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Across the WavesHow the United States and France Shaped the International Age of Radio$
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Derek W. Vaillant

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041419

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041419.001.0001

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At the Speed of Sound

At the Speed of Sound

Techno-Aesthetic Paradigms in U.S.–French Broadcasting, 1925–39

(p.9) 1 At the Speed of Sound
Across the Waves

Derek W. Vaillant

University of Illinois Press

This chapter sketches the history of U.S–French electronic communications prior to the rise of U.S.–French radio broadcasting. Focusing primarily on France, it analyzes the anticipatory and reactive discourses to live interwar transatlantic broadcast connectivity with the United States. The period saw two contrasting, nationally inflected techno-aesthetics take shape in America and France that defined excellence in radio. In America, technological power, abundance, and high-speed execution demonstrated professional competence and efficiency. The French emphasized quality, accepted scarcity, and valued deliberate speed. More than extensions of preexisting differences in U.S. and French cultural conventions these broadcast paradigms emerged relationally and cross-nationally to shape the future of U.S.–French broadcast interaction and the character of an evolving international medium.

Keywords:   Wireless, global, techno-aesthetics, NBC, David Sarnoff, Radiotelegraphy, RCA, Radio City, transatlantic, shortwave, speed

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