Book Review

My review of David Goodman’s Radio’s Civic Ambition is now live at the Journal of Communication website. The journal issue and the review are available without a subscription–though I’m not sure how long that lasts.

I am happy with what I said in the review but if you want the even shorter version: the book is a great addition to the literature on early American radio; it attacks the pernicious “active” vs “compliant” audience theories that stick to broadcasting history and cultural studies; it does so without simply declaiming them bogus; instead, Goodman uses archival resources to expose the many intertwined and sometimes contradictory political projects contained in the regulation, production, and reception of radio in the 1930s. Though it is not without flaws, I highly recommend the book as a rewriting of that period in communication history and I think it has some excellent analogues for ongoing scholarship on activity, passivity, and audience theory today.