Download e-book for iPad: Active Radio: Pacifica's Brash Experiment by Jeffrey Land

By Jeffrey Land

ISBN-10: 0816631565

ISBN-13: 9780816631568

Lively Radio: Pacifica's Brash test (Commerce and Mass tradition)

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Additional info for Active Radio: Pacifica's Brash Experiment

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As the trickle of broadcast advertisements grew into a flood, the public was not altogether pleased. In the late twenties, many listeners wrote to Congress and the networks to complain about the commercial onslaught. The most vehement condemnation of the rapid commercialization and centralization of programming came from educators. They claimed that the control of radio had rapidly devolved onto a potentate of media moguls, producing mindless entertainment solely to attract the largest audiences for their sponsors.

A survey of network daily programming from the 1930s gives a clear, if rueful, snapshot of the practical manner in which the radio industry exercised its First Amendment freedoms. 24 The warnings of early critics of commercial sponsorship — that “the stimuli of art, science, religion are progressively expelled to the periphery of American life”25 — seemed well borne out. This evisceration of complex, intelligent, and controversial programming within the media was not a natural process. ” In the end, this alchemy was made possible by the corporate control of the fabulous, novel product that the broadcasting industry produced: freely distributed popular entertainment.

Noncommercial stations saw their call letters, frequency, and hours shifted continuously by the FRC. Unable to cultivate an audience, unsure what their future chances would be, most noncommercial stations simply petitioned the commission to withdraw their licenses, seeing that they had no future in broadcasting. By 1936, of the 618 stations in the United States, there were fewer than forty noncommercial outlets. Thus, under government stewardship, the educational possibilities of broadcasting were whittled down to size and eventually left in the hands of such agents of democracy and culture as Du Pont Chemicals, Philip Morris, and General Electric.

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Active Radio: Pacifica's Brash Experiment by Jeffrey Land


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