Chapter

Radio's Students

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/9780226471938.003.0006
Radio's Students

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This chapter investigates the possibility that radio allowed at least a few speakers access to the public arena. Paul Lazarsfeld's own focus on radio evolved through the late 1930s. Researchers around the country gravitated to Lazarsfeld's Office of Radio Research and developed a form of social pragmatism. Herman Hettinger shared Lazarsfeld's hope that mass communication could amplify particular voices, enabling them to be better heard across the country, and to enhance society. Hettinger's vision of radio presented an overlapping alternative to the social pragmatism that dominated academic studies of media. Theodor Adorno suggested that even as radio came to the forefront of American mass culture, there were multiple possible interpretations of that rise and of the possibility of mass communication. To most students, radio proposed a way to enable at least a select few speakers to reach the vast audiences of the twentieth century.

Keywords: radio; Paul Lazarsfeld; Herman Hettinger; Theodor Adorno; social pragmatism; mass communication; media; American mass culture

Chapter.  14074 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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