imagine that there was a time in America when a child sat next to a radio and simply listened. But didn’t just listen, was enthralled and knew that this time was his alone, that he was part of the vortex of drama unfolding inside the radio’s innards. . . . I never saw a punch thrown, or a glass shatter, or a blood-smeared shirt as I listened to the radio. Nor did I know Barbara Stanwyck’s hairstyle as she overacted in Sorry, Wrong Number on the Lux Radio Theatre. And I had no idea how corpulent Happy Felton was as he dropped ten silver dollars that jangled into a Sheffield’s Milk bottle on Guess Who. (Yes, ten bucks was what you won on that show.) Instead, I imagined it all.
I Hid It under the Sheets captures a bygone era—the late 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s—through the reminiscences of award-winning New York Times reporter Gerald Eskenazi. This first-person recollection shows radio’s broad impact on his generation and explains how and why it became such a major factor in shaping America and Americans.
Outside of music, the importance of sound and listening have been greatly overlooked in Latin American history. Visual media has dominated cultural studies, affording an incomplete record of the modern era. This edited volume presents an original analysis of the role of sound in Latin American and Caribbean societies, from the late nineteenth century to the present. The contributors examine the importance of sound in the purveyance of power, gender roles, race, community, religion, and populism. They also demonstrate how sound is essential to the formation of citizenship and nationalism.
Sonic media, and radio in particular, have become primary tools for contesting political issues. In that vein, the contributors view the control of radio transmission and those who manipulate its content for political gain. Conversely, they show how, in neoliberal climates, radio programs have exposed corruption and provided a voice for activism.
The essays address sonic production in a variety of media: radio; Internet; digital recordings; phonographs; speeches; carnival performances; fireworks festivals, and the reinterpretation of sound in literature. They examine the bodily experience of sound, and its importance to memory coding and identity formation.
This volume looks to sonic media as an essential vehicle for transmitting ideologies, imagined communities, and culture. As the contributors discern, modern technology has made sound ubiquitous, and its study is therefore crucial to understanding the flow of information and influence in Latin America and globally.
In 1926, the new NBC networks established an advisory board of prominent citizens to help it make program decisions as well as to deflect concerns over NBC’s dominance over radio. The council, which advised NBC on program development—especially cultural broadcasts and those aimed at rural audiences—influenced not only NBC’s policies but also decisions other radio organizations made, decisions that resonate in today’s electronic media
The council’s rulings had wide-ranging impact on society and the radio industry, addressing such issues as radio’s operation in the public interest; access of religious groups to the airwaves; personal attacks on individuals, especially the clergy; and coverage of controversial issues of public importance. Principles adopted in these decrees kept undesirable shows off the air, and other networks, stations, and professional broadcast groups used the council’s decisions in establishing their own organizational guidelines.
Benjamin documents how these decrees had influence well after the council’s demise. Beginning in the early 1930s, the council denied use of NBC to birth control advocates. This refusal revealed a pointed clash between traditional and modernistic elements in American society and laid down principles for broadcasting controversial issues. This policy resonated throughout the next five decades with the implementation of the Fairness Doctrine.
The NBC Advisory Council and Radio Programming, 1926–1945 offers the first in-depth examination of the council, which reflected and shaped American society during the interwar period. Author Louise M. Benjamin tracks the council from its inception until it was quietly disbanded in 1945, insightfully critiquing the council’s influence on broadcast policies, analyzing early attempts at using the medium of radio to achieve political goals, and illustrating the council’s role in the development of program genres, including news, sitcoms, crime drama, soap operas, quiz shows, and variety programs.
Norman Corwin is regarded as the most acclaimed creative artist of radio’s Golden Age (mid 1930s to late 1940s). Corwin worked as a producer for CBS at a time when radio was the centerpiece of American family life. His programs brought high moments to the medium during a period when exceptional creativity and world crisis shaped its character and conviction. Bannerman’s book is more than biography: it is also social history—the story of network radio, its great achievements and ultimate decline. Many of Corwin’s programs are considered radio classics. During World War II his programs energized the people and marshaled morale. We Hold These Truths, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Bill of Rights, was broadcast eight days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and On a Note of Triumph, a VE-Day special for CBS, marked the historic culmination of a momentous conflict. Bannerman’s work is a portrayal of a remarkable man, who led an influential fight for the art and integrity of broadcasting, who endured unfounded accusations during the blacklisting period of the McCarthy era, and who by his dedication accomplished significant programs of historic dimensions.
How has American radio—once a grassroots, community-based medium—become a generic service that primarily benefits owners and shareholders and prohibits its listeners from receiving diversity of opinions, ideas, and entertainment through local programming? In The Quieted Voice: The Rise and Demise of Localism in American Radio, Robert L. Hilliard and Michael C. Keith blame the government’s continual deregulation of radio and the corporate obsession with the bottom line in the wake of the far-reaching and controversial Telecommunications Act of 1996. Fighting for greater democratization of the airwaves, Hilliard and Keith call for a return to localism to save radio from rampant media conglomeration and ever-narrowing music playlists—and to save Americans from corporate and government control of public information.
The Quieted Voice details radio’s obligation to broadcast in the public’s interest. Hilliard and Keith trace the origins of the public trusteeship behind the medium and argue that local programming is essential to the fulfillment of this responsibility. From historical and critical perspectives, they examine the decline of community-centered programming and outline the efforts of media watchdog and special interest groups that have vigorously opposed the decline of democracy and diversity in American radio. They also evaluate the implications of continuing delocalization of the radio medium and survey the perspectives of leading media scholars and experts.
About the origins of Anglo-American poetic modernism, one thing is certain: it started with a notion of the image, described variously by Ezra Pound as an ideogram and a vortex. We have reason to be less confident, however, about the relation between these puzzling conceptions of the image and the doctrine of literary positivism that is generally held to be the most important legacy of Imagism. No satisfactory account exists, moreover, of what bearing these foundational principles may have on Pound's later engagement with fascism. Nor is it clear how figures such as the vortex and the ideogram might contribute generally to our understanding of modern visual culture and its compulsive appeal.Radio Corpse addresses these issues and offers a fundamental revision of one of the most powerful and persistent aesthetic ideologies of modernism. Focusing on the necrophilic dimension of Pound's earliest poetry and on the inflections of materiality authorized by the modernist image, Daniel Tiffany establishes a continuum between Decadent practice and the incipient avant-garde, between the prehistory of the image and its political afterlife, between what Pound calls the "corpse language" of late Victorian poetry and a conception of the image that borrows certain "radioactive" qualities from the historical discovery of radium and the development of radiography. Emphasizing the phantasmic effects of translation (and exchange) in Pound's poetry, Tiffany argues that the cadaverous--and radiological--properties of the image culminate, formally and ideologically, in Pound's fascist radio broadcasts during World War II. Ultimately, the invisibility of these "radiant" images places in question basic assumptions regarding the optical character of images--assumptions currently being challenged by imageric technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography.
Radio, Morality, and Culture: Britain, Canada, and the United States, 1919–1945 examines the moral controversies surrounding radio’s development during its formative years. In comparing the fledgling medium in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, Robert S. Fortner documents how the church failed to participate in radio’s moral development and instead engaged in internecine warfare over issues of legitimacy and orthodoxy.
The church was arguing about theological turf and dealing with internal disputes while radio policy was being developed and communications history was being written. Fortner reveals how the church, doomed to play little more than a bit part in the future of radio, eventually lost its voice altogether in the continuing development of electronic media. Fortner effectively synthesizes cultural history and theory, communication studies, and the role religious organizations played in shaping the content and character of early radio. Geared to scholars of history, communications, and theology, Radio, Morality, and Culture provides a useful resource for research, scholarship, and public policy.
The role of mass communication in nation building has often been underestimated, particularly in the case of Mexico. Following the Revolution, the Mexican government used the new medium of radio to promote national identity and build support for the new regime. Joy Hayes now tells how an emerging country became a radio nation.
This groundbreaking book investigates the intersection of radio broadcasting and nation building. Hayes tells how both government-controlled and private radio stations produced programs of distinctly Mexican folk and popular music as a means of drawing the country's regions together and countering the influence of U.S. broadcasts.
Hayes describes how, both during and after the period of cultural revolution, Mexican radio broadcasting was shaped by the clash and collaboration of different social forces--including U.S. interests, Mexican media entrepreneurs, state institutions, and radio audiences. She traces the evolution of Mexican radio in case studies that focus on such subjects as early government broadcasting activities, the role of Mexico City media elites, the "paternal voice" of presidential addresses, and U.S. propaganda during World War II.
More than narrative history, Hayes's study provides an analytical framework for understanding the role of radio in building Mexican nationalism at a critical time in that nation's history. Radio Nation expands our appreciation of an overlooked medium that changed the course of an entire country.
Orson Welles’s greatest breakthrough into the popular consciousness occurred in 1938, three years before Citizen Kane, when his War of the Worlds radio broadcast succeeded so spectacularly that terrified listeners believed they were hearing a genuine report of an alien invasion—a landmark in the history of radio’s powerful relationship with its audience. In Radio’s America, Bruce Lenthall documents the enormous impact radio had on the lives of Depression-era Americans and charts the formative years of our modern mass culture.
Many Americans became alienated from their government and economy in the twentieth century, and Lenthall explains that radio’s appeal came from its capability to personalize an increasingly impersonal public arena. His depictions of such figures as proto-Fascist Charles Coughlin and medical quack John Brinkley offer penetrating insight into radio’s use as a persuasive tool, and Lenthall’s book is unique in its exploration of how ordinary Americans made radio a part of their lives. Television inherited radio’s cultural role, and as the voting tallies for American Idol attest, broadcasting continues to occupy a powerfully intimate place in American life. Radio’s America reveals how the connections between power and mass media began.
Founded in 1934, the NAEB began as a disorganized collection of undersupported university broadcasters. Shepperd traces the setbacks, small victories, and trial and error experiments that took place as thousands of advocates built a media coalition premised on the belief that technology could ease social inequality through equal access to education and information. The bottom-up, decentralized network they created implemented a different economy of scale and a vision of a mass media divorced from commercial concerns. At the same time, they transformed advice, criticism, and methods adopted from other sectors into an infrastructure that supported public broadcasting in the 1960s and beyond.
For generations, fans and critics have characterized classic American radio drama as a “theater of the mind.” This book unpacks that characterization by recasting the radio play as an aesthetic object within its unique historical context. In Theater of the Mind, Neil Verma applies an array of critical methods to more than six thousand recordings to produce a vivid new account of radio drama from the Depression to the Cold War.
In this sweeping exploration of dramatic conventions, Verma investigates legendary dramas by the likes of Norman Corwin, Lucille Fletcher, and Wyllis Cooper on key programs ranging from The Columbia Workshop, The Mercury Theater on the Air, and Cavalcade of America to Lights Out!, Suspense, and Dragnet to reveal how these programs promoted and evolved a series of models of the imagination.
With close readings of individual sound effects and charts of broad trends among formats, Verma not only gives us a new account of the most flourishing form of genre fiction in the mid-twentieth century but also presents a powerful case for the central place of the aesthetics of sound in the history of modern experience.
Modeled after the BBC, the Palestine Broadcasting Service was launched in 1936 to serve as the national radio station of Mandate Palestine, playing a pivotal role in shaping the culture of the emerging middle class in the region. Despite its significance, the PBS has become nearly forgotten by scholars of twentieth-century Middle Eastern studies. Drawn extensively from British and Israeli archival sources, “This Is Jerusalem Calling” traces the compelling history of the PBS’s twelve years of operation, illuminating crucial aspects of a period when Jewish and Arab national movements simultaneously took form.
Andrea L. Stanton describes the ways in which the mandate government used broadcasting to cater to varied audiences, including rural Arab listeners, in an attempt to promote a “modern” vision of Arab Palestine as an urbane, politically sophisticated region. In addition to programming designed for the education of the peasantry, religious broadcasting was created to appeal to all three main faith communities in Palestine, which ultimately may have had a disintegrating, separatist effect. Stanton’s research brings to light the manifestation of Britain’s attempts to prepare its mandate state for self-governance while supporting the aims of Zionists. While the PBS did not create the conflict between Arab Palestinians and Zionists, the service reflected, articulated, and magnified such tensions during an era when radio broadcasting was becoming a key communication tool for emerging national identities around the globe.
Original essays exploring important developments in radio and television broadcasting
The essays included in this collection represent some of the best cultural and historical research on broadcasting in the U. S. today. Each one concentrates on a particular event in broadcast history—beginning with Marconi’s introduction of wireless technology in 1899.
Michael Brown examines newspaper reporting in America of Marconi's belief in Martians, stories that effectively rendered Marconi inconsequential to the further development of radio. The widespread installation of radios in automobiles in the 1950s, Matthew Killmeier argues, paralleled the development of television and ubiquitous middle-class suburbia in America. Heather Hundley analyzes depictions of male and female promiscuity as presented in the sitcom Cheers at a time concurrent with media coverage of the AIDS crisis. Fritz Messere examines the Federal Radio Act of 1927 and the clash of competing ideas about what role radio should play in American life. Chad Dell recounts the high-brow programming strategy NBC adopted in 1945 to distinguish itself from other networks. And George Plasketes studies the critical reactions to Cop Rock, an ill-fated combination of police drama and musical, as an example of society's resistance to genre-mixing or departures from formulaic programming.
The result is a collection that represents some of the most recent and innovative scholarship, cultural and historical, on the intersections of broadcasting and American cultural, political, and economic life.
Radio sparked the massive upsurge of organized labor during the Great Depression. The powerful new medium became an important weapon in the ideological war between labor and business. Corporations used radio to sing the praises of individualism and consumerism, while unions emphasized equal rights, industrial democracy, and social justice.
Elizabeth Fones-Wolf analyzes the battle to utilize, and control, the airwaves in radio's early era. Working chronologically, she explores the advent of local labor radio stations such as WCFL and WEVD, labor's campaigns against corporate censorship, and union experiments with early FM broadcasting. Using union archives and broadcast industry records, Fones-Wolf demonstrates radio's key role in organized labor's efforts to fight business's domination of political discourse throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. She concludes with a look at how labor's virtual disappearance from today's media helps explain why unions have become so marginalized, and offers important historical lessons for revitalizing organized labor.
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