Sunday, 6 January 2008

Radio, content and Orson Welles

Every time in mass media i see an "history of radio" is like:
- digital modulations (dab, drm, hd radio)
- Internet, satellite and podcast

It's fine, but that is only an history of technology of radio.
The technology is important and interesting but in my opinion an history of radio should be:
- history of technology of radio
- history of radio content
How many times did you see an history of radio content?
I have to admit the wikipedia is a nice exception, they wrote:
"The pre-history and early history of radio is the history of technology that produced instruments that use radio waves. Later in the timeline of radio, the history is dominated by programming and contents, which is closer to general history." General history? Sure?

Do you know any interesting "history of radio content" (with analysis, hopefully) on the net?
I understand that an history of the technology is much simpler than an history of radio content (basically all the world has been using few modulations but every country has a different history and evolution of radio content) but most people don't care about the technology, they do care about the content; the best digital modulation would be absolutely useless if the content is rubbish.

At the end of this post i want to point out a milestone of radio broadcasting:
in this site you can hear the audio of all the radio drama of Mercury Theatre, including the legendary "The war of the worlds" directed by Orson Welles (1915-1985).
The war of the worlds is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air, which was performed as a Halloween special on October 30, 1938 and aired over the CBS radio network. Directed by Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells' classic novel "The war of the worlds" (1898). It's interesting to read the full article of wikipedia.

We don't know the reaction of H.G Wells (1866-1946) but we know that the day after, the New York Times frontpage was: "Radio listeners in panic, taking war drama as fact".

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