NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1929 __ First Golden Age of Syndication
Comment : 1929: 16-inch shellac discs introduced for syndication, probably by Radio Digest Bureau of Broadcasting, using pressings manufactured by the Columbia Phonograph Corporation's Sound-On-Disc Division. 1929-35: First Golden Age of Syndication -- dozens of companies enter the business of distributing recorded programs. 78rpm discs give way to large size slow-speed discs during early thirties. (Elizabeth McLeod)I think you'll find that most network radio shows were performed twice; once for the east coast and three hours later for the west coast. Radio programs could be sent 'live' over a transcontinental wire link in the 1930s, long before this became practical for television. This was another innovation for which Correll and Gosden were responsible: in November 1929, an uproar resulted when the nightly "Amos 'n' Andy" broadcast moved from 11 PM EST to 7 PM -- Western listeners complained that they couldn't be at their radios at 4 PM, and began to deluge NBC and The Pepsodent Company with enraged letters and telegrams. After more than 100,000 letters arrived over the course of a week, Correll and Gosden proposed broadcasting twice nightly -- once for the East and once for the Midwest and West -- and this idea became standard procedure for radio well into the 1940s. NBC began allowing limited use of recorded rebroadcasts in 1939, when Pacific Blue stations began carrying "Information Please" by transcription. The rationale given was that the program had no script -- and therefore could not be rebroadcast live. Many sponsors, however, had been using recordings of live network programs on a supplementary basis as far back as 1930, spotting them on stations in markets where live clearance could not be obtained. (Elizabeth McLeod)In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows to multiple individual stations, without going through a broadcast network. It is common in countries where television is scheduled by networks with local affiliates, particularly in the United States. In the rest of the world, however, most countries have centralized networks without local affiliates and syndication is less common, although shows can also be syndicated internationally. Radio syndication generally works the same way as in television, except that radio stations usually are not organized into strict affiliate-only networks. Radio networks generally are only distributors of programming, and individual stations (though often owned by large conglomerates) decide which shows to carry from a wide variety of networks and independent providers. As a result, radio networks like Westwood One or Premiere Radio Networks, despite their influence in broadcasting, are not as recognized among the general public as television networks like CBS or ABC. Some examples of widely-syndicated commercial music programs include weekly countdowns like Rick Dees' Weekly Top 40, the American Top 40, the Canadian Hit 30 Countdown, and the nightly program, Delilah, heard on many U.S. stations. Before radio networks matured in the United States, some early radio shows were reproduced on transcription disks and mailed to individual stations. An example of syndication using this method was RadiOzark Enterprises, Inc. based in Springfield, Missouri, co-owned with KWTO-AM. The Assembly of God, with national headquarters in Springfield, sponsored a half-hour program on the station called Sermons in Song. RadiOzark began transcribing the show for other stations in the 1940s, and eventually 200 stations carried the program. The company later produced country music programs starring among others, Smiley Burnette, George Morgan, Bill Ring and Tennessee Ernie Ford (260 15-minute episodes of The Tennessee Ernie Show were distributed), and more than 1,200 U.S. and Canadian stations aired the programs. Many syndicated radio programs were distributed through the US mail or other delivery service, although the medium changed as technology developed, going from transcription disks to phonograph records, tape recordings, cassette tapes and eventually CDs. Many smaller weekend programs still use this method to this day, though with the rise of the Internet, many stations have since opted to distribute programs via CD-quality MP3s through FTP downloads. It was not until the advent of satellite communications in the 1980s that live syndication became popular (though it could be transmitted through network lines, it was not particularly common). Shortly after satellite networks such as RKO, Transtar and SMN began, the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, which is credited with helping Rush Limbaugh become the first national talk radio superstar. As the 1990s went on, Dr. Laura and Howard Stern began their national shows, rising to become national icons. The Telecommunications Act of 1996, which led to significant concentration of media ownership, facilitated the rapid deployment of both existing and new syndicated programs in the late 1990s, putting syndication on par with, and eventually surpassing, the network radio format. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, syndicated talk radio saw a notably rapid rise in popularity, as networks rushed hosts such as Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck into syndication around this time. Syndicated radio is not as popular in other parts of the world. Canada has a few independently syndicated shows, but the bulk of syndicated content there comes from the United States, and the sum total of syndicated programming is far less than most American stations, as Canadian stations rely more heavily on local content. Most other countries still follow the network radio model. (Compiled from various sources)
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