Chapter

Radio's Democracy

in Radio's America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780226471914
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226471938 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226471938.003.0004
Radio's Democracy

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This chapter evaluates radio democracy. The new radio democracy relied on mass communication and listeners' abilities to personalize it in order to adapt broadly democratic principles to fit a mass society. Radio's democracy offered those listeners a way to count in the world and in public discussion. Franklin Roosevelt's radio presence provided crucial raw materials out of which many listeners constructed broadcasting's political meanings for the 1930s and beyond. Roosevelt was hardly the only politician seeking to connect with listeners through the air. His intimate radio style had created a personal bond; it drew Reese Farnell to the government and won his loyalty for Roosevelt. Broadcasting helped develop an environment in which listeners could easily watch, listen to, and cheer or boo the political process. The radio democracy that emerged from the 1930s was one often practiced apart from other people, in which democratic participation could mean private spectatorship.

Keywords: radio; democracy; mass communication; listeners; democratic principles; Franklin Roosevelt; broadcasting; Reese Farnell

Chapter.  14797 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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