Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Force that Shaped Radio


Commercial industries drove the evolution of radio from governmental use to mass media. Businesses took advantage of the new technology to reach a mass audience in order to increase sales on their products and create much of the entertaining elements of the radio, some of which transferred to TV and are still around today.

The relationship between the mass media and commercial industries like Goodwill, Marlboro, Nike and Sony, is simple. These industries pay for air time or ad space to publicize their latest products. The more space the buy the more money the media corporations acquire and invest in better entertainment (in theory). What this does is then establish a connection, the higher a show on TV say, the more expensive the ad space will be, the more money it gets from advertisers the quality of the show increases or more shows are created and more expensive is the ad space and so on.
In regards to the development of radio entertainment this relationship was key. As the technology developed and made home radios more accessible and cheaper companies saw this new media outlet as a new tool to directly engage their potential buyers while they were at home, listening to their news or a game show. They would insert their ads as catchy jingles or witty ads that amused the radio listener in exchange for some of his time. Commercial companies also sponsored shows like soap operas, which earn their name because they were sponsored by manufacturers of cleaning products (SOAP OPERA).  Some of these early developed genres transferred to TV, which again continued with the relationship with commercial industries.

In short we could say that at the time it was the job of radio broadcasters to insert ads in their shows, to create the ads with their own talent or collaborate with the companies and produce a show that revolved around the brand name. Whatever it was radio moguls saw “their advertisers as the real customers” (Straubhaar 177).  

This image is from: and is featured as part of an essay from 1922 that explains why advertising by Radio will kill the business. Hum? interesting.

“SOAP OPERA.” The Museum of BroadcastCommunications. 25 Sept. 2010. <>
Straubhaar, Joseph, Robert LaRose and Lucinda Davenport. Media Now: with Digital Moviemaking. United States of America: Cengage Learning, Updated 2010.


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