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Engineering the Public Interest, 1922-1925: Technological Rationality and Institutionalization of American Broadcasting
Unformatted Document Text:  32 “Secretary Hoover Reviews Radio Situation,” Released for use Sunday, Feb. 8, 1925. HHPL, Commerce Papers, Radio: Correspondence, Press Releases, Misc. b. 490. On the discussion to create more channels, “Commerce Department Shifting Wave-lengths,” April, 1925, 1849, +1991. By February 1925, the department reserved 39 channels for 455 Class A stations and 47 separate channels for 108 Class B stations. About a dozen of Class C stations remained on the 360 meters. Three methods were contemplated to untangle the national broadcasting situation: the decrease of the separation from 10 kilocycles down to seven kilocycles; division of time of all stations on the same wavelength; and duplication of wavelengths in a sort of zoning system across the nation. On the problems of these methods, Donald E. Learned, “A Solution of the Broadcast Problem,” August 1925, 149. The test of squeezing stations closer created many protests of interference among stations on the adjacent channels. On the other hand, the division of operating time on given wavelengths could allow only about half the stations to operate at once. The channel duplication would cause interference on every wavelength all the time as at least two stations would use the same channel simultaneously. The first method was considered the best and the education of the listeners about how to tune up was discussed as help. 30 Donald E. Learned, “A Solution of the Broadcast Problem,” Radio News, August 1925, 149. 31 S. E. Frost Jr., Education’s Own Stations: The History of Broadcast Licenses Issued to Education Institutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), 170-72. The station, KFKU, of the University of Kansas with 500 watts power had to share the same channel with 27 stations, and it resulted in considerable interference. The course for credits came to be abandoned, and the programs were limited to short talks of an educational nature, music, and athletic event. 32 Barnouw, A Tower in Babel, 173. Their death rate of 31% was lower than the average rate of 50 % for all stations. 33 “Secretary Hoover Reviews Radio Situation,” Released for Use Sunday, Feb. 8, 1925. HHPL, Commerce Papers, Radio: Correspondence, Press Releases, Misc. b 490. 34 “Hoover address,” Radio broadcast Nov. 12, 1925, 496. Radio Problems and Conference Recommendations. An Address by Hoover broadcast from Washington, D.C. Nov. 12, 1925. 35 Hugh R. Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation: Broadcast Technology in the United States,1920-1960 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 23-24. 36 “Address by Mr. David Sarnoff, Vice President and General Manager of the RCA,” Third Radio Committee, called by and under the Auspices of the United States Department of Commerce, Presided over by Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, October 6-10, 1924; “Sarnoff introduces super power broadcasting idea in England, France, and Germany,” Radio News, Jan. 1925, 1317. 37 Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation, 35. 38 Louis Frank, “Super-Power in Radio Broadcasting,” Radio News, Jan. 1925, 1136-37; “The meaning of super- power,” The March of Radio, Radio Broadcast, Jan. 1925, 474; R. S. McBride, “How the government is regulating radio broadcasting,” Radio Broadcast, May 1925, 32. It was regarded as necessary and natural that when the Class B station appeared, the neighboring station which could not stand the pace would therefore soon quit. 39 Opening Address of Hoover, 6; Statement by David Sarnoff, Report of Proceedings of Sub-Committee No. 3 Dealing with General Problems of Radio Broadcasting, Third Radio Conference, October 6-10, 1924, 20. HHPL, Commerce papers, Radio Conference, National-Third, b. 496. 40 Sarnoff, Ibid, 19-10. Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation, 27, 30. The radio engineers and scientists could convince that new radio laws were not necessary because engineering would soon resolve interference. They promised that the radio industry would be able to develop “clean” transmitters and other new apparatus that would create sharply defined signals and allow stations to fit to the available radio bands. Ibid, 9. 41 Jansky Papers, SHSW, f.3 b.7, March 20, 1923. On the GE executive, Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation, 26-27. 42 On Statement of Jansky, Sub-committee No.3, Third Radio Conference, HHPL, Commerce papers, Radio Conference, National-Third, b. 496, 1924, 18-19. On Boston citizen, Statement of John Shepard, Ibid, 30-32. 43 Department of Commerce, Radio Service Bulletin No. 92, December 1, 1924, 11-12, cited from Foust, Big Voices, 23-24. Feb, 1925: 2, “Secretary Hoover Reviews Radio Situation,” Released for Use Sunday, Feb. 8, 1925. HHPL, Commerce Papers, Radio: Correspondence, Press Releases, Misc. b. 490. The announcement specified a maximum of 5,000 watts, and cautioned no superpower stations of 25,000 or 50,000 watts. Carl H. Butman, “Third Conference Makes for Better Radio Service,” Radio News, Dec. 1924, 1107. On Hoover’s thought on national broadcasting, “Radio Can’t live on Jazz,” Kansas City Times, Dec. 23, 1924, HHPL, b. 490; Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation, 32. 44 Louis Frank, “Super-Power in Radio Broadcasting,” Radio News, Jan. 1925, 1136-37. “The Meaning of Super-

Authors: Baek, Misook.
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32
“Secretary Hoover Reviews Radio Situation,” Released for use Sunday, Feb. 8, 1925. HHPL, Commerce Papers,
Radio: Correspondence, Press Releases, Misc. b. 490. On the discussion to create more channels, “Commerce
Department Shifting Wave-lengths,” April, 1925, 1849, +1991. By February 1925, the department reserved 39
channels for 455 Class A stations and 47 separate channels for 108 Class B stations. About a dozen of Class C
stations remained on the 360 meters. Three methods were contemplated to untangle the national broadcasting
situation: the decrease of the separation from 10 kilocycles down to seven kilocycles; division of time of all stations
on the same wavelength; and duplication of wavelengths in a sort of zoning system across the nation. On the
problems of these methods, Donald E. Learned, “A Solution of the Broadcast Problem,” August 1925, 149. The test
of squeezing stations closer created many protests of interference among stations on the adjacent channels. On the
other hand, the division of operating time on given wavelengths could allow only about half the stations to operate at
once. The channel duplication would cause interference on every wavelength all the time as at least two stations
would use the same channel simultaneously. The first method was considered the best and the education of the
listeners about how to tune up was discussed as help.
30
Donald E. Learned, “A Solution of the Broadcast Problem,” Radio News, August 1925, 149.
31
S. E. Frost Jr., Education’s Own Stations: The History of Broadcast Licenses Issued to Education Institutions
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), 170-72. The station, KFKU, of the University of Kansas with 500
watts power had to share the same channel with 27 stations, and it resulted in considerable interference. The course
for credits came to be abandoned, and the programs were limited to short talks of an educational nature, music, and
athletic event.
32
Barnouw, A Tower in Babel, 173. Their death rate of 31% was lower than the average rate of 50 % for all stations.
33
“Secretary Hoover Reviews Radio Situation,” Released for Use Sunday, Feb. 8, 1925. HHPL, Commerce Papers,
Radio: Correspondence, Press Releases, Misc. b 490.
34
“Hoover address,” Radio broadcast Nov. 12, 1925, 496. Radio Problems and Conference Recommendations. An
Address by Hoover broadcast from Washington, D.C. Nov. 12, 1925.
35
Hugh R. Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation: Broadcast Technology in the United States,1920-1960
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 23-24.
36
“Address by Mr. David Sarnoff, Vice President and General Manager of the RCA,” Third Radio Committee,
called by and under the Auspices of the United States Department of Commerce, Presided over by Herbert Hoover,
Secretary of Commerce, October 6-10, 1924; “Sarnoff introduces super power broadcasting idea in England, France,
and Germany,” Radio News, Jan. 1925, 1317.
37
Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation, 35.
38
Louis Frank, “Super-Power in Radio Broadcasting,” Radio News, Jan. 1925, 1136-37; “The meaning of super-
power,” The March of Radio, Radio Broadcast, Jan. 1925, 474; R. S. McBride, “How the government is regulating
radio broadcasting,” Radio Broadcast, May 1925, 32. It was regarded as necessary and natural that when the Class B
station appeared, the neighboring station which could not stand the pace would therefore soon quit.
39
Opening Address of Hoover, 6; Statement by David Sarnoff, Report of Proceedings of Sub-Committee No. 3
Dealing with General Problems of Radio Broadcasting, Third Radio Conference, October 6-10, 1924, 20. HHPL,
Commerce papers, Radio Conference, National-Third, b. 496.
40
Sarnoff, Ibid, 19-10. Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation, 27, 30. The radio engineers and scientists could
convince that new radio laws were not necessary because engineering would soon resolve interference. They
promised that the radio industry would be able to develop “clean” transmitters and other new apparatus that would
create sharply defined signals and allow stations to fit to the available radio bands. Ibid, 9.
41
Jansky Papers, SHSW, f.3 b.7, March 20, 1923. On the GE executive, Slotten, Radio and Television Regulation,
26-27.
42
On Statement of Jansky, Sub-committee No.3, Third Radio Conference, HHPL, Commerce papers, Radio
Conference, National-Third, b. 496, 1924, 18-19. On Boston citizen, Statement of John Shepard, Ibid, 30-32.
43
Department of Commerce, Radio Service Bulletin No. 92, December 1, 1924, 11-12, cited from Foust, Big Voices,
23-24. Feb, 1925: 2, “Secretary Hoover Reviews Radio Situation,” Released for Use Sunday, Feb. 8, 1925. HHPL,
Commerce Papers, Radio: Correspondence, Press Releases, Misc. b. 490. The announcement specified a maximum
of 5,000 watts, and cautioned no superpower stations of 25,000 or 50,000 watts. Carl H. Butman, “Third Conference
Makes for Better Radio Service,” Radio News, Dec. 1924, 1107. On Hoover’s thought on national broadcasting,
“Radio Can’t live on Jazz,” Kansas City Times, Dec. 23, 1924, HHPL, b. 490; Slotten, Radio and Television
Regulation,
32.
44
Louis Frank, “Super-Power in Radio Broadcasting,” Radio News, Jan. 1925, 1136-37. “The Meaning of Super-


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