• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The origins and evolution of the major insititutions in the United States for noncommercial radio and television are explored in this unique volume. Ralph Engelman examines the politics behind the development of National Public Radio, Radio Pacifica and the Public Broadcasting Service. He traces the changing social forces that converged to launch and shape these institutions from the Second World War to the present day. The book challenges several commonly held beliefs - including that the mass media is simply a manipulative tool - and concludes that public broadcasting has an enormous potential as an emancipatory vehicle.

The Mystification of the Public Sphere in the History of American Broadcasting
The mystification of the public sphere in the history of American broadcasting

The public, the state, and the corporation struggled for control of American radio and television in the earliest days of broadcasting. In the formative years of radio, amateurs and educational broadcasters represented the public interest, the Navy the interests of the state, and American Marconi and RCA the corporate interest. Initially, public forces independent of government and business pioneered the use of radio technology for broadcasting as a means of communication able to create a community of programmers and listeners. These pioneers saw radio as a vehicle for a revitalization of American democracy.

However, radio and television in their noncommercial forms experienced great ...

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