Sunday, September 26, 2010

Technological Change spurs Development of Radio

I think technological change was the most influential factor in the development of the radio industry because it allowed the creation of radio as a product that could be accessed by the masses.
Technological innovation is critical to media in that it opens the door for new means of communication. From speech and writing to telegraphs and television, innovation has been necessary for the development of all media. Radio as an international forum of communication would have been impossible if not for the technology that was created that allowed broadcasting. If not for this technology, the radio “boom” of the 1920’s, onwards until the 1950’s could never have occurred. A technology is invented, a patent is created for the product, and then the technology is turned into a marketable product. If the product is popular, then more technologies emerge from the original, attempting to improve it. Radio technology continued to evolve with the emergence of FM radio. This allowed more companies to be involved with radio and more specific types of audiences in the population to be targeted.
         The technological emergence of broadcast technology began the evolution of the U.S. Radio system. First, radio was viewed as a utilitarian means of communication especially after radio helped save survivors of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.  As a warning for ships or a way for the military to pass messages, radio proved useful.  When the technology for FM radio was invented, more channels could be broadcast in the same area. Although entertainment radio did pre-date FM, this technology gave rise to a number of different radio stations in the same area that would play different shows and types of music. This also allowed radio stations to target certain sections of the populace. Radio was a product that created thousands of consumers within a few years of its invention. It is clear that without the emergence of radio technology, the Radio Boom of the 1920’s could not have occurred.

#1 Song of 1925: "Sweet Georgia Brown" by Ben Bernie

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Implications of the Media in Society

Cultivation Theory

Studies have shown that the MTV show "Jersey Shore" has actually negatively impacted viewer's opinions of the state of New Jersey. This supports Cultivation Theory 100%. A television show has made people believe that Snooki, "The Situation," and other television personas are "the norm" for New Jersey.  

            Cultivation theory heavily impacts society by influencing the “normal” view of gender roles, body image, and normality.
            Cultivation theory is a theory that states that the media is essentially responsible for the way in which people view the world.  This theory attributes extreme social power to the media and holds that people are taught over time to respond to situations based on what they think is the appropriate way. The Cultivation theory believes that the media teaches normality through television, video, music, etc. It says that life as we live it is a reflection of media ideas that have been portrayed to us since childhood.
            Cultivation theory can be easily applied to either Tough Guise or Killing Us Softly since it is the basis for the opinions of both.   Throughout human history, from the genesis of our written history, the archetypal hero has existed. He, as  “Tough Guise“ establishes, embodies characteristics like “tough,” “strong,” and “powerful.” In recent years we may add “cool,” or “cunning” to the growing list of unattainable favorable attributes necessary in a true man.  From Odysseus to John Wayne to Rambo to James Bond, the protagonist, according to the cultivation theory, tells men what is expected of them.  According to the theory, men will watch media and perceive that it is “normal” for them to act like the men portrayed in the media. Equally for women, advertisements show what is “normal,” which equates to how women act, dress, and try to look.  According t the University of Washington, a study found that the amount of time an adolescent watches soap operas, movies, and music videos is directly correlative with negative body image and wish to be thinner.  If media reinforces what is “normal” in society, and people see approximately 2500 advertisements a day, then that is a lot of reinforcement. 

The media objectifies women which, according to cultivation theory, affects how society views and treats women.
Ellen DeGeneres discusses media's impact on body image in society.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hegemony: Close to Home, Far Reaching Influence


In order to understand the way in which hegemony can control cultural perception and cause ideas to become accepted as “incontrovertible,” a local example, The Texas Board of Education, can be utilized and assessed.

If a company or group is a hegemon, they effectively control a set of media in order to direct the common consensus of an idea towards their beliefs.  Hegemony, in the context of the media is the control of ideas by a source. Hegemony can be used in a political or social context and sometimes the two are inherently linked.  One of the most relevant global theories connected with hegemony is cultural imperialism, in which one country imposes or passes their culture to another country. This idea is fascinating to me because of it means that one company, or essentially, one person who is the head of a company in the United States can control what people buy, wear, believe, and act upon not only in the United States but around the world. 

      One local example of hegemony in a cultural context is the Texas Board of Education.  The board does not have the same global power as some more obvious hegemons such as Steve Jobs or Disney, however they do decide what every public school student in Texas will learn in their most formative years. The essence of a source that has hegemony according to Media Now is that they “Create a consensus around…ideas… so that they come to be accepted as common sense”. Textbooks are a prime example of media that come to be accepted as absolutely irrefutable knowledge. For example, I’m quoting from a textbook in my blog post.  There was a huge controversy in March of 2010 over the Texas Board of Education because they passed a social studies curriculum that focuses on decidedly conservative ideas such as a heavy emphasis on capitalism, republican ideology, and partially anti-secular government. The textbooks that are influenced by the policy are sold not only in Texas but across the United States. Despite political affiliations, every public school student will be subjected to and will absorb these ideas, for better or for worse.

Image Sources: Fox News, New York Times 2008, ABC news, Daily Times Online
Info Sources, (New York Times 2010) (Straubhaar, LaRose, Davenport. Media Now. 2010 ed.) (Fox News 2008) (Mastroianni. "Hegemony in Gramsci" 2002).