The Civic Paradigm

David Goodman

in Radio's Civic Ambition

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780195394085
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894383 | DOI:
The Civic Paradigm

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While the debate about radio reform before 1934 was dominated by the concerns of education, religion and labor, in the years after 1934 it was civic paradigm values that dominated radio regulation. The Federal Communications Commission consistently enunciated a policy of localism through the heyday of radio networks. Civic paradigm beliefs included most importantly the idea that audiences should be active and critical, that broadcasters should represent the diversity of their local community, that listeners became better citizens through listening to diverse points of view, and that citizen listeners in a democracy had, as the culmination of listening, the task of forming and articulating their own critical and rational personal opinions against the tides of radio propaganda and advertising. The ideas of progressive education had significant influence over those charged with designing radio's public service and educational programs; Lyman Bryson's radio career exemplified this face of civic paradigm virtues.

Keywords: civic paradigm; radio regulation; personal opinion; Federal Communications Commission; localism; Lyman Bryson; progressive education; radio propaganda; radio advertising

Chapter.  27049 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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