MIT 2000 Reading Summaries for Broadcasting/Radio Week (Charland, Vipond, McChesney)

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2000F/G
Daniel Robinson

Reading Summaries “Technological Nationalism” Maurice Charland This reading discusses how the Canadian Pacific Railway and the telegraph worked together to ‘bind’Canada. The Canadian Pacific Railway encouraged Canadians to think of technology as being “constitutive of Canada” and a “manifestation of Canada’s ethos” (50). Charland argues that Canada exists because of these technologies that bind space together. The T.V Program “The National Dream” shows Canada as imagining itself into existence. Charland argues that technological nationalism doesn’t tie a nation to its people but ties it to “their mediation through technology” (50). He discusses the relationship of the “Canadian rhetoric of a technological nation and the technology of Canadian state” (52). Canada is an absent nation that succumbs to American influence. Rhetoric guides the applications of technology so it is important in that way. Canada’s existence depends on transportation and communication. The idea of Canada depends on the rhetoric of the technology. The invention of the telegraph and the railroad overcame the distance boundary that Canada had. The railroad primarily enhanced trade but also “created the possibility of a nation” by unifying provinces and giving Ottawa more political power (53). The railroad was built so that the government could have spatial control from Montreal to Vancouver. The radio sought to bind Canada with information like the railway bound us economically (55). It offers community but also domination, and wanted to produce a national Canadian identity. Charland argues that the national identity would be one of mediation and communication (57). Canadian radio was used as a defense ofAmerican radio, which many people had access to. But the radio could not be profitable if it was 100% Canadian. Even though it had American programming, CBC’s purpose was to create a national consciousness. The Americanization of Canada’s airwaves was inevitable considering how it was involved from the beginning of the radio; this helped to create a norm that Canadians would later seek. “Who Is To Pay For Broadcasting” Mary Vipond This reading discusses the rising cost of radio broadcasting. By 1932 it was a substantial investment to set up a radio station. Stations were usually non-profit or set up by the radio industry itself or newspapers. In the latter case the fees would be sent to advertising. Licensing was implemented in Canada for a time where listeners would pay for the service. However the money these people paid rarely went to their local station and private broadcasters were not given subsidies.Advertising was then introduced; advertisers would pay for the use of the communication equipment, and audience paid nothing.Advertising on the radio was not received well. One said “advertising on radio [is] an unacceptable intrusion of the world of business into the privacy… of the home” (201). But by 1932 people started to come around to the idea. The reading goes into the rates different advertisers had to pay and how much airtime they would get. These two factors greatly affected the impact of the advertisement on the public. Broadcasting bureaus were set up which acted as brokers between the radio stations and the advertisers. In 1930 15% of Canadian programs were handled by agencies, which usually got 15% commission. Urban areas had an advantage because of their access to skilled technicians and performers, so radio stations were usually successful in urban areas. So, who pays for broadcasting? Commerc
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