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Broadcast radio station, circa 1929

indebted but which it also works to supplement and challenge. The first wave, inaugurated in the 1960s and early 1970s, privileged top-down forms of historical agency exercised by inventors, policymakers, and broadcasting executives, analyzing the technologies developed for the medium, the laws created to regulate it, and the economics of what for decades constituted one of the country’s biggest and most profitable entertainment industries. A second wave of radio scholarship emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, as part of a larger cultural turn in media studies; shifting attention to the audiences served by broadcasters and social debates surrounding broadcast media, work within this tradition sought to map the complex interplay of macrolevel industrial forces and grassroots cultural forces. While these twin traditions in dominant modes of media historiography have shed important light

18 UCLA Ed&IS SPRING 2019

on radio’s institutional structures and cultural contexts, too often lost to both top-down and bottom-up approaches has been an important middle ground occupied by everyday workers who performed the brunt of early broadcasting labor. Situated within a stratum of broadcasting history below that of entrepreneurial inventors, federal regulators, and corporate executives, but above that of audiences and social pundits, this new class of professional sound workers was responsible for producing the day-today programming that filled the nation’s airwaves and made radio more than just technologies, laws, and accounting figures, while giving its ever-growing publics something on which to project their competing interests and desires. To these programmers, producers, and performers went the task of “making radio” in the fullest sense, developing content and techniques of practice that

Profile for UCLA Ed&IS

UCLA Ed&IS Magazine Spring 2019  

The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies’ magazine highlights the public scholarship of our faculty. The cover of this...

UCLA Ed&IS Magazine Spring 2019  

The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies’ magazine highlights the public scholarship of our faculty. The cover of this...

Profile for uclaedis
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