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Radio: Social History

Chris Priestman

Subject History
Communication and Media Studies » Communication Studies
Media System » Media History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


The introduction of →  Radio broadcasting during the 1920s released a tide of social changes, which have profoundly affected every society in the world, changes that have subsequently been amplified by →  Television and information and communication technology (→  Television: Social History ; Information and Communication Technology, Development of ). By the end of the twentieth century these electronic media had become so embedded in social, political, and economic processes that it is hard today to conceive of a world without their influence. Their defining characteristic as public media is that they provide systems for communicating simultaneously with large, geographically dispersed →  audiences via pathways that are immediate and capable of delivering messages live: they abolish the delay between production and reception inherent in all earlier public media. Their combined effect has been greatly to accelerate the formation and shaping of cultural consciousness within societies ( Hilmes 1997 ). They provide mechanisms of continuous reference and comparison by which individuals perceive their relationships beyond their immediate private sphere. The few social groups yet to be reached by radio have nevertheless felt the effects of communications-driven political and economic change indirectly. The social history of radio occupies a small proportion of the literature in comparison ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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