The Puzzle of The University on Air

A Story of Media and Academia in Israel, 1977–2013

in Israel Studies Review
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  • 1 Tel Aviv University hagaiboas@gmail.com
  • 2 Technion-Israel Institute of Technology ayelet@technion.ac.il
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abstract

At the end of 2013, the Israeli army radio station Galei Zahal decided to revise the format of The University on Air, a radio program that had served as a unique forum for academia and the media in Israel for almost four decades. Launched in 1977, and with over 6,000 aired lectures, the program, with its long history, is a telling case of academia and media in Israel. We present a topical analysis of all courses aired from 1977 to 2013 and suggest that the program took a contrapuntal stance toward trends in both Israeli media and academia. We argue that processes of privatization during the 1990s created a more commercial-oriented atmosphere for science communication broadcasts. However, unlike the case with private media channels and private institutions of higher education, the shift to commercialism and ratings-oriented formats was slowed down by the protective shield of the army.

Contributor Notes

hagai boas holds a PhD from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University. Currently, he is the Program Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University. From 2001 to 2013, he was the editor of The University on Air at Galei Zahal.

ayelet baram-tsabari heads the Science Communication Research Group of the Faculty of Education in Science and Technology at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology. She is a member of Learning In a NetworKed Society (LINKS), founded by the Israeli Centers of Research Excellence (I-CORE); the Scientific Committee for the PCST Network; and the Israel Young Academy. She also chairs the Research and Development Committee of the Second Authority for Television and Radio.

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