Author(s)

Bradley Trinkner

Date Approved

10-24-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in History

Department

History

College

College of Humanities & Social Sciences

First Advisor

Heinzen, James

Subject(s)

Radio broadcasting--History;Soviet Union

Disciplines

History

Abstract

Radio broadcasting has a long and varied history in many industrialized nations yet research into radio in the Soviet Union has been given little attention from scholars. Radio offers the power to unite distant people and reinforce the party agenda yet also leaves the door open to unauthorized transmissions. The story of radio must be understood as two sides of the same coin, namely the motivation and purpose of broadcasting by the regime as well as the effects on those who listened. The dual purpose of broadcasting was represented both by the potential it offered party authorities as well as a subversive element for listeners when the reality for citizens rarely met the vision of the regime. The earliest years of Soviet broadcasting were hindered by material shortages and an inability to understand the special qualities of radio. The Stalin years and World War II transformed the purpose and function of broadcasting in Russia. The greatest challenge to central broadcasting came for foreign radio broadcasts that brought "enemy voices" into the homes of Soviet listeners as stations such as Voice of America and Radio Liberty provided news and entertainment that was more in line with the demands of native audiences. Despite the opportunity to use radio to reinforce the single narrative of Soviet history and to lay the grounds for the new Soviet man, authorities ultimately built an apparatus that did not offer widespread appeal and in many cases drove listeners to foreign broadcasting. As a result, Soviet radio did not build the state and the culture as it did in other nations.

Included in

History Commons

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