Radio, Need for Entertainment and Impact on Society


As a starting point, it is worth noting that radio communication came into being as a result of the weaknesses, encountering the intended purpose of wireless communication as other individuals could listen to the conversation. The modes intended for radio technology included the sending of wireless telegraphs and the making of radio conversations. Is this right? Yes. The introduction of radio communication and radio broadcasting greatly affected the cultures of the time, especially as a result of the emphasis on different cultural formations, the quick permeation of information is created, and the consciousness regarding problems within society (Campbell, Christopher & Bettina 234-237).

Impact on social behaviors and habits within society

The introduction of radio communication greatly impacted social behaviors and habits within society, due to various social factors. The first major effect of the introduction of radio communication is that the time spent and distances covered during the passing and communicating of information from one place to another was greatly reduced. This is the case because the parties involved in the information exchange process would simply communicate the information to one another over the radio. However, radio communication also introduced concerns over secrecy because different parties were capable of receiving messages that were meant to be personal. The different types of information that were made simpler by the introduction of radio include the exchange of commercial information, such as advertising, among other forms of communication. Another aspect that changed was the use of previous modes of communication such as semaphore towers and mail, which were perceived as less efficient and therefore faced the risk of extinction due to the period involved in the communication process. There was also the increased use of rail transportation due to the adoption of radio technology, leading to the development of safer and more complex railway systems. The increased rail transportation came about, as a result of the ability to communicate over distances with immediate responses. This enabled the control of different locomotives; as the communication allowed for more convenient management of the rail to host more of them, and at a higher rate. Why does radio increase rail transportation? The development of radio communication further created the need for schools in which the new science of communication would be taught and developed. As well, consciousness levels increased due to the increased exchange of news and issues affecting society (Crowley & Paul 57-65).

Development of new factories and industries

The introduction of radio communication led to the development of new factories and industries to maintain the radio equipment, leading to increases in employment that consequently brought about the development of urban centers and lifestyles. This development also resulted in a need for new governing institutions to govern, manage and allocate transmitter output powers and certification. All these came along with new social habits and adjustments to the already existing ones. The new communication technology was also accompanied by increased crime monitoring abilities, while at the same time increasing the instances of crime due to the improved communication levels (Rogers 124-154).

Radio technology further introduced a new mode of propaganda that could reach more people within a relatively shorter duration. An example of this was Russian propaganda spread through shortwave bands after the war. The introduction of radio communication also led to the development of new forms and social orientations towards entertainment (Rogers 124-154).

The invention of radio communication opened up the way for further development in the growth of media institutions, a result of the initial use of the radio, not as entertainment or a public address tool. The original uses for radio were for wireless telephone and wireless telegraph. After the mode of communication was found to offer no privacy and the idea of public address was introduced to the technology, it was adopted to communicate news of war, as a culture promotion tool, entertainment medium, and a marketing tool (Crowley & Paul 57-65).

Use of the radio for commercial purposes

After these developments, smart business-oriented individuals, including Sarnoff, decided to use radio for commercial purposes. Due to the many base stations that had cropped up, the government stepped in to license the users of airwaves in the Radio Act of 1912 and later that of 1927. This move made radio transmission more organized and concentrated among the few individuals who could afford to pay for the transmission. After this financial privatization of the industry, stations like KDKA started broadcasting, taking a purely commercial approach that was geared towards making money from the broadcast. Within the same privatization period; some nations kept the rights to some frequencies through which they would host their radio stations. This strategy in some areas saw the buyers of radio having to pay taxes for access to radio waves (Rogers 124-154).

This whole move led to the development of what is commonly referred to as the concentration of media ownership, where the rights of radio transmission are held by a few people who represent and address the wide public population, though not necessarily reflecting their views. These few owners also control the running of radio, therefore influencing the shape it takes and addresses the many members of the public who are exposed, influenced, or affected by the media transmission. The other areas of concern that develop are those of media bias, freedom of the press, and editorial independence due to the concentration of ownership in a small group. This phenomenon is also referred to as media consolidation; it led to the development of large media companies such as NBC and CBS. Media consolidation refers to the control of the media outlets by a smaller proportion of conglomerates and corporations. The same groups or individuals also control other modes of media like TV and print rights due to economic capability and access to the media rights through association. However, the effects of consolidation have proved to be problematic, detrimental, and hazardous as the few individuals control the media to reflect their selfish interests. The move also results in a media monopoly and oligopoly that further obstruct the real purpose of the media, due to the ownership by mainstream media, also referred to as media conglomeration. However, the issue of concentration of media ownership has become an issue in the worldwide, regional, and national picture (Campbell, Christopher & Bettina 234-237).

The other fact is that the major media companies developed into the media icons they are now from the initial radio network functions that formed the basis of their development. CBS is one such major television network that started as a radio network, previously referred to as the Columbia Broadcasting System. From this information, it is evident that the major media houses developed from the initial conglomerations of radio transmission networks that were owned by a few individuals and authorities (Crowley & Paul 57-65).


After the flooding of the radio waves by amateur radio stations, the government stepped in to control the use of airwaves by providing licenses according to the Radio Act of 1912 and 1927. However, the control restricted the use of the media to the few individuals who could afford to pay for the licenses. This move left the control of the media in the hands of a few private owners who in turn used the media for pursuing their selfish interests and business motives. However, the voice and interests of the public are not reflected when control of the media falls within the hands of a few individuals or groups. From this, it is evident that, if the government was to control the radio industry, as hoped for by many Americans, it would reflect the voice of the larger population, as well as receiving support from commercial operations for funding. Further, the frequency competition that is witnessed today would not be the case if the government’s control of the operations of the media were stricter, as it would lock out a few of the investors who are flocking to the industry (Rogers 124-154).

Works cited

Campbell, Richard. Christopher Martin & Bettina Fabos. “Newspapers and the rise of modern journalism”. Chap. 8 in Media and culture: An introduction to mass communication. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2006: 234-237

Crowley, David, and Paul Heyer, eds. “Communication in history”: Technology, culture, society. 5th ed. Boston: Pearson A and B. 2007: 57-65

Rogers, Everett. “Diffusion of innovations”. New York: Free Press.1995: 124-154

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