Listening To Radio, 1920-1950

Overview

Ray Barfield has done something quite new in media studies. Rather than trace the history of radio through the usual route, he has sought out a body of oral history from those who grew up with and listened to radio. He has not only collated the responses of his informants but placed their comments in a larger cultural and historical context and thus provided a kind of history from the ground up. He demonstrates thereby just how important and influential radio was in the lives of ordinary Americans. General ...

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Overview

Ray Barfield has done something quite new in media studies. Rather than trace the history of radio through the usual route, he has sought out a body of oral history from those who grew up with and listened to radio. He has not only collated the responses of his informants but placed their comments in a larger cultural and historical context and thus provided a kind of history from the ground up. He demonstrates thereby just how important and influential radio was in the lives of ordinary Americans. General readers and scholars alike will learn something from Barfield's engaging narrative about why radio was once such a compelling force in our culture. (From the Foreword by Thomas Inge.) This fresh and engaging account of early radio's contributions to U.S. social and cultural life brings together varied perspectives of listeners who recall the programs that delighted and entranced them. The first electronic medium to enter the home, radio is examined as a chief purveyor of family entertainment and as a bridge across regional differences. Barfield draws from over 150 accounts, providing a forum and a context for listeners of early radio to share their memories—from their first impressions of that magical box to favorite shows. Opening chapters trace the changing perceptions of radio as a guest or an invader in U.S. homes during the exuberant 1920s, the cash-scarce 1930s, and the rapidly changing World War II and post-war years. Later chapters offer listener responses to every major program type, including news reporting and commentary, sportscasts, drama, comedy series, crime and terror shows, educational and cultural programs, children's adventure series, soap operas, audience participation shows, and musical presentations.

This fresh and engaging account of early radio's contributions to U.S. social and cultural life brings together varied perspectives of listeners who recall the programs that delighted and entranced them. The first electronic medium to enter the home, radio is examined as a chief purveyor of family entertainment and as a bridge across regional differences. Barfield draws from over 150 accounts, providing a forum and a context for listeners of early radio to share their memories—from their first impressions of that magical box to favorite shows.

Opening chapters trace the changing perceptions of radio as a guest or an invader in U.S. homes during the exuberant 1920s, the cash-scarce 1930s, and the rapidly changing World War II and post-war years. Later chapters offer listener responses to every major program type, including news reporting and commentary, sportscasts, drama, comedy series, crime and terror shows, educational and cultural programs, children's adventure series, soap operas, audience participation shows, and musical presentations.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An account of early radio's contributions to US social and cultural life that draws on varied perspectives of listeners recalling their favorite programs. Barfield (English, Clemson U.) examines radio as the first electronic medium to invade the home, a chief purveyor of family entertainment, and a bridge across regional differences; but not as a vector for spreading advertising and consumerism. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275954925
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/30/1996
  • Pages: 248
  • Lexile: 1330L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

RAY BARFIELD is Professor of English at Clemson University.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Introduction: "No Radio" and No "Radio"
I How They Listened 1
1 Listening in the 1920s 3
2 Listening in the 1930s 15
3 Listening in (and After) the 1940s 25
4 Car and Portable Radios 33
5 Radio Families 39
II What They Heard 59
6 Events and Commentators 61
7 Sportscasts 79
8 Cultural, Educational, and Religious Programs 87
9 Morning to Mid-Afternoon Programs 97
10 Children's Adventure Programs 107
11 Other Children's Programs 127
12 Comedy Programs 135
13 Drama Anthologies 149
14 Crime and Terror Programs 157
15 Music Programs 171
16 Audience Participation, Amateur Talent, and Related Programs 185
17 Radio Travels: Memory, Time, and Place 191
18 Staying Tuned: Contemporary Sources for Old-Time Radio 201
Bibliography 207
Contributor Index 211
General Index 215
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