Biographical Encyclopedia of American Radio

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In light of recent technological developments such as internet radio, some argue that the medium is facing a crisis, while others claim we are at the dawn of a new radio revolution. The Concise Encyclopedia of American Radio is an essential single-volume reference guide to this vital and evolving medium. It brings together the best and most important entries from the three-volume Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Radio, edited by Christopher Sterling.

The entries are updated throughout and the volume includes nine new entries on topics ranging from podcasting to the decline of radio. The Concise Encyclopedia of American Radio include suggestions for further reading as complements to most of the articles, biographical details for all person-entries, production credits for programs, and a comprehensive index. On the Air. John Dunning. Kenny Rogers - Unabridged Guide. Tammy Gregory.

Turned Out Nice Again. Louis Barfe. Just My Soul Responding. Brian Ward. The As It Happens Files. Mary Lou Finlay. The Films of John G. Larry Powell. Caroline Hodgson.

The Biographical Encyclopedia of American Radio

Michael L. Mitchell K. Jim Cox. Radio's New Wave. Jason Loviglio. Post-Punk Then and Now. Gavin Butt. The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Allison Graham. Merrie A. Encyclopedia of Television. Horace Newcomb. Raised on Radio. Gerald Nachman. Devil's Music, Holy Rollers and Hillbillies. James A. Frederick V. Ithaca Radio. Peter King Steinhaus. Albert Moran. Routledge Revivals: Radio Broadcasting from to Diane Foxhill Carothers.

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Stew Cohen. Stay Tuned. Christopher H. The Concise Encyclopedia of American Radio. Shaping American Telecommunications. Mass Communications Research Resources. Encyclopedia of Radio 3-Volume Set. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. The domination of the radio industry by large corporations was helped by the passage of the Telecommunications Act of , which eliminated restrictions on radio ownership. Before, companies could only own two stations in any single market and 28 nationwide.

All this changed after the Telecom Act passed. For example, as of , Clear Channel Radio was the largest operator of radio stations in the United States with more than 1, stations and reaching million listeners every week. Clear Channel also syndicated more than programs to 7, stations, including Rush Limbaugh, sports talk leader Jim Rome, and Casey Kasem. Nearly half of Clear Channel's radio stations were purchased in the Jacor acquisition. The Telecom Act pushed radio acquisitions into overdrive.

The feeding frenzy, driven by an influx of Wall Street money, enabled a handful of conglomerates to take control of the industry. Although radio is now more profitable, critics rebuke the conglomerates for forcing staid, automated music and formats on listeners, as well as for the elimination of countless radio jobs. Regardless of its shortcomings, however, radio continues to attract listeners and frames the way people think about music, sports, politics, and culture. In , there were nearly 13, stations in the United States , which reached 77 percent of the people over 12 years old every day and 95 percent of consumers weekly.

Barnouw, Erik. A History of Broadcasting in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, — Douglas, Susan J. Murrow to Wolfman Jack and Howard Stern. New York: Times Books, Keith, Michael C. Armonk, N. Sharpe, MacDonald, J. Don't Touch That Dial! Radio Programming in American Life, — Chicago: Nelson-Hall, The term is commonly applied also to the equipment used, especially to the radio receiver.

Uses of Radio Waves The prime purpose of radio is to convey information from one place to another through the intervening media i. Besides being used for transmitting sound and television signals, radio is used for the transmission of data in coded form. In the form of radar it is used also for sending out signals and picking up their reflections from objects in their path. Long-range radio signals enable astronauts to communicate with the earth from the moon and carry information from space probes as they travel to distant planets see space exploration.

For navigation of ships and aircraft the radio range , radio compass or direction finder , and radio time signals are widely used. Radio signals sent from global positioning satellites can also be used by special receivers for a precise indication of position see navigation satellite. Digital radio , both satellite and terrestrial, provides improved audio clarity and volume. Various remote-control devices, including rocket and artificial satellite operations systems and automatic valves in pipelines, are activated by radio signals.

The development of the transistor and other microelectronic devices see microelectronics led to the development of portable transmitters and receivers. Cellular and cordless telephones are actually radio transceivers. Many telephone calls routinely are relayed by radio rather than by wires; some are sent via radio to relay satellites.

Some celestial bodies and interstellar gases emit relatively strong radio waves that are observed with radio telescopes composed of very sensitive receivers and large directional antennas see radio astronomy. Transmission and Reception of Radio Waves For the propagation and interception of radio waves, a transmitter and receiver are employed. A radio wave acts as a carrier of information-bearing signals; the information may be encoded directly on the wave by periodically interrupting its transmission as in dot-and-dash telegraphy or impressed on it by a process called modulation.

The actual information in a modulated signal is contained in its sidebands , or frequencies added to the carrier wave, rather than in the carrier wave itself. The two most common types of modulation used in radio are amplitude modulation AM and frequency modulation FM. Frequency modulation minimizes noise and provides greater fidelity than amplitude modulation, which is the older method of broadcasting. Both AM and FM are analog transmission systems, that is, they process sounds into continuously varying patterns of electrical signals which resemble sound waves. Digital radio uses a transmission system in which the signals propagate as discrete voltage pulses, that is, as patterns of numbers; before transmission, an analog audio signal is converted into a digital signal , which may be transmitted in the AM or FM frequency range.

A digital radio broadcast offers compact-disc-quality reception and reproduction on the FM band and FM-quality reception and reproduction on the AM band. In its most common form, radio is used for the transmission of sounds voice and music and pictures television. The sounds and images are converted into electrical signals by a microphone sounds or video camera images , amplified, and used to modulate a carrier wave that has been generated by an oscillator circuit in a transmitter.

The modulated carrier is also amplified, then applied to an antenna that converts the electrical signals to electromagnetic waves for radiation into space. Such waves radiate at the speed of light and are transmitted not only by line of sight but also by deflection from the ionosphere. Receiving antennas intercept part of this radiation, change it back to the form of electrical signals, and feed it to a receiver. The most efficient and most common circuit for radio-frequency selection and amplification used in radio receivers is the superheterodyne. In that system, incoming signals are mixed with a signal from a local oscillator to produce intermediate frequencies IF that are equal to the arithmetical sum and difference of the incoming and local frequencies.

One of those frequencies is applied to an amplifier. Because the IF amplifier operates at a single frequency, namely the intermediate frequency, it can be built for optimum selectivity and gain. The tuning control on a radio receiver adjusts the local oscillator frequency. If the incoming signals are above the threshold of sensitivity of the receiver and if the receiver is tuned to the frequency of the signal, it will amplify the signal and feed it to circuits that demodulate it, i. There are certain differences between AM and FM receivers. In an AM transmission the carrier wave is constant in frequency and varies in amplitude strength according to the sounds present at the microphone; in FM the carrier is constant in amplitude and varies in frequency.

Because the noise that affects radio signals is partly, but not completely, manifested in amplitude variations, wideband FM receivers are inherently less sensitive to noise. In an FM receiver, the limiter and discriminator stages are circuits that respond solely to changes in frequency.

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The other stages of the FM receiver are similar to those of the AM receiver but require more care in design and assembly to make full use of FM's advantages. FM is also used in television sound systems. In both radio and television receivers, once the basic signals have been separated from the carrier wave they are fed to a loudspeaker or a display device usually a cathode-ray tube , where they are converted into sound and visual images, respectively.

Development of Radio Technology Radio is based on the studies of James Clerk Maxwell , who developed the mathematical theory of electromagnetic waves, and Heinrich Hertz, who devised an apparatus for generating and detecting them. Guglielmo Marconi , recognizing the possibility of using these waves for a wireless communication system, gave a demonstration of the wireless telegraph, using Hertz's spark coil as a transmitter and Edouard Branly's coherer a radio detector in which the conductance between two conductors is improved by the passage of a high-frequency current as the first radio receiver.

The effective operating distance of this system increased as the equipment was improved, and in , Marconi succeeded in sending the letter S across the Atlantic Ocean using Morse code. In , Sir John A. Fleming developed the first vacuum electron tube , which was able to detect radio waves electronically. Two years later, Lee de Forest invented the audion, a type of triode, or three-element tube, which not only detected radio waves but also amplified them.

Radio telephony—the transmission of music and speech—also began in with the work of Reginald Fessiden and Ernst F. Alexanderson, but it was not until Edwin H. Armstrong patented the circuit for the regenerative receiver that long-range radio reception became practicable. The major developments in radio initially were for ship-to-shore communications. In the first broadcasting network was formed, ushering in the golden age of radio.

The least expensive form of entertainment during the Great Depression , the radio receiver became a standard household fixture, particularly in the United States. Subsequent research gave rise to countless technical improvements and to such applications as radio facsimile , radar, and television. The latter changed radio programming drastically, and the s and 50s witnessed the migration of the most popular comedy and drama shows from radio to television. Radio programming became mostly music and news and, to a lesser extent, talk shows. The turn of the century saw a potential rebirth for radio as mobile digital radio entered the market with a satellite-based subscription service in Europe and in the United States Two years later, a land-based digital radio subscription service was inaugurated in the United States.

Radios that combine transmitters and receivers are now widely used for communications. Police and military forces and various businesses commonly use such radios to maintain contact with dispersed individuals or groups. Citizens band CB radios, two-way radios operating at frequencies near 27 megahertz, most typically used in vehicles for communication while traveling, became popular in the s.

Cellular telephones , despite the name, are another popular form of radio used for communication. Bibliography See A. Marcus, Elements of Radio 6th ed. Schilling, Principles of Communications Systems 2d ed. In the s and s, when radio still was regarded as a new medium, special children's programs were broadcast in order to attract young listeners. As such programs became popular, production increased. Children and teenagers took pleasure in listening to programs specifically aimed at children as well as other programs.

The Biographical Encyclopedia of American Radio | Emerald Insight

By this time, American children aged nine to twelve listened to radio approximately two to three hours a day, especially during the evening. Girls preferred romantic and historical dramatizations and boys listened more to popular and novelty programs, but one study came to the conclusion that the differences mattered less than the similarities. With some variations, comedy and mystery radio plays were preferred above others by both boys and girls of all ages. Thus children enjoyed a variety of programs, including those produced for adults. As with other electronic media, radio was met with worries from the adult world.

In Sweden , as in other countries, it was a common anxiety that too much listening could make children passive and less eager to play. In the s, Swedish teachers expressed worries about being regarded as mere "loudspeakers" by children accustomed to passively listening to radio. However, compared with reactions to other electronic media, radio seems to have incited relatively few "moral panic" attacks. Partly this can be explained by radio's supposed usefulness in education discussed below.

In the s, when television was introduced, researchers in Britain came to the conclusion that television reduced radio listening more than it reduced any other activity. In spite of this, one in three children said that if they had to do without radio they would miss it quite a lot. The study also noticed that children who had been watching television for several years listened a little more often to the radio. This was described as a revival in line with reports of adults' media behavior.

While radio plays could not compete with television plays, other types of programs held listeners' interest, including panel games, discussions, music, and sports commentaries. Other studies have arrived at the similar conclusion that, with increasing age, children spent more time with radio than with television. Teenagers in particular have been found to be regular radio listeners.

Researchers have attributed this to the socialization effects of radio, although explanations of what those effects are have varied over time. In the s socialization to political virtues was considered to be an important factor, while in the s, radio was seen as a source for identity formation in a peer group. This change can be related to the shift of content in programs addressed to teenagers. In the s and s teenagers listened more to music than to anything else on radio. From the start, in both Europe and America radio was greeted with hopes for its pedagogical value. Radio had the power to bring the world to the classroom, and programs could be presented as textbooks of the air.

In America, commercial and educational stations received licenses starting in the s to produce classroom broadcasting, and eventually national networks also provided educational programs. Even though most programs were in line with traditional school subjects, some attempted to connect this content with progressive ideas about education and democracy. Radio allowed children and teachers to engage in the production of programs, preparing talks on, for example, automobiles, farming, and science.

Together with the fact that parents supplied schools with radio receivers, this reflected a certain degree of local engagement in the implementation of radio in schools. However, this is not a perspective that has been emphasized in research. On the contrary, the organization of radio in education in America has been described as top down implementation. One example of this was the fact that superintendents, not teachers, were supposed to answer questionnaires, indicating that teachers were not included in the implementation process. In contrast to America, broadcast systems in Europe were organized as nationwide networks that could be used for the inculcation of national values and virtues.

Issues regarding educational as well as social and cultural policy were included in the broadcast organizations — in other words, they became part of welfare policy. In this context, children became a special interest. In Scandinavian countries and Britain, special departments for educational programs were organized in the late s or early s.

In general these programs were in line with the overall curriculum. However, a study on the use of radio in classrooms in Sweden reveals that there were contrasts between the content of ordinary schoolbooks and the content of radio programs. Radio programs emphasized contemporary progressive ideas on education and progressive political notions that were not represented in schoolbooks at that time.

Citizenship, a new subject, was also given a particularly radical formulation in the school programs. This meant that children who listened to educational programs on the radio, discussed the programs, and did assignments on them, encountered views of society that differed from prevailing traditional middle-class representations.

Reoccurring subjects included the everyday lives of the working or lower-middle classes as well as the need for health reform and an expanded welfare system. In Sweden, educational broadcasts addressed children not only as future citizens but also as active contemporary citizens. Children were included in the actual broadcasts, where they were displayed, with references to famous scientific explorers like Sven Hedin , as competent explorers of their own society.

Further, these children were enlisted to represent various parts of society in accordance with notions of society proposed by progressive policymakers. Each pupil was supposed to have his or her own program sheet where each program was presented in texts and pictures. This practice was implemented out of a strong belief that a will to change the way people thought had to start with strategies that changed the way they talked. In contrast to America, and in spite of the centralized organization, in Sweden teachers were included in the implementation of radio in education.

They participated continually in surveys where they reported their own and the pupils' responses to programs. Active teachers were invited to annual conferences about the use of radio in classrooms. It was argued by teachers and by the organizers of school broadcasts that elementary schoolteachers were more competent than academics and experts in communicating with pupils and therefore were invited to produce programs. In Britain, educational radio programs were regarded as an important way to influence individual children and adolescents when they had problems or needed guidance in societal matters.

Radio was also used to inculcate new notions of citizenship. Studies of children's radio programs, particularly educational programs, offers an area of research that brings new perspectives to social, cultural, and political history. Such research also expands investigations of children's increased visibility and status as a special group in society, for instance as reflected in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Children's programs provide material for inquiries into children's place in society as well as representations of childhood from a historical perspective, particularly during the period from to , when radio was regarded as the major electronic medium in society.

It is also a field well attuned to further developments of theoretical and methodological issues. In addition to actual programs, manuscripts, program sheets, and other documents concerning children's broadcasts, a number of studies measure children's reading and comprehension skills in relation to radio. Such materials could be used to investigate the systems of knowledge and meaning that have affected the child in different decades of the twentieth century. Christenson, Peter G. Cuban, Larry. Teachers and Machines.

The Classroom Use of Technology since Lindgren, Anne-Li. Paik, Haejung. In Handbook of Children and the Media, ed. Dorothy G. Singer and Jerome L. Radio is the technology that allows information to be transmitted and received over radio waves. Radio signals can carry speech, music, or digitally encoded entertainment. Radio waves occur naturally in space or can be created by people.

They are a long-wave form of electromagnetic radiation , or radiation that transmits energy through the interaction of electricity and magnetism. In the nineteenth century, Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell — developed a mathematical theory proving that magnetism and electricity were related. His theory linking the two forces became known as the electromagnetic theory.

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He predicted that light is only one type of electromagnetic radiation and that wavelengths should exist below infrared those situated outside the visible spectrum at the red or long-wavelength end and above ultraviolet situated outside the visible spectrum at the violet or short-wavelength end. In the s, German physicist Heinrich Hertz — discovered extremely long-wavelength radio waves, proving Maxwell's theory. Italian physicist and engineer Guglielmo Marconi — , fascinated with Hertz's discovery of radio waves, built his first crude radio transmitter and receiver in In , using his "wireless" as radio was called then , he sent the first message via signals similar to Morse code which uses dots and dashes for letters and numbers across the Atlantic Ocean.

In the succeeding years, other scientists improved on Marconi's invention, and it eventually became possible to send voice signals by radio waves. Radio broadcasting as we know it today began in Harding had been elected president of the United States. Within a few years, many homes had radio receivers and several radio stations scheduled regular programming. Although turning on a radio produces sound, radio waves themselves cannot be "heard" and have nothing to do with sound waves.

While sound waves are a vibration of the air, radio waves are electromagnetic and a part of the light spectrum. Radio waves travel at a speed of , miles , kilometers per second — the speed of light. Radio waves travel through the air, surrounding us with vibrations that can only be detected through a radio receiver.

Radio programs begin as sound waves, which microphones change into electrical signals. From the antenna atop the radio station, the electrical signals are broadcast as electromagnetic waves. The receiver picks up the waves in the air, electrically amplifies enlarges them, and converts them back into sound through the speaker of the radio in your home. Although radio waves from many stations surround us all the time, the radio does not receive them all at the same time because the stations broadcast at different frequencies. A frequency is the number of times per second that radio waves vibrate.

The numbers on a radio dial represent the frequencies used by radio stations in your area. For example, if the dial is set at 96, the radio signal you hear is broadcasted at kilocycles, or , cycles per second. Electromagnetic radiation: Radiation that transmits energy through the interaction of electricity and magnetism. Infrared radiation: Electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength shorter than radio waves but longer than visible light that takes the form of heat. Modulation: Process by which a characteristic of radio waves, such as amplitude or frequency, is changed to make the waves correspond to a signal or information that is being transmitted.

Ultraviolet radiation: Electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength just shorter than the violet end of the visible light spectrum. A radio signal alone, without information speech, music added to it, is called a carrier wave. Adding information to a carrier signal is a process called modulation. The simplest modulation method is to vary the strength of the signal.

The result is called amplitude modulation, or AM. The method that varies the signal's frequency is known as frequency modulation, or FM. AM radio waves are about 1, feet 1, kilometers in wavelength, while FM radio waves are only a few feet in wavelength. Broadcasts on AM radio stations can often be heard for hundreds of miles, especially at night when electromagnetic interference is minimal.

Broadcasts on FM stations do not travel such a distance, but they have better sound quality and are not affected by lightning-caused static that often plagues AM broadcasts. The solution to the technical problem of how to send telegraph and telephone messages without connecting cables was found in the late 19th cent. In Britain , Italian inventor Marconi developed the first wireless telegraph in , sending airwave messages in Morse code over the Atlantic in Fleming allowed speech to be turned into radio waves, and the First World War brought rapid developments in this means of transmitting messages on the airwaves.

After the war, electrical companies such as Marconi's experimented with transmitting entertainment items to the many amateur radio receivers throughout Britain. After initial attempts to ban such activities, the government decided to license the experiments, leading to the creation in of the British Broadcasting Company as a monopoly private consortium of radio companies, responsible to the postmaster-general and supported by a licence fee. With its elevation to a corporation in , the BBC set the tone for radio in Britain over the next 40 years—a paternalistic diet of information and education, with some concessions to entertainment in the form of light musical and variety items.

Challenges from the more populist fare of other radio stations—Radio Luxembourg from , American Forces Radio in the Second World War , and offshore pirate radio stations in the s—brought gradual revision to programming policy. The biggest changes to British radio however came in the early s with government legislation to permit commercial radio, under the name of Independent Local Radio ILR. Capital and LBC in were the first of a network of stations that grew up throughout the country over the next few years, under the guidance of the Independent Broadcasting Authority now the Radio Authority.

ILR's populist fare often proved more successful than the BBC national and local radio in certain areas, and under Conservative free enterprise policy in the s and s, the expansion of commercial radio was cemented with licences to new national, regional, local, community, and ethnic stations.

The pattern of radio consumption has been irrevocably changed, and the BBC entered the 21st cent. Douglas J. Radio is looked at as an important tool in educating the general public about health issues. In particular, it is believed that properly developed community radio can encourage community-driven problem solving. At the government level, radio has been used to advise the public on issues such as new health standards and seasonal food warnings.

Examples of radio's role in education and public health awareness are numerous. Sound Partners — a program run by the Benton Foundation — provides grants to public radio stations interested in developing community-oriented educational content for the good of public health. Many talk-radio stations and public broadcasters feature special call-in medical programming and general health information.


Public addresses via radio, such as President Clinton's radio talk on May 6, , on food safety, and the radio dissemination of automotive product recalls by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also exhibit the effectiveness of radio as a means of informing the public.

While the above services are good for the general public, physicians need to be educated in a different manner. Internet radio involves broadcasting audio content on the Internet so it can be heard anywhere in the world through a computer or WebTV unit. Internet radio is important for the public health and medical community because it creates an opportunity for high-quality interactive distance learning and education without geographic limitations. For example, in a normal educational setting doctors would need to go to a special class or conference to educate themselves.

Internet radio can provide doctors with an alternative to the traditional continuing education setting. A transmitter generates a radio signal of fixed frequency the carrier wave. A microphone converts the sound to be broadcast into a varying electrical signal that combines with the carrier by means of modulation varying the frequency or amplitude of the carrier. Frequency modulation FM minimizes interference and provides greater fidelity than amplitude modulation AM. The modulated carrier wave passes to an aerial , which transmits it into the atmosphere. Radio waves travel at the speed of light and are transmitted not only by line-of-sight ground waves , but also by reflection from the ionosphere sky waves.

Sky waves enable long-range transmission. The ultra high frequency UHF and very high frequency VHF radio waves used to send signals for television penetrate the ionosphere with little reflection, and long-range broadcasting is made possible by means of artificial satellites. The development of radio was a truly international effort. It stems from the work of Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. German physicist Heinrich Hertz devised an apparatus for the transmission and detection of radio waves.

In , Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi gave a demonstration of the first wireless telegraph , and in he sent the first transatlantic message using Morse code. In , English engineer Sir John Fleming invented the thermionic valve. In , US physicist Lee De Forest developed the audion triode valve , which was able to detect and amplify radio waves. It remained at the heart of radio and television manufacture until the invention of the transistor.

The radio, or "wireless," was born in , when Italian physicist and inventor Guglielmo Marconi — experimented with wireless telegraphy. The following year Marconi transmitted telegraph signals through the air from Italy to England. In Marconi established the American Marconi Company.

He continued making improvements, including sending out signals on different wavelengths so that multiple messages could be transmitted at one time without interfering with each other. The first trans-Atlantic message, from Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland, Canada , was sent and received in At first radio technology was regarded as a novelty and few understood how it could work.

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But in January a Marconi wireless station at South Wellfleet, Massachusetts on Cape Cod , received Morse code messages from Europe as well as faint music and voices. That event changed the perception of radio. Before long, Americans had become accustomed to receiving "radiograms" — messages transmitted via the wireless. In the first radio broadcast of voice and music was made. Ships within a radius of several hundred miles picked up the event, which originated at Brant Rock, Massachusetts, on Christmas Eve.

That accomplishment resulted from the invention of another radio pioneer, U. In U. In De Forest transmitted the first radio news broadcast. Within three years of the first commercial radio broadcast, there were more than five hundred radio stations in the United States.

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Congress tried to keep pace with the growth of the communications industry by passing the Radio Acts of and and setting up the Federal Communications Commission FCC to regulate the airwaves. During the trying times of the Great Depression — , President Franklin Roosevelt — spoke directly to the U. By the end of the decade radio was woven into the fabric of everyday American life. People across the country, in cities, suburbs, and on farms, tuned in for news and entertainment; they listened to broadcasts of baseball games and other sporting events as well as comedy and variety shows, dramas, and live music programs.

Between the s and the s gathering around the radio in the evenings was as common to Americans as watching television is today. Networks offered advertisers national audiences and corporate America eagerly seized the opportunity to speak directly to people in their own homes. The advent of television in the s and its growing popularity over the next two decades changed the role of radio in American life. Having lost their audience to TV, radio programmers seized rock music as a way to reach a wide, albeit a very young, audience.

Many argue that the rise of the musical genre kept radio alive. In the decades since, radio programming became increasingly music-oriented; talk and news programming were also popular. Economic History. African-American radio can be divided into three general periods of historical development: blackface radio — , black-appeal radio — , and black-controlled radio to the present. Blackface radio was characterized by the appropriation of African-American music and humor by white entertainers, who performed their secondhand imitations for a predominantly white listening audience.

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During this period, black people were essentially outside of the commercial broadcasting loop; they were marginal as both radio entertainers and consumers. In the era of black-appeal radio, African Americans entered into the industry as entertainers and consumers, but the ownership and management of the stations targeting the black radio market remained mostly in the hands of white businessmen.

This situation constrained the development of independent black radio operations, while the radio industry in general prospered from it. During the most recent period, African Americans have striven to own and operate their own radio stations, both commercial and public. In addition, they have established black-controlled radio networks and trade organizations. However, the percentage of African-American-owned stations still lags far behind the percentage of black listeners. The appropriation of black song, dance, and humor by white entertainers who blackened their faces with charcoal goes back to the early days of slavery.

The resulting radical stereotypes were embedded in the blackface minstrel tradition, which dominated American popular entertainment in the antebellum period, and remained resilient enough in the postbellum years to reappear in film and radio in the early decades of the twentieth century. Popular black music styles like blues and jazz were first performed on the radio by such white performers as Sophie Tucker, the first singer to popularize W.

A parallel trend developed with respect to black humor with the emergence of Amos 'n' Andy starring Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll as radio's most popular comedy series. Indeed, Amos 'n' Andy was radio's first mass phenomenon: a supershow that attracted 53 percent of the national audience, or 40 million listeners, during its peak years on the NBC network in the early s.

In addition, the series provoked the black community's first national radio controversy. Robert Abbot, editor of the Chicago Defender , defended Gosden and Correll's caricatures of black urban life as inoffensive and even humane. Robert Vann, editor of the Pittsburgh Courier , countered by criticizing the series as racist in its portrayal of African Americans.

He also launched a petition campaign to have the program taken off the air that amassed , signatures — but to no avail, for the Federal Radio Commission ignored it. Meanwhile, Amos 'n' Andy dominated black comedy on radio throughout its heyday as the "national pastime" in the s. In addition to Gosden and Correll, the other major blackface radio entertainers of the era included George Mack and Charles Moran, known as the Two Black Crows on the CBS network, as well as Marlin Hunt, who created and portrayed the radio maid Beulah on the series of the same name. During the period when blackface comedy performed by whites dominated the portrayal of African Americans over the airways, its audience was mostly white; fewer than one in ten black households owned a radio receiver.

There were black entertainers and actors who managed to get hired by the radio industry in the pre — World War II era, and for the most part they were restricted to playing stereotyped roles. The renowned black comedian Bert Williams was the first important black performer to be linked to commercial broadcasting, in the s; he was featured on a New York station doing the same routines he popularized while performing in blackface on the Broadway stage. During the Great Depression , as if to add insult to injury, a number of black actors and actresses who auditioned for radio parts were told that they needed to be coached in the art of black dialect by white coaches if they wanted the jobs.

The most famous black comic to appear regularly on network radio in the s was Eddie Anderson, who played the role of the butler and chauffeur Rochester on the Jack Benny Show. Anderson was often criticized in the black press for playing a stereotypical "faithful servant" role, even as he was being praised for his economic success and celebrity.

After blackface comedy, the African-American dance music called jazz was the next most popular expression of black culture broadcast over the airways in the s and s. As was the case with humor, the major radio jazz bands were made up of white musicians, and were directed by white bandleaders such as Paul Whiteman , B.

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Rolfe, and Ben Bernie. The first black musicians to be broadcast with some regularity on network radio were New York bandleaders Duke Ellington and Noble Sissle. A number of influential white radio producers such as Frank and Ann Hummert, the king and queen of network soap operas, began to routinely include black doctors, teachers, and soldiers in their scripts. In addition, the federal government produced its own radio series, entitled Freedom's People , to dramatize the participation of African Americans in past wars, and it recruited Paul Robeson as a national and then international radio spokesman for the U.

But at the end of the war, the government withdrew from the domestic broadcasting sphere, allowing the logic of the marketplace to reassert itself.