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Hosted by Global Media Industry Speaker Series.
Part of the Radio-Television-Film Media Studies Colloquium.

“On With the Dance”: The Convergence of Recording, Radio and Film Cultures, 1925-1935

Between the waning days of the jazz-age 1920s and the depression-era 1930s, U.S. recording companies’ corporate, technological, and cultural ties to the radio and film industries grew ever closer. In the span of roughly a decade, the biggest recording companies, Victor and Columbia, became RCA-Victor and CBS, subsidiaries of radio (and later, television) companies at the center of twentieth-century American media culture. Musical performers sought opportunities beyond sound recordings and the stage, as hosting radio shows and appearing in movies became commonplace celebrity strategies. Film and radio stars in turn sought out opportunities via sound recordings. Through a discursive analysis of the recording-industry trade press and an examination of emerging stars' careers, this presentation outlines the largely-unexamined intermedial ties between phonography, radio and film that led to the first major conglomeration of entertainment media in the twentieth century.
Kyle Barnett is an associate professor of media studies in the Department of Communication at Bellarmine University. His research focuses on media history, cultural industries, popular music and sound across media. He has published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, Music, Sound and the Moving Image, the Journal of Material Culture, and several book anthologies. Barnett is a former co-editor of The Velvet Light Trap and columnist for Flow, Antenna, and In Media Res. He is the author of Record Cultures: the Transformation of the U.S. Recording Industry (University of Michigan Press).

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