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Republic on the Wire

Cable Television, Pluralism, and the Politics of New Technologies, 1948-1984

John McMurria (author)

ISBN: 9780813585307

Publication Date: Feb 2017

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

The history of cable television in America is far older than networks like MTV, ESPN, and HBO, which are so familiar to us today. Tracing the origins of cable TV back to the late 1940s, media scholar John McMurria also locates the roots of many current debates about premium television, cultural elitism, minority programming, content restriction, and corporate ownership.
£81.95

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The history of cable television in America is far older than networks like MTV, ESPN, and HBO, which are so familiar to us today. Tracing the origins of cable TV back to the late 1940s, media scholar John McMurria also locates the roots of many current debates about premium television, cultural elitism, minority programming, content restriction, and corporate ownership.

Republic on the Wire takes us back to the pivotal years in which media regulators and members of the viewing public presciently weighed the potential benefits and risks of a two-tiered television system, split between free broadcasts and pay cable service. Digging into rare archives, McMurria reconstructs the arguments of elite policymakers, whose advocacy of cable was fueled by sincere concerns about the public interest, but who also saw the service as a tool to preserve taste hierarchies and maintain order over the nation's rapidly-changing inner cities. He also tells the story of the people of color, rural residents, women's groups, veterans, seniors, and low-income viewers who challenged this reasoning and demanded an equal say over the future of television.

By excavating this early cable history, and placing equality at the center of our understanding of media democracy, Republic on the Wire is a real eye-opener as it develops a new methodology for studying media policy in the past and present.
Illustrations 1 figure, 8 photographs
Pages 256
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 28 Feb 2017
Publisher Rutgers University Press
Subject/s History of the Americas   Media studies   Telephone technology  
John McMurria is an assistant professor in the department of communication at the University of California in San Diego, USA. He is the coauthor of Global Hollywood and Global Hollywood 2.

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