Developing a “National Culture:” The Impact of Radio Network Systems

Over the years, culture has obtained a broad and extensive definition that covers tangible to intangible elements that establish the basic dimensions of culture, to theories and ideologies that represent a deeper and more significant meaning of culture aside from shared common beliefs, traditions, and such. Indeed, culture may be defined in so many ways, under various circumstances, including how it frames race and ethnicity, how it shapes the structure of society within the national and international setting, and such.
Therefore, the meaning or significance of culture, as well as the understanding of how it is developed depends upon the contextual backdrop or circumstances under which it is used. For instance, national culture refers to the kind and structure of culture that governs a nation or a country, despite cultural differences based on race or ethnicity, age, religion, location, and such. National culture is the kind of culture that keeps a nation together, identifying a kind of society and way of life that only exists and are attributed to a particular state or country.
The establishment of national culture also differs from other types of culture. If culture founded on religion is established through shared beliefs based on spiritual principles or philosophies, national culture which encompasses a larger scale of population and coverage is developed through tools or instruments that directly attaches and unites the masses – that is the media, from broadcasting to advertising, and such. With this in mind, the remainder of this text will focus on culture and how it is developed, narrowing the broad area of culture to national culture.

Moreover, the discussion will review the different network systems, specifically advertising, entertainment, and political broadcasting as mediums in cultivating national culture. National culture, as aforementioned, refers to the kind of culture that establishes the distinction between nations. It sets nations apart by determining how one differs from another in terms of beliefs, traditions, norms and mores, ideologies, and such.
National culture seeks to explicate why the act of spending time in the afternoon sitting down and drinking tea in the garden is a known English culture, and why resting for a short time in the afternoon or the siesta is credited to the Spanish culture. As simple as it may sound, national culture is the kind of culture that is present in beliefs, traditions, ideologies, norms and mores, and other practices that the majority, if not all, of a country’s population puts into practice.
Since realizing that national culture is a phenomenon that necessitates massive influence to a large population, one might begin to wonder how this particular culture is cultivated due to its standards when it comes to population. We are looking into a tool, a device, or a system that facilitates the transfer of knowledge and information to many people all at the same time as a means of promoting or encouraging the large-scale practice or observation of a specific culture. This tool, device, or system is known as a network system which is fuelled by the structure and dimensions of mass media.
Historical accounts will reveal how network systems have contributed to the development of national culture. The radio system was established before the television and television networks. Before people relied on television sets to bring them live video coverage of new features and breaking news here and abroad, and people went online to obtain various kinds of information from different places when and where they want it, they used to rely on radios for these particular purposes.
In the 1920s, people relied on radios for news and other information and entertainment. People placed great importance on the radio system since it was able to become a variety of things all at once while reaching large populations in the process. For these reasons, corporations and organizations have identified an opportunity to develop their businesses out of the far-reaching powers and influence of the radio despite the fact that it was first introduced to the public as a means of disseminating significant information.
Following the realization of the future of business and entrepreneurship in radio broadcasting, numerous radio stations and networks were established all over the nation transmitting what they feel the public wants and needs to know and grasp from radio transmissions. (Dominick, Messere, & Sherman, 26-28) The radio system was utilized for various purposes, for advertising various goods and services available in the market, to entertainment in the form of music and other programs or shows, and to promote political agendas through broadcasting.
Radio stations and networks were clever enough to incorporate various segments that appeal to diverse populations set during time slots that are most likely to draw large population of viewers, specifically the target viewers. For instance, news segments will be set at time when the entire family is at home sitting down to together to listen to new information and such. Other shows include musical segments, radio commentaries, and with advertisements in between.
(Dominick, Messere, & Sherman, 10-19) Since people during that time only had the radio as their means of linking themselves to the rest of the country and the world, radio stations and networks were in control of the information that goes through the system. This means that the kind of information or its contents being announced over the radio are the ones that people will have the opportunity of knowing and assimilating within their minds.
This kind of exclusivity that exist between the radio system and its listeners is strengthened by the psychological fact that people clang to the radio since it made them feel involved and allied to the rest of the country and the world. The phenomenon, that is the connection between the radio and the public during that time, is similar to living inside a community isolated within a bubble or a dome wherein the structure of society is shaped and controlled by the structure and dynamics that springs within it. This metaphorical illustration depicts how the radio system has shaped national culture during that time.
Business organizations who advertise through the radio, the kind of music most often played during musical segments, the coverage of news that radio stations are able to broadcast, as well as the kind of political information from public speeches, to press releases, and such, that the government announced through the radio system, were the only kind of information that the people obtained by listening to the radio all at the same time. Since the things or situations that people experience, by seeing, feeling, and in this case hearing, influences their state of mind, beliefs and ideologies, character, personal opinion, etc.
, and the things or situations that people experience by listening to the radio are similar, their overall state of mind are shaped and influenced in the same manner more or less, consequently leading to the development of national culture through shared experiences by simply tuning in to the radio. The impact of the radio system is observed by reviewing history, particularly those that relate to politics since they reveal the greatest influence to national culture. For instance, China’s history reveals how the radio played a role in promoting the communist government of Mao Zedong.
He controlled the kind of information that radio stations are allowed to broadcast to the public, particularly those that promote his government through the announcement of party decisions, knowledge and information that uphold communist ideologies, etc. , limiting knowledge and information that the Chinese people are allowed to learn, and also setting boundaries on how the nation is supposed to act, practice beliefs and traditions, promote ideologies and such. (Dominick, Messere & Sherman, 317-319)
Another historical evidence which points to the influence of the radio system to shape national culture was the presidential elections in the United States in 1928. Apparently, the Republican Party chose to operate for the campaign by utilizing the radio system. Five speeches were allowed to be broadcasted through the radio convincing the people to vote for the party’s representative come election time. Sensing that the Republican Party has made a bold yet smart move in reaching the majority of the nation’s population, the Democratic Party followed in their opponent’s footsteps by broadcasting several speeches through the radio.
The competition between the two parties commenced by their decision to make the radio a battle ground wherein the parties’ representatives aired their opinions through arguments and debates concerning major political, social, and economic issues that they believe the public wants and needs to know and understand in order to make a well-informed decision on who to vote for the presidency. However, the competition turned sour by scandalous attacks coming from both parties to weaken the momentum of the other party.
The result of the antagonistic rivalry between the two parties was the involvement of the majority of the population in the election. Millions of people decided to register in order to vote since they believed that it was their role as citizens of the country to end the conflict by deciding who they want to become their national leader. (Rudel, 1-2) The influence of radio, being the only existing electronic medium during that time, was undeniable.
The radio system, through its established capacity to influence majority of the nation’s population, was structured to monopolize everything that mass media offers to the public satisfying business organizations and political leaders, from advertising to entertainment, and even political broadcasting. The radio’s ability to control and limit that kind of information being broadcasted through the airwaves to the people who constitute majority of the population led to the establishment of a national culture that was shaped by shared experiences through the radio system.

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