The culture of consumption in radio is the product of a three-way relationship between audiences, broadcasters, and technology. Although in the contemporary West radio is typically thought of as an entertainment medium, over its long history the nature of radio consumption has changed extensively. Nineteenth-century experiments focused on direct communication, and it was not until the early twentieth century that the notion of broadcasting—from the center to a body of listeners—became widespread. From being the preserve of amateurs, the technology then saw extensive military use in various countries in the period around the First World War, which consolidated its national regulation and localized consumption.

In the 1920s, radio became a social medium, and organizations and companies began to form in the United States and Europe to ...

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