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Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922

, 400 pages

17 halftones, 2 line drawings

February 1989



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Inventing American Broadcasting, 1899-1922

Such organizations as AT&T, General Electric, and the U.S. Navy played major roles in radio's evolution, but early press coverage may have decisively steered radio in the direction of mass entertainment. Susan J. Douglas reveals the origins of a corporate media system that today dominates the content and form of American communication.

Susan J. Douglas is professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Michigan.

"A superb portrait of the communications revolution that profoundly altered 20th-century life. It will provide fresh insights, and perhaps generate controversy."

"A successful, at times elegant interdisciplinary work. Douglas combines discussions of technology and of business structure, portraits of inventors and amateurs, and analysis of internal navy organization to construct a convincing narrative on the importance of the 'pre-history' of radio. She draws from an impressive range of contemporary newspapers and technical magazines, government and business reports, and personal correspondence. This is a significant contribution to the understanding of American radio."

"Fascinating detail... A far clearer picture than has been previously available."

"Not only the best history of early radio we have, but also a valuable contribution to our understanding of twentieth-century America."

"Arguably the most authoritative study of its kind to date and as such is an invaluable resource for anyone studying the origins of the nation's electronic media industry."