The radio conquers the ears of the French

The radio conquers the ears of the French

  • Program broadcast in a public garden, London

    ANONYMOUS

  • A family listening to the concert

    ANONYMOUS

  • A family in front of a radio set

    ANONYMOUS

  • A family listening to the radio in 1938

    ANONYMOUS

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Title: Program broadcast in a public garden, London

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1925

Date shown: 1925

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Storage location: Illustration

Contact copyright: © The illustration - rights reserved

Program broadcast in a public garden, London

© The illustration - rights reserved

To close

Title: A family listening to the concert

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Illustration

Contact copyright: © The illustration - rights reserved

A family listening to the concert

© The illustration - rights reserved

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Title: A family in front of a radio set

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Eyedea - Keystone website

Contact copyright: © Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency" website

A family in front of a radio set

© Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

To close

Title: A family listening to the radio in 1938

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1938

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Eyedea - Keystone website

Contact copyright: © Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency" website

A family listening to the radio in 1938

© Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

Publication date: January 2004

Historical context

Welcome to the airwaves!

From the beginning of the 1920s, when the first regular radio programs were launched, associations of listeners and radio clubs were created. On the other hand, the transmitters are still few in number, not very powerful, and the insensitive current sets ("galena") do not allow good reception or the subsequent swelling of the audience. However, between 1921 and the end of the 1930s, the audience exploded and the number of posts increased from 40,000 units in 1922 to

5 million in 1939! [1]

Image Analysis

A new ritual of everyday life

The discovery of radio begins with collective listening. The London scene of 1925 illustrates one aspect: the Marconi loudspeakers installed in the street are used to broadcast BBC reports. "Witness to the radio contagion which is spreading throughout Europe [2]", this type of device also exists in France. In Paris, in 1922, the daily The morning install speakers in front of his seat. After these daily and public spaces of radio sociability, radio conquers the private sphere. It quickly charms wealthy families. Witness the bourgeois scene of the 1920s where two generations get together for a rendezvous with the airwaves. This appointment is a ritual at a fixed time, limited (originally the stations broadcast only a few hours a day, often in the evening), which conquers some free time and introduces new daily habits. Thus, during the interwar period, "radio broadcasts gradually forged their own space in the schedule of their followers [3]", all the more significant as the stations widen their schedules and multiply genres, in particular creating children's programs that captivate the attention of children and constitute an additional reason for listening, as can be seen from the two family photographs of the 1930s.

Interpretation

Of wireless at the auditor : a democratized and intimate radio station

A few thousand wireless privileged in 1921 and 19 millionlisteners in 1939! The story of democratization to which these documents usefully testify. In the early 1920s, unless they were ingenious amateur radio electricians, those who became so enamored of the radio as to acquire a position were from the well-to-do class, generally city dwellers. For others, the discovery of the radio is often done on the public highway, in cafes, in theaters. Fifteen years later, the appearance of better quality stations, the improvement of the coverage of the territory by airwaves and electricity, finally the growing attractiveness of the programs broadcast by many stations (there are four in 1923 and around thirty in 1939) favored the acculturation of the greatest number. Radio has become an object of entertainment and a popular information tool. It remains nevertheless a luxury product. The price of a lamp post is a third of the average salary. As such, its possession is a sign of access to the modern consumer and leisure society. This is why, out of ceremony and convenience, it is placed at the heart of the home. A part of family life revolves around him. We can clearly see this dimension in the very solemn staging of a couple and their children posing with "the" radio as character central. Although it is less fixed there, this dimension is also reflected in the second photograph of the 1930s. Thus, the last two documents, featuring families with average incomes as opposed to the first two, recall that the radio has become more democratic in the end of the interwar period (it was indeed present in almost six out of ten households in 1939) and that its listening became more intimate.

  • family
  • photography
  • radio
  • radio (public of the)
  • radio (history of)
  • London

Bibliography

BROCHAND ChristianI> General history of radio and television in France, volume I "1921-1944" Paris, La Documentation Française-Comité d'Histoire de la Radiodiffusion, 1994. CHAUVEAU Agnès and TETART PhilippeIntroduction to media historyParis, Armand Colin, 1999.DESCAVES PierreWhen the radio was called Eiffel TowerParis, La Table Ronde, coll. "A Few Steps Back", 1963.DUVAL RenéHistory of radio in FranceParis, Alain Moreau, 1979.JEANNENEY Jean-Noël (dir.)The Echo of the Century. Dictionary of radio and television in FranceParis, Hachette-Arte-La Cinquième, 1999, second updated edition, coll. "Plural", 2001 MEADEL CécileHistory of radio in the thirtiesParis, Anthropos-INA, 1994.SABBAGH AntoineSee you on the airParis, Gallimard, coll. "Discoveries", 1995.

Notes

1. BROCHAND, 1994, p. 512-513 / MEADEL, 1994, p. 199.

2. SABBAGH, 1995, p. 36.

3. MEADEL, 1994, p. 225.

To cite this article

Philippe TETART, "Radio conquers the ears of the French"


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