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Title: Popular Radio and the Origins of Broadcasting

Popular Radio and the Origins of Broadcasting
  • Chapter 5

Online Image Library
  • Go to www.bedfordstmartins.com/mediaculture
  • to access the Media Culture, 9th Edition Online
    Image Library.
  • The library contains all your favorite images
    from Media Culture, 9th edition!

The Demise of Local Radio
  • The consolidation of stations into massive radio
    groups like Cumulus and Clear Channel in the
    1990s and 2000s resulted in budget-cutting
    demands from the corporate offices and,
    ultimately, stations with less connection to
    their local audience.

Maxwell and Hertz Discover Radio Waves
  • James Maxwell
  • Theorized the existence of electromagnetic waves
  • Believed a portion of these waves, later known as
    radio waves, could be harnessed to transmit
  • Heinrich Hertz
  • Proved Maxwells theories (1880s)
  • Advanced the development of wireless communication

Figure 5.1 The Electromagnetic Spectrum
Marconi and the Inventors of Wireless Telegraphy
  • Guglielmo Marconi
  • Received a patent on wireless telegraphy in
    England in 1896
  • Alexander Popov
  • Made parallel discoveries in Russia
  • Nikola Tesla
  • Invented a wireless system in 1892
  • Marconi used much of Teslas work.
  • Deemed inventor of radio in 1943

Wireless Telephony De Forest and Fessenden
  • Lee De Forest
  • Wrote the first Ph.D. thesis on wireless
    technology in 1899
  • Primary interest was wireless telephony
  • Biggest breakthrough was the development of the
  • Reginald Fessenden
  • First voice broadcast

Regulating a New Medium
  • Radio Act of 1912
  • Required licensing
  • Adopted the SOS distress signal
  • World War I
  • Navy took control of radio.
  • Corporate heads and government leaders conspired
    to make sure radio served American interests.

Regulating a New Medium (cont.)
  • The formation of RCA
  • GE broke off negotiations to sell radio
    technologies to European companies, then took the
    lead in founding the Radio Corporation of America
  • RCA became a monopoly and gave the United States
    almost total control over the emerging mass
    medium of broadcasting.

The Evolution of Radio
  • Frank Conrad
  • Established the first commercial broadcast
    station, KDKA, in 1920
  • Charles Doc Herrold
  • Began a station in 1909 that later became KCBS
  • U.S. Commerce Dept.
  • Licensed five radio stations for operation in

The RCA Partnership Unravels
  • ATT
  • Broke its RCA agreements in 1922 in an attempt to
    monopolize radio
  • Began making and selling its own radio receivers
  • Started WEAF in New York, the first station to
    sell advertising
  • Created the first radio network
  • GE, Westinghouse, and RCA created their own radio
    group in response

Sarnoff and NBC Building the Blue and Red
  • David Sarnoff
  • RCAs first general manager
  • Created NBC, which was shared by RCA, GE, and
  • The original telephone group became known as the
    NBC-Red network, and the radio group became known
    as the NBC-Blue network.

Sarnoff and NBC Building the Blue and Red
Networks (cont.)
  • NBC affiliates
  • Paid NBC to carry its programs
  • NBC sold national advertising.
  • Emphasized national programming
  • Sarnoff also
  • Cut a deal with GM to manufacture car radios
  • Merged RCA with the Victor Talking Machine

Government Scrutiny Ends RCA-NBC Monopoly
  • FTC charged RCA with violations of antitrust laws
    as early as 1923.
  • RCA bought out GE and Westinghouses shares in
    RCAs manufacturing business.
  • Government accepted RCAs breakup proposal before

CBS and Paley Challenging NBC
  • First attempt at CBS failed
  • William S. Paley
  • Bought a controlling share in the company, and
    launched new concepts and strategies
  • Hired PR guru Edward Bernays
  • Used option time to lure affiliates
  • Raided NBC for top talent
  • Became the top network in 1949

Bringing Order to Chaos with the Radio Act of 1927
  • Radio Act of 1927
  • Stated that stations could only license their
    channels as long as they operated to serve the
    public interest, convenience, or necessity
  • Created the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), which
    became the Federal Communications Commission
    (FCC) with the Communications Act of 1934

Bringing Order to Chaos with the Radio Act of
  • Activist FCC went after the networks in 1941
  • Outlawed the practice of option time
  • Demanded that RCA sell one of its two NBC
  • NBC-Blue was sold and became the American
    Broadcasting Company (ABC).

The Golden Age of Radio
  • Early radio programming
  • Only a handful of stations
  • Live music daily
  • 15-minute evening programs
  • Variety shows
  • Quiz shows
  • Dramatic programs
  • Most shows had a single sponsor.

Radio Programming as a Cultural Mirror
  • The most popular comedy by the 1930s was Amos n
  • Stereotyped black characters as shiftless and
  • Created the idea of the serial show
  • Moved to TV and was the first show with an
    entirely black cast
  • Canceled in 1953 amid the strengthening Civil
    Rights movement

The Authority of Radio
  • War of the Worlds
  • Broadcast by Orson Welles on Halloween eve in
    1938 in the style of a radio news program
  • Created a panic in New York and New Jersey
  • Prompted the FCC to call for stricter warnings
    before and during programs imitating the style of
    radio news

Transistors Make Radio Portable
  • Transistors
  • Small electrical devices that could receive and
    amplify radio signals
  • More durable and less expensive than vacuum
    tubes, used less power, and produced less heat
  • Led to the creation of small pocket radios
  • Made radio portable

The FM Revolution and Edwin Armstrong
  • FM (frequency modulation) radio
  • Discovered and developed by Edwin Armstrong in
    the 1920s and 1930s
  • Greater fidelity and clarity than AM (amplitude
    modulation) radio
  • Lost RCAs support to TV
  • FCC opened up spectrum space for FM in the 1960s
  • Surpassed AM radio by the 1980s

The Rise of Format and Top 40 Radio
  • Format radio
  • Formula-driven radio
  • Management controls programming
  • Developed by Todd Storz in 1949
  • Used rotation
  • Led to the development of the Top 40 format
  • Creation of the program log and day parts

Resisting the Top 40
  • Expansion of FM in the mid-1960s created room for
  • Progressive rock
  • Experimental stations playing hard-edged
    political folk music
  • Album-oriented rock (AOR)
  • General classic rock

The Sounds of Commercial Radio
  • Listeners today are unlike radios first
    audiences in several ways.
  • Radio has become a secondary or background
  • Peak listening time is during drive time rather
    than prime time.
  • Stations are more specialized.

Format Specialization
  • Variety of formats
  • News, talk, and information
  • Music formats
  • Adult contemporary (AC)
  • Contemporary hit radio (CHR)
  • Country
  • Urban contemporary
  • Spanish language
  • Classic rock
  • Oldies

Figure 5.4 Most Popular U.S. Radio Formats, Ages
Nonprofit Radio and NPR
  • Early years of nonprofit radio
  • In 1948, the government began authorizing
    noncommercial licenses and approved 10-watt FM
  • First noncommercial networks
  • Public Broadcasting Act of 1967
  • National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public
    Broadcasting Service (PBS) mandated to provide
    alternatives to commercial broadcasting

New Radio Technologies Offer More Stations
  • Satellite radio
  • XM and Sirius merged to become Sirius XM Radio in
  • Accessible through satellite radios, mobile
    devices, and cars with a satellite band
  • HD Radio
  • Enables multicasting by AM and FM broadcasters
    and provides program data

Radio and Convergence
  • Internet radio
  • Broadcast radio stations now have an online
  • Online-only radio stations like Pandora growing
    in popularity
  • Podcasting and portable listening
  • A popular way to listen to radio-style programs
    on a computer or portable music device

Local and National Advertising
  • Radio advertising
  • Comprises 8 of media advertising
  • Industry revenue has dropped, but the number of
    stations keeps growing.
  • Only 20 of budget goes toward programming costs.
  • National networks provide programming in exchange
    for time slots for national ads.

Manipulating Playlists with Payola
  • Payola
  • Record promoters paying deejays to play
    particular records
  • Rampant in 1950s
  • In 2007, four of the largest broadcasting
    companies agreed to pay 12.5 million to settle a
    payola investigation by the FCC.

Radio Ownership From Diversity to Consolidation
  • Telecommunications Act of 1996
  • Eliminated most ownership restrictions in radio
  • Combined, Clear Channel, Cumulus, and CBS
  • Own roughly 1,500 radio stations (more than 10
    of all radio stations)
  • Dominate the fifty largest markets
  • Control about one-half of the entire radio
    industrys 17.4 billion revenue

Alternative Voices
  • In the 1990s, activists set up pirate stations
    to protest large corporations control over
  • In 2000, the FCC approved noncommercial low-power
    FM (LPFM) stations to give voice to local groups
    lacking access.
  • Prometheus Radio Project
  • Educates about low-power radio

Radio and the Democracy of the Airwaves
  • Influence of radio in the formation of American
    culture cannot be overestimated.
  • Early radio debates
  • Requirement to operate in the public interest,
    convenience, or necessity
  • Trend of radio moving away from its localism
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