06-11-2007, 07:35 AM
I was wondering about radio in Europe during the 20's, 30's and 40's. I assume there was more goverrnment control there than here, and of course more classical music concerts. But did they have soap operas? Quiz shows? I assume they also had comdey and variety programs.
A friend of mine who grew up in the Ukraine in the 1930's told me that the small villages with no electricity (most of them) had a single radio in town, connected to loudspeakers up on a pole. Whenever the government wanted to make a propaganda broadcast, the villagers would gather in the town square and listen to the loudspeakers.
Who knows about the different national variations that radio took during this era?
06-12-2007, 06:48 AM
It varied from country to country. Generally speaking, Europe didn't follow American programming models -- schedules tended to be much more flexible, and program technique tended to be a good deal less slick than it was in the US. A few countries had sponsored programming -- notably the Netherlands and France -- but for the most part, Europe avoided the "American System" of broadcasting, and without big money sponsors, there were no big-money sponsored programs.
Britain ran about ten years behind the US in the development of programming technique -- it really didn't begin to emphasize continuing series with continuing characters until the late thirties, long after such programs had become popular in the US. While no sponsored programming was allowed over the BBC, entrepreneurs took advantage of high powered French stations in Normandy and Lyon, and the even higher-powered Radio Luxembourg to beam recorded sponsored programming into the UK, and these programs, which often did follow American models, served to push the staid programmers at the BBC into more modern programming styles. By the end of the thirties, comedians like Arthur Askey and Tommy Handley had become regular features on the BBC, with followings quite comparable to their counterparts in the US, and the styles of their programs tended to follow a slick comedy-variety form. There were also variety programs that didn't follow the single-personality format, like "Monday Night At Eight," which presented a regular package of features loosely knit together. Dramatic programming was also well developed, with limited-run serials being the preferred format -- there were no British equivalents to the Amos 'n' Andy/soap opera style of "rotating-plot" continuous serial until the late forties.
But music, in all countries, was the dominant form of programming -- with much more variety to it than was generally available in the US. Political and economic talks were also heavily scheduled in all European countries.
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