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Key era: 1920s - 1930s - 1940s - 1950s
Related: broadcasting - mass media
Stations: Radio Nova - Radio Centraal
1922: US government allotted the choicest frequencies to operators who promised not to broadcast records
Radio which had enjoyed mainstream popularity since the twenties spawned some important musical tastemakers. In no particular order: Electrifying Mojo, Frankie Crocker, Gilles Peterson, The Disco Sucks DJs, The Hot Mix 5 and Alan Freed
Unidentied photograph of radio DJ
Fada 1000L Bullet radio (1946)
image sourced here.
Mass medium (1920s - 1950s)
The 1920s saw the rise of broadcast radio as an entertainment medium. In the 1950s television replaces radio as the dominant mass medium in industrialized countries.
Old-Time Radio (OTR) and the Golden Age of Radio are phrases used to refer to American radio programs mainly broadcast during the 1920s through the late 1950s when music radio started to supplant it.
Before the expansion of television in the early 1950s, radio was the most popular home entertainment avenue throughout the United States. With the rise of the movie industry, America's appetite for mass entertainment grew. As with films, early radio shows reflected vaudeville origins with cornpone gags and ethnic humor interspersed between song numbers. As the medium matured, sophistication increased. During the 1930s radio featured genres and formats popular in other forms of American entertainment -- adventure, comedy, drama, horror, mystery, musical variety, romance, thrillers -- along with classical music concerts, dance band remotes, farm reports, news and commentary, panel discussions, quiz shows, sidewalk interviews, sports broadcasts, talent shows and weather forecasts.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old-time_radio [Feb 2006]
As a competitor to recordsThe record industry had spent the first twenty years of the century convincing the public that they needed a source of music in the home but they didn't foresee the possibility that it may be free. Unfortunately, The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) had by the early 1920s started mass-producing commercial radios which, while acoustically inferior, offered a far wider range of news, drama and music. The Record Companies retaliated by drawing up contracts for their major artists, forbidding them to work for this rival medium. This move to limit radio's output was doomed to failure as new vacuum tube amplification rapidly improved reception and sound quality. Record sales plummeted.
1941Robert Christgau: BE: A Dozen Moments in the Prehistory of Rock ...
1941: AFTERNOON OF THE INDIES
Like Edison's phonograph, radio was first conceived as a business tool--a talking telegraph. But even in the early ham days, when would-be broadcasters would first distribute crystal sets to their neighbors, some had more poetic ideas--a San Jose buff was airing live and recorded music as early as 1909. By 1926, when there were already Tin Pan Alley songsmiths who limited their melodies to the five notes early receivers could handle, David Sarnoff, who'd first proposed a "radio music box" in 1916, had assembled the NBC network. Much of the networks' allure, however, lay in the access they afforded to swank (and costly) metropolitan entertainment as it happened--stars live in your living room, big bands playing big hotels. Only in 1941, when the federal government--which back in 1922 had allotted the choicest frequencies to operators who promised not to broadcast records--moved to break the power of the networks, was the stage set for the small local stations whose need for cheap programming would soon transform disc jockeys into tastemaking local celebrities. And in those days, local celebrities played local music--including all the insurgent folk-pop BMI had had the luck or vision to exploit. -- Robert Christgau
Resonance104.4fm is London's first radio art station, brought to you by London Musicians' Collective. It started broadcasting on May 1st 2002. Its brief? To provide a radical alternative to the universal formulae of mainstream broadcasting. It features programmes made by musicians, artists and critics who represent the diversity of London's arts scenes, with regular contributions from Billy Jenkins, Savage Pencil, John Bisset, Mike Barnes, Matthew Glammore, Peter Cusack, Caroline Kraabel, Clive Graham, Viv Corringham, Chris Cutler, David Quantick, Art Terry, Dave Mandl, Magz Hall, Harmon E. Phraisyar, Paul Hood, These Records, Dave Draper, Reg Hall, and the Kosmische Club; special guests including Faust, John Sinclair, Santiago Sierra, Throbbing Gristle, Gavin Turk, Iroqim Theatre Co., Stanley Chapman, Shirley Collins and The Magic Band; plus numerous unique broadcasts by artists on the weekday "Clear Spot".
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