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Entrepreneurial Stage

"I remember it was 10 or 11 o'clock at night

and all at once, this voice appears. And I
remember letting out a yelp or a shout of
some sort and my dad, who had just gotten
out of the bath, came in wrapped in a towel to
make sure... that something hadn't happened
to me. I said, 'Dad, look, I hear this fellow
Some Key Developments…

 Radio Act of 1912

–You need a LICENSE to operate a
 Radio is an important war tool
 U.S. wants to control Global radio
Some Key Developments…

1915: Over 20 companies selling point-to-point

radio equipment:
 AT&T (transmitters)
 General electric (U.S.) (Receivers)
 American Marconi (Britain) (both)
 (marconi was the biggest and best)
Some Key Developments…
U.S. develops a “plan” to ensure powerful radio technology
would fall under U.S. control.

1. Establish new company, anchored by GE, called RCA

(Radio Corporation of America), To pool patents. RCA is
a private-sector monopoly.
2. Using GE, weaken British Marconi by not selling them key
components, and then BUY its american assets (american
3. Use RCA to oversee radio patents from GE, AT&T,
Westinghouse, American Marconi and the navy.

=The beginning of American domination over

communication technology
Some Key Developments…
• THE UK MODEL: In 1904, Great Britain
decides to develop A state-supported
broadcasting system.

• The UK Funds the BBC

(British Broadcasting Corporation)
Mass Medium Stage
Radio: a DEMOCRATIC medium

• Education
• Religion
• Workers
• Businesses (jewelry stores)
• Entertainment
• News
(VIDEO “Radio Network Broadcasting”)
Tufts University, 1922

2. RCA creates a network as subsidiary, linked

with (INFERIOR) Western Union lines
= Radio Group (w/ GE and Westinghouse)



OF AMERICA (AT&T/BCA) superior
RADIO GROUP (RCA) inferior
Mass Medium Stage
• CBS, 1928. William Paley uses option time
to woo affiliates from NBC.

• ABC, 1941. FCC outlaws option time. forces

RCA to sell one of its NBC networks, which
becomes ABC.

• By 1940s, NBC, CBS, and ABC established

as Big 3 networks.
Radio Rules
• Radio Act of 1912: required a license

• Radio Act of 1927: Establishes FRC and

standard of operating in the “public interest,
convenience, or necessity” (PICON)

• Communications Act of 1934:

– Establishes FCC, keeps PICON standard.
– Congress endorses commercial radio.
Radio Culture: 1930s
golden age of radio
• People across America were sharing the
same stories (creating consensus narratives)
– E.g., Inner Sanctum
– Amos N’ Andy
– Roosevelt fireside
– War of the Worlds
Hindenburg Disaster, 1937 (video)