During the 1920s and 1930s, the rising popularity of radio prompted subtle but significant changes in how Americans conducted public business and conceived of their community. In Fireside Politics, Douglas B. Craig provides the first detailed and complete examination of the role of radio within political culture between 1920 and 1940--the golden age of radio, when it commanded huge national audiences without competition from television.Fireside Politics builds upon a wide variety of sources: two major NBC manuscript collections, government documents, papers from the Republican and Democratic parties, broadcasters' memoirs, newspapers, magazines, and the writings of interwar radio enthusiasts, sociologists, and political scientists. Craig begins by covering the development of radio and its evolution into a commercialized, networked, and regulated industry. He then focuses on how the two major parties used the new medium in their national contests between 1924 and 1940, examining radio in political campaigns and debates from the perspectives of the networks, the parties, and listeners. Finally, Craig broadens the argument to encompass interwar notions of citizenship and good taste and their effect on radio broadcasting and its chief actors. He also compares the American experience of broadcasting and political culture with that of Australia, Britain, and Canada. Fireside Politics delivers a thoughtful account of the ways radio metamorphosed into a medium of political action -- a force that affected campaigning, governing, and even ideas of citizenship and civility.
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"This book is an impressive and valuable work." -- David F. Krugler, American Historical Review
"[T]he best general study yet published on the development of radio broadcasting during this crucial period when key institutional and social patterns were established." -- Hugh R. Slotten, Technology and Culture
"Fireside Politics is the most complete study so far of the interactions between broadcasting and the U.S. political system during the 'golden age' of radio... likely to become a leading reference in continuing discussions over communication history, technology, and democracy." -- Stephen Ponder, H-Pol, H-Net Reviews
"[Craig] has succeeded in producing the best general study yet published on the development of radio broadcasting during this crucial period when key institutions and socail patterns were established." -- Hugh R. Slotten, Technology and Culture
"[A]n impressively researched and useful study of how key players within the political and commercial arenas debated, regulated, and utilized -- for their specific interests -- commerical radio as a medium... Craig subtly winds his interpretive, critical thread of the unfulfilled promise of radio as an engine of a more expansive democracy into a larger narrative about the institutional and ideological sway of commerical radio interests." -- Brett Gary, Journal of American History
"This thorough and absorbing analysis of the institutional dynamics of network radio braodcasting makes a signal contribution to our understanding of mass political communication before the age of television." -- Scott L. Althaus, Harvard International Journal of Press/PoliticsBook Description:
"Fireside Politics is the best history of radio between the wars yet written. Craig has done extensive archival work, and he skillfully presents market and economic data. Craig's work will become the leading history, one that every scholar who deals with radio during this period will have to consult and cite." -- James L. BaughmanUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, author of The Republic of Mass Culture: Journalism, Filmmaking, and Broadcasting in America since 1941
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