Week 6 Discussion
Our readings for this week on the subjects of mass media and the rise of radio, film, television, and advertising, were by far my favorite of the semester so far. We began with the introduction to the book Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928-1935 by Robert McChesney. This particular reading was eye-opening for me in that I never truly thought about the format in which we absorb our mass media. I never questioned the fact that radio and television broadcasting was commercial based or that it could ever be anything else. I’m grateful that there were people in the twenties and thirties that questioned the commercial based format so that those of us studying early forms of broadcasting today have a sense of what we experience in modern broadcasting and why. I tried to have an opinion on whether or not I think we should have a portion of the air waves reserved for non-profit broadcasting, but I’m so jaded these days I really couldn’t decide if this would be a good thing or a bad.
Our second reading, Brought to You By: Postwar Television Advertising and the American Dream, by Lawrence Samuel explores the topic of conformity and consumption in the postwar era. Samuel discusses how after almost two decades of frugality, corporations and the American government needed to figure out how to bring a “full revival of market driven capitalism.” In the late 40s they managed to help usher in an entire age of consumerism through a focus on television and radio marketing strategies, government involvement, and corporate research. During the years following World War II, there was a shift where the American people became simply an audience for corporate sales techniques. Samuel expresses his views that this shift eliminated the individuality of the American citizen. I think that this is changing in modern advertising techniques due to more demographically targeted marketing, and of course increased technology.
I truly enjoyed our discussions of advertising throughout the ages in our class this week. I loved hearing different examples of how advertising has influenced us throughout our lives. Especially since there are different generations represented in our class. Overall, I think these readings and group exercises were fun this week. It was quite enlightening to read about mass media and its history in America. I think we need a whole extra week to discuss advertising and I’m looking forward to the propaganda section of our semester.
Lawrence, Samuel R. “Introduction” in Brought To You By: Postwar Television and the American Dream. Austin: University of Texas Press. 2001. 10- 22. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/umw/reader.action?docID=3443294
McChesney, Robert W. “Introduction.” In Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy : The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928-1935. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. 3-8. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/umw/reader.action?docID=272780