Skip to main content

A Companion to the History of American Broadcasting




A Companion to the History of American Broadcasting

Aniko Bodroghkozy (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-64628-1 July 2018 Wiley-Blackwell 512 Pages



Presented in a single volume, this engaging review reflects on the scholarship and the historical development of American broadcasting

A Companion to the History of American Broadcasting comprehensively evaluates the vibrant history of American radio and television and reveals broadcasting’s influence on American history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With contributions from leading scholars on the topic, this wide-ranging anthology explores the impact of broadcasting on American culture, politics, and society from an historical perspective as well as the effect on our economic and social structures. The text’s original and accessibly-written essays offer explorations on a wealth of topics including the production of broadcast media, the evolution of various television and radio genres, the development of the broadcast ratings system, the rise of Spanish language broadcasting in the United States, broadcast activism, African Americans and broadcasting, 1950’s television, and much more.

This essential resource:

  • Presents a scholarly overview of the history of radio and television broadcasting and its influence on contemporary American history
  • Contains original essays from leading academics in the field
  • Examines the role of radio in the television era
  • Discusses the evolution of regulations in radio and television
  • Offers insight into the cultural influence of radio and television
  • Analyzes canonical texts that helped shape the field

Written for students and scholars of media studies and twentieth-century history, A Companion to the History of American Broadcasting is an essential and field-defining guide to the history and historiography of American broadcasting and its many cultural, societal, and political impacts.

Notes on Contributors ix

Introduction 1
Aniko Bodroghkozy

Part I American Broadcasting in Historical Overview 25

1 Before the Broadcast Era: 1900–1910s 27
Susan J. Douglas

2 The Broadcast Radio Era: 1920s–1940s 47
Michele Hilmes

3 Television Before the Classic Network Era: 1930s–1950s 71
Michael Kackman

4 The Classic Network Era in Television: 1950s–1970s 93
Victoria E. Johnson

5 The Multi‐Channel Transition Period: 1980s–1990s 111
Bambi Haggins and Julia Himberg

6 Radio in the Television Era: 1950s–2000s 135
Alexander Russo

7 The Post‐Network Era: 2000s–Present 153
Amanda D. Lotz

Part II American Broadcasting in Historical Focus 169


8 A History of Broadcast Regulations: Principles and Perspectives 171
Jennifer Holt

9 Reviving the Technical in Television History 193
Susan Murray

10 Public Broadcasting 211
Josh Shepperd

11 Latino Broadcasting in the United States 237
Hector Amaya

12 Radio, Television, and the Military 257
Stacy Takacs

Part II American Broadcasting in Historical Focus 279


13 Radio Sitcoms: History and Preservation 281
Laura LaPlaca

14 The Rise and Fall of the Soap Opera 301
Elana Levine

15 Television Music 321
Norma Coates

Part II American Broadcasting in Historical Focus 347


16 A History of the Commodity Audience 349
Eileen R. Meehan

17 Broadcast Activism 371
Allison Perlman

18 African Americans and Broadcasting 389
Robin R. Means Coleman

19 A History of Fandom in Broadcasting 413
Allison McCracken

Part III Doing American Broadcasting History: Reflections on Key Texts 443

20 Erik Barnouw’s Trilogy on the History of US Broadcasting 445
Gary R. Edgerton

21 Susan J. Douglas’ Inventing American Broadcasting 455
Shawn VanCour

22 Lynn Spigel’s Make Room for TV 465
Aniko Bodroghkozy

23 William Boddy’s Fifties Television 475
Mark J. Williams

Index 485