Radio’s Intimate Public

Radio’s Intimate Public: Network Broadcasting and Mass-Mediated Democracy

Jason Loviglio
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 206
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttts70t
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  • Book Info
    Radio’s Intimate Public
    Book Description:

    Jason Loviglio shows how early network radio produced a new type of community marked by contradictions and tensions between public and private, mass media and democracy, and nation and family. Examining a broad range of radio programs, including Vox Pop, and FDR's Fireside Chats, Radio's Intimate Public illustrates how media space promised listeners a fantasy of social mobility and access._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9532-4
    Subjects: Performing Arts

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction: Radio’s Intimate public
    (pp. xiii-xxx)

    In memoir and popular memory, Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats, like the performances of other highly popular radio figures of the 1930s, are often recalled in an archetypal account of the ritual power of radio to conjure a new social space—public and private, national and local. A pedestrian walking down a city block during a Fireside Chat hears the broadcast issuing from the open windows of every home on the street. Without missing a word, the pedestrian traverses the public space of the street, joined at once to the intimate space of reception and to the sense of shared national space...

  5. Chapter 1 The Fireside Chats and the New Deal
    (pp. 1-37)

    Among the tens of thousands of letters and telegrams that poured into the White House in the days after Roosevelt’s second Fireside Chat of May 7, 1933, one letter from a Louisiana listener included a clipping of a cartoon from theNew Orleans Times-Picayuneportraying the event. Underneath the caption, “Just Among Friends,” a husband and wife sit on a comfortable pin-striped sofa, presumably their own, next to a smiling President Roosevelt. “And so,” Roosevelt says (in a paraphrase of the chat’s concluding lines), “with mutual confidence, we go forward!” The president is depicted as slightly oversized, handsome, and energetic,...

  6. Chapter 2 Vox Pop: Network Radio and the Voice of the People
    (pp. 38-69)

    By 1935, millions of American radio listeners did seem to be responding to “something different in radio.” All across the dial, the untutored voices of average people could be heard matching wits on quiz shows, warbling popular tunes forMajor Bowes’ Original Amateur Hour,and piping up from the audience at public forum programs likeAmerica’s Town Meeting of the Air.As the networks consolidated their dominance over the airwaves and as professional broadcasters crooners, comedians, commentators, politicians, and pitchmen mastered forms of address suited to radio’s curious blend of interpersonal and mass communication, radio listeners turned to the sound...

  7. Chapter 3 Public Affairs: The Soap-Opera Cultural Front
    (pp. 70-101)

    Soap operas come so heavily drenched in the suds of previous cultural criticisms and assumptions that the task of attempting a fresh critique is daunting. The term “soap opera” is so laden with negative connotations that it has become a free-floating term of abuse, handy for dismissing any cultural production that appears excessively maudlin, commercialized, or that focuses interminably on the intricacies of human relationships at the expense of subtlety or taste.¹ “Speaking of soap operas,” to borrow a phrase from Robert Allen, inevitably means speaking about women and their place as members of and symbols for the mass-mediated audience....

  8. Chapter 4 The Shadow Meets the Phantom Public
    (pp. 102-122)

    Beginning in 1937, the Shadow haunted the evening airwaves, battling underworld masters of murder, racketeering, and the occult. The Shadow began each program with a haunting question: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” However, it was the evil lurking justoutsidethe boundaries of the national and intimate spheres of American life that figured most centrally in the popular mystery stories ofThe Shadow.As the commercial network radio system helped creatė and spread the emergent national public culture of the 1930s,The Shadowevoked and assuaged fears of a phantom public, a dark and heterogeneous...

  9. Conclusion: America’s Most Fascinating People
    (pp. 123-132)

    The man who gave voice to the Shadow in 1944 was born Ralph Bowman and only became “John Archer” through a process as strange as the one by which Lamont Cranston became the Shadow. Bowman won the name John Archer along with a movie contract with RKO Pictures in 1939 as a contestant onGateway to Hollywood, a CBS radio talent show hosted by Hollywood producer Jesse L. Lasky, in which two contestants competed each week for specific names already made famous through the publicity machinery of the program.¹ In addition, the new John Archer received a membership in the...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 133-158)
  11. Index
    (pp. 159-172)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 173-173)