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Radio Broadcasting - Essay Example

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Radio Broadcasting

After the American government stepped in to regulate this air traffic of signals by allotting licensed frequencies to the private operators, the era of commercial broadcasting came into being and led to a perceptual shift in the American culture. The men and boys saw the experimentation with radio as a symbol of masculine prerogative, brought it into their homes, and introduced it to the other family members. The listeners discovered the new face of their individual identities, closely linked to the idea of cohesive nationhood, through broadcasts of diverse entertainment programs and news items. Gradually, commercial reasons led to the introduction of advertisements interlaced with the main items, as well as standardization of broadcast timings, for most of the programs. With this it was possible for listeners to tune in to multiple broadcasts by adjusting their own schedules accordingly. The network programs allowed people to sit and listen to
their favorite serials, like the women's serial drama nick named "soap opera", at the same time everyday or every week. This created a sort of customer loyalty as far as the programs were concerned, and a gradual shift in the cultural habits of the audience. The advertisements which were interwoven along with the main program also created a loyalty towards the products which were advertised. These factors permanently altered the social habits of the American society.

Impact of Radio on large media companies:

With the rise of compulsive consumerism brought about by the radio transmission of popular programs and advertisements, large media companies like NBC, and CBS sensed big business opportunities. The individual broadcasting stations got affiliated to national networks or were absorbed by big broadcasting chains, so that they could benefit from the economies of scale. The broadcast time was gradually increasing, By the middle of 1930's, many stations were using an airtime of 12 to 18 hours per day. This made it necessary for the broadcasters to fill the expanded airtime with variations of program types already developed. The large companies like NBC and CBS, also had to develop newer varieties of programs, like live performances by orchestras, talk shows, soap operas, and afternoon serial dramas. For this, they had to develop their own recording studios.
Transcription, or pre-recorded music was also in vogue. To cut costs, these large companies bought the prerecorded music from transcription firms.
The big companies were better placed financially, so they could command better quality of transcriptions, and also could afford to hire the best performers for their live shows. Although music was dominating the air time, emphasis by the network broadcasters was on transcriptions and not on classical music, whereas NBC could manage to broadcast a symphony orchestra with eminent musicians like the conductor of New York Philharmonic for many years, as opposed to the network operator who were mainly using transcriptions of music performances by local artistes. Similarly, CBS hired the services of actors, writers, poets etc to continue with high quality dramas and talk shows. Thus, the large media firms, who entered the broadcasting market, were able to continue with ...Show more

Summary

As the wireless transmission of electromagnetic waves became a practical reality, towards the end of the nineteenth century, enthusiasts and hobbyists were attracted to the relatively simple process of assembling a rag-tag radio set or wireless telephone, as it was called initially…
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