Radio's Intimate Public: Network Broadcasting and Mass-Mediated Democracy

Radio's Intimate Public: Network Broadcasting and Mass-Mediated Democracy

by Jason Loviglio
     
 

ISBN-10: 0816642338

ISBN-13: 9780816642335

Pub. Date: 11/10/2005

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

In the 1930s, radio’s wide popularity created an important shared experience among Americans, from motorists and pedestrians on the city street to families on the living room couch after dinner. In Radio’s Intimate Public, Jason Loviglio shows how early network radio produced a new type of community marked by the contradictions and tensions

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Overview

In the 1930s, radio’s wide popularity created an important shared experience among Americans, from motorists and pedestrians on the city street to families on the living room couch after dinner. In Radio’s Intimate Public, Jason Loviglio shows how early network radio produced a new type of community marked by the contradictions and tensions between public and private, mass media and democracy, and nation and family. 

Radio voices were thrilling, Loviglio argues, because they moved with impunity back and forth between private and public. As a result of this new intimacy, the dichotomy between the two realms was challenged, the idea of mass-mediated democracy arose, and the definition of “the public” was called into question. Examining a broad range of radio programs, including The Shadow, soap operas, Vox Pop, and FDR’s Fireside Chats, Radio’s Intimate Public illustrates how this new and contradictory media space promised listeners a fantasy of social mobility and access—even as it reminded them of the hierarchies that protected their own relative privilege. 

Bringing theories of the public sphere to bear on American cultural history, Loviglio explores early network radio and the tension between intimacy (interpersonal communication) and publicity (mass communication). In doing so, he unearths the origins of today’s reality television where people are invited to participate vicariously in official transgressions of the boundary between public and private existence, even if only to help police it. 

Jason Loviglio is assistant professor of American studies and director of the Certificate in Communications and Media Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. He is the editor (with Michele Hilmes) of Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Radio.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816642335
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
11/10/2005
Pages:
206
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : radio's intimate public
1The fireside chats and the New Deal1
2Vox pop : network radio and the voice of the people38
3Public affairs : the soap-opera cultural front70
4The shadow meets the phantom public102
Conclusion : America's most fascinating people123

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