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Race and Racism in Early Radio - Research Paper

Race and Racism in Early Radio

In the days before "video killed the radio star" and Western culture was consumed by the glowing light of the television set, the radio was the most valuable source of entertainment and information in American homes. Since the 1920's, radio has been a significant factor in defining the pop culture of the nation, as well as influencing social ideas. "Radio is arguably the most important electronic invention of the century....it revolutionized the perceptual habits of the nation." (Douglas, 9) The first several decades of commercial radio were during a time where America was segregated by race and defined by other social inequalities, and radio played a significant part in not only ...

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an integral part of this form of media are fully embodied by the cultural phenomenon "Amos 'n' Andy." This radio show left a lasting impression that is still present and relevant today.
America first knew radio as "wireless telegraphy" in 1899, and the first commercial radio station made its initial broadcast in 1920, from the city of Pittsburgh. Radio quickly became the primary source of information regarding news, events, and entertainment for the people. However, much of the established entertainment industry was hesitant in taking to this new form of media. Billboard magazine, in fact, did not begin regularly reporting about radio until the late 1920's. "Not only was radio initially disapproved of, the vaudeville community actually ordered its acts to stay off the air under penalty of contract cancellation. Musical, concert, and operatic managers also shunned radio fearing that 'songs plugged too strongly over the air would lose their sales value,' Billboard reported on ...

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(both the white audiences and the white performers portraying the black characters) at a safe distance away from too much reality." (Stark) Originally started in the first half of the 1800's, the minstrel shows would feature comedic "stump" speeches, dances, skits, dialect songs, and other entertaining mockeries of Negro culture that played on simple stereotypes. Famous characters that emerged from these shows include Jim Crow, who was portrayed as "a blissfully ignorant, emotionally childlike, fun-loving creature endowed with an innate musical and rhythmic sense" (Stark), and Zip Coon, who was representative of the inferior "buffoonish and arrogant" urban, Northern black man. ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 1/10/2017 06:04:30 AM
Category: Social Issues
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1690
Pages: 7

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