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Chapter 12: The Electronic Media

Main Idea:  The electronic media of radio, television and the Internet have had far-reaching impacts on individuals and society.
  • The invention of the radio is generally credited to Marconi, although there were many others who added important innovations that would make the radio a reliable means of communication.
  • Initially radio was used by the military and and for ship to shore communication
  • First commercial station was KDKA – 1920. By 1922 there were more than  500 stations.
  • These stations were originally basically commercial free. When the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) demanded royalties for recorded music, stations began running commercials
  • The first  workable television camera and receiver was produced in 1928.
  •  In 1939 RCA began the first regularly scheduled broadcasts.
Federal Regulations
  • Congress established the Federal Communications Commission to oversee and regulate television and radio. 
  • Important responsibilities of the FCC are to issue licenses to radio and television stations, assign broadcast frequencies and set technical standards
  • Ongoing problems with the FCC are (1) whether it truly considers the public's interest and (2) potential conflicts of interest.
Impact of television:
  • Amount of time spent watching television each day is 3 hours and 16 minutes
  • Connection between violence on television and violent behavior: definite correlation, but not necessarily causation.
  • Sense of immediacy of events, not necessarily better information.
  •  Television news lends itself to short “sound bites” rather than in-depth analysis. Average news story is less than 1.5 minutes.
  • Politically, television has led to a focus on form rather than content (style, image) since it is confined to 30 second commercials.
  • Some believe television has had a negative impact on our attention spans and imagination.
The Internet
  • Internet: a giant network of smaller computer networks that allows users to access files located anywhere within these individual networks. Note: the Internet is not the WWW! 
  • Originally developed by the Defense Department: ARPANET.
  • An important concept in the development of the Internet was Packet switching:  information was broken into small packets which could follow different paths to the destination.  Packet switching was necessary in case of enemy attack.
  • The World Wide Web
    •  The World Wide Web is a part of the Internet; it is a collection of Web pages with links to other web pages.  It is the part of the Internet that supports multimedia.
    • The technology and software that are used on the WWW are "open source."  No one holds a patent to it or controls it.  As a result the Web has experienced explosive growth:  In  1993 there were  600 web sites; today more than 10 million .
  • The internet has made a tremendous impact on business communications and has given rise to e-commerce (conducting business on the internet).
  • The Internet is also creating a revolution in education through the use of Web-based learning.

 Self Test