Radio Drama in Action: Twenty-Five Plays of a Changing World

Radio Drama in Action: Twenty-Five Plays of a Changing World

Radio Drama in Action: Twenty-Five Plays of a Changing World

Radio Drama in Action: Twenty-Five Plays of a Changing World

Excerpt

It is now generally agreed that radio, medium of the fireside chat and the Martian panic, Pepsi-Cola Jingles and the NBC University of the Air, can influence human thought and action in powerful ways.

American radio uses the power mainly for merchandising. Drugs, foods and tobaccos, chief financiers of the medium, fill many of the choicest listening periods with gag comedy and escape drama.

But our radio also uses its power--more fitfully--toward pushing back the horizons of public knowledge and understanding. It is with this crucially important function, with "public service" radio, that the present volume is concerned. It assembles for the first time in one volume the contributions of a number of leading radio dramatists to the field of public service radio.

The legal situation surrounding public service radio is not sufficiently understood, either inside or outside radio.

A station is heard at a certain spot on the radio dial. But the station does not own the right to broadcast at that spot, that frequency. It holds the privilege on good behavior.

Because the ether wavebands are limited, they have been declared the property of the people. Every spot on the dial is public property. The Federal Communications Commission, acting for the public, may grant this or that company a license to broadcast at this or that frequency, and to make a profit on it through the sale of time--provided "the public interest, convenience and necessity" are served.

Those odd words, included in every station's license, have never been exactly defined by law. But the government has increasingly taken the position that the words place important obligations on the station. The Federal Communications Commission now feels that the periodic renewal of a station's license should depend on its genuine contributions to the public interest.

Programs felt to perform such a service, whether through dramatic or other types of programs, include: broadcasts of general edu-

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