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Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1476-4504
  • E-ISSN: 2040-1388


This article offers a revision of the dominant reading of the 1938 radio play as an unparalleled example of media power and radio artistry. Analyses of both the sound-text of the broadcast and audience responses collected afterwards show that – like a number of other radio programme genres – explored the possibility of two-way communication in national network radio. The play celebrated radio's ability to coordinate multiple communication media and create a 'constant communicative presence' in which the listener was a central part. Although many audience members were frightened or disturbed by the broadcast, we argue that the primary audience response was to communicate with others through social and technologically mediated networks. Listeners drew on these networks to interrogate the meaning of the broadcast, share information with family and friends and 'talk back' to the media.


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