Culture, Entertainment and Listening Habits in The West German Discourse on Radio During the 1950s

in German Politics and Society
Benno Nietzel

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This article examines the intellectual discourse in West Germany on the role of entertainment in radio programs during the 1950s. Although accounting for most of the airtime and being an assigned mission of public broadcasters, many radio officials and experts continued to be suspicious of entertainment. Strongly adhering to the classical tradition of highbrow culture, these humanistic intellectuals had difficulties accepting entertainment as an integral component of broadcasting. The only discursive path for them to adopt entertainment as a legitimate concept was to discuss its specific contribution in the context of Bildung and Kultur. The article thus provides insight into how members of the cultural elites came-to-terms with the rise of popular culture during the 1950s.

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