Browse Items (16 total)

  • Tags: Destination Freedom: A History of Radio from Minstrelsy to Podcasting

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After only five years of independent programming, the Gimlet podcast network was bought by Spotify for $230 million. This acquisition represents a growing movement of podcast networks and collectives ranging from corporate institutions to non-profit…
Item Type: Event

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In collaboration with This American Life and WBEZ in Chicago, the podcast series Serial became a national phenomenon. Quickly accruing millions of downloads, the show enjoyed a feverish fan base fueled by the True Crime production of the show. Serial…
Item Type: Event

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With the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, corporate media mergers began to change the landscape for entertainment and broadcasting. Companies like ClearChannel began to buy up local radio stations around the country and syndicate their…
Item Type: Event

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The Civil Rights Movement relied heavily on radio to spread news and messages to young and illiterate audiences, but DJs would often have to communicate in signals or coded songs. In Birmingham, a DJ is credited with signaling the start of “The…
Item Type: Event

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Following in the footsteps of the 1946 NAACP campaign to integrate radio and TV stations, professor and banker Jesse Blayton purchased the Atlanta station WERD, which became the first Black-owned radio station. By 1969, only 16 other stations…
Item Type: Event

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After two years of performing blackface characters for their first radio show, Sam n’ Henry, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll left WGN for WMAQ. Amos n’ Andy became a national hit and NBC bought the show in 1929, started a TV show in 1951 and…
Item Type: Event

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Two stations claim to be the first broadcasters: WWJ in Detroit and KDKA in East Pittsburgh. However, they both began broadcasting within months of each other, with KDKA being the most famous for its coverage of the 1920 election results. Their…
Item Type: Event

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Often described as America’s first blockbuster, Birth of a Nation was a radical facelift for the dying minstrel show. Utilizing the blackface characters of the 19th Century beyond their comedic guideposts, D.W. Griffith exercised the power of the…
Item Type: Event

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Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was originally published serially and the book became the best-selling American novel of its time, fueling abolitionist sentiment among Northern white women. Uncle Tom was also incredibly popular in the…
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T.D. Rice performed a song and dance routine based on a disabled slave he observed during his travels. This “Jim Crow” character became immediately popular with Northern, middle-class audiences, inspiring generations of blackface performers well into…
Item Type: Event

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Digital music was initially experimented with in the 80s but it wasn’t until 1993 that perceptual encoding algorithms were capable of successfully reducing file size without significant degradation of audio quality. With the MPEG-Layer II, the MP3…
Item Type: Technology

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With increased adoption of the World Wide Web and enthusiasm for how to design web content for easier consumption, the development of a web syndication program was being pursued by several different people. Web developers were looking for some kind…
Item Type: Technology

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Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, digital sound technology had become a central focus both for performers and studios. From the electronic drum kits of synth pop to the drum machine samples in hip hop, the demand for sophisticated digital sound…
Item Type: Technology

FM radio
By 1922 more than 500 stations were licensed broadcasters with a wide range of institutions taking advantage of the popular medium from universities and newspapers to department stores and religious organizations. However, the persistent problem was…
Item Type: Technology

Edwin Howard Armstrong and his superheterodyne radio set
In 1917, all domestic radio technology was temporarily banned as America began to get involved in WWI and radio pioneer Edwin Howard Armstrong volunteered to join the fight in Europe. While he was stationed in Paris, Armstrong came up with a solution…
Item Type: Technology

Lee de Forest
Though there are many inventors that are critical to the evolution of radio technology, only one made a deliberate effort to insert himself as the one true inventor-hero of the radio and broadcasting: Lee de Forest. As a young inventor, de Forest…
Item Type: Technology
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