NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1926 __ « Rundfunkhörer, fordert euer Mitbestimmungsrecht! »
Comment : Listeners [...] were hardly "entertained" by evening-long works that tawxed their concentration, so a year later the Radio Hour changed its tune. In a press release detailing the 1928-1929 season, that station announced that on three evenings a week, "an "entertainment" program aimed at the broad masses" would be aired from eight to nine; that would be followed by a half-hour "artistic" program and a half-hour lecture. "In this way the working person who has to go to bed early will get his entertainment, while at nine o'clock the artistically more demanding person will be able to hear a symphony, some chamber music or serious literature, followed at nine-thirty by a corresponding lecture". The Radio Hour justified this change in scheduling practice by arguing that since radio played a distinctive and unique role in "public life", it had to "emancipate" itself from the practices of theaters and concert halls, which offered "evening-long programs". What was "appropriate to radio" was, instead, a policy of "mixed broadcasts consisting of diverse, so-called short programs ... The principle of "variety" and the principle of "contrast" are absolutely decisive for the practice of radio. But having said that, the press release proceeded to list as well the broadcasts of operas, plays, and concerts scheduled for the coming year, which would fill many of the four evenings a week unaffected by the new scheduling policy. Programmers thus occasionally gave in to what they perceived to be listeners' wishes, albeit slowly and reluctantly, and with no statistically accurate means of gauging popular demands. As noted above, there were no significant polls of audience taste during the Weimar era. Given the cultural isolation and elitism of the stations, a number of proposals to activate popular input were put forward. Brecht believed that radio, as a collective means of communication, also should have collective input; he argued that procedures should be devised to allow radio listeners to determine programming. Brecht's ideas echoed demands that were formulated repeatedly by the Social Democratic Party. In October 1926 the Workers' Radio Club held a rally under the motto "Radio listeners, demand your right codetermination!" ("Rundfunkhörer, fordert euer Mitbestimmungsrecht!"). The main speech was given by Artur Crispien, who often called for increased popular (especially working-class) input into broadcasting. Numerous Social Democrats and leftist intellectuals argued that radio subscribers shoud be organized as a "consumers' cooperative" ("Konsumgenossenschaft"). (Peter Jelavich)
Source : Jelavich, Peter (2006), "Berlin Alexanderplatz : radio, film, and the death of Weimar culture” University of California Press, 2006, pp. 72-73.

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