Radio as a Tool for the Social Sciences: Production and Consumption of Public Culture at Michigan Radio (NPR) ·
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This paper examines the creation of public culture through the content of public radio, and the roles of the producers and consumers of that content. By creating a product of news and culture that is then consumed by listeners, public radio has the capacity to both reflect and shape the ideals, priorities, and sensibilities of its audience. By influencing the listener, the public culture consumed may shape the listener into a Subject, entering the Subject into a dualistic relationship between structure and agency. As the producers of public culture respond to listener desires while at once prioritizing the cultural model of the news and culture they produce, I argue that the content of public radio is reflective of the social trends in which it is situated, and can be used as a tool for anthropology and sociology in measuring the social and political movements of a given broadcast area. Specifically, I link the advancements of women in radio over time with the nature of public media through the idea of public culture, and in historical contexts that may be friendly or hostile to women in positions of power, as holders of information, and as members of public life more broadly. In my experience as an intern in production at NPR Member Station Michigan Radio, there. did not appear to be an influential relationship between gender and experience in the workplace, though I understand this to be atypical in areas of senior management and in the field of broadcasting more generally, as verified by my research and observations.
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