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Radio's Civic AmbitionAmerican Broadcasting and Democracy in the 1930s$
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David Goodman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195394085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195394085.001.0001

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Class, Cosmopolitanism, and Division

Class, Cosmopolitanism, and Division

(p.219) 5 Class, Cosmopolitanism, and Division
Radio's Civic Ambition

David Goodman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Radio was a nationalizing and cosmopolitan force that brought Americans together in unprecedented national and international simultaneity. But it was also for those very reasons the site of a sustained culture war. The audience for political commentators, such as Hans V. Kaltenborn, was by the later 1930s deeply divided along class lines. The chapter examines evidence about the class-inflected patterns of radio listening, a topic that was well investigated by 1930s radio researchers – especially by the Rockefeller Foundation-funded researchers at the Princeton Office of Radio Research, under the direction of Paul F. Lazarsfeld. Tragically, radio audience research was showing that it was the civic paradigm itself, with its values of openness and pluralism, that was proving socially divisive.

Keywords:   Hans V. Kaltenborn, radio research, Paul F. Lazarsfeld, class, radio audience research, Rockefeller Foundation, Office of Radio Research

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