Defining a Medium: The Educational Aspirations for Early Radio


This essay examines the attempts by many writers to steer the burgeoning U.S. radio industry towards educational uses and programming in the 1920s. At the same time that commercial radio began to take shape, several competing and seemingly incompatible visions of the airwaves emerged—one of which privileged the use of radio for educational purposes. Using discourse from trade journals, general interest magazines, and newspapers, this article explores the calls for educational programming amid the rapidly expanding and consolidating commercial radio industry

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