Monday, January 28, 2013


Blog post (from readings) #5: Due Monday, February 4.
Hilmes, Michele. “Print Formats Come to Broadcasting;” Kompare, Derek. “Live vs. Recorded on Radio.”  These should be posted to ELMS; if not, they will be sent via email.

Post thoughts or questions about the reading to the class blog for discussion. What struck you as interesting? What did you learn that you think you might remember five years from now?


  1. I found it very interesting that news programs were not the main product of NBC and CBS’ radio empires in the early days of broadcasting. One would think that once the technology was improved upon and radios became ubiquitous in the American home that the medium would have been used to quickly disseminate the news of the day to millions of people, rather than having to wait for the newspaper the next morning. Today, when I think of the radio I envision news broadcasts on NPR and music, so it is somewhat interesting to think there was a time when the airwaves were used primarily for entertainment programming.

    I was also surprised to learn more about live versus recorded radio. Granted the technology for recording programming was not as simple or easy as it is today, but it seems that airing recorded content would be significantly less expensive (especially for entertainment purposes, you would have to pay the actors significantly more to come in time and time again to act out an episode). The dominance of the “live aesthetic” was an interesting one to learn about, as it seemed to truly trump everything else in the early days of radio, making for an interesting dynamic – especially in terms of advertising dollars for transcribed content versus live programming.

  2. I found it really interesting how so many radio stations were so reluctant about the idea of pre-recording their shows on air. I think a major reason that showed this struggle was due to the excitement and early anticipation of the newly invented “broadcast” radio. Because the thrill of receiving live, up-to-date information was so unbelievable at the time, it made it very difficult for companies to stir away from this concept and deliver recorded broadcasts. In my opinion, the transition to recorded radio was inevitable since many companies discovered how easier it was to produce packages on air pre-recorded, rather than simply doing it live. It really does give the producers and radio hosts much more “flexibility.”

    Nowadays, it seems that there is very little live radio broadcasts, since everything is basically pre-recorded. No radio station in the country just goes on air and tries to “wing” it. Station producers and directors rely on prerecorded information to not only sufficiently deliver a broadcast, but also make it much easier for their program to operate smoothly and effectively. Radio stations have perfected the idea of pre-recordings so well, that is virtually impossible for the average listener to distinguish what is live and what is pre-recorded.

  3. I was surprised to read just how much magazines spawned radio. I think of radio and print as two different forms of media that are not related. But magazines like The Literary Digest and Time helped create a desire of obtaining news that radio workers wanted to emulate. Soon, people were using the radio to keep people informed of the world’s events. Confession magazines brought forth shows like Love Stories and Mary and Bob while thriller magazines helped create True Detective Mysteries and The Shadow.

    The radio soon expanded to include celebrity profiles, plot summaries and other things that “gave listeners a sense of going behind the scenes to learn more about the world they listened in on every day.” People felt that the radio gave them power because they had entertainment and information at the turn of the dial. Imagine what they would have felt like today with internet and phones that give you information in a second. I can relate to that same sense of empowerment all these years later. When I don’t have my iPhone, I feel disconnected to the world. Throughout the years, Americans have relied on technology for information. But that dependence is only growing. I wonder where it will technology will lead us by the time I am old.

  4. I think it made sense that print would influence radio, since eventually radio became another widely used form of communication. However, I was surprised to the extent that both mediums were related. It's interesting that radio kind of started off with newspapers' side features, like comic strips and gossip. We now think of it as a medium that covers everything from news to sports to entertainment. Also interesting is how interrelated magazines and radio were. Due to their catering to women, women talk shows and soap operas emerged (which then also found a place in television, showing how interconnected all forms of communication are).

    Live v Recorded Radio was an interesting read because I never knew that companies ever wanted to make the distinction, especially since it seems either way they made money. While companies who wanted to place emphasis on live radio mainly did it for control, there were people who believed that it "cheated" audiences out of a "genuine" experience. I think this idea of a loss of authenticity in recorded radio is interesting. With radio particularly, there is something that is still blocking you from the live performance. You can't really see anything or fully experience the live performance. Even today, people can hardly tell if something is live or pre-recorded on radio (and even TV). I kept thinking why did it matter. But then I remembered that radio was actually novel at this time. Being able to hear something instantly when the source is miles away was a big draw of radio. I'm glad radio did evolve in including recording though because it led to well crafted and influential radio programs.

  5. A few things caught my eye in this week's readings. I did not know comic strips were turned into radio shows - for example, I thought Dick Tracy was a comic based on the old radio show, not the other way around.
    Additionally, I was very interested by the idea of sponsored news programs - not just a news program with sponsors, but a news program broadcast by a network but with news coming from another source. For example, Time and Literary Digest both had news programs on network channels.

    I was also struck by how closely magazines, newspapers, radio and television worked together. They did not see each other as competition, and instead saw them as all serving different purposes. As a result, they all worked together to help a group profit and a group success. Today, they are seen as direct competitors and it's hard to imagine a world where a magazine and radio work together on a story (unless they were owned by the same company, which is a different issue entirely).

    The whole idea of radio and television as live only fascinates me as well, because 95% of what I watch and/or listen to is pre-recorded. The duality that existed between this companies is absurd - decrying non-live programming but acknowledging its popularity by sneaking it into their lower-profile broadcasts. The fact that their were policies enforcing the live-only policy is also very surprising to me - I don't know how far radio and television would have gotten with only live broadcasts.

    The live vs. recorded debate makes me think of Orson Welles' infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast, where he read H.G. Wells' famous novel as a series of news bulletins, causing widespread panic. This can also be read as the kind of "deception" that the media companies were afraid of - mistaking something pre-recorded for something live.

  6. In “Live vs Recorded” I was very surprised. I never realized there was such a big debate over live vs. recorded programming. Radio is something you assume is live, but I was surprised to read about Rule 176, which I’ve never heard of before. To me, transcriptions really don’t seem like a big deal, and I agree that they should have been exempt from the rule. They are not the same as other recordings. Above all, I was surprised that this was such a big deal. Between Rule 176 and the involvement of the AFM and the World Broadcasting System, it seems it was a much more heated and debated topic than I would have imagined, or ever thought. I also found it interesting that one of the largest opposing groups was a group of musicians. Seems to contrast today’s society where musicians are often times in favor of recordings over live performances.

    I don’t think that just because a recording is unannounced it is deceitful. It is just as easy to be deceiving via radio during a live broadcast. Maybe even easier during a live broadcast because that is uncensored, whereas someone probably approved the recordings. I also think it is interesting that - despite the backlash – the transcription market grew, and that when World began offering its transcription library service again, it was suddenly doing better business than NBC.

    As for “Print Formats Come to Broadcasting”, I thought everything in this piece made perfect sense. Books, magazines, newspapers, came before radio and TV. It makes sense that print would have heavily influenced broadcasting. Books, and magazine and newspaper articles tell stories, which is exactly what radio and TV do for all intents and purposes. Whether they are news stories or human interest stories, the development of print shaped the way broadcasting came to be. The only part of this article I found surprising was how radio turned around and shaped and developed more magazines. I found it very interesting that publications like TV Guide and EW were sort of born from radio.

  7. In "Print Formats come to Broadcasting" by Michele Hilmes, I was surprised by the role of women in radio. As a woman currently studying the history of women's columns (and therefore, early female journalists) for another course, it struck me as particularly interesting that "the greatest influence from magazines may have been the women's daytime talk show, based on the kind of familiar and intimate domestic address pioneered in women's magazines" (Hilmes). Everything else was logical; of course printed items would influence radio formats, since the former preceded the latter. Much like how digital platforms now still emulate physical, printed newspapers, it seemed obvious that radio would follow in the footsteps of what was already established. That said, I didn't expect women to have such a great impact on a medium that's usually associated with newscasts, radio shows, and male journalists (like Edward R. Murrow). The advice given during those "women's shows" are likely antiquated now, but recognizing women as an audience just like men was nonetheless a critical step in gender equality within the field.

    In the other reading, "Live vs. Recorded on Radio" by Derek Kompare, I was surprised by the concept of "deception" when it came to pre-recorded tracks, especially the concerns raised by CBS (Kompare). The idea seems so foreign now, especially in an era of nearly equal parts live and pre-recorded television and radio shows (a clear example that comes to mind is the "Core Values" segment on WTOP, which is recorded and played regularly throughout the day). While I understand the importance of live reception, it seems irrelevant now; the notion of considering "transcriptions...second-class programs" is simply absurd, especially in light of the fact that this market grew over time (Kompare). It's almost like comparing a movie to a Broadway production--they are each wonderful in their own regard and offer different pros and cons, but are ultimately both forms of entertainment.

  8. What stuck out to me in "Print Formats Come to Broadcasting" is not how heavily influenced radio was by newspapers and comics, but how much influence radio had on publications, such as TV Guide. I was also surprised by the lack of news radio initially broadcast, it seems so obvious to me now that radio was and still is a great medium to get news out because the audience can be doing other activities at the same time as listening as opposed to reading the newspaper.

    Its interesting that radio stations in the early days did not want to have recorded programs as opposed to live programs because it is less expensive. Today, stations and companies are looking for any possible outlet in order to cut expenses.

    I enjoyed the reading by Michele Hilmes because it really sheds light on the organic nature of news in all its forms. We always hear of how radio changed everything, how it started to take over the media, but radio changed newspapers and magazines just as much as newspapers and magazines changed and influenced radio. Hilmes makes them sound like such organic entities and I love that, because they are; both industries influenced and helped each other in multiple ways, growing and changing as needed.

    I remember the other day in class we spoke about how no one ever used to record radio because they would simply just do a performance again or a program again if they wanted to play it a second time. Live radio was the standard of the industry, compared to today, where recorded is the standards. This stuck out to me because of the section in the reading about the FCC's Rule 176, which required stations to announce whether their radio shows were live or recorded. It's funny how things change in that way.

  10. It does not actually surprise me that radio did not initially feature a lot of news. At that time, news was mainly reserved for newspapers as it seemed to offer a more formal and serious plain for writing than radio did. Radio was mostly for entertainment. I also think its fun to see the early radio beginnings of different types of shows that we watch on television today, such as court shows, soap operas and women’s daytime programs. I was pleased that the article gave some present television equivalents for the old radio shows. It helped me to understand more what the shows were like.

    I think the article about radio being live versus recorded is fascinating because I think it symbolizes the United States culture in general. We have always been a society that likes to be in the moment and be present for anything and everything. Even though “live” radio was not really live (in the sense that there was no acting or physical events going; just people speaking into the microphone), our culture refused to accept recordings for a while because they thought it cheapened and unauthenticated the product.

  11. Print Formats Come to Broadcasting:
    Though the article follows the same logic I've known about the shift from print to broadcast, it's still interesting to think that the woman's magazine was the pre-cursor to the woman's radio talk show. It got me thinking that though one might think the line now between print and broadcast are defiantly clear, this is not so. There is still a huge intersection between both mediums. The print journalist has to be adept in multimedia, and the broadcast journalist must know how to write a story. It's interesting to think of the progression of print and broadcast and how once again, they're intertwined in history.

    Live vs. Recorded on Radio:
    It is so interesting to think that at one time, recordings of past events and performances were shunned. Now, recordings, reruns, Tivo, Netflix, etc. are common place. Recycled programs are everywhere. It's also funny to think that CBS--a network that syndicates and streams multitudes of recorded programs--"opposed any change to Rule 176 on the grounds that, if recordings went unannounced, the public would be deceived." The idea of "public deception" would never be a question in today's culture; now, there is no control of what and what doesn't air.

  12. I found it surprising that radio and news did not immediately strike people as an ideal pairing, especially when in radio's beginnings only live broadcasts were considered legitimate. Now it seems so natural to use live news broadcasts to bring important happenings right to the homes of the people. With print, even the most vitally important or highly anticipated news, such as the results of an election, would always have a delay in disseminating the information to the people. Radio, on the other hand, could communicate information instantaneously.

    It is also strange to learn there was such a stigma associated with pre-recorded broadcast material, but understandable since it was mostly protecting the interests of large national companies. It seems so silly now, since listeners would never be able to tell the difference between a show broadcast live and a live show that was previously recorded and then broadcast. It's also surprising that they didn't think to use pre-recorded shows multiple times to fill the time and offer people who missed shows another chance to hear them.

  13. I thought the article on live versus recorded radio programs was extremely interesting because it demonstrated how the media is foremost a business. Though live programs were conventional and the only type of radio that was considered legitimate, they soon gave way to recorded and transcribed programs. This was because transcriptions and targeted advertisements became such a lucrative business. It was similar with the introduction to recorded sound to cinemas. Originally speaking movies and recorded scores were considered cheap and illegitimate. But their profit pushed sound forward in the film industry.

    I also found the article on print formats in broadcasting interesting because it goes against modern conventional thought on radio. I usually think of radio primarily for news, but that was not the case. Also, I had never thought about how radio, as a new media, created a whole new genre for traditional print magazines, such as Entertainment Weekly and T.V. Guide. I think this new-helping-old dynamic could be interesting to study.

  14. After we talked at length about how technology has evolved from one medium to another through out the years; radio, to TV, to cable, and now to the internet, I was surprised at how radio focused everything was even after television had came out. Michele Hilmes talked about the crossover between radio and magazines and I was surprised by how many things in newspapers and magazines were spawned from radio. I would have thought it would have been the other way around.

    The points that will stick with me for a long time are the seeming lack of acceptance of the overall power of the radio and television. In the readings they allude to the idea that TV and radio were meant to be live outlets and there was hesitation over replays of past events. This is extra surprising considering how dependent people are on things like DVR now a days. I also was surprised by the lack of news cover even as "recent" as 1932. I would like to know more about how big events like the two world wars were covered.

  15. What struck me as most interesting was how much the magazine industry was involved in the beginning of radio. I had no idea that women’s magazine started the women’s talk show movement on radios. I think it’s incredible how different mediums helped other mediums become successful in this way. I think the way radio became an entertainment source rather than a news source is extremely interesting.

    I also found it interesting that recorded broadcasts were so frowned upon. If you relate it to today’s society and television, more than half of the programs on TV today are recorded. Live events are reserved for sports games, concerts, and some reality shows. Most of our favorite television shows are recorded. The idea that live broadcasting was for high classes of people is really interesting to me, because that is clearly not the case now with television. Maybe that’s a poor comparison but I think it the only way we could possibly relate to that concept.

  16. After reading Live vs. Recorded I was very surprised to read about the reluctance and general disdain for the idea of having a transcription as opposed to live broadcast. In my opinion a recorded broadcast is clearly the superior choice for most things other than a news show recapping daily events. It makes sense though that the thrill and sense of adventure a live broadcast provides captivated radio pioneers in the beginning. However, after the realization that big dollar signs awaited them if they recorded their shows it was only natural that transcribed programs became the norm. I find it fascinating that back then it was considered deceiving the public by recording a program when nowadays we have everything prerecorded as far as TV programs, other than sports and evening news essentially. In fact, our society has come so far as we rely on recorded programming for our entertainment. Going so far as to record recorded shows on TiVo and DVR.

  17. The Live vs. Recorded piece did a nice job illustrating the power of the market and listeners to dictate how media develops over time. The battle of Live vs. Recorded broadcast programming is largely unknown today. I was surprised to learn of the bias against recordings, Article 176 and the nature of live performance broadcasting prior to mainstream recording. It seems silly to think that one performer would do the same live show 3-4 times per day, that broadcast networks would limit their advertising market by only including nationally syndicated advertisements and that stations using recordings were unable to acquire “class B licenses” and had to announce recording every 15 minutes.

    I was especially interested in how business was able to develop in spite of the restrictions. Today in the U.S., we constantly hear about the negative impact major corporations have on small businesses and think of the debate as a novel concept. Live vs. Recorded reminded me that small businesses have been concerned about national competitors for over a century. The push for and ultimate acquisition of transcribed recordings, “national quality at local process,” was a huge achievement for smaller markets everywhere and paved the way for our advertising model today.

    In five years I will still remember how hard an industry fought to reject a model that would ultimately lead to its success. The 1932 survey mentioned in the reading talked about the superior quality and accessibility of recorded programs. While nothing beats a true live performance, the dominance of recording is more along the lines of what radio broadcast were created to do and where it has been most successful; bring music, art, news and culture to people everywhere. I can’t imagine how the music industry would have been if we only had access to live sessions. Looking back in history, it’s amazing to think that the AFM had the problems it did with recordings. The recording industry carried the music industry until very recently.

  18. From reading Hilmes’ article, I was surprised to learn how important radio was for newspapers. In addition, learning that Betty Crocker was an artificial persona invented by General Mills is shocking. I’m a bit disappointed.

    It was also interesting to read about the relationship magazines had with the radio. Magazines inspired new subject matters for discussion on the radio and helped publicize the medium.

    I thought it was funny that the early radio broadcasters dressed nicely and that the studio decor was of importance as none of the listeners saw this. I also had no idea that there was such a strong stigma associated with playing recorded content on the radio rather than broadcasting live.

    It was cool to see the radio program I listened to, Amos 'n' Andy, mentioned in the article:

    "Transcription providers and users alike had to promote this form of programming against this bias, despite the great success of some notable programs, including Sam 'n Henry, the first incarnation of Amos 'n' Andy, that was transcribed and syndicated out of WMAQ in Chicago in 1928-1929…"

    Lastly, I thought it was interesting that radio executives were genuinely concerned about "deceiving" listeners as to whether content was live or recorded. It is heartening to read that they found it important to make it clear to their audiences if the program was live or recorded.