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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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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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