By Steve Ford
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Additional resources for ARRL's RF Amplifier Classics: Practical Designs and Construction Details from the Pages of QST and QEX
Fear, the play that constitutes our first story above, was doubly conformist. Not only did it reflect normative gender roles; it also obeyed the rules of other popular forms of entertainment. 10 And radio needed an audience for its programming—either to sell products or to spread political messages. Ultimately, a paradoxically new and old radio culture appeared on the air: new because it offered a mass auditory experience and old because it was conservative, or domesticated in style, easily conforming to the nation’s households in dining and living rooms.
The first story is the plot of a 1937 radio play by Jacques Cossin and Jose de Berys titled Fear. The authors, regular radio playwrights and actors on Jacques Cossin’s Half Hour of Crime Drama and Adventure, a series that could be heard on French public radio between 1936 and 1939, assumed certain female behaviors. They created, and a woman performed the role of, a character whose innate female traits both allowed her to sense danger and ultimately put her in its path. A hysterical woman, upsetting her husband too often, could be murdered in her own home, within earshot of her own family.
The Popular Front attempted to use radio as a means of mass education, setting up an elaborate cultural program for the radio in late 1936. The coalition ignored public radio’s potential power as an intimate medium, instead focusing on the crowd as the receptacle of its message. By early 1937, the right had had enough of the explicitly left-wing radio program (and so had many listeners). With the radio elections of February 1937, the right, under the guise of an organization called Radio-Famille, used the rhetoric of family and nation to regain control of the public stations and to try to change state programming to reflect the moral notions of the Catholic patriarchal family.
ARRL's RF Amplifier Classics: Practical Designs and Construction Details from the Pages of QST and QEX by Steve Ford