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Family Values and the Radio

The 1937 Radio Elections and the Miniseries France

Joelle Neulander

In early 1937, French radio owners participated in elections for governing boards of their local public stations. The election, which had occurred once before in 1935 to little fanfare, became a locus of political and social debate about the state of both government and radio in France. Two parties emerged; one, Radio-Liberty, was supported by the Popular Front and had an overtly democratic and political mission and slate of candidates. The other, Radio-Family, was supported by a coalition of right-wing groups and claimed to champion French listeners and families in a nonpolitical fashion, protecting listeners from far-Left political rhetoric and immoral broadcasts. Radio-Family handily won the election, and state radio responded to the conservative message by producing radio plays like France, a miniseries that espoused a conservative vision of French history, seemingly at odds with the left-wing coalition in government.

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The Mobilization of Weimar Radio

Actuality, Microphone, Radio-film

Brían Hanrahan

This essay addresses the effects and experiences that become possible, and become the object of fascination and reflection, when early German radio mobilized-when it moved out of the studio to transmit from places in the "outside world." Mobile electro-acoustic technologies enabled a new sense of exteriority and new experiences of time and space. The paper reconstructs and analyzes three rhetorical figures associated with this mobilized radio. First, the complex concept of actuality, among other things, referred to temporal liveness and the palpable auditory presence of location sound. Second, the popular rhetorical and visual image of the "traveling microphone," emphasized new relations of inside and outside, studio and world, reality and representation. Third, comparisons between radio and film-including the term "radio-film," an early name for live location broadcasts-provided a vocabulary for understanding the properties of a mobile radio, including the intense sense of an outside world made present for the listener at home.

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Inge Marszolek

Using the example of the audio series Unforgotten Landscapes (Unvergessene Landschaften) aired on Radio Bremen in 1955, this article addresses the important role that radio played in the complex border-negotiation processes in Germany after World War II. For many years, the agency of radio as an interlocutor and discursive tool in the process of renationalization has been more or less neglected in historical research. Indeed, visual and auditory representation of the Eastern borders was a highly contaminated field in Western Germany until the 1970s. Even today, the relations between Poland and Germany are still affected by these issues. By using the German notion of Heimat as an umbrella concept, this article shows how these radio programs tried to shift the understanding of existing territorial borders, as having resulted from World War II and the atrocities of Nazi Germany to being a part of the imaginary construction of Germany as a Kulturnation. The audio series depicted the history of theses landscapes as German since medieval times, with no human beings living there in the present, but also claiming that the voices of death still can be heard. Thus, the territories could be lost, but by anchoring these landscapes in cultural memory, they would still be part of Germanness. Moreover, the programs reinforce West Germany's European mission to connect the east with the west beyond continuities with the völkisch “blood-and-soil ideology” underlying the concept of Heimat.

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Melissa Feinberg

Introduction: Radio Free Europe and the Truth about Communism On 20 April 1950, American President Harry S. Truman gave a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors about the power of propaganda. The Soviets, warned Truman, had developed

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La Police de l'Air

Amateur Radio and the Politics of Aural Surveillance in France, 1921-1940

Derek W. Vaillant

As France wrestles over the uses and societal impact of digital media and the Internet, it is instructive to recall another era of communications innovation, namely the introduction of interwar radio to the French public, and the government's reaction to controversial applications by the citizenry. Recent scholarship has underscored the importance of interwar radio broadcasting to France and its territories. Less explored, however, is the work of amateur user/developers who shaped the radio medium as an instrument of speaking, as well as listening. Determined to manage applications of radio, the French Interior Ministry formed a Police de l'Air to monitor France's airwaves, including the activities of amateur radio users (i.e., hams), whose lawful (and sometimes unlawful) use of point-to-point and broadcast communication had begun to significantly disrupt the government's effort to dictate the future forms and uses of radio. Against a backdrop of political crisis and attempts to manage print and electronic communication and dissent, the skirmishes between the Police de l'Air and amateur radio users reveal historical aspects of contemporary debates over use, access, and qualifications to speak and be heard in mediated cultural and political settings.

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Alexander Badenoch

Until recently, broadcasting in Europe has been seen by historians and broadcasters alike as intricately related to national territory. Starting immediately after the Second World War, when West German national territory was still uncertain, this article explores how the broadcasting space of the Federal Republic (FRG) shaped and was shaped by material, institutional, and discursive developments in European broadcasting spaces from the end of World War II until the early 1960s. In particular, it examines the border regimes defined by overlapping zones of circulation via broadcasting, including radio hardware, signals and cultural products such as music. It examines these spaces in part from the view of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the federation of (then) Western public service broadcasters in Europe. By reconstructing the history of broadcasting in the Federal Republic within the frame of attempts to regulate European broadcasting spaces, it aims to show how territorial spaces were transgressed, transformed, or reinforced by the emerging global conflict.

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Mobile Electronic Media

Mobility History at the Intersection of Transport and Media History

Heike Weber

This article takes the history of mobile electronic media as a vantage point from which to view a transformation in everyday Western mobility culture. It argues that mobile media technologies rather than transport technologies constitute today's guiding symbols of mobility whilst mobility itself is seen as going beyond physical movement. In the late twentieth century, its understanding has been broadened and now refers to the mere capacity to be ready for action and, thus, movement. This shift from movement to the potential to move can be observed in the material culture of mobile media. Initially designed to accompany travel, tourism or sport activities, portable radios or cell phones have been increasingly used in stationary or domestic settings, thereby challenging the Western dualisms of mobile/sedentary and public/private. On a methodological level, a focus on mobile media history involves merging the fields of media and transport history with the aim of arriving at a comprehensive mobility history.

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Monika Boll

This article delves into the relationship between cultural radio and the Cold War. After 1945, culural radio took on a central role in the intellectual self-understanding of the early Federal Republic. From the very beginning, there was much less censorship than with political editorial departments. Thus, it was possible for cultrual radio to offer an intellectual forum in which socialism was not simply dismissed due to the official anticommunist political doctrine. This article shows the ways in which the East-West conflict was present in the cultrual departments of radio broadcasters. It argues that socialism appeared less as an ideological restraint or taboo, but rather as a productive challenge, which in the end was part of the modernization of West Germany's intellectual self-understanding. Two prominent examples buttress this argument: the free space that cultrual radio conquered in a kind of leftist integration with the West, and the rapid advancement of sociological discourse.

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Gerrit K. Roessler

This article examines Ulrich Horstmann's science fiction radio play Die Bunkermann-Kassette (The Bunker Man Cassette, 1979), in which the author frames fears and anxieties surrounding a potential nuclear conflict during the Cold War as apocalyptic self-annihilation of the human race. Radio, especially radio drama, had a unique role in capturing the historical imaginaries and traumatic experiences surrounding this non-event. Horstmann's radio drama and the titular cassette tape become sound artifacts that speak to the technological contexts of their time, while their acoustic content carries the past sounds into the present. In the world of the play, these artifacts are presented in a museum of the future, which uses the possibilities of science fictional imagination and speculation to create prosthetic memories of the Cold War. The article suggests that these memories are cyborg memories, because the listener is a fully integrated component of radio technology that makes these memories and recollections of imagined events possible in the first place.

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Benno Nietzel

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.