COM 107.3, Lecture 4/17: The Story of Radio

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Lecture for COM 107.3 on April 17, 2014.

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  • Used in reporting, communication during Civil War. Used electromagnet to send electrical impulsesSamuel Morse…series of short and long beeps to forms words/phrases – first message chosen by niece; quote from bibleHetzian waves = electromagnetic waves = radio waves
  • Marconi transmitted first radio signal across Atlantic using electromagnetic waves (first long-distance radio)
  • Fess. Worked for EdisonU.S. Navy & GE sponsored research
  • Used to use a lot of technology from Europe, telegraphyConrad worked for GE competitor and got found out! Had to make official
  • Payola - 2007 FCC investigationRevenue dropped over years (ads, not as popular form of media), but # of stations keep growing
  • After ATT - GE, RCA, Westinghouse followed
  • 15-min night programsSponsorship = “be sure to drink your ovaltine?!”Lots of stereotypes: racial, gender Amos and andy = one of most pop radio progs of 20s-40s: “The first sustained protest against the program found its inspiration in the December 1930 issue of Abbott's Monthly, when Bishop W.J. Walls of the African Methodist Church wrote an article sharply denouncing Amos 'n' Andy, singling out the lower-class characterizations and the "crude, repetitious, and moronic" dialogue. The Pittsburgh Courier was the second largest African-American newspaper at the time, and publisher Robert Vann expanded Walls' criticism into a full-fledged crusade during a six-month period in 1931.The paper, among other publicly stated efforts, published a petition to get the program pulled from the air, with a stated goal of one million signatures. The NAACP national office declined to endorse the protest, although some of their local chapters stood behind the effort. Before the campaign was dropped.”
  • H.G. Welles~1 million people panicked: “The Panic Broadcast”1 person died of heart attack**Orson lied…was interrupted by boss mid-broadcast & told to stop due to people panicking. He refused to let it be interrupted, and claimed he would announce at end
  • FM radio works the same way that AM radio works. The difference is in how the carrier wave is modulated, or altered. With AM radio, the amplitude, or overall strength, of the signal is varied to incorporate the sound information. With FM, the frequency (the number of times each second that the current changes direction) of the carrier signal is varied. FM signals have a great advantage over AM signals. Both signals are susceptible to slight changes in amplitude. With an AM broadcast, these changes result in static. With an FM broadcast, slight changes in amplitude don't matter -- since the audio signal is conveyed through changes in frequency, the FM receiver can just ignore changes in amplitude. The result: no static at all. Transister=semiconductor of electric signal/frequencyFav radio station? Format?
  • Personalization, customization (semantic web)Pandora chooses songs based on >400 variables (when “liking”)Siruisxm merger – 2008 (both came out in early 2000s)
  • When do you guys listen to radio?
  • COM 107.3, Lecture 4/17: The Story of Radio

    1. 1. “Am I Caller 100?” The Origins of Broadcast
    2. 2. Inventing Radio   Morse’s Telegraph (1840s)   Allowed message transmission across distance   Morse code (1844)   Radio waves   1867: James Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetic radiation   1887: Heinrich Hertz discovers “Hertzian Waves”
    3. 3. The Original “Wireless”   Narrrowcasting = point-to-point   Broadcasting = point-to-many   Guglielmo Marconi (1894)   Wireless telegraphy  wireless telephony  radio   Marconi Company makes commercial success
    4. 4. Radio Starts   Reginald Fessenden (1890s)  Created “one-to-many” transmission   Christmas Eve, 1906 – “O Holy Night” broadcast   From Brant Rock, Mass. to ships off Atlantic Coast   Lee De Forest – “Father of modern electronics”   Audion vacuum tube (1906)   Picked up & amplified radio signals
    5. 5. Early Regulation   1910 – Wireless Ship Act   All ships carrying >50 passengers & traveling >200 mi. off the coast MUST have wireless technology   Radio Act of 1912   After Titanic sinking   All radio stations must have licensed call letters & trained operators   Formally adopted SOS distress signal
    6. 6. The Business of Radio   1919 - RCA (Radio Corporation of America)   GE’s private sector, government-run monopoly   Created in part due to security concerns of WWI   KDKA: 1st Commercial Station (1920)   Frank Conrad’s amateur station, 8XK   Music & news 2x / week   5 stations in 1921  >600 by 1923
    7. 7. Business of Radio   Revenue   Advertising (8% of media ads)   Pay-for-play: Up-front pay from record companies to play songs   Payola   Promoters pay deejays to play records (1950s)   Guaranteed sales   Ongoing?
    8. 8. Radio Networks   AT&T’s power grab   Opposed RCA’s monopoly (but had own!)   Made & sold own receivers   Began selling ads – “toll broadcasting”   1926 - NBC (National Broadcasting Company)   RCA (50%), GE (30%), Westinghouse (20%)   1928 - CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System)   William Paley   Paid affiliates $50/hr to carry programs
    9. 9. Radio Act of 1927   Problems   Growing power concentration   Channel interference   Frequency usage   Licensees did not own channels, but could use for “public interest, convenience or necessity”   Federal Radio Commission (FRC)   Dictate stations & frequencies   Later FCC (Fed. Comm. Act of 1934)
    10. 10. Radio’s Golden Age   Immediate News   Live Music   Evening Programming   Variety Shows   Quiz, etc.   Genre Shows   Mystery, Comedy, Western   Sponsorship   Usually one company   Cultural Mirror?   Reflects the times
    11. 11. The Power of Radio   War of the Worlds (1938)
    12. 12. Evolution of Radio   AM  FM   Transistors = Portability   Format Radio   Formula-driven   Use rotation   Management controlled
    13. 13. Radio Formats   News/Talk   Adult contemporary   Top 40   Country   Urban   Spanish-language   Not-for-profit
    14. 14. Evolution of Radio   Digital   Internet radio   On-demand radio apps   Satellite radio   Podcasts   iTunes Radio
    15. 15. Modern Radio   Resistance to Top 40   Experimental radio   “Background noise”   Media multi-tasking   Drive Time over Prime Time   Specialization

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