Below is a chapter summary. Read and answer the 7 questions. (questions below, after Learning Objectives)

Chapter Summary

The ability to record sounds began in 1877 with Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph. Though Edison’s machine could record and play back sound, it was relatively fragile and the foil-covered cylinders could not be reproduced nor did they stand up to repeated playing. Emile Berliner’s gramophone, however, played music on flat discs that were stronger than Edison’s cylinders and could be mass produced. This technology allowed musical performances to be stored and replayed. As prerecorded music became widely available, the nature of music consumption changed. People’s major contact with music became recordings by professional musicians rather than live performances by amateurs.

Radio was an outgrowth of work done on the telegraph by Samuel Morse. Physicists such as Heinrich Hertz conducted early experiments on the detection of radio waves, but Guglielmo Marconi developed the commercially viable wireless telegraph.

Radio was used initially as a tool for sending messages from one person to another. David Sarnoff was among the first to see radio’s potential as a tool for mass communication; CBS founder William Paley saw its potential as an advertising medium that incidentally provided entertainment. KDKA, the first commercial radio station, went on the air in 1920, ushering in the golden age of radio, in which radio was the dominant medium for home entertainment. Radio was also a major source of news, offering an intimacy and immediacy that newspapers couldn’t match.

The organizations ASCAP and BMI were established to ensure that musicians and composers would be paid for the music they wrote and performed on stage, on records, and on the radio, as well as songs published in written form.

A wide range of recording formats has been used over the years, including the 78-rpm disc, the 45-rpm single, the LP, the compact disc, and the MP3 computer file. Each has given rise to concerns about changes in the purchasing and use of music.

Rock ‘n’ roll was a hybrid style of music that grew out of white hillbilly music and black rhythm and blues in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Because rock ‘n’ roll crossed racial lines, it became part of the integration of American society in the 1950s and 1960s. Rock ‘n’ roll became popular largely through recordings sold in record stores and played on the radio rather than through live performances. It evolved into an art form that existed primarily for recorded playback rather than live performance.

In the 1960s and 1970s rock music became more heavily produced, and there was a shift from hit singles to albums. Music by groups like the Beatles and Pink Floyd brought the role of the producer to the forefront, a move that accelerated with the development of disco and rap.

Parents and other adults have expressed concern about lyrics, which include profanity, discussions of suicide and violence, and sentiments that are derogatory toward women.

As television displaced radio as the dominant broadcast medium, radio was transformed into a companion medium with a wide range of formats designed to appeal to narrow, specific audiences. These formats include many types of music, Spanish-language broadcasting, talk, news, and sports.

FM has gradually replaced AM as the dominant radio band. Although FM has a shorter broadcast range, it has much higher quality sound (higher fidelity).

Although the majority of radio stations are commercial, public radio—a staple of FM radio programming—provides an important alternative. Terrestrial radio is still the dominant sound medium; however, it faces growing competition from Webcasting, podcasting, and satellite radio.

Learning Objectives

Understand the technologies and inventions of early radio and identify their originators.
Know the significance of the telegraph and wireless telegraph in removing limitations of communication.
Understand the progression of the adoption of advertising as an integral part of radio broadcasts.
Know what the golden age of radio was and what programming it featured.
Understand the origins of rock and roll and the artists that brought this music genre to the American public.
Understand the developments of the LP, 45, and compact disc.
Know the new forms of radio, such as Internet and satellite, and what they offer in comparison to traditional radio.
Understand webcasting and podcasting.

Review Questions

1. What were the differences between the phonograph and gramophone?
2. What was the significance of the Radio Music Box memo?
3. What was payola?
4. Who were Amos and Andy?
5. How were concept albums different than earlier recordings?
6. What is the difference between webcasting and podcasting?
7. What can the recording industry do if it wants to survive?