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Engineering the Public Interest, 1922-1925: Technological Rationality and Institutionalization of American Broadcasting
Unformatted Document Text:  17 stations for developing national systems. 42 The conflict was also interconnected with the commercial interests of local stations, as well as social implications. In the concern about the public opinion on monopoly, Hoover underscored the need of local stations serving each community. At the same time, defining the public interest in terms of national service, Hoover encouraged experimentation with both high power and interconnection. Hoover also emphasized that stations would be allowed to experiment only with “high power” of 5,000 watts, not superpower at 50,000 watts. In the end of 1924, GE’s WGY, RCA’s WJZ and AT&T’s WEAF gained licenses to experiment above 5000 watts. Further increase of power would be up to the result of their experimentations under the regulation of the District Supervisor of the Department. 43 In fact, high power was a just short-time justification to move toward superpower with very little time difference. It was anticipated that those living near the coming super-power stations would bring more interference than did the neighbor stations. Radio Broadcast argued that the convenience of the few should not be allowed to halt progress for the interest of the many. Better programs and better technical operation by the larger stations were again strongly emphasized. 44 In the end of 1924, Radio News asked the readers to vote: “Are you for or against high power broadcasting?” It turned out that the listeners had different interests in superpower according to their residence and ownership of radio equipment. In the most cases, those favoring super-power broadcasting were rural residents who lived miles away from any station. Those who lived in the vicinity of a station with 500 watts or more were mostly satisfied with conditions as they were, despite some desires for higher power. Radio News noted that approximately 80 percent of voters favoring in superpower were from a legion of users of crystal receivers purchased for less than 20 dollars. Those who owned tube sets valued at 100-200 dollars would not be able to tune out superpower stations to listen to the station that they desired.

Authors: Baek, Misook.
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17
stations for developing national systems.
42
The conflict was also interconnected with the
commercial interests of local stations, as well as social implications.
In the concern about the public opinion on monopoly, Hoover underscored the need of
local stations serving each community. At the same time, defining the public interest in terms of
national service, Hoover encouraged experimentation with both high power and interconnection.
Hoover also emphasized that stations would be allowed to experiment only with “high power” of
5,000 watts, not superpower at 50,000 watts. In the end of 1924, GE’s WGY, RCA’s WJZ and
AT&T’s WEAF gained licenses to experiment above 5000 watts. Further increase of power
would be up to the result of their experimentations under the regulation of the District Supervisor
of the Department.
43
In fact, high power was a just short-time justification to move toward
superpower with very little time difference.
It was anticipated that those living near the coming super-power stations would bring
more interference than did the neighbor stations. Radio Broadcast argued that the convenience of
the few should not be allowed to halt progress for the interest of the many. Better programs and
better technical operation by the larger stations were again strongly emphasized.
44
In the end of 1924, Radio News asked the readers to vote: “Are you for or against high
power broadcasting?” It turned out that the listeners had different interests in superpower
according to their residence and ownership of radio equipment. In the most cases, those favoring
super-power broadcasting were rural residents who lived miles away from any station. Those
who lived in the vicinity of a station with 500 watts or more were mostly satisfied with
conditions as they were, despite some desires for higher power. Radio News noted that
approximately 80 percent of voters favoring in superpower were from a legion of users of crystal
receivers purchased for less than 20 dollars. Those who owned tube sets valued at 100-200
dollars would not be able to tune out superpower stations to listen to the station that they desired.


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