Broadcasting

Survey of Broadcasting: Assignment 2: Question 6. Describe and define one theory about media impact.

Posted on June 30, 2011. Filed under: Broadcasting, Communications, Communications Theory, Mass Communications, Mass Media, Media Effects, Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Three theories concerning the effects or impact of mass media have evolved over time:

  1. Hypodermic Needle Theory: an early theory that posits that mass communications messages would have a strong and predictable effect on an audience member. The theory held that all people would more or less have the same reaction to a mass communication message.
  2. Limited-Effects Theory: a latter theory that posits that media have few direct and meaningful effects on the audience because of a variety of intervening variables. A mass communication message would have little impact.
  3. Specific-Effects Theory: a recent theory that posits that there are certain circumstances under which some types of media will have a significant effect on some audience members.

The hypodermic needle theory was given much credence due to the apparent success of propaganda before and after World War I and the fact that many people believed the radio show War of the Worlds was in fact reality and the success of Dr. Brinkley’s radio show selling patent medicines and cures for various aliments.

However, by the mid-1940s the hypodermic needle theory’s assumptions were called into question by experimental and survey  research.

The limited effects theory focused on persuasion and political campaigns.  Mass communication messages first influenced people known as opinion leaders and then flowed on to the rest of the audience. Research posited that media’s influenced people known as opinion leaders and then flowed on to the rest of the audience.

Research posited that media’s influence or impact was first filtered through a strainer of intervening variables, such as a person’s knowledge and beliefs and the influence of family, friends and peer groups.  According to the limited effects theory, mass communications are simply one of many determinants of how an individual behaves.

Joseph Klapper’s book The Effects of Mass Communication summarizes the existing research with the generalization that mass communications does not ordinarily cause audience effects but instead functions primarily to reinforce existing conditions.

Klapper also noted that there are occasions when mass communications could exert a direct effect and where mediating factors reinforce change or when  mediating  factors are absent.

The mediating factors include the following:

  1. The exercise of opinion leadership
  2. The norms of groups to which the audience members belong
  3. The nature of mass media in a free enterprise economy
  4. Interpersonal dissemination of the content of communication
  5. Predispositions and the related processes of selective exposure and selective perception and retention.

Klapper considered that the two main intervening or mediating factors were selective exposure or people’s tendency to expose themselves to those mass communications which are in agreement with their attitudes and interests and 
selective perception and retention or people’s inclination to organize the meaning of mass communication messages in accordance with their already existing views.

Most recent research on the impact or effects of mass communications tends to support the specific effects theory. Mass-media communications must compete with many other sources of influence such as family, friends, teachers, ministers and many others.

However, there are circumstances where specific types of media content may have a significant effect on a portion of the audience.

Harold Lasswell described the formula as follows:

“Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What Channel (with) What Effect.?”

Bernard Berelson succinctly summarizes the specific-effects theory of communication:

 “Some kinds of communication, on some kinds of issues, brought to the attention of some kinds of people, under some kinds of conditions, have some kinds of effects.”

Background Articles and Videos

Mass Communication : The Hypodermic Theory of Mass Communication

Mass Communication : Why Is Persuasion Important in Mass Communication?

Mass Communication : Effects of Technology on Mass Communication

Media Effects

Selective exposure theory

“…Selective exposure theory is a theory of communication, positing that individuals prefer exposure to arguments supporting their position over those supporting other positions. As media consumers have more choices to expose themselves to selected medium and media contents with which they agree, then tend to select content that confirms their own ideas and avoid information that argues against their opinion. People don’t want to be told that they are wrong and they do not want their ideas to be challenged either. Therefore, they select different media outlets that agree with their opinions so they do not come in contact with this form of dissonance. Furthermore, these people will select the media sources that agree with their opinions and attitudes on different subjects and then only follow those programs.

Foundation of theory

 Propaganda study

 The Evasion of Propaganda

When prejudiced people confront anti-prejudice propaganda involuntarily, even though they might avoid the message from the first time, the process of evasion would occur in their mind. Cooper and Jahoda (1947) studied how the anti-prejudice propaganda can be misunderstood by prejudiced people. When the prejudiced reader confronted the Mr. Biggott cartoon, which contained anti-minority propaganda, their effort to evade their feelings and understand Mr. Biggott’s identification with their own identity would bring about misunderstanding. This kind of evasion occurs because of what individuals often face to accomplish uniformity in everyday life. There is a fear to be isolated from what they belong and also threat for shivering their ego. Therefore, the concept of selective exposure was in the same thread with small effect studies in mass communication in 1940s.

Cognitive dissonance theory

Before the selective exposure theory was put forward, Festinger(1957) published a book, Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, and explained the cognitive dissonance theory, which assumes that all human beings pursue consistency in their mind.

  • Basic Hypotheses
    • It is a state of mental unease and discomfort which helps explain selective perception. It is produced when new information contradicts existing beliefs, attitudes, social norms, or behaviors.
    • Many times people favor consonance because their ideas flow freely into one another and do not create an unbalance. [2]
    • The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance.
    • When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information that would likely increase the dissonance. [3]

Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory, which was one of the roots of selective exposure, explained people’s effort to reduce their dissonance of something against their existing beliefs. Nonetheless, his theory was broad enough to be elucidated in general social behavior, not just for selecting medium and media contents. Festinger suggested situations that increase dissonance. Firstly, logical inconsistency brings about dissonance. If a person who believes it is not possible to build a device to leave Earth’s atmosphere observes man reach the moon, their belief and experience are dissonant with each other. Secondly, cultural morals entail dissonance. A person picks up a chicken bone with their hands, and it is dissonant with what they believe is formal etiquette. At this point, culture defines what is consonant and what is dissonant. Thirdly, if specific opinion is included in a more general opinion, dissonance should be followed. A person, who has been Democrat, prefers Republican candidates for certain election. This situation creates dissonance, because “Being a Democrat” needs to be attributed to favoring Democratic candidates. Lastly, past experience causes dissonance. If a person is standing in the rain, but is not wet, these two cognitions would be dissonant, because they might know standing in the rain leads to getting wet through past experience. Festinger (1957) also suggests the ways of reducing dissonance. For reducing dissonance, one may change a behavioral cognitive element or change an environmental cognitive element. However, sometimes, behavior change and environmental change do not help reducing dissonance. Festinger, then, suggested adding new cognitive elements. If people cannot reduce dissonance, they might seek new information, which is consonant with their beliefs or attitude; therefore, people might actively seek new information that would decrease dissonance and avoid new information that would increase dissonance. This third explanation of reducing dissonance is similar with selective exposure, which mass communication reinforces the existing opinion.

    • Another example of the Cognitive Dissonance Theory can be found in the article entitled, “Theories of Persuasion,” by Daniel J. O’Keefe. It describes the different theories of persuasion and how media outlets use them to their advantage to influence their audience. The author’s example is that people donate to the Red Cross because they believe in what it stands for which represents consonance. However, on the other hand, the author suggests that a person who smokes and also believes it causes cancer, would be an example of dissonance and hypocrisy. Many times people try to sway against dissonance because it puts them in an uncomfortable position. Therefore, these feelings of consonance and dissonance lead to the “Selective Exposure Theory” because some believe that people will select the media sources that agree with their opinions and attitudes on different subjects and then only follow those programs. [4]

 Klapper’s selective exposure

Joseph Klapper (1960) considered mass communication do not directly influence people, but just reinforce people’s predisposition. Mass communications play a role as a mediator in persuasive communication.

  • Klapper’s five mediating factors and conditions to affect people
    • Predispositions and the related processes of selective exposure, selective perception, and selective retention.
    • The groups, and the norms of groups, to which the audience members belong.
    • Interpersonal dissemination of the content of communication
    • The exercise of opinion leadership
    • The nature of mass media in a free enterprise society. [5]
  • Three basic concepts
    • Selective exposure – people keep away from communication of opposite hue.
    • Selective Perception – If people are confronting unsympathetic material, they do not perceive it, or make it fit for their existing opinion.
    • Selective retention – Furthermore, they just simply forget the unsympathetic material.

Groups and group norms work as a mediator. For example, one can be strongly disinclined to change to the Democratic Party if their family has voted for Republican for a long time. In this case, the person’s predisposition to the political party is already set, so they don’t perceive information about Democratic Party or change voting behavior because of mass communication. Klapper’s third assumption is inter-personal dissemination of mass communication. If someone is already exposed by close friends, which creates predisposition toward something, it will lead increase of exposure to mass communication and eventually reinforce the existing opinion. Opinion leader is also a crucial factor to form predisposition of someone, lead someone to be exposed by mass communication, and after all, existing opinion would be reinforced. Nature of commercial mass media also leads people to select certain type of media contents. Klapper (1960) claimed that people are selecting entertainment, such as family comedy, variety shows, quizzes, and Westerns, because of nature of mass media in a free enterprise society.

Selective exposure in entertainment theory perspective

Selective exposure is an instinctive activity of human beings. Early human beings needed to be sensitive to the sounds of animals. This kind of exposure was closely related with their survival from an external threat. Survival is still a very crucial matter for human beings; however, selective exposure is also important for human beings for other purposes, such as entertainment.

“Selective exposure designates behavior that is deliberately performed to attain and sustain perceptual control of particular stimulus events.”

Zillmann and Bryant, 1985[6]

 Affective-dependent theory of stimulus arrangement

Zillmann and Bryant (1985) developed affective-dependent theory of stimulus arrangement in the chapter of their edited book, Selective exposure to communication.

  • Basic Assumptions
    • people tend to minimize exposure to negative, aversive stimuli
    • people tend to maximize exposure to pleasurable stimuli.

After all, people try to arrange the external stimuli to maintain their pleasure, which ultimately let people select certain affect-inducing program, such as music, movie, or other entertainment program. In other words, people manage their mood by selecting certain kind of entertainment to exposure themselves; mood management theory was also rooted by this affective-dependent theory.

Furthermore, people will select media based on their moods. An example of this is if a person is happy they would probably select a comedic movie. If they are bored they might choose action and if they are sad they might select tragedy or a depressing romance. These attitudes and moods also convince people to watch different news outlets based on how they feel. People with conservative beliefs tend to watch Fox news and Democrats usually watch MSNBC.

  • Examples:

1**A person with liberal beliefs, who comes home from a hard day at work will probably turn on MSNBC. They would not be in the mood to fight with a news station that has conservative beliefs constantly being portrayed. 2**A woman who just broke up with her boyfriend would probably not be in the mood to watch a romantic movie and would therefore tend to pick a movie that falls into the genre of tragedy.

Selective exposure processes in mood management

    • Excitatory Homeostasis – Tendency of individuals to choose entertainment to achieve an optimal level of arousal.
    • Intervention Potential – Ability of a message to engage or absorb an aroused individual’s attention or cognitive-processing resources.
    • Message-Behavioral Affinity – Communication that has a high degree of similarity with affective state.
    • Hedonic Valence – Positive or negative nature of a message. [7]

Critiques

  • Possible influence by factors other than a person’s emotional state.
  • Difficulty to measure long-term effect.
  • Overlook the importance of cognitive processes.
  • Not suit for information and education media.
  • Possibility that negative stimuli provide enjoyment by overcoming it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_exposure_theory

Harold Lasswell

“…Harold Dwight Lasswell (February 13, 1902 — December 18, 1978) was a leading American political scientist and communications theorist. He was a member of the Chicago school of sociology and was a professor at Yale University in law. He was a President of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS). According to a biographical memorial written by Gabriel Almond at the time of Lasswell’s death and published by the National Academies of Sciences in 1987, Lasswell “ranked among the half dozen creative innovators in the social sciences in the twentieth century.” At the time, Almond asserted that “few would question that he was the most original and productive political scientist of his time.” Areas of research in which Lasswell worked included the importance of personality, social structure, and culture in the explanation of political phenomena. He was noted to be ahead of his time in employing a variety of methodological approaches that later became standards across a variety of intellectual traditions including interviewing techniques, content analysis, para-experimental techniques, and statistical measurement.

He is well known for his comment on communications:

Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What Channel (with) What Effect

and on politics:

Politics is who gets what, when, and how.

and on aberrant psychological attributes of leaders in politics and business:

Psychopathology and Politics

Lasswell studied at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, and was highly influenced by the pragmatism taught there, especially as propounded by John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. More influential, however, was Freudian philosophy, which informed much of his analysis of propaganda and communication in general. During World War II, Lasswell held the position of Chief of the Experimental Division for the Study of War Time Communications at the Library of Congress. He analyzed Nazi propaganda films to identify mechanisms of persuasion used to secure the acquiescence and support of the German populace for Hitler and his wartime atrocities. Always forward-looking, late in his life, Lasswell experimented with questions concerning astropolitics, the political consequences of colonization of other planets, and the “machinehood of humanity.”

Lasswell’s work was important in the post-World War II development of behavioralism.

Major works

  • Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927; Reprinted with a new introduction, 1971)
  • Psychopathology and Politics, (1930; reprinted, 1986)
  • World Politics and Personal Insecurity (1935; Reprinted with a new introduction, 1965)
  • Politics: Who Gets What, When, How (1935)
  • “The Garrison State” (1941)
  • Power and Personality (1948) …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Lasswell

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Survey of Broadcasting: Assignment 2, Question 2. Discuss the legal definitions of obscenity and indecency. Consider how contemporary/local community standards are ascertained.

Posted on June 30, 2011. Filed under: Broadcasting, Ethical Practices, Ethics, Policies, Radio | Tags: , , , , |

The definition of obscenity that currently applies to broadcasting was set forth in the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Miller v. California.

For a radio or television broadcast to be considered obscene, it must meet a three-part test:

  1. Contain material that depicts of describes in patently offensive way certain sexual acts as defined in state law;
  2. Appeal to the prurient interests of the average person applying contemporary local community standards, where prurient means tending to excite lust;
  3. Lack of serious artistic, literary, political, or scientific value.

Indecency is content that is not obscene as set forth in the Miller v. California Supreme Court decision but still contains offensive elements. The common legal definition of broadcast indecency is as follows:

“Something broadcast is indecent if it depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities or organs in a fashion that’s patently offensive according to contemporary community standards for the broadcast media at a time of day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.”

Nudity and the use of words that describe sexual or excretionary acts are not obscene per se, however, they may be classified as indecent.

Contemporary community standards are ascertained or determined by jurors in obscenity and indecency cases prosecuted and brought before the courts.

Perversion for Profit: Part III

Perversion for Profit: Part IV

Community standards change overtime, by location and who makes up a jury in a specific case.

With the world-wide web or the internet linking people in many communities, what are contemporary community standards?

Today the prosecution of obscenity and indecency cases is considered normal.

Yet the ancient Greeks and Romans would consider the prosecution of obscenity and indecency as bizarre.

The determination of community standards appears to be both arbitrary, capricious and ever-changing.

Technology in the form of VCR, cable television and the internet have made eroded community standards and made the prosecution of obscenity cases difficult.

Jurors hearing an obscenity case will compare the evidence presented in court with what they have seen on cable television and over the internet or with videos that have watched in their homes.

The perverse unintended consequence is there are no contemporary community standards.

The Seven Words

Censored South Park F Word Scene

Background Articles and Videos

Should Obscenity be Illegal?: Lady Chatterley, Milk Nymphos, & John Stagliano

Censored! The First Amendment, Sex, and Obscenity

“How Obscene is This” Panel 2 | The New School

Obscenity and the Supreme Court

Perversion for Profit 1/2

Perversion for Profit 2/2

Perversion for Profit: Part III

Pt 1 PornHarms.com founder Patrick Trueman, Attorney at Law, at Briefing on Capitol Hill

Pt 2 PornHarms.com founder Patrick Trueman, Attorney at Law, at Briefing on Capitol Hill

Southpark Kyles mom a bitch with lyrics

I’m Gonna Kick His Ask

 

Obscenity

“…An obscenity is any statement or act which strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time, is a profanity, or is otherwise taboo, indecent, abhorrent, or disgusting, or is especially inauspicious. The term is also applied to an object that incorporates such a statement or displays such an act.

In a legal context, the term obscenity is most often used to describe expressions (words, images, actions) of an explicitly sexual nature. The word can be used to indicate a strong moral repugnance, in expressions such as “obscene profits”, “the obscenity of war”, etc. It is often replaced by the word salaciousness.

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, that which is obscene (i.e.: an obscenity) is quite simply defined as repulsive, or disgusting to the senses.[1]

The definition of what exactly constitutes an obscenity differs from culture to culture, between communities within a single culture, and also between individuals within those communities. Many cultures have produced laws to define what is considered to be obscene, and censorship is often used to try to suppress or control materials that are obscene under these definitions: usually including, but not limited to, pornographic material. As such censorship restricts freedom of expression, crafting a legal definition of obscenity presents a civil liberties issue.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states:

Congress shall make no law (…) abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Thus, the United States of America has constitutional protection for freedom of speech, which is not interpreted to protect every utterance, despite the lack of exception clauses (rare in a national constitution) in the text of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has found that, when used in the context of the First Amendment, the word obscenity is usually limited to content that directly refers to explicit sexual acts that are publicly accessible, though it has at times encompassed other subject matters, such as spoken and written language that can be publicly transmitted and received by the general public.

The legal term of obscenity is usually denoted to classify a distinction between socially permitted material and discussions that the public can access versus those that should be denied. There does exist a classification of those acceptable materials and discussions that the public should be allowed to engage in, and the access to that same permitted material—which in the areas of sexual materials ranges between the permitted areas of erotic art (which usually includes “classic nude forms” such as Michelangelo’s David statue) and the generally less respected commercial pornography. The legal distinction between artistic nudity, and permitted commercial pornography (which includes sexual penetration) that are deemed as “protected forms of speech” versus “obscene acts”, which are illegal acts and separate from those permitted areas, are usually separated by the predominant culture appreciation regarding such. However, no such specific objective distinction exists outside of legal decisions in federal court cases where a specific action is deemed to fit the classification of obscene and thus illegal. The difference between erotic art and (protected) commercial pornography, vs. that which is legally obscene (and thus not covered by 1st Amendment protection), appears to be subjective to the local federal districts inside the United States and the local moral standards at the time.

In fact, federal obscenity law in the U.S. is highly unusual in that not only is there no uniform national standard, but rather, there is an explicit legal precedent (the “Miller test”, below) that all but guarantees that something that is legally obscene in one jurisdiction may not be in another. In effect, the First Amendment protections of free speech vary by location within the U.S., and over time. With the advent of Internet distribution of potentially obscene material, this question of jurisdiction and community standards has created significant controversy in the legal community. (See United States v. Thomas, 74 F.3d 701 (6th Cir. 1996))

Even at the federal level, there does not exist a specific listing of which exact acts are to be classified as obscene outside of the legally determined court cases. Title 18, chapter 71 of the USC deals with obscenity, the workings out of the law described in this article, most notably the aforementioned Miller test.

Former Justice Potter Stewart of the Supreme Court of the United States, in attempting to classify what material constituted exactly “what is obscene”, famously wrote, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced…[b]ut I know it when I see it…”[2]

However, in the United States, the 1973 ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in Miller v. California established a three-tiered test to determine what was obscene—and thus not protected, versus what was merely erotic and thus protected by the First Amendment.

Delivering the opinion of the court, Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote:

The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether ‘the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.[3]

Justice Douglas wrote a dissenting opinion that eloquently expressed his dissatisfaction with the ruling:

The idea that the First Amendment permits government to ban publications that are ‘offensive’ to some people puts an ominous gloss on freedom of the press. That test would make it possible to ban any paper or any journal or magazine in some benighted place. The First Amendment was designed ‘to invite dispute,’ to induce ‘a condition of unrest,’ to ‘create dissatisfaction with conditions as they are,’ and even to stir ‘people to anger.’ The idea that the First Amendment permits punishment for ideas that are ‘offensive’ to the particular judge or jury sitting in judgment is astounding. No greater leveler of speech or literature has ever been designed. To give the power to the censor, as we do today, is to make a sharp and radical break with the traditions of a free society. The First Amendment was not fashioned as a vehicle for dispensing tranquilizers to the people. Its prime function was to keep debate open to ‘offensive’ as well as to ‘staid’ people. The tendency throughout history has been to subdue the individual and to exalt the power of government. The use of the standard ‘offensive’ gives authority to government that cuts the very vitals out of the First Amendment. As is intimated by the Court’s opinion, the materials before us may be garbage. But so is much of what is said in political campaigns, in the daily press, on TV, or over the radio. By reason of the First Amendment—and solely because of it—speakers and publishers have not been threatened or subdued because their thoughts and ideas may be ‘offensive’ to some. [4]

In U.S. legal texts, therefore, the question of “obscenity” presently always refers to this “Miller test obscenity”. As articulated in several sections of 18 USC Chapter 71, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is constitutional to legally limit the sale, transport for personal use or other transmission of obscenity. However, it has ruled unconstitutional the passing of law concerning personal possession of obscenity per se. Federal obscenity laws at present apply to inter-state and foreign obscenity issues such as distribution; intrastate issues are for the most part still governed by state law. “Obscene articles… are generally prohibited entry” to the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.[5]

At present, there are only two legally protected areas of explicit commercial pornography. The first is “mere nudity” as upheld in “Jenkins v. Georgia, 418 U.S. 153 (1974)” whereby the film Carnal Knowledge was deemed not to be obscene under the constitutional standards announced by Miller. As declared by the judge at trial “The film shows occasional nudity, but nudity alone does not render material obscene under Miller’s standards.” This was upheld time and again in later cases including “Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville FL, 422 U.S. 205 (1975)” in which the city of Jacksonville stated that showing films containing nudity when the screen is visible from a public street or place is a punishable offense. The law was determined to be invalid as it was an infringement of First Amendment rights of the movie producer and theatre owners. The second is single male to female vaginal-only penetration that does NOT show the actual ejaculation of semen, sometimes referred to as “soft-core” pornography wherein the sexual act and its fulfillment (orgasm) are merely implied to happen rather than explicitly shown.

In June 2006, the U.S. Federal government in the district of Arizona brought a case against JM Productions of Chatsworth, California in order to classify commercial pornography that specifically shows actual semen being ejaculated as obscene. The four films that were the subject of the case are entitled “American Bukkake 13”, “Gag Factor 15”, “Gag Factor 18” and “Filthy Things 6”. The case also includes charges of distribution of obscene material (a criminal act under 18 USC § 1465 – “Transportation of obscene matters for sale or distribution”) against Five Star DVD for the extra-state commercial distribution of the JM Productions films in question. The case was brought to trial on October 16, 2007. At the first date of trial, the US DoJ decided not to pursue the JM obscenity case any further, leaving the matter without resolution, possibly fearing the formal establishment of films depicting ejaculation as a nationally protected material if the trial was decided in favor of JM Productions.[6] While the US DoJ decided to abandon its legal pursuit of the JM productions, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn O. Silver has forced the legal case against Five Star DVD distributors to continue, whereby the legal classification of whether “sperm showing through ejaculation” is an obscene act and thus illegal to produce or distribute will be definitely answered in order to convict Five Star of being guilty of “18 USC 1465 – Transportation of obscene matters for sale or distribution”.[7] The jury found that Five Star Video LC and Five Star Video Outlet LC were guilty of “18 USC 1465 – Transportation of obscene matters for sale or distribution” for having shipped JM Productions’ film “Gag Factor 18”.[8] However, the specific content in that film that the jury deemed to actually fulfill the legal qualification of being “obscene” has not been specifically stated at this point.

Obscenity v. indecency

Main article: Indecency

The differentiation between indecent and obscene material is a particularly difficult one, and a contentious First Amendment issue that has not fully been settled. Similarly, the level of offense (if any) generated by a profane word or phrase depends on region, context, and audience.

Non image-based obscenity cases in the USA

While most of the obscenity cases in the United States have revolved around images and films, there have been many cases that dealt with textual works as well.

The classification of “obscene” and thus illegal for production and distribution has been judged on printed text-only stories starting with “Dunlop v. U.S., 165 U.S. 486 (1897)” which upheld a conviction for mailing and delivery of a newspaper called the ‘Chicago Dispatch,’ containing “obscene, lewd, lascivious, and indecent materials”, which was later upheld in several cases. One of these was “A Book Named “John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” v. Attorney General of Com. of Massachusetts, 383 U.S. 413 (1966)” wherein the book “Fanny Hill”, written by John Cleland c. 1760, was judged to be obscene in a proceeding that put the book itself on trial rather than its publisher. Another was “Kaplan v. California, 413 U.S. 115 (1973)” whereby the court most famously determined that “Obscene material in book form is not entitled to any First Amendment protection merely because it has no pictorial content.”

However, the book was labeled “erotica” in the 1965 case (206 NE 2d 403) and there a division between erotica and obscenity was made—not all items with erotic content were automatically obscene. Further, the 1965 “John Cleland’s ‘Memoirs'” case added a further qualification for the proving of “obscenity” — the work in question had to inspire or exhibit “prurient” (that is, “shameful or morbid”) interest.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Grove Press, Inc. v. Gerstein, cited Jacobellis v. Ohio (which was decided the same day) and overruled state court findings of obscenity against Henry Miler’s Tropic of Cancer. A copyright infringing “Medusa” edition of the novel was published in New York City in 1940 by Jacob Brussel; its title page claimed its place of publication to be Mexico. Brussel was eventually sent to jail for three years for the edition,[9] a copy of which is in the Library of Congress.

In September 2005 an FBI “Anti-Porn Squad” was formed, which has initially targeted for prosecution websites such as Red Rose Stories (www.red-rose-stories.com, now defunct), one of many sites providing text-only fantasy stories.[10] Other websites such as BeautyBound.com have closed themselves down despite not being targeted, due to these risks and legislative burdens.[citation needed]

Past standards

These standards were once used to determine exactly what was obscene. All have been invalidated, overturned, or superseded by the Miller Test.
  • Wepplo (1947): If material has a substantial tendency to deprave or corrupt its readers by inciting lascivious thoughts or arousing lustful desires. (People v. Wepplo, 78 Cal. App.2d Supp. 959, 178 P.2d 853).
  • Hicklin test (1868): the effect of isolated passages upon the most susceptible persons. (British common law, cited in Regina v. Hicklin, 1868. LR 3 QB 360 – overturned when Michigan tried to outlaw all printed matter that would ‘corrupt the morals of youth’ in Butler v. State of Michigan 352 U.S. 380 (1957))
  • Roth Standard (1957): “Whether to the average person applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest”. Roth v. United States 354 U.S. 476 (1957) – overturned by Miller
  • Roth-Jacobellis (1964): “community standards” applicable to an obscenity are national, not local standards. Material is “utterly without redeeming social importance”. Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 US 184 (1964) – famous quote: “I shall not today attempt further to define [hardcore pornography] …But I know it when I see it”.
  • Roth-Jacobellis-Memoirs Test (1966): Adds that the material possesses “not a modicum of social value”. (A Book Named John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure v. Attorney General of Massachusetts, 383 U.S. 413 (1966))

Under FCC rules and federal law, radio stations and over-the-air television channels cannot air obscene material at any time and cannot air indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.: language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.

Many historically important works have been described as obscene or prosecuted under obscenity laws, including the works of Charles Baudelaire, Lenny Bruce, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, and the Marquis de Sade.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIqshWvIO7M

Decency

“…Decency is the measure of an object’s worth and value.[citation needed]

The category of issues that includes matters of “sex and decency in advertising” is a constant and ubiquitous problem concerning products, services, concepts, claims and imageries eliciting reactions of distaste, disgust, offense or outrage when mentioned or presented in advertisements.[1] Issues such as decency are more difficult to define and handle because they reflect a large variety of personally subjective, culturally related and historically changing values and attitudes.[1] The types of controls and their shortcomings present dangers for freedom of commercial communication.[1] …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indecency

Miller v. California

“…Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973) was an important United States Supreme Court case involving what constitutes unprotected obscenity for First Amendment purposes. The decision reiterated that obscenity was not protected by the First Amendment and established the Miller test for determining what constituted obscene material.

The appellant, Marvin Miller, operator of one of the West Coast’s largest mail-order businesses dealing in sexually explicit material, had conducted a mass mailing campaign to advertise the sale of illustrated books, labeled “adult” material (also referred to in the vernacular as pornography). He was found guilty in the Superior Court of Orange County, California (the state trial court) of having violated California Penal Code 311.2 (a), a misdemeanor, by knowingly distributing obscene material. The conviction was affirmed by the California Court of Appeals. As stated in the preface to Chief Justice Warren Burger’s majority opinion, the

Appellant’s conviction was specifically based on his conduct in causing five unsolicited advertising brochures to be sent through the mail in an envelope addressed to a restaurant in Newport Beach, California. The envelope was opened by the manager of the restaurant and his mother. They had not requested the brochures and complained to the police.

According to the Court’s decision, the materials in question primarily… consist[ed] of pictures and drawings very explicitly depicting men and women in groups of two or more engaging in a variety of sexual activities, with genitals often prominently displayed. Since the Court’s decision in Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957), the Court had struggled to define what constituted constitutionally unprotected obscene material. Under the common law rule that prevailed before Roth, articulated most famously in the 1868 English case Regina v. Hicklin, any material that tended to “deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences” was deemed “obscene” and could be banned on that basis. Thus, works by Balzac, Flaubert, James Joyce, and D. H. Lawrence were banned based on isolated passages and the effect they might have on children. Roth repudiated the Hicklin test and defined obscenity more strictly, as material whose “dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest” to the “average person, applying contemporary community standards.” Only material meeting this test could be banned as “obscene.”

Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, First Amendment “literalists,” chafed at the Roth test and argued vigorously that the First Amendment protected obscene material. In subsequent cases the Court encountered tremendous difficulty in applying the Roth test, which did not define what it meant by “community standards.” For example, in the 1964 case Jacobellis v. Ohio, involving whether Ohio could ban the showing of a French film called Les Amants (FRENCH FOR The Lovers), the Court ruled that the film was protected by the First Amendment, but could not agree as to a rationale, yielding four different opinions from the majority, with none garnering the support of more than two justices, as well as two dissenting opinions. In his concurring opinion in Jacobellis, Justice Potter Stewart, holding that Roth protected all obscenity except “hard-core pornography,” famously wrote, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

In Memoirs v. Massachusetts, 383 U.S. 413 (1966), a plurality of the Court further redefined the Roth test by holding unprotected only that which is “patently offensive” and “utterly without redeeming social value,” but no opinion in that case could command a majority of the Court either, and the state of the law in the obscenity field remained confused.

Pornography and sexually oriented publications proliferated as a result of the Court’s holdings, the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s flowered, and pressure increasingly came to the Court to allow leeway for state and local governments to crack down on obscenity. During his ill-fated bid to become Chief Justice, Justice Abe Fortas was attacked vigorously in Congress by conservatives such as Strom Thurmond for siding with the Warren Court majority in liberalizing protection for pornography. In his 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon campaigned against the Warren Court, pledging to appoint “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Warren Burger came to the Court in 1969 believing that the Court’s obscenity jurisprudence was misguided and governments should be given more leeway to ban obscene materials. In consideration of Miller in May and June 1972, Burger pushed successfully for a looser definition of “obscenity” which would allow local prosecutions, while Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., who by now also believed the Roth and Memoirs tests should be abandoned, led the charge for protecting all “obscenity” unless distributed to minors or exposed offensively to unconsenting adults. Decision of the case was contentious, and Miller was put over for reargument for October term 1972, and did not come down until June 1973, with Burger prevailing by a bare 5-4 vote.

The decision

The question before the court was whether the sale and distribution of obscene material was protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech guarantee. The Court ruled that it was not. It indicated that “obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment”, thereby reaffirming part of Roth.[1]

However, the Court acknowledged “the inherent dangers of undertaking to regulate any form of expression,” and said that “State statutes designed to regulate obscene materials must be carefully limited.”[2] The Court, in an attempt to set such limits devised a set of three criteria which must be met in order for a work to be legitimately subject to state regulation:

  1. whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards (not national standards, as some prior tests required), would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
  2. whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions[3] specifically defined by applicable state law; and
  3. “whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”[4]

This obscenity test overturns the definition of obscenity set out in the Memoirs decision, which held that “all ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance . . . have the full protection of the guaranties [of the First Amendment]” and that obscenity was that which was “utterly without redeeming social importance.”[5]

The Miller decision vacated the judgment of the Appellate Department of the Superior Court of California and remanded the case to that court for further proceedings consistent with the First Amendment standards established by the opinion.

Effects of the decision

Miller provided states greater freedom in prosecuting alleged purveyors of “obscene” material because, for the first time since Roth, a majority of the Court agreed on a definition of “obscenity.” Hundreds of “obscenity” prosecutions went forward after Miller, and the Supreme Court began denying review of these state actions after years of reviewing many “obscenity” convictions (over 60 appeared on the Court’s docket for the 1971-72 term, pre-Miller). A companion case to Miller, Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton, provided states with greater leeway to shut down adult movie houses. Controversy arose over Miller’s “community standards” analysis, with critics charging that Miller encouraged “forum shopping” to prosecute national producers of what some believe to be “obscenity” in locales where community standards differ substantially from the rest of the nation. For example, under the “community standards” prong of the Miller test, what might be considered “obscene” in Massachusetts might not be considered “obscene” in Utah, or the opposite might be true; in any event, prosecutors tend to bring charges in locales where they believe that they will prevail.

The “community standards” portion of the decision is of particular relevance with the rise of the Internet, as materials believed by some to be “obscene” can be accessed from anywhere in the nation, including places where there is a greater concern about “obscenity” than other areas of the nation.

In the years since Miller, many localities have cracked down on adult theatres and bookstores, as well as nude dancing, through restrictive zoning ordinances and public nudity laws. These types of actions have been upheld by the Supreme Court. Additionally, in 1982’s New York v. Ferber, the Court declared child pornography is unprotected by the First Amendment, upholding the state of New York’s ban on that material. In the recent Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition case, however, the Court held that sexually explicit material that appears to depict minors might be constitutionally protected.

In American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression v. Strickland, plaintiffs American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, joined by various publishers, retailers, and web site operators, sued Ohio’s Attorney General and Ohio county prosecutors in United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Plaintiffs alleged that Ohio Revised Code §2907.01(E) and (J), which prohibited the dissemination or display of “materials harmful to juveniles,” unconstitutionally violated both the First Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Plaintiffs specifically challenged the statute’s definition of “harmful to juveniles,” as well as the provisions governing internet dissemination of those materials. The court held the statute unconstitutional because the statute’s definition of “material harmful to minors” did not comply with Miller. Defendants appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit. …”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIqshWvIO7M

Community Standards

“…Community standards are local norms bounding acceptable conduct. Sometimes these standards can be itemized in a list that states the community’s values and sets guidelines for participation in the community. Alternatively, informal standards may be imprecisely described as “I’ll know it when I see it.”

Often, such standards are invoked in legal situations to resolve disputes, especially around pornography. Critics argue that puritanical moralists have used community standards to wrongly punish minorities such as homosexuals or those in interracial marriages.

Colleges and universities enforce their standards through conduct offices in their Student Affairs divisions. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_standards

Obscenity vs. Freedom of Expression: The John Stagliano Trial

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Survey of Broadcasting: Assignment 2: Question 2. Strategize about what you would do if you were the weakest station in a market. How would you plan your media buys? What would you do to make your station more attractive to advertisers?

Posted on June 30, 2011. Filed under: Audio, Broadcasting, Business, Communications, Defamation, Demographics, Economics, Formats, Mass Communications, Music, News, Radio, Talk | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Question 2. Strategize about what you would do if you were the weakest station in a market.

How would you plan your media buys?

What would you do to make your station more attractive to advertisers?

If I were the weakest radio station in a market I would first do an analysis of the current format of the station.

Success in radio programming requires finding a unique niche in a market that would attract a large radio audience and in turn attract advertisers and revenues.

I would look for the format hole in a market or listening area by considering internal and external factors.

An internal analysis would consider such factors as the station’s dial location, power, technical facilities, management philosophy and station ownership.

An external analysis would begin with a competitive market study and consider such factors as existing competitor station’s current formats, ratings, financial performance, and technical properties.

Both the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor station should be examined.

By searching for a format hole I should be able to find a new or different format that is not currently available in a market.

If no format hole is found, then I should be able to find at least one or more competitors with a format that I could compete with head-to-head.

I would plan by media buys by first ascertaining my station’s target audience or the primary group of people the station seeks to reach with it programming.

The target audience should be clearly defined in terms of its demographics including age, gender, marital status, income, racial/ethnic background and other descriptors.

In addition to demographics I would try to define the target audience listeners in terms of their psychographics including listener attitudes, beliefs, hobbies, interests, lifestyles and motivations for listening to the station.

I would make the station more attractive to advertisers by first having very low if not the lowest rates for advertising commercials.

This should attract advertisers looking for bargains especially local small businesses.

I would provide advertisers with both the demographics and psychographics of the station’s target listening audience.

This should attract advertisers of products and services whose customers have the same or similar demographics and psychographics of the station’s target listening audience.

Background Articles and Videos

Advertising Techniques : How Do Media Buying Services Operate?

Media Buying 101

5 Sins of an Accomplished Media Buyer

Media Buying 101 (Everything BUT Google)

Meet Media Buying Expert Dan Zifkin

Media Buying Strategy in a Web 2.0 World

Media Buying and Planning Services – Eliminate a Costly Learning Curve

Media Buying Testing Strategies – Discovering New Winners

Media Buying

“…Media Buying is a sub function of Advertising management. Media Buying is the procurement of the best possible placement and price of a piece of media real-estate within any given media. The main task of Media Buying lies within the negotiation of price and placement to ensure the best possible value can be secured.

Buyers

Media Buyers are individuals responsible for purchasing time and advertising space for the purpose of advertising.[1] When planning what to buy, they must evaluate factors based on but not limited to station formats, pricing rates, demographics, geographic, and psychographics relating to the advertisers particular product or service objectives. The Media Buyer needs to optimize what is bought and that is dependent on budget, type of medium (radio, internet, TV, print), quality of the medium (target audience, time of day for broadcast, etc.), and how much time and space is wanted. Media Buyers can purchase spot, regionally, or nationally. National Media Buyers might have to factor in determinates based on a state by state basis. Rates, demand of leads, space, and time, and state licenses will vary from state to state. National Media Buyers will need National Media Planning to generate National Media Marketing strategies and National Media Advertising that can be adaptable from area to area but also work on a national level.

There is an apparent distinction between General Marketing Media Buyers and Direct Response Media Buyers. General Market Media Buyers enact or actualize media plans drawn up by media planners. They negotiate rates and create media schedules based on a media plan constructed by a Media Planner. Through the Media Planner, General Market Media Buyers rely on published cost per point guides which in actuality, are often based on hypothetical benchmarks, and rather outdated models[citation needed]. An experienced Direct Response Media Buyer knows what stations generate a specific quantity of response and knows within reason, the break even point of the expenditure versus the return. With that information, the Direct Response Media Buyer is efficient in negotiating a functional rate and in purchasing media from the appropriate stations[citation needed]. The Direct Response Buyer attaches unique phone numbers to each station they purchase media from and track the sales, and make adjustments to the media plan and schedule as necessary to optimize results. With these differing methodologies, Direct Response Marketing can be considered a specialized arena. Few advertising and marketing agencies are qualified to support clients in their Direct Response efforts[citation needed].

Media Research Planning can be done by Media Buyers as well as Media Specialists. Depending on product and service, Media Buyers and Media Specialists must do a fair amount of research to determine how best to spend the allotted budget[citation needed]. This includes research on the target audience and what type of medium will work best to reach the largest amount of consumers with the most effective method. Media Planners and Media Specialists have a vast array of media outlets at their disposal, both traditional media and new media. Traditional media would include radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, and out of home. New media might include Satellite TV, cable TV, Satellite radio, and internet. The internet offers a number of Online Media that has surfaced with the improvement of technology and the accessibility of the internet. Online Media can include emails, search engines and referral links, web portals, banners, interactive games, and video clips. Media Planners and Specialists can pick and choose what and/or which combination of media is most appropriate and effective to achieve their goal, whether it is to make a sale, and/or to deliver a message or idea. They can also strategize and make use of product placements and Positioning. Inserting advertisements as print ads in newspapers and magazines, buying impressions for advertisements on the internet, and airing commercials on the radio or TV, can be utilized by Direct Response Advertisers as well as Remnant Advertisers.

All the major marketing services holding companies own specialist media-buying operations.

Prior to the late 1990s, media buying was generally carried out by the media department of an advertising agency. The split between creative agencies and media agencies is often referred to as “unbundling”. In 1999, WPP Group created MindShare from the media departments of its two advertising networks, Ogilvy & Mather and J Walter Thompson, now JWT.

In 2003, after purchasing Young & Rubicam and Tempus, WPP further consolidated all of its media operations including media buying and media planning through the formation of GroupM, which is now the number one media investment management company in terms of billings.[2] The other major media holdings include Omnicom’s OMD, Publicis’s Vivaki and ZenithOptimedia, Interpublic’s Mediabrands, Aegis’s Aegis Media and Havas’s Havas Media. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_buying

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Survey of Broadcasting: Assignment 1, Question 1: Describe the five general steps of signal processing–Videos

Posted on June 21, 2011. Filed under: Audio, Broadcasting, Communications, Digital Communication, Radio, Signal Processors, Sound, Television | Tags: , , , , , , |

1. Describe the five general steps of signal processing.

Roger Waters – Radio KAOS – Radio Waves

    The five general steps in signal processing are as follows:

  1. Signal generation
  2. Signal amplification and processing
  3. Signal transmission
  4. Signal reception
  5. Signal storage.

Step 1 Signal Generation: Signal generation is the conversion or transduction of the sound or light waves from the source into electrical energy which corresponds to the frequency of the original source. The audio signal may be generated  mechanically using a microphone or turntable to create an analog of the original sound signal such as a phonograph record or audio cassette.  Microphones are used to transduce the physical energy of music and voice into electrical energy.The audio signal may be generated electromagnetically using tape recorders.The audio signal may also be generated digitally by using laser optics to create a binary or digital equivalent of the original sound.  Television signal generation requires electronic line-by-line scanning of an image using an electron beam to scan each element of the picture. The image is subsequently retraced by the television receiver.

Step 2 Signal Amplification and Processing: Audio and video signals are amplified and mixed using audio consoles and video switchers. After the audio signal has been converted from a physical sound wave into an electrical or digital facsimile, the audio signal must be amplified to boost the signal and processed including the mixing, combining and routing for broadcast transmission and/or recording. Sound sources are combined at the mixing board. The amplified sound may be fine tuned using equalizers and special effects. The switcher is used to mix TV signals and put the desired picture on the air. A special effect generator is used to add transitions, split screen and keying. Digital video editing and effects can also be produced using computer software such as Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.

Step 3 Signal Transmission: The electronic signal is superimposed  by a modulation process on a carrier wave  generated or propagated by the radio station on its assigned frequency. The generated sound wave may travel by ground, sky and direct waves. Radio waves occupy a segment of the electromagnetic spectrum. AM radio channel frequencies are divided into three main types: clear channels, regional channels and local channels. FM channel frequencies are classified by antenna height and power. Stereo broadcasting and other nonbroadcast services are accomplished with the wide bandwidth of the FM channel. Digital radio is satellite-based  or in-band on channel. Television signal transmission includes over-the-air broadcasting using the electromagnetic radiation on the VHF and UHF portions of the spectrum or by wire through a cable system using coaxial cable that can carry programming on more than 100 channels.. New transmission technologies used for transmission and distribution include satellite and fiber optics for digital signals.

Step 4 Signal Reception: After the radio signal has been transduced, modulated and transmitted, the radio waves are picked up on a radio receiver where they are transduced or converted by the speaker system back into sound waves. The characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum and modulation  method used in transmission determine the type of radio receiver needed to convert the signal back into sound waves.There are several types of radio receivers including AM, AM stereo, FM, shortwave, and multiband. These receivers can be equipped with either analog tuners or a digital system. For moving images both large and small-screen TVs are now receiving high-definition television vision signals. 

Step 5 Signal Storage: Both audio and video technology is used in the storage and retrieval of sounds and moving images.  Audio or video signals are transduced or converted for storage and eventual playback or rebroadcast. The storage medium have included glass discs, wire, vinyl, magnetic type, compact disc, video tapes, digital storage media such as digital versatile discs (DVDs) and computer hard drives including high-capacity disc drives.

Roger Waters – Radio KAOS – Tide Is Turning

Background Articles and Videos

 

Amplitude modulation tutorial & AM radio transmitter circuit 

 

The Professor – How does a radio work?

 

AM Modulation and Demodulation Part 1

 

Introduction to Radio Waves Training Course

 

High Definition Television (HDTV) : Difference Between High & Standard

 

Roger Waters – Radio KAOS – Intro

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Survey of Broadcasting: Assignment 1, Question 3: What were the events that led up to the “quiz show scandals”? What were the major effects after the scandal broke?–Videos

Posted on June 20, 2011. Filed under: Advertising, Broadcasting, Business, Communications, Ethical Practices, Ethics, Game Shows, Issues, Law, Movies, News, Politics, Television | Tags: , , , , , , , |

III. What were the events that led up to the “quiz show scandals”? What were the major effects after the scandal broke?

Where Knowledge Is King and The Reward King Size

The concept of winning a large sum of money on a quiz show by correctly answering a series of questions was not new to either television or radio. However, what was new and attracted a large percentage of the viewing audience was the television show, “The $64,000 Question”, that first aired on CBS on June 7, 1955. The contestants would be asked a series of progressively more difficult questions. If they answered correctly, they proceeded to the four big payoff questions: $8,000, $16,000, $32,000, and lastly the $64,000 question.

CBS-$64,000 Question-1956

$64,000 Question

The contestants answered their questions in isolation booths. Armed guards watched over the box that contained the questions that only the editors knew what the questions and correct answers were.

The $64,000 Question show was sponsored by Revlon. Revlon as a direct result of the show saw its sales skyrocket. The other networks quickly followed with their own big money shows. NBC aired “The Big Surprise” where contestants could win $100,000. CBS quickly responded with “The $64,000 Challenge” with a top money prize of $128,000. The show “Break the Bank offered a top prize of $250,000.  Finally, NBC had the show :”Twenty-One” where there was no limit as to the amount of money a contestant could win.

64 THOUSAND DOLLAR CHALLENGE SONNY FOX part 2 VINCENT PRICE

 

Twenty One: Stemple vs. Van Doren–Part One

Rumors began to circulate that the producers tried to keep popular contestants on the shows by “controlling” the questions asked and even coaching contestants to look nervous and tense while answering.

One contestant on “Twenty-One” charged that he was encouraged to take a dive or intentionally lose to another popular contestant, Charles Van Doren, a 30-year old English instructor at Columbia University. Van Doren stated that the quiz show was honest. The New York City district attorney’s office investigated the allegations and a grand jury was impaneled to hear the mounting evidence.

A losing contestant on NBC’s “Twenty-One” sent three self-addressed letter containing the questions and answers to an upcoming show by registered mail. These unopened envelopes were presented to the grand jury as evidence. Other contestants came forward indicating they too had been given the answers. In 1959 the House of Representatives conducted a hearing on the matter. One of the witnesses was Charles Van Doren who finally admitted that he too was given the answers and was coached.

By 1960 all the big money shows were taken off the air. The networks took  more control over program development and less power and control was given to the producers and sponsors of network shows. In the next few years, the networks attempted to restore their reputation and gain back the viewing public’s trust by broadcasting such shows as CBS Reports. Several networks also placed limits on the amounts of money contestants could win on quiz shows that were not rigged. These limits were repealed in 2008.

The Congress of the United States also passed amendments to the Communication Act of 1934 that were designed to prevent any one from fixing quiz shows in the future.

The Federal Communications Commission also ordered that the host of “Twenty-One”, Jack Barry, and the producer, Dan Enright, sell their  radio station in Hollywood, Florida, WGMA.

 

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

Twenty One: Stemple vs. Van Doren–Part Two

 

Twenty One: Stemple vs. Van Doren–Part Three

 

 

21-Quiz Show Scandals

 

Quiz Show Scandals

 Quiz Show Trailer

Quiz show scandals

“…The American quiz show scandals of the 1950s were a series of revelations that contestants of several popular television quiz shows were secretly given assistance by the show’s producers to arrange the outcome of a supposedly fair competition.

In 1956, the game show Twenty-One, hosted by Jack Barry, featured a contestant coached by producer Dan Enright to make the other contestant win the game. This was brought into focus in 1958 when Enright and Barry were revealed to have rigged the show and caused networks to cancel the quiz shows. This element of the scandal was portrayed in the 1994 movie Quiz Show.

As a result, many contestants’ reputations have been tarnished. The United States Congress passed the 1960 amendments of the Communications Act of 1934, preventing anyone from fixing quiz shows. Due to that action, many networks imposed a winnings limit on game shows, such as Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! and The Price Is Right (the limits were repealed by 2008). The scandal even resulted in the declining ratings of shows that were not rigged, such as You Bet Your Life.

Twenty One

“…Twenty One is an American game show that aired in the late 1950s. While it included the most popular contestant of the quiz show era, it achieved notoriety for being a rigged quiz show which nearly caused the demise of the entire genre in the wake of United States Senate investigations. The 1994 movie Quiz Show is based on these events.

In 1982, a pilot for a new version of the game (titled 21) was taped with Jim Lange hosting, but was not picked up. A new version aired in 2000 with Maury Povich hosting, lasting about five months on NBC. …”

“…Overview

The initial broadcast of Twenty One was played honestly, with no manipulation of the game by the producers. Unfortunately, that broadcast was, in the words of producer Dan Enright, “a dismal failure”; the first two contestants succeeded only in making a mockery of the format by how little they really knew. Show sponsor Geritol, upon seeing this opening-night performance, reportedly became furious with the results, and threatened to pull their sponsorship of the show if it happened again.

The end result: Twenty One was not merely “fixed”, it was almost totally choreographed. Contestants were cast almost as if they were actors, and in fact were active and (usually) willing partners in the deception. They were given instruction as to how to dress, what to say to the host, when to say it, what questions to answer, what questions to miss, even when to mop their brows in their isolation booths (which had air conditioning that could be cut off at will, to make them sweat more).

 Charles Van Doren

Charles Van Doren, a college professor, was introduced as a contestant on Twenty One on November 28, 1956, as a challenger to then-champion Herbert Stempel, a dominant contestant, though somewhat unpopular with viewers and eventually the sponsor. Van Doren and Stempel ultimately played to a series of four 21-21 games, with audience interest building with each passing week and each new game, until finally the clean-cut, “All American Boy” newcomer was able to outlast his bookish, quasi-intellectual opponent, who at one point after the game was referred to backstage as a “freak with a sponge memory”. The turning point came on a question directed to Stempel: “What film won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1955?” Stempel legitimately knew the answer to that question was Marty, as it was one of his favorite films. The producers ordered him to answer the question with 1954’s Best Picture winner, On the Waterfront. Stempel later recalled that there was a moment in the booth when his conscience and sense of fair play warred with his sense of obligation and that he almost disrupted the scripted outcome by giving the correct answer. Stempel ultimately did as he was instructed, which opened the door for Van Doren to win the game and begin one of the longest and most storied runs of any champion in the history of television game shows.

Van Doren’s popularity soared as a result of his success on Twenty One, earning him a place on the cover of Time magazine and even a regular feature spot on NBC’s Today show; at one point, the program even surpassed CBS’ I Love Lucy in the ratings. He was finally unseated as champion on March 11, 1957, by a woman, Vivienne Nearing, after winning a total of $143,000.

In the meantime Stempel, disgruntled over being ordered to “take a dive,” attempted to blow the whistle on what exactly was going on behind the scenes at Twenty One, even going so far as to have a federal investigator look into the show. Initially, little came of these investigations and Stempel’s accusations were dismissed as jealousy because there was no hard evidence to back up his claims. But by August of 1958 Dotto, a popular CBS daytime game show, was abruptly canceled after a contestant found a notebook containing the answers to every question that was to be asked to Dotto’s current champion, future journalist Marie Winn. Suddenly, Stempel’s allegations began to make more sense. Even so, the public at large didn’t seem to want to accept the dishonesty until Van Doren, under oath before a House hearing, ultimately confessed to being given answers to all of his questions before each show.

Twenty One was canceled without warning after its broadcast of October 17, 1958. A nighttime version of Concentration took over its time slot the following week. The scandal forced producers Barry and Enright into virtual exile. Barry would not host another national TV show for more than a decade, and Enright moved to Canada to continue his production career.

Aftermath

The scandal also caused the Federal Communications Commission to mandate the sale of Barry-Enright’s radio station in Hollywood, Florida, WGMA. The station was purchased by its general manager, C. Edward Little, who promptly affiliated the station with the Mutual Broadcasting System. After serving for a time as the head of Mutual’s affiliates association, Little became the president of Mutual from 1972-1979. During this time Little created the Mutual Black Network, the first U.S. broadcast network catering exclusively to African-Americans, in addition to the Mutual Spanish Network and the Mutual Southwest Network. Under Little’s administration, Mutual became the first commercial broadcasting entity to use satellite technology for program delivery.

During his tenure as head of Mutual, Little hired Larry King to host an all-night phone-in talk show Little had created. King was a one-time announcer for Little at WGMA. King, who had previously hosted a similar morning show on Miami radio station WIOD, went on to national fame on both radio and television, winning a coveted Peabody Award along the way. King, therefore, indirectly owes a portion of his success to the quiz-show scandals.

Barry finally returned to game-show hosting in 1969, succeeding Dennis Wholey on ABC’s The Generation Gap for which he publicly thanked the producers and ABC-TV for giving him a chance for a comeback. In 1971, he sold ABC his first new game show The Reel Game which he also hosted. It ran for 13 weeks. He became a success again as a producer-host with The Joker’s Wild, which ran on CBS from 1972–1975 and in syndication from 1977-1986 (Barry died in June 1984 and was replaced by Bill Cullen for the final two years). Enright would work as Joker’s executive producer in the final year on CBS, and the two revived their partnership full-time in 1976, reviving Tic-Tac-Dough which also ran until 1986. It was revived once more in 1990, but was cancelled after a few months. Enright died in 1992. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiz_show_scandals

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Survey of Broadcasting: Assignment 1, Question 2:–Describe the economic and political dynamics that brought about the birth of RCA.–Videos

Posted on June 20, 2011. Filed under: Audio, Broadcasting, Business, Inventions, Mass Media, Radio, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

II. Describe the economic and political dynamics that brought about the birth of RCA.

 

        A hundred years ago radio or the wireless was used as a point-to-point communications device similar to the use of the telegraph and telephone using wires. 

   Radio waves instead of wires were used primarily in maritime communications to send messages from ship to ship and ship to shore.

   British-owned Marconi Company and its subsidiary,  Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, dominated the radio industry and controlled important patents including the Fleming value invented by John Fleming.

Sir John Ambrose Fleming

The Fleming value or vacuum tube consisted of a metal plate and thin wire enclosed in a glass bulb. The device enable the translating of an alternating current, like a radio wave, into direct current that could be detected by a radio receiver.

   The challenge was the detection of weak radio signals by radio receivers. Lee De Forest solved this problem by his invention of the audion that amplified weak radio signals. This was accomplished using a modified Fleming value with a tiny wire grid between the wire and the plate. The wire grid acted as an amplifier and boasted weak radio signals millions of times so that radio signals could be easily detected.

 

Lee De Forest

AT&T Archives: Bottle of Magic

 

Radio Commentator Jean Shepherd Meets Lee De Forest During WW2

 

A small bit of Radio History, Lee De Forest Audion, Marconi

De Forest envisioned radio as a broadcasting medium where entertainment and information would be received by a wide audience with radio receivers.

 This was in sharp contrast to the then use of radios as wireless telegraphy and telephony or a point-to-point communication device.

   The Marconi Company sued De Forest for patent infringement in using the Fleming value.

Faced with legal challenges from both the Marconi Company and the stockholders of his own company, De Forest Radio Telephone Company, De Forest sold his right to the audion to American Telephone & Telegraph or AT&T.

AT&T in turn used the audion to amplify signals in long distant calls.

De Forest continued to manufacture audions to radio hobbyists and manufactured radios or wireless sets for the military in World War I.

   General Electric or GE was also interested in radio.

GE held the patent rights to the high-speed alternators that produced electrical current with much higher frequencies than ordinary generators.

These alternators were used as continuous radio-wave generators.

Reginald Fessendon had invented this alternator design and demonstrated that the human voice could be carried by continuous radio waves generated by this transmitter.

Reginald Fessendon

GE had also improved the vacuum tube used in radios.

    Westinghouse, a major rival of General Electric, was also interested in radio. Westinghouse had acquired the patent rights to both an improved vacuum tube and the heterodyn radio receiver that was invented by Reginald Fessenden.

   Also, Edwin Armstrong had improved the audion by developing a positive feedback regenerative circuit that increased radio wave reception by regeneration amplification.

Edwin Armstrong

 

RCA Radio Model RC Operation

This RC radio is among one of the first products marketed by RCA in and about 1921. Westinghouse produced this RC radio for RCA. It is a battery set and uses three 01A vacuum tubes. The circuit is Edwin Howard Armstrong first major discovery, the regenerative circuit patented in 1914.

 

   In summary, the patents for radio transmitters and receivers were held by a number of companies and individuals including British Marconi, American Marconi, General Electric (GE), Westinghouse, American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), Lee De Forest and Edwin Armstrong.

For radio to advance in the future would require the pooling of these patents among economic competitive rivals.

   When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, the Federal Government gave the United States Navy the responsibility for all radio operations.

The United States Navy took over all commercial radio stations including forty-five commercial and eight high-powered stations owned and operated by American Marconi.

The Navy also assumed responsibility and full liability for all patent infringement.

Thus companies doing radio research and development were free to pool discoveries to develop a better radio system.

This resulted in better radio transmitters, radio receivers and vacuum tubes when War World I ended in November 1918.

   After the war, the United States Navy wanted to retain its control and monopoly over their radio system.

However, public sentiment was against this idea. The Navy then announced it was no longer responsible for patent infringement law suits.

This immediately lead to the patent problems that existed prior to the outbreak of the war.

  The Marconi Company was trying to purchase from General Electric the exclusive use of the high-powered alternators developed during World War 1.

Should the Marconi Company  be successful, it would dominate the radio transmitter market in America.

The United States Federal Government went to GE to come up with a solution to the situation. GE did not want to sell its alternators to the Marconi Company and the U.S. Government was opposed to  Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America controlled by the  British Marconi Company to dominate the radio industry in America.

Given this economic and political pressure, the  Marconi Company agreed to sell American Marconi to a new American company, Radio Corporation of America or RCA.

The stockholders of Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America exchanged their stock for shares of stock in RCS and British Marconi got cash from General Electric.

   RCA was born on October 17, 1919 when  Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America became RCA.

RCA viewed radio not as a medium for mass communications by broadcasting but as a point-to-point communications device like the telegraph or telephone.

The RCA business model was focused on making money by sending wireless telegraph and telephony to Europe, Latin America and Asia.

    The patent infringement and law suit problem was solved by GE and RCA entering into a cross-licensing agreement which allowed each company to use the other company’s discoveries.

Since AT&T still owned the De Forest audion patent, the U.S. government pressured AT&T to sign a cross-licensing agreement with RCA.

Westinghouse, a major GE rival, also held several important radio related patents. With GE having a major ownership stake in RCA, Westinghouse started its own wireless company, International Radio Telegraph Company.

GE offered Westinghouse a large stake in RCA in exchange for placing Westinghouse’s patents in the patent pool.

    By 1921, the major stockholders of RCA were GE with 30% of the shares, Westinghouse with about 20%, AT&T with about 10% and another 4% held by the United Fruit Company.

The cross-licensing of patents solved the existing patent problem. The radio industry was divided up with AT&T’s Western Electric subsidiary manufacturing radio transmitters, GE and Westinghouse manufacturing radio receivers or equipment, and RCA selling the radio receivers and equipment.

What the architects of RCA had failed to recognize is the future of radio was in broadcasting–mass communications.

Radio broadcasting took off in the roaring 20s and continues today.

 

 

Background Articles and Videos

Radio History

 

1920’s the radio

 

When Radio Was #1

 

When Radio Was #2

 

When Radio Was #3

 

When Radio Was #4

 

When Radio Was #5

 

When Radio Was #6

 

When Radio Was #7

 

 

The beginning of Commercial Radio

 

RCA

“…RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. Currently, the RCA trademark is owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor. The trademark is used by Sony Music Entertainment and Technicolor, which licenses the name to other companies like Audiovox and TCL Corporation for products descended from that common ancestor.[2]

Origins

 RCA’s organization by General Electric

On August 4, 1914, the United Kingdom and France declared war on the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, following the German and Austrian invasions of their neighbors, including Serbia and the Russian Empire, which started World War I. Radio traffic across the Atlantic Ocean increased dramatically after the western Allies cut the German transatlantic submarine communication cables (telegraph-only at that time, well-before the first transatlantic telephone cable connected the United States with France in 1956.) Germany, Austria-Hungary, and their allies in Europe (the Central Powers) maintained contact with neutral countries in the Americas, such as the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru via long-distance radio communications, as well as via telegraph cables owned by neutral countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark.

In 1917, the U.S. Federal Government took charge of the patents owned by the major companies involved in radio manufacture in the United States in order to devote radio technology to the war effort. All production of radio equipment was allocated to the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Department of War and the U.S. Department of the Navy sought to maintain a Federal monopoly of all uses of radio technology. However, the wartime takeover of all radio systems ended with the tabling of a bill to continue this by the U.S. Congress sometime in the latter part of 1918. {World War I ended on November 11th.)

The ending of the Federal Government’s monopoly in radio communications did not prevent the Departments of War and of the Navy from creating a national radio system for the United States.[3] On April 8, 1919, the naval and Admiral W. H. G. Bullard and Captain Stanford C. Hooper met with executives of the General Electric Corporation (G.E.) to ask that their corporation to discontinue selling any of its Alexanderson alternators (used in the high-power amplitude modulation radio transmitters of that era) to the British-owned Marconi Company, and to its subsidiary, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America.

The gist of the Army’s and Navy’s proposal was that if G.E. created an American-owned radio company, then the Army and Navy would be able to bring into effect a monopoly of long-distance radio communications via this company. This marked the beginning of a series of negotiations through which G.E. would buy the American Marconi company and then incorporate what would be called the Radio Corporation of America.[4]

Establishment

The incorporation of the assets of Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America (including David Sarnoff[5]), the Pan-American Telegraph Company, and those already controlled by the United States Navy led to a new publicly held company formed by General Electric (which owned a controlling interest) on 17 October 1919.[6] The following cooperation among RCA, General Electric, the United Fruit Company, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) brought about innovations in high-power radio technology, and also the founding of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in the United Sates. The Army and the Navy turned over the former American Marconi radio terminals (to RCA) that had been confiscated during World War I. (Note: there were no commercial radio stations anywhere in the world before 1922 when the station KDKA started broadcasting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.) Admiral Bullard received a seat on the Board of Directors of RCA for his efforts in establishing RCA. The result was Federally-created monopolies in radio for GE and the Westinghouse Corporation and in telephone systems for the American Telephone & Telegraph Company.

The argument by the Department of War and the Department of the Navy that the usable radio frequencies were limited, and hence needed to be appropriated for use before other countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada monopolized them, collapsed in the mid-1920s following the discovery of the practicality of the use of the shortwave radio band (3.0 MHz though 30.0 MHz) for very long-range radio communications.[7]

The first chief executive officer of RCA was Owen D. Young;[8] David Sarnoff became its general manager. The documents of incorporation of RCA explicitly required it be mostly owned by Americans. RCA took over the marketing of the radio equipment of G.E. and Westinghouse Westinghouse, and in follow-on agreements, RCA also acquired the radio patents that had been held by Westinghouse and the United Fruit Company. As the years went on, RCA either took over, or produced for itself, a large number of patents, including that of the superheterodyne receiver.

Over the years, RCA continued to operate international telecommunications services, under its subsidiary RCA Communications, Inc., and later the RCA Global Communications Company. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Corporation_of_America

 

John Ambrose Fleming

“…Sir John Ambrose Fleming (29 November 1849 – 18 April 1945) was an English electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube, the diode, then called the kenotron in 1904.[1] He is also famous for the left hand rule (for electric motors). …”

“…After leaving the University of Nottingham in 1882, Fleming took up the post of “Electrician” to the Edison Electrical Light Company, advising on lighting systems and the new Ferranti alternating current systems. In 1884 Fleming joined University College London taking up the Chair of Electrical Technology, the first of its kind in England. Although this offered great opportunities, he recalls in his autobiography that the only equipment provided to him was a blackboard and piece of chalk. In 1897 the Pender Laboratory was founding at University College, London and Fleming took up the Pender Chair after the £5000 was endowed as a memorial to John Pender, the founder of Cable and Wireless.[4] In 1899 Fleming became Scientific Advisor to the Marconi Company and soon after began work on the designing the power plant to enable the Marconi Company to transmit across the Atlantic.

In November 1904, he invented the two-electrode vacuum-tube rectifier, which he called the oscillation valve. He would later patent this invention.[5] It was also called a thermionic valve, vacuum diode, kenotron, thermionic tube, or Fleming valve. The Supreme Court of the United States later invalidated the patent because of an improper disclaimer and, additionally, maintained the technology in the patent was known art when filed.[6] This invention is often considered to have been the beginning of electronics, for this was the first vacuum tube.[7] Fleming’s diode was used in radio receivers and radars for many decades afterwards, until it was superseded by solid state electronic technology more than 50 years later.

Fleming retired from University College, London in 1927 at the age of 77. He remained active, becoming a committed advocate of the new technology of Television which included servicing as the first president of the Television Society.

John Ambrose Fleming (1906)

In 1906, Lee De Forest of the U.S. added a control “grid” to the valve to create a vacuum tube RF detector called the Audion, leading Fleming to accuse him of copying his ideas. De Forest’s device was shortly refined by him and Edwin H. Armstrong into the first electronic amplifier, a tube called the triode. The triode was vital in the creation of long-distance telephone and radio communications, radars, and early electronic digital computers (mechanical and electro-mechanical digital computers already existed using different technology). The court battle over these patents lasted for many years with victories at different stages for both sides. Fleming also contributed in the fields of photometry, electronics, wireless telegraphy (radio), and electrical measurements. He coined the term Power Factor to describe the true power flowing in an AC power system. He was knighted in 1929, and died at his home in Sidmouth, Devon in 1945. His contributions to electronic communications and radar were of vital importance in winning World War II. Fleming was awarded the IRE Medal of Honor in 1933 for “the conspicuous part he played in introducing physical and engineering principles into the radio art”.

Note from eulogy at the Centenary celebration of the invention of the thermionic valve:

One century ago, in November 1904, John Ambrose Fleming FRS, Pender Professor at UCL, filed GB 190424850  in Great Britain, for a device called the Thermionic Valve. When inserted together with a galvanometer, into a tuned electrical circuit, it could be used as a very sensitive rectifying detector of high frequency wireless currents, known as radio waves. It was a major step forward in the ‘wireless revolution’.

In November 1905, he patented the “Fleming Valve” (US 803684  ). As a rectifying diode, and forerunner to the triode valve and many related structures, it can also be considered to be the device that gave birth to modern electronics.

In the ensuing years, valves quickly superseded “cat’s whiskers” and were the main device used to create the huge electronics industry that we take for granted today. They remained dominant until the transistor took dominance in the early 1970s

Today, descendants of the original valve (or vacuum tube) still play an important role in a range of applications. They can be found in the power stages of radio and television transmitters, in some high-end audio amplifiers, as detectors of optical and short wavelength radiation, and in sensitive equipment that must be “radiation-hard”. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ambrose_Fleming

Lee De Forest

“…Lee De Forest (August 26, 1873 – June 30, 1961) was an American inventor with over 180 patents to his credit. De Forest invented the Audion, a vacuum tube that takes relatively weak electrical signals and amplifies them. De Forest is one of the fathers of the “electronic age”, as the Audion helped to usher in the widespread use of electronics. He is also credited with one of the principal inventions which brought sound to motion pictures.

He was involved in several patent lawsuits and he spent a substantial part of his income from his inventions on the legal bills. He had four marriages and 25 companies, he was defrauded by business partners (as well as defrauding business partners himself), and he was once indicted for mail fraud, but was later acquitted.

He typically signed his name “Lee de Forest.”

He was a charter member of the Institute of Radio Engineers, one of the two predecessors of the IEEE (the other was the American Institute of Electrical Engineers).

DeVry University was originally named DeForest Training School, after Lee De Forest, by its founder Dr. Herman A. DeVry, who was a friend and colleague of De Forest’s.

“…Audion

De Forest had an interest in wireless telegraphy and he invented the Audion in 1906. He then developed an improved wireless telegraph receiver.

In January 1906, De Forest filed a patent for diode vacuum tube detector, a two-electrode device for detecting electromagnetic waves, a variant of the Fleming valve invented two years earlier. One year later, De Forest filed a patent for a three-electrode device that was a much more sensitive detector of electromagnetic waves. It was granted US Patent 879,532 in February 1908. The device was also called the De Forest valve, and since 1919 has been known as the triode. De Forest’s innovation was the insertion of a third electrode, the grid, between the cathode (filament) and the anode (plate) of the previously invented diode. The resulting triode or three-electrode vacuum tube could be used as an amplifier of electrical signals, notably for radio reception. The Audion was the fastest electronic switching element of the time, and was later used in early digital electronics (such as computers). The triode was vital in the development of transcontinental telephone communications, radio, and radar after Nikola Tesla’s and Guglielmo Marconi’s progress in radio in the 1890s, until the 1948 invention of the transistor.

De Forest had, in fact, stumbled onto this invention via tinkering and did not completely understand how it worked. De Forest had initially claimed that the operation was based on ions created within the gas in the tube when, in fact, it was shown by others to operate with a vacuum in the tube. The American inventor Irving Langmuir of General Electric Corp. was the first to correctly explain the theory of operation of the device, and also to significantly improve it.

 

In 1904, a De Forest transmitter and receiver were set up aboard the steamboat Haimun operated on behalf of The Times, the first of its kind.[3] On July 18, 1907, De Forest broadcast the first ship-to-shore message from the steam yacht Thelma. The communication provided quick, accurate race results of the Annual Inter-Lakes Yachting Association (I-LYA) Regatta. The message was received by his assistant, Frank E. Butler of Monroeville, Ohio, in the Pavilion at Fox’s Dock located on South Bass Island on Lake Erie. DeForest disliked the term “wireless”, and chose a new moniker, “radio”. De Forest is credited with the birth of public radio broadcasting when on January 12, 1910, he conducted experimental broadcast of part of the live performance of Tosca and, the next day, a performance with the participation of the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso from the stage of Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.[4] [5]

 

De Forest came to San Francisco in 1910, and worked for the Federal Telegraph Company, which began developing the first global radio communications system in 1912. California Historical Landmark No. 836 is a bronze plaque at the eastern corner of Channing St. and Emerson Ave. in Palo Alto, California which memorializes the Electronics Research Laboratory at that location and De Forest for the invention of the three-element radio vacuum tube.

 Middle years

The United States Attorney General sued De Forest for fraud (in 1913) on behalf of his shareholders, stating that his claim of regeneration was an “absurd” promise (he was later acquitted). Nearly bankrupt with legal bills, De Forest sold his triode vacuum-tube patent to AT&T and the Bell System in 1913 for the bargain price of $50,000.

De Forest filed another patent in 1916 that became the cause of a contentious lawsuit with the prolific inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong, whose patent for the regenerative circuit had been issued in 1914. The lawsuit lasted twelve years, winding its way through the appeals process and ending up before the Supreme Court in 1926. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of De Forest, although the view of many historians is that the judgment was incorrect.[6]

Radio pioneer

In 1916, De Forest, from experimental radio station 2XG in New York City, broadcast the first radio advertisements (for his own products) and the first Presidential election report by radio in November 1916 for Charles Evans Hughes and Woodrow Wilson. A few months later, DeForest moved his tube transmitter to Highbridge, Bronx. [7] Like Charles Herrold in San Jose, California — who had been broadcasting since 1909 with call letters “FN”, “SJN”, and then “6XF” — De Forest had a license from the Department of Commerce for an experimental radio station, but, like Herrold, had to cease all broadcasting when the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917. From April 1920 to November 1921, DeForest broadcast from station 6XC at the California Theater at Market and Fourth Streets in San Francisco. In late 1921, 6XC moved its transmitter to Ocean View Drive in the Rockridge section of Oakland, California and became KZY.[8][9]

Just like Pittsburgh’s KDKA four years later in November 1920, DeForest used the Hughes/Wilson presidential election returns for his broadcast. The New York American installed a private wire and bulletins were sent out every hour. About 2000 listeners heard The Star-Spangled Banner and other anthems, songs, and hymns. DeForest went on to sponsor radio broadcasts of music, featuring opera star Enrico Caruso and many other events, but he received little financial backing.

In April 1923, the De Forest Radio Telephone & Telegraph Company, which manufactured De Forest’s Audions for commercial use, was sold to a coalition of automobile makers, who expanded the company’s factory to cope with rising demand for radios. The sale also bought the services of De Forest, who was focusing his attention on newer innovations.[10] …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_De_Forest

 

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden

“…Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (October 6, 1866 – July 22, 1932), a naturalized American citizen born in Canada, was an inventor who performed pioneering experiments in radio, including early—and possibly the first—radio transmissions of voice and music. In his later career he received hundreds of patents for devices in fields such as high-powered transmitting, sonar, and television. …”

“…The development of a rotary-spark transmitter was something of a stop-gap measure, to be used until a superior approach could be perfected. Fessenden felt that, ultimately, a continuous-wave transmitter—one that produced a pure sine wave signal on a single frequency—would be far more efficient, particularly because it could be used for quality audio transmissions. His design idea was to take a basic electrical alternator, which normally operated at speeds that produced alternating current of at most a few hundred hertz, and greatly speed it up in order to create electrical currents at tens of kilohertz. Thus, the high-speed alternator would produce a steady radio signal when connected to an aerial. Then, by simply placing a carbon microphone in the transmission line, the strength of the signal could be varied in order to add sounds to the transmission—in other words, amplitude modulation would be used to impress audio on the radio frequency carrier wave. However, it would take many years of expensive development before even a prototype alternator-transmitter would be ready, and a few more years beyond that for high-power versions to become available.

Fessenden contracted with General Electric to help design and produce a series of high-frequency alternator-transmitters. In 1903, Charles Proteus Steinmetz of GE delivered a 10 kHz version which proved of limited use and could not be directly used as a radio transmitter. Fessenden’s request for a faster, more powerful unit was assigned to Ernst F. W. Alexanderson, and in August, 1906 he delivered an improved model which operated at a transmitting frequency of approximately 50 kHz, although with far less power than Fessenden’s rotary-spark transmitters.

The alternator-transmitter achieved the goal of transmitting quality audio signals, but the lack of any way to amplify the signals meant they were somewhat weak. On December 21, 1906, Fessenden made an extensive demonstration of the new alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock, showing its utility for point-to-point wireless telephony, including interconnecting his stations to the wire telephone network. A detailed review of this demonstration appeared in The American Telephone Journal.[2]

A few days later, two additional demonstrations took place, which appear to be the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience—maybe. (Beginning in 1904, the U.S. Navy had broadcast daily time signals and weather reports, but these employed spark transmitters, transmitting in Morse code). On the evening of December 24, 1906 (Christmas Eve), Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock. It included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fu (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden himself playing the song O Holy Night on the violin. Finishing with reading a passage from the Bible: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will’ (Gospel of Luke 2:14).[3] He petitioned his listeners to write in about the quality of the broadcast as well as their location when they heard it. Surprisingly, his broadcast was heard several hundred miles away, however accompanying the broadcast was a disturbing noise. This noise was due to irregularities in the spark gap transmitter he used.[4]

On December 31, New Year’s Eve, a second short program was broadcast. The main audience for both these transmissions was an unknown number of shipboard radio operators along the East Coast of the United States. Fessenden claimed that the Christmas Eve broadcast had been heard “as far down” as Norfolk, Virginia, while the New Year Eve’s broadcast had reached places in the Caribbean. Although now seen as a landmark, these two broadcasts were barely noticed at the time and soon forgotten— the only first-hand account appears to be a letter Fessenden wrote on January 29, 1932 to his former associate, Samuel M. Kinter.[3] There are no known accounts in any ships’ radio logs, nor any contemporary literature, of the reported holiday demonstrations.

(Broadcasting historian James E. O’Neal, in a series of articles on the Radio World website [5] ,[6] suggests that Fessenden, writing a quarter-century after the fact, may have confused the dates; O’Neal suggests Fessenden was remembering instead a series of tests he’d conducted in 1909.)

There is solid historical evidence, however, that Fessenden’s demonstrations of “wireless telephony” were well know at the time. Documentation of Fessenden’s demonstration of radio-transmitted voice is provided by a New York Time’s article, dated Sunday, September 1, 1907, titled: “Telephoning at Sea”. It announced that the “Navy Department is about to install wireless telephone apparatus on all battleships destined for the Pacific, this Fall. Practicable wireless telephony over a distance of five miles in all weathers is guaranteed by the company furnishing the instruments. Under favorable conditions, it is reported, a much greater distance for communication is possible.” The article accurately describes the science involved, saying: “The Hertzian waves will penetrate opaque substances, and the amplitude and intensity of the waves may be so varied as to reproduce faithfully the vibrations of the human voice.” The same article further states that: “recently, the Fessenden wireless system demonstrated the practicability of transmitting spoken words from a tall mast at Brent Rock to Plymouth, twelve miles away.” [7] Intense competition among developers of wireless technology, and the expectation of possible government contracts may have limited the scope of public promotion of the apparatus features and capabilities.

Fessenden’s broadcast foreshadowed of the future of radio. (Although primarily designed for transmissions spanning a few kilometers, on a couple of occasions the test Brant Rock audio transmissions were apparently overheard by NESCO employee James C. Armor across the Atlantic at the Machrihanish site). …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Fessendon

Edwin Howard Armstrong

“…Edwin Howard Armstrong (December 18, 1890 – January 31, 1954) was an American electrical engineer and inventor. Armstrong was the inventor of modern frequency modulation (FM) radio.

Edwin Howard Armstrong was born in New York City, New York, in 1890. He studied at Columbia University and later became a professor there. He invented the regenerative circuit while he was an undergraduate and patented it in 1914, the super-regenerative circuit (patented 1922), and the superheterodyne receiver (patented 1918).[2][3]

“…Work and patent disputes

Armstrong’s “feed back” circuit drawing, from Radio Broadcast vol. 1 no. 1 1922.

Howard Armstrong contributed the most to modern electronics technology. His discoveries revolutionized electronic communications. Regeneration, or amplification via positive feedback is still in use to this day. Also, Armstrong discovered that Lee De Forest’s Audion would go into oscillation when feedback was increased. Thus, the Audion could not only detect and amplify radio signals, it could transmit them as well.

While De Forest’s addition of a third element to the Audion (the grid) and the subsequent move to modulated (voice) radio is not disputed, De Forest did not put his device to work. Armstrong’s research and experimentation with the Audion moved radio reception beyond the crystal set and spark-gap transmitters. Radio signals could be amplified via regeneration to the point of human hearing without a headset. Armstrong later published a paper detailing how the Audion worked,[5] something De Forest could not do. De Forest did not understand the workings of his Audion.

Armstrong’s discovery and development of superheterodyne technology made radio receivers, then the primary communications devices of the time, more sensitive and selective. Before heterodyning, radio signals often overrode and interfered with each other. Heterodyning also made radio receivers much easier to use, rendering obsolete the multitude of tuning controls on radio sets of the time. The superheterodyne technology is still used today.

Armstrong is possibly best known for his discovery of wide-band frequency modulation. FM was born of a request by David Sarnoff of RCA as a means to eliminate static in radio reception. While Sarnoff was understandably impressed with Armstrong’s FM system, he also understood that it was not compatible with his own AM empire. Sarnoff came to see FM as a threat and refused to support it further.

Many of Armstrong’s inventions were ultimately claimed by others in patent lawsuits. In particular, the regenerative circuit, which Armstrong patented in 1914 as a “wireless receiving system,” was subsequently patented by Lee De Forest in 1916; De Forest then sold the rights to his patent to AT&T. Between 1922 and 1934, Armstrong found himself embroiled in a patent war, between himself, RCA, and Westinghouse on one side, and De Forest and AT&T on the other. At the time, this action was the longest patent lawsuit ever litigated, at 12 years. Armstrong won the first round of the lawsuit, lost the second, and stalemated in a third. Before the Supreme Court of the United States, De Forest was granted the regeneration patent in what is today widely believed to be a misunderstanding of the technical facts by the Supreme Court.[6]

By early 1923, Armstrong was a millionaire as a result of licensing his patents to RCA.[4]

In 1946 the FCC’s decision to use Armstrong’s FM system as the standard for NTSC television sound gave Armstrong another chance at royalty payments. However, RCA refused to pay royalties and encouraged other television makers not to pay them either. …”

…FM Radio

Even as the regenerative-circuit lawsuit continued, Armstrong was working on another momentous invention. While working in the basement laboratory of Columbia’s Philosophy Hall, he created wide-band frequency modulation radio (FM). Rather than varying the amplitude of a radio wave to create sound, Armstrong’s method varied the frequency of the wave instead. FM radio broadcasts delivered a much clearer sound, free of static, than the AM radio dominant at the time. (Armstrong received a patent on wide-band FM on December 26, 1933.[7]

In 1922, John Renshaw Carson of AT&T, inventor of Single-sideband modulation (SSB modulation), had published a paper in the Proceedings of the IRE arguing that FM did not appear to offer any particular advantage.[8] Armstrong managed to demonstrate the advantages of FM radio despite Carson’s skepticism in a now-famous paper on FM in the Proceedings of the IRE in 1936,[9] which was reprinted in the August 1984 issue of Proceedings of the IEEE.[10]

Today the consensus regarding FM is that narrow band FM is not so advantageous in terms of noise reduction, but wide band FM can bring great improvement in signal to noise ratio if the signal is stronger than a certain threshold. Hence Carson was not entirely wrong, and the Carson bandwidth rule for FM is still important today. Thus, both Carson and Armstrong ultimately contributed significantly to the science and technology of radio. The threshold concept was discussed by Murray G. Crosby (inventor of Crosby system for FM Stereo) who pointed out that for wide band FM to provide better signal to noise ratio, the signal should be above a certain threshold, according to his paper published in Proceedings of the IRE in 1937.[11] Thus Crosby’s work supplemented Armstrong’s paper in 1936.

Armstrong conducted the first large scale field tests of his FM radio technology on the 85th floor of RCA’s (Radio Corporation of America) Empire State Building from May 1934 until October 1935. However RCA had its eye on television broadcasting, and chose not to buy the patents for the FM technology.[12] A June 17, 1936, presentation at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters made headlines nationwide. He played a jazz record over conventional AM radio, then switched to an FM broadcast. “[I]f the audience of 50 engineers had shut their eyes they would have believed the jazz band was in the same room. There were no extraneous sounds,” noted one reporter. He added that several engineers described the invention “as one of the most important radio developments since the first earphone crystal sets were introduced.”[13]

In 1937, Armstrong financed construction of the first FM radio station, W2XMN, a 40 kilowatt broadcaster in Alpine, New Jersey. The signal (at 42.8 MHz) could be heard clearly 100 miles (160 km) away, despite the use of less power than an AM radio station.[14]

RCA began to lobby for a change in the law or FCC regulations that would prevent FM radios from becoming dominant. By June 1945, the RCA had pushed the FCC hard on the allocation of electromagnetic frequencies for the fledgling television industry. Although they denied wrongdoing, David Sarnoff and RCA managed to get the FCC to move the FM radio spectrum from (42-50 MHz), to (88-108 MHz), while getting new low-powered community television stations allocated to a new Channel 1 in the 44-50 MHz range. In fairness to the FCC, the 42-50 MHz band was plagued by frequent tropospheric and E-layer stratospheric propagation which caused distant high powered stations to interfere with each other. The problem becomes even more severe on a cyclical basis when sunspot levels reach a maximum every 11 years and lower VHF band signals below 50 MHz can travel across the Atlantic Ocean or from coast to coast within North America on occasion. Sunspot levels were near their cyclical peak when the FCC reallocated FM in 1945. The 88-108 MHz range is a technically better location for FM broadcast because it is less susceptible to this kind of frequent interference. (Channel 1 eventually had to be deleted as well, with all TV broadcasts licensed at frequencies 54 MHz or higher, and the band is no longer widely used for emergency first responders either, those services having moved mostly to UHF.)

But the immediate economic impact of the shift, whatever its technical merit, was devastating to early FM broadcasters. This single FCC action would render all Armstrong-era FM receivers useless within a short time as stations were moved to the new band, and it also protected both RCA’s AM-radio stronghold and that of the other major competing networks, CBS, ABC and Mutual. Armstrong’s radio network did not survive the shift into the high frequencies and was set back by the FCC decision. This change was strongly supported by AT&T, because loss of FM relaying stations forced radio stations to buy wired links from AT&T.

Furthermore, RCA also claimed invention of FM radio and won its own patent on the technology. A patent fight between RCA and Armstrong ensued. RCA’s momentous victory in the courts left Armstrong unable to claim royalties on any FM receivers, including televisions, sold in the United States. The undermining of the Yankee Network and his costly legal battles brought ruin to Armstrong, by then almost penniless and emotionally distraught. Eventually, after Armstrong’s death, many of the lawsuits were decided or settled in his favor, greatly enriching his estate and heirs—but the decisions came too late for Armstrong himself to enjoy his legal vindication.

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