Radio And Television In Mass Media.

1357 words - 5 pages

A form of media that revolutionized the way humans communicate was the radio. David Sarnoff is the best candidate for the man who put radio on the map. Although it may have not been his choosing, the sinking of the Titanic in 1916 put his name in the record books. For three days straight, the young Sarnoff decoded messages from the sinking ship from his office in New York (Wells 36). The Titanic broadcast was groundbreaking, because it showed and economically profitable way by which radio could be used as a medium of mass communication for ordinary families (Wells 36). By 1930 transmitters were popping up in cities around the nation. A record 30 million households had a set, and the one set per household was becoming a reality (Wells 42). The power of radio was not really noticed until a monumental broadcast in 1939. H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds" broadcast brought a whole nation to its knees and caused widespread panic among millions of viewers. Hours after the broadcast, people from coast to coast were thrown into panic, believing monsters from Mars, invulnerable space ships were destroying the earth. They took to cars, ran out to warn neighbors, traffic was jammed, church services were ended. Four times during the show the listeners were reminded that they were hearing a dramatization, but many citizens couldn't see past. After the incident, Wells told reporters that radio is a popular democratic machine for disseminating information and entertainment (Naremore 38). The power of radio was soon known, and this incident brought light to it.Today there more than 575 million radios in America alone (Encyclopedia Britannica). The latest study from the National Broadcasting Company found that 90.5 percent of the adult population listens to some type of radio during the week.Today, Clear Channel Communications owns over 1,200 radio stations across the United States, and Cumulus, the second largest owns 266 stations. (Grant, Meadows 141). With the FCC eliminating caps on ownership, one day everyone may be listening to the same news, spun whichever way Clear Channel feels like spinning it; to the left wing, or the right. Traditional radio is facing its toughest battle these days though. Satellite radio is sweeping through the market like a wildfire; with CD-quality sound, and hundreds of channels to choose from, who wouldn't spend the ten dollars a month to have XM or Sirius? Although both companies reported losses in mid-2004, each service looks to become profitable by the end of 2005 (Grant 142). Radio will be hard-pressed to keep up with satellite. XM's digital music library is among the world's largest - 1.5 million titles and counting. Out of the 121 channels available on XM, 68 are 100% commercial free 24 hours a day, year round, with over 1500 hours of live programming every week. Although XM and Sirius only represent radio's 4.5 million subscriptions only represents a fraction of radio's 290 million weekly listeners, the number of satellite...

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