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Fireside Politics / Edition 1

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In Fireside Politics, Douglas B. Craig provides the first detailed and complete examination of radio's changing role in American political culture between 1920 and 1940—the medium's golden age, when it commanded huge national audiences without competition from television. Craig follows the evolution of radio into a commercialized, networked, and regulated industry, and ultimately into an essential tool for winning political campaigns and shaping American identity in the interwar period. Finally, he draws thoughtful comparisons of the American experience of radio broadcasting and political culture with those of Australia, Britain, and Canada.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American History - Brett Gary
An impressively researched and useful study... Craig subtly winds his interpretive, critical thread of the unfulfilled promise of radio as an engine of a more expansive democracy into a larger narrative about the institutional and ideological sway of commercial radio interests.
Technology and Culture - Hugh R. Slotten
Douglas Craig's main goal was to write a political history of radio broadcasting in the United States before World War II; however, he has also succeeded in producing the best general study yet published on the development of radio broadcasting during this crucial period when key institutional and social patterns were established.
H-Pol, H-Net Reviews - Stephen Ponder
Fireside Politics is the most complete study so far of the interactions between broadcasting and the U.S. political system during the 'golden age' of radio... Likely to become a leading reference in continuing discussions over communication history, technology, and democracy.
A fascinating study making good use of archival material as well as prior research.

A fascinating study making good use of archival material as well as prior research.

Craig (history, Australian National U.) explores radio's influence on how Americans conducted public business and conceived of their community during the golden age of radio. Using diverse sources, he traces the evolution of radio into a commercialized, networked, and regulated industry; describes how the two major parties used the new medium in national contests; explores interwar notions of citizenship and good taste and their effect on radio broadcasting; and compares the American experience with that of Australia, Britain, and Canada. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801883125
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 6/23/2005
  • Series: Reconfiguring American Political History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 0.86 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas B. Craig is a reader in history at the Australian National University. He is the author of After Wilson: The Struggle for the Democratic Party, 1920–1934.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Maps, Illustrations, Figures, and Tables
Pt. I Making the Medium, 1895-1940
1 The Radio Age: The Growth of Radio Broadcasting, 1895-1940 3
2 Radio Advertising and Networks 18
3 Regulatory Models and the Radio Act of 1927 36
4 The Federal Radio Commission, 1927-1934 59
5 A New Deal for Radio? The Communications Act of 1934 78
6 The Federal Communications Commission and Radio, 1934-1940 92
Pt. II Radio and the Business of Politics, 1920-1940
7 The Sellers: Stations, Networks, and Political Broadcasting 113
8 The Buyers: National Parties, Candidates, and Radio 140
9 The Product: Radio Politics and Campaigning 167
10 The Consumers: Radio, Audiences, and Voters 186
Pt. III Radio and Citizenship, 1920-1940
11 Radio and the Problem of Citizenship 205
12 Radio at the Margins: Broadcasting and the Limits of Citizenship 234
13 Radio and the Politics of Good Taste 258
Conclusion 279
Notes 285
Bibliography 329
Index 351
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