History of Radio,TV & New Media

Georgia State University
History of Radio, TV & New Media
Spring 2012

Class Meetings: Monday/Wednesday 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Instructor: Erik Clabaugh
Office: One Park Place, 92nd Floor, Penthouse Suite A
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM (and by appointment)
Email: erikclabaugh@yahoo.com or erikclabaugh@gmail.com
Website: www.erikclabaugh.com

Course Description & Objectives:

What is “new media,” and what does this term mean in a broader historical sense? How should we approach historical accounts of media genesis and evolution? What are the factors that affect this development? Over the course of the semester, this class will offer an overview of the history of radio, television, and new media from a cultural history perspective. We will examine the social, political and economic contexts in which these mediums arose, and concurrently explore the programming, audiences and debates they created. By the end of the semester, students should possess a strong understanding of the history of these mediums, as well as the cultural backdrop that informed, and was informed by, their development.

Required Text:

Hilmes, Michele. Only Connect: A Cultural History of Broadcasting in the United States. 3rd Edition. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2011.

Supplementary Texts (Suggested Reading) –

Supplementary texts will be made available through Ulearn or linked through the syllabus.


Three exams will be given over the course of the semester. Questions on the exams will be derived from the assigned readings, lectures, and screenings. Occasionally, students will be assigned take home activities. Upon completion, students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss their individual experiences. While these assignments will not be graded in a traditional sense, your observations and assessment of these activities will count toward the “class participation” portion of your overall grade.

Grading Breakdown:

Exam #1- 30%
Exam #2- 30%
Exam #3- 30%
Attendance & Class Participation- 10%

Grade Scale: A+: 100- 98, A: 97-94; A-: 93-90; B+: 89-86; B: 86-83; B-: 82-79; C+: 78-76; C: 75-72; C-: 71-69; D: 61-68; F: 60-0


Attendance is mandatory, and roll will be taken at the beginning of each class period. Each student is allowed one unexcused absence for the semester. After that, each unexcused absence will affect your final grade. Excused absences include documented medical and family emergencies. Remember, attendance and participation comprise 10% of your overall grade!


Week 1

Class Introduction – Review Syllabus – What is “New Media?”

Class Topics: Just the Facts? : Reconciling Concepts of Verisimilitude & History
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 1
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – Tuchman, from Practicing History: Selected Essays – Preface and Chapter 1 (Ulearn)

Week 2

Class Topics: Precursors to Broadcasting – Social & Cultural Contexts – The Revolution in Print Media
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 2
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – Sloan, from The Media in America: A History – Chapter 15: The Emergence of Modern Media, 1900 – 1945 (Ulearn)

Class Topics: Precursors Continued – Vaudeville, Film & Sports – Wireless Telegraphy
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – Sloan, from The Media in America: A History – Chapter 18: Radio Comes of Age, 1900 – 1945 (349-352)

Week 3

Class Topics: Broadcasting Begins – Social & Cultural Contexts – Early Broadcasters – Regulation
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 3

Class Topics: Broadcasting Begins (Cont.) – Networks – Hopes & Fears – Public Service Versus Commercial Interests
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – Sloan, from The Media in America: A History – Chapter 18: Radio Comes of Age, 1900 – 1945. Pages 353-357 (Ulearn)

Week 4

Class Topics: A Tumultuous Time: 1926-1940 – Social & Cultural Contexts – The Depression – Regulation – The Radio Act of 1927, The Communications Act of 1934
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 4
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – McChesney, Robert. “Media and Democracy: The Emergence of Commercial Broadcasting in the United States, 1927-1935.” OAH Magazine of History (Spring 1992): Pages 34-40. (Ulearn)

Class Topics: Commercial Networks – NBC & CBS – Sponsors & Advertising
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – Clark, David G. “H.V. Kaltenborn and His Sponsors: Controversial Broadcasting and the Sponsor’s Role.” Journal of Broadcasting 12 (1968): Pages 309-21. (Ulearn)

Week 5

Class Topics: Radio Through WWII – The Influences of Vaudeville – Radio & Hollywood – Programming – Race/Gender Representations
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 5
Listen To: Amos & Andy – http://www.otr.net/r/amnd/8.ram

Class Topics: Radio Through WWII (Cont.) – WWII – Social & Cultural Contexts – Conceptions of The Audience – Government & Industry
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 6
Listen To: Jack Benny – http://www.otr.net/r/jbny/214.ram

Week 6

Review for Exam – Hilmes, 1-6

First Exam

Week 7

Class Topics: Television in Post WWII Era – Social & Cultural Contexts – Challenges to American Cinema – Gender & Advertising – The Radio DJ – Regulation and the U.S. Television System – Programming: Live TV v. Filmed Production
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 7
Watch Clip: I Led 3 Lives: “Communist Escort Service” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsiG9IteM4U&feature=related

Class Topics: Turbulence & Emergence 1955-1965 – Social & Cultural Contexts – Radio Scandal, Consolidation & Standardization – TV Scandal, Sponsors & The Network Dominated Structure – Regulation: The FCC & “The Whorehouse Era” – Programming- Ratings! – Discussion of Take Home Activity
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 8
Take Home Activity: Try your hand at “Twenty One”: “When Charles Van Doren faced these questions on the NBC quiz show ‘Twenty One,’ he held a hidden advantage: he had already been provided with the answers. In an honest game, how would you match up?” – Come to class ready to discuss your results – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/quizshow/sfeature/quiz.html

Week 8

No Class- Spring Break

Week 9

Special Lecture Topic: National Public Radio: Genesis, Funding & Controversy
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 9

Class Topics: The “Sixties”: 1965 – 1975 – Social & Cultural Contexts: Vietnam, The Counterculture, Subaltern Voices – Movies: A Renaissance – Television: Networks, Cable & Independent Stations – Regulation: Fin/Syn & PTAR

Week 10

Class Topics: The “Sixties”: 1965 – 1975 (Cont.) – TV Programming: The Age of Social Relevance
Watch: All in the Family: “The Draft Dodger” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcalHLtewXo

Class Topics: Industry Explosion: 1975 – 1985 – Social & Cultural Contexts – Technological Advances: Satellites & VCRs – Industry Deregulation – The Emergence of Cable – Public Television – Early Mergers & Hints of Things to Come
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 10: Pages 286-306

Week 11

Class Topics: Industry Explosion (Cont.) – Repeat Viewing: Reruns & VCRs – Programming: New Seriality – The Academic Study of TV – Opposing Voices
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 10: Pages 306-327

Class Topics: Changes: 1985 – 1995 – Social & Cultural Contexts – Globalization, Deregulation & Mergers, Oh My! – Programming
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 11
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – Rowe, Kathleen K. “Roseanne: Unruly Woman as Domestic Goddess.” Screen 31.4 (1990): Pages 408-19 (Ulearn)

Week 12

Review for Exam: Hilmes, 7-11

Second Exam

Week 13

Class Topics: The Digital Age: 1995–2010 – Social & Cultural Contexts – ARPAnet – The World Wide Web – Regulation – Media Ownership – Industry – In Class Discussion of Take Home Activity
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 12
Take Home Activity: Go to Telehack.com and spend 15-20 minutes navigating the “old” internet (with a lower case “i”). Make some notes about what you find, and come to class ready to discuss your experience: http://telehack.com/
About Telehack – “Telehack is a simulation of a stylized arpanet/usenet, circa 1985-1990. It is a full multi-user simulation, including 25,000 hosts and BBS’s the early net, thousands of files from the era, a collection of adventure and IF games, a working BASIC interpreter with a library of programs to run, simulated historical users, and more.”

Class Topics: Convergence – TV, Cable & Respectability – Reconciling Verisimilitude & Reality TV – Audience – International Voices
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 13
Supplementary Viewing (Suggested): Real Life (1979)

Week 14

Class Topics: Video Games! – In Class Viewing: Video Games: Behind the Fun (2007)
Reading: Juul, from Half-Real: Video Games Between Rules and Fictional Works – Chapter 1: Pages 1–22 (Ulearn)

Class Topics: Video Games! (Cont.) – A Half-Real Medium? – Brief History of Video Games: A Review – Games, TV & Film or What is a Game?
In Class Activity: Form into groups of five to six people. As a group, discuss how video games differ from other games (e.g. card games, dice games, board games). Write down your observations and appoint a spokesperson for class discussion.
Take Home Activity: Play any video game for at least 30 minutes. You do not have to do anything else, just have fun.
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – Bissell, from Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter – Pages 17-31 (Ulearn)

Week 15

Class Topics: Blurring Lines – Politics & New Media – Geek Culture – P2P Culture – Television: Better Than Ever?
Reading: Hilmes, Chapter 14

Class Topics: Distribution, Presentation & Reception in the Digital Age – Digital Production & Distribution – Piracy – Netflix – The Audience & Fan Made Media
Reading: Tryon, from Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence – Chapters 4 & 6 (Ulearn)
Supplementary Reading (Suggested) – Anderson, Chris. “The Long Tail.” Wired.com – http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html?pg=1&topic=tail&topic_set

Week 16

Review for Exam: Hilmes, Chapters 12-14 – Juul, Chapter 1 – Tryon, Chapters 4 & 6

Final Exam

General Policies:

Incompletes may be given only in special hardship cases. Incompletes will not be used merely for extending the time for completion of course requirements.

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.

Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought.

Changes to the Syllabus
This syllabus provides a general plan for the course. Deviations may be necessary.

Georgia State University Policy on Academic Honesty

As members of the academic community, students are expected to recognize and uphold standards of intellectual and academic integrity. The university assumes as a basic and minimum standard of conduct in academic matters that students be honest and that they submit for credit only the products of their own efforts. Both the ideals of scholarship and the need for fairness require that all dishonest work be rejected as a basis for academic credit. They also require that students refrain from any and all forms of dishonorable or unethical conduct related to their academic work.

The university’s policy on academic honesty is published in the Faculty Affairs Handbook and the On Campus: The Undergraduate Co-Curricular Affairs Handbook and is available to all members of the university community. The policy represents a core value of the university and all members of the university community are responsible for abiding by its tenets. Lack of knowledge of this policy is not an acceptable defense to any charge of academic dishonesty. All members of the academic community — students, faculty, and staff — are expected to report violations of these standards of academic conduct to the appropriate authorities. The procedures for such reporting are on file in the offices of the deans of each college, the office of the dean of students, and the office of the provost.

In an effort to foster an environment of academic integrity and to prevent academic dishonesty, students are expected to discuss with faculty the expectations regarding course assignments and standards of conduct. Students are encouraged to discuss freely with faculty, academic advisors, and other members of the university community any questions pertaining to the provisions of this policy. In addition, students are encouraged to avail themselves of programs in establishing personal standards and ethics offered through the university’s Counseling Center.

Definitions and Examples
The examples and definitions given below are intended to clarify the standards by which academic honesty and academically honorable conduct are to be judged. The list is merely illustrative of the kinds of infractions that may occur, and it is not intended to be exhaustive. Moreover, the definitions and examples suggest conditions under which unacceptable behavior of the indicated types normally occurs; however, there may be unusual cases that fall outside these conditions which also will be judged unacceptable by the academic community.

A. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is presenting another person’s work as one’s own. Plagiarism includes any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student’s work as one’s own. Plagiarism frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text, notes, or footnotes the quotation of the paragraphs, sentences, or even a few phrases written or spoken by someone else. The submission of research or completed papers or projects by someone else is plagiarism, as is the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else when that use is specifically forbidden by the faculty member. Failure to indicate the extent and nature of one’s reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. Any work, in whole or in part, taken from the Internet or other computer-based resource without properly referencing the source (for example, the URL) is considered plagiarism. A complete reference is required in order that all parties may locate and view the original source. Finally, there may be forms of plagiarism that are unique to an individual discipline or course, examples of which should be provided in advance by the faculty member. The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly or creative indebtedness, and the consequences of violating this responsibility.

B. Cheating on Examinations: Cheating on examinations involves giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an examination. Examples of unauthorized help include the use of notes, computer based resources, texts, or “crib sheets” during an examination (unless specifically approved by the faculty member), or sharing information with another student during an examination (unless specifically approved by the faculty member). Other examples include intentionally allowing another student to view one’s own examination and collaboration before or after an examination if such collaboration is specifically forbidden by the faculty member.

C. Unauthorized Collaboration: Submission for academic credit of a work product, or a part thereof, represented as its being one’s own effort, which has been developed in substantial collaboration with another person or source, or computer-based resource, is a violation of academic honesty. It is also a violation of academic honesty knowingly to provide such assistance. Collaborative work specifically authorized by a faculty member is allowed.

D. Falsification: It is a violation of academic honesty to misrepresent material or fabricate information in an academic exercise, assignment or proceeding (e.g., false or misleading citation of sources, the falsification of the results of experiments or of computer data, false or misleading information in an academic context in order to gain an unfair advantage).

E. Multiple Submissions: It is a violation of academic honesty to submit substantial portions of the same work for credit more than once without the explicit consent of the faculty member(s) to whom the material is submitted for additional credit. In cases in which there is a natural development of research or knowledge in a sequence of courses, use of prior work may be desirable, even required; however the student is responsible for indicating in writing, as a part of such use, that the current work submitted for credit is cumulative in nature.

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