COM 110: Chapter 1 -- History of Broadcast Media

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  • 1. Chapter 1 The History of Broadcast Media
  • 2. What hath God wrought? • The first message sent by wire (telegraph) from Washington DC to Baltimore in 1884 • The FIRST broadcast message • What is broadcasting? • “the distribution of audio and/or video signals which transmit programs to an audience. The audience may be the general public or a relatively large subaudience, such as children or young adults.”
  • 3. Broadcasting • Sending one message to a large group or audience • Broadcasting has many inventors • Physicists James Maxwell and Heinrich Hertz demonstrated the existence of electromagnetic radiation – energy waves that travel through space • Three main inventors of wireless communication: Marconi, Fessenden & DeForest
  • 4. Guglielmo Marconi • Saw a demonstration of radio waves while in college • Realized the biggest potential use for wireless communication, was in instances where wires were not possible (ships) • Began experimenting with transmitters and receivers • Eventually, he was able to send a radio signal a little over a mile • In December 1901, he sent the first telegraph across the Atlantic Ocean
  • 5. Reginald Fessenden • Marconi was sending Morse code – no one had yet to send voice over radio waves • A new way of generating radio signals had to be developed • To transmit voice or music, a continuous radio wave was needed • While working at General Electric, Fessenden built a high speed alternator that allowed for the continuous wave • Tested on Christmas Eve 1906, Fessenden’s voice was the first on the air – then he played some violin music and read a few passages from the Bible before signing off.
  • 6. The Crystal Set • In 1910, the most popular way of receiving radio signals was using a crystal set – some minerals were able to pick up radio waves • They were cheap and easy to assemble, but they couldn’t amplify the signals very well
  • 7. Lee DeForest • Something that could boost weak signals was needed • Lee DeForest created the Fleming valve – which acted as an amplifier to boost weak radio waves • Hooking up a few of these valves could amplify signals millions of times • He named this invention the audion • The audion evolved into the vacuum tube, and was the basis for all radio transmission until the 1950’s, when the transistor replaced it
  • 8. Boardrooms and Courtrooms • Now that radio has tested as a viable medium, what to do next to make it successful? • Legal issues: Radio’s main use was still ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication • Many companies interested in radio: Marconi’s British Marconi & American Marconi, General Electric, AT&T and Westinghouse
  • 9. Who owns what? • Each of these companies owned patents for different types of functions and technologies • No one had patents that covered the entire process of developing transmitters and receivers • Each company went ahead and made them anyway – resulting in patent infringements
  • 10. WW1 and Radio • All US Navy ships were equipped with radio • In 1917, when the US entered the war, the government took control of all radio operations, in the interest of national security • The Navy assumed responsibility for patent infringement – meaning the various companies could pool resources to improve radio communication
  • 11. RCA • Commercial interests were opposed to the government’s control over radio after the war was over • Giving the Navy control over radio was never voted on • The stations were still owned by Marconi – a British company • Navy suggests to General Electric they purchase American Marconi and create a new company – called RCA (The Radio Corporation of America)
  • 12. Patents problems • After the Navy relinquished control, patent issues were prevalent once again • RCA entered into a cross-licensing agreement with GE, AT&T and Westinghouse that enabled all the companies to use each other’s patents • GE and Westinghouse agreed to manufacture radio equipment; RCA would sell it; AT&T would build the transmitters
  • 13. 1920’s • Radio came on the scene to the general public • KDKA in Pittsburgh became the first radio station under Frank Conrad in 1920; he played phonograph records and read from the newspaper • Westinghouse quickly started other stations • In 1922 there were 28 radio stations; in 1923, there were 570 • By the end of the 20’s half of American homes had a radio
  • 14. Money problems • RCA was making $11 M selling radios, while AT&T made $3 M – prohibited to sell radios according to the post-war agreement • AT&T sold its radio operations, and was granted a monopoly over wire interconnections that enabled radio networks
  • 15. Radio Advertising • Radio was expensive to run – a way to make money to keep it afloat was needed • AT&T developed a system where anyone who had a message to deliver would come to the station, give the message, leave money, AT&T sent the message (toll broadcasting) • This was soon the same principle applied to radio advertising!
  • 16. WEAF • WEAF was the first station to have commercial advertising • August 28, 1922 for Queensboro Corporation • Rising operating costs were forcing other stations off the air • Initially, people did not want advertising on the radio • There was even talk in Congress to ban it (but we all know that didn’t happen!) • By 1929, radio advertising was a $20M industry
  • 17. How networks grew radio • There were many radio stations that needed programs • Many radio programs, and their talent, were located in New York, Chicago, Hollywood. • Smaller cities wanted access to those programs too • Networks were developed • Based on the technology AT&T had to wire stations, networks were possible • Networks shared programs to their affiliates • Affiliates = individual stations, in different cities
  • 18. RCA and the birth of Networks • David Sarnoff (president of RCA) set up a new company in 1926 to separate the parent company from the broadcast organization • The National Broadcasting Company was born • The “Red” network consisted of stations from AT&T, and the “Blue” network comprised stations originally owned by RCA, Westinghouse and GE • By 1933, NBC had 88 stations in its network
  • 19. Networks grow • The Columbia Broadcasting System was founded in 1927 by William S. Paley – starting with 16 stations, and by the end of 1933 had 91 stations • Mutual Broadcasting system started in 1934 • Advantages: brought programming to rural areas that previously didn’t have radio programming; contributed to radio’s growth
  • 20. Early Rules & Regulations • Attempts to regulate the new medium of radio can be traced to 1903 • Wireless Ship Act of 1910: required certain passenger ships to have wireless communication • Titanic disaster: many were saved due to wireless distress signals, however, the signal was interfered with due to unregulated amounts of stations on the air simultaneously • Trivia: one of the first operators to relay the Titanic’s distress call was David Sarnoff – the future president of RCA and champion of Color TV
  • 21. Early Rules & Regulations • Radio Act of 1912: required stations to be licensed by the Secretary of Commerce – who would assign wavelengths and time limits • Interference was still a big problem: federal control was needed • Radio Act of 1927: radio frequencies could not be owned, but they could be licensed for use; license holders had to operate in the public interest; gov’t censorship was forbidden; creation of the Federal Radio Commission to enforce the new laws • Communications Act of 1934: replaced the FRC with the FCC – the Federal Communications Commission
  • 22. Radio 1930-1948 • Radio grew at a phenomenal rate, becoming an integral part of American life • $40M spent on radio advertising in 1930; $506M in 1948 • Growth continued despite another war and economic depression • FM broadcasting: invented by Edwin Armstrong, it was publicly demonstrated in 1933 • FM was less prone to static, and could broadcast in stereo • FM did not catch on (at this time) because AM radio was already so successful, RCA was unwilling to invest • FCC ruled NBC was monopolistic - they sold off the Blue Network, which eventually became ABC
  • 23. Impact • Primary source of home entertainment • Social power: FDR's famous "fireside chats" helped him push legislation through Congress 1938 Orson Welles produced "War of the Worlds" and caused mass hysteria • Radio took advertising revenue away from newspapers, and news broadcasts eliminated the need for extra editions of newspapers • •
  • 24. Programs • Programs were diverse; many genres were the same as you find on TV today sitcoms, crime shows, variety shows, soap operas and news • Famous programs: Amos 'n' Andy, Burns & Allen, Mr. District Attorney, Dr. Christian, The Original Amateur Hour, The Guiding Light • Radio news broadcasts doubled from 1940-1945 with wartime reports • Edward Murrow reports on the bombing of London
  • 25. History of TV
  • 26. History of TV • A way to scan images, encode an image into tiny electrical signals, able to be received and reassembled • Philo Farnsworth: Age 16, conceptualized the “image dissector,” patented in 1930, the first television • Vladimir Zworykin: by 1928 developed a working camera tube -- iconoscope • First demo of working TV: 1939 World’s Fair (RCA, with Zworykin’s help and Farnsworth’s patent made it happen)
  • 27. History of TV • Initial public response was weak, sets were expensive, and not many programs to watch • Early TV actors had to wear green makeup to look normal for TV and swallow salt tablets to prevent sweating under the hot camera lights • WW2 interrupted TVs development
  • 28. History of TV • Post War: technology utilized during WW2 spurred TV development, regarding reception and working conditions for the performers • New TV cameras required less light, TV screens were bigger, more programs, the beginnings of networks • After the war, assembly lines used for war materials, began making televisions
  • 29. History of TV • 1945: 8 TV stations, 8,000 homes with TV in the US • 1955: 100 stations, 35 million households with TV • By 1948, television was on its way into the mainstream
  • 30. TV Freeze • TV growth was phenomenal; manufacturers could barely keep up with demand, many TV stations popping up all over the country • FCC declared a freeze on new applications in 1950-1952 • 1952: Sixth Report and Order
  • 31. TV’s Sixth Report and Order • A table of channel assignments was constructed, structuring the provision of TV service to all parts of the US • FCC opens up new channels on the UHF band (Ultra High Frequency, channels 14-69) • VHF: Very High Frequency (channels 2-13) • Set standards regarding color TV • 242 channels were set aside for noncommercial TV stations
  • 32. Radio's Adjustment to TV TV had four main effects on radio 1.Mass market advertising shifted to TV, resulting in major revenue loss; big stars migrated to TV; would take radio nearly 30 years to recover 2.Radio returned to serving specialized audiences: formats, local programming, DJs, recorded music 3.Radio became close with the record industry; helped to sell records 4.Radio was forced to become dependent on local revenue, redefining its revenue base
  • 33. TV in the 1950s • Early TV industry was modeled after radio; local stations served their communities, and might be affiliated with networks • 4 TV networks during this period: NBC, CBS, ABC and DuMont • Golden Age of Television • Popular shows: I Love Lucy, The Today Show, 21, Gunsmoke
  • 34. Technology • Slow, but steady growth of cable (10% of homes in 1974) • UHF got a boost from cable systems • Satellites become more important to TV
  • 35. The beginnings of Cable • Introduced in the early 1950s • Solved a problem: people who lived in mountainous areas couldn’t receive traditional, over-the-air, TV signals • They put an antennae on top of a tall peak, and ran a wire to homes in the valley • This was called Community Antenna TV (CATV)
  • 36. 1963-1975 • By the end of the 1950's, 95% of American households had a TV • Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 : established the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) • After debate on the effects of cigarette smoking, in 1971 cigarette ads were prohibited on TV • PTAR: Prime Time Access Rule was meant to encourage local programming (1970); gave the 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. slot back to local stations to program themselves: encouraged the growth of syndicated programming
  • 37. Programming 1963-1975 • Rural comedies/fantastical comedies: The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Bewitched, My Favorite Martian, My Mother the Car • Law-and-order programs; The FBI, Charlie’s Angels and Mannix. • Adult situation comedies (the sitcom): All In The Family, M*A*S*H, Dallas, Dynasty
  • 38. 1975-1999 • New technologies emerge that compete with TV • Increased competition from cable and satellite • Changes in the business and economic climate • Premium channels (HBO) and superstations (TBS) attract viewers away from networksVCRs offer viewing alternatives, later the Internet and DVDs are a source of competition for TV • The Fox network debuted in 1987
  • 39. 1980s – 2000s: Mergers and Trends • UPN, WB: 1990s – in 2006, merge to CW • Major Mergers: Walt Disney buys ABC, Westinghouse buys CBS • By 2000, 68% of people use cable • 80’s: The Cosby Show, Family Ties • 90’s: prime-time newsmagazines, 20/20, 60 Minutes • 2000’s: Reality TV, Survivor, Jersey Shore, The Bachelor
  • 40. Telecommunications Act of 1996 Telecommunications Act of 1996: • allowed telephone companies to offer TV service, • eased limits on TV and radio station ownership, • allowed TV stations to own cable systems, • v-chip regulation
  • 41. New technology/issues: • TVRO & DBS satellite: TV Receive Only (backyard satellite dishes), 1970-80s – received free broadcasts until companies started scrambling signals and required a subscription to unscramble. Direct broadcast satellite, 1990s, smaller dishes • Electronic News Gathering: revolutionized TV coverage; using portable cameras and tape recorders, reporters no longer had to wait for film to develop; allowed live coverage of breaking news • Mobile Media: Cell phone content, iPod & iPhone content. iTunes store rents & sells movies, TV shows, music, other video content. YouTube integrated to iPhones. • Streaming Media Video: Cutting the Cord on Cable
  • 42. Radio in the video age • Since 1960, FM radio continued to grow, especially in music programming, while AM remained the home of talk and sports formats • Syndication: send national programming to local affiliates, Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern (pre-Sirius) • Formats: specialized programming to serve a segmented audience, i.e., country music, talk, sports • Consolidation: many stations owned by one company; Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed this
  • 43. Broadcasting in the 21 Century st • HDTV: 60 Million homes by 2009, higher quality picture and sound. Requires a special TV and special signal • HD Radio: digital translation of analog frequencies. Allows for superior sound quality, and the segmenting of frequencies (more stations) • Mobile Media • Internet: Internet radio stations, Pandora, YouTube, Hulu – big changes in distribution for traditional media – i.e. Netflix • Convergence: where/when/how all media meets.