Publications by network members
Kuitenbrouwer, V. (2016) Radio as a Tool of Empire: Intercontinental Broadcasting from the Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies in the 1920s and 1930s
Itinerario 40(1): 83-103.
In the interwar years, the colonial powers of the day instantly saw long-range radio technology as an instrument to strengthen their empires as it enabled broadcasters in the European metropoles to reach audiences in the peripheries via the ether. This article focuses on the Dutch colonial station PHOHI, a company that pioneered global radio broadcasting. The station was founded by a group of influential entrepreneurs in order to strengthen ties between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies by reaching out to colonial expatriates. This case study shows how geopolitical and ideological considerations shaped both the organisation and the content of Dutch intercontinental broadcasting.
Scales, R. P. (2016) Radio and the Politics of Sound in Interwar France, 1921-1939
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
In December 1921, France broadcast its first public radio program from a transmitter on the Eiffel Tower. In the decade that followed, radio evolved into a mass media capable of reaching millions. Crowds flocked to loudspeakers on city streets to listen to propaganda, children clustered around classroom radios, and families tuned in from their living rooms. Radio and the Politics of Sound in Interwar France, 1921-1939 examines the impact of this auditory culture on French society and politics, revealing how broadcasting became a new platform for political engagement, transforming the act of listening into an important, if highly contested, practice of citizenship. Rejecting models of broadcasting as the weapon of totalitarian regimes or a tool for forging democracy from above, the book offers a more nuanced picture of the politics of radio by uncovering competing interpretations of listening and diverse uses of broadcast sound that flourished between the world wars.
Ribeiro, N. & Seul, S. (2017) Revisiting Transnational Broadcasting: The BBC's foreign-language services during the Second World War.
Presenting a collection of original chapters, this book reassesses the history of the BBC foreign-language services prior to, and during, the Second World War. The communication between the British government and foreign publics by way of mass media constituted a fundamental, if often ignored, aspect of Britain’s international relations. From the 1930s onwards, transnational broadcasting – that is, broadcasting across national borders – became a major element in the conduct of Britain’s diplomacy, and the BBC was employed by the government to further its diplomatic, strategic, and economic interests in times of rising international tension and conflict.
Potter, S. (2018) Broadcasting Britishness during the Second World War: Radio and the British World
History of Global Arms Transfer, 5: 49-58
This essay considers the role of radio broadcasting in appealing to and reinforcing Britannic sentiment during the Second World War, and thus mobilising a united imperial war effort. Radio played on the bonds of sentiment in a particularly powerful fashion, because it addressed listeners intimately and with a sense of authenticity, and allowed rapid, regular, and direct communication with audiences over long distances. Imperial broadcasting structures established during the 1920s and 1930s were repurposed for war, under the leadership of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), but bringing in broadcasters (and state information and propaganda agencies) all around the British world. Many different producers, writers, artists, and experts helped broadcast Britishness during this period, appealing to Britannic sentiment in a wide variety of ways. Often they linked britishness with liberty, democracy, and equality, even if this flew in the face of the realities of empire. The British connection was presented as a living and vital force, bringing people together despite divisions of race. Broadcasters also made a powerful appeal to ideas about a common history and set of traditions. The essay suggests that such themes offered a significant means of harnessing Britannic sentiment to the needs of war.