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Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting, 1920-1934

Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting, 1920-1934

by Susan Smulyan

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When radio began, it was the exclusive province of those interested in the advancement of technology; programming was of little concern and commercialization was not even thought of. But, as the medium's popularity grew and radio sets entered millions of homes, the concern with filling air time grew, even as programming became increasingly expensive. The result was to commercialize the air waves, resulting in the diminution of the hope that radio would be primarily a source of education and/or a force for national unity. As Smulyan, an assistant professor in the Department of American Civilization at Brown, so succinctly puts it, the attempt was ``to reduce listeners to the lowest common denominator, that of consumer.'' How that goal was gradually accomplished in the period between the two world wars is the subject of this admirably researched volume, which is informative, but handicapped by the author's dry academic style. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Smulyan (American civilization, Brown U.) argues that the emergence of commercialized broadcasting was not an inevitable development but rather the result of a struggle over the form and content of the new technology. She describes how the radio industry overcame public opposition to advertising and altered the content of broadcasting, and concludes with a discussion of the impact of the Communication Act of 1934 on the next great communications technology--television. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Smithsonian Institution Press
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6.32(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.95(d)

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