The mass media of the United States have consistently attracted the attention of researchers, both domestic and foreign. This is quite understandable and justified: the U.S. is the most developed country in the information concern. The press, radio, television and other types of communications media of the U.S. are now going through a rough period now one can observe the adaptation of the information society to the needs. In addition, there are a number of new directions in practical journalism. Further concentration and monopolization of the media is closely linked to their differentiation and specialization that can actively and effectively influence public opinion.
However, for an objective evaluation and understanding of the current state and development prospects of the U.S. media it is appropriate to turn to the history. One should trace the evolution of media, especially their rapid qualitative development during the 20th century, 30-70 years. For this purpose, the author conducted a series of interviews; the respondents were older people from different states. The interview included questions about the role of media in the lives of Americans during the 30 years of 20th century. One enquired about that period, the nature and characteristics of the media, genres, and the preferences of the public, etc.
According to the survey results, the author makes an attempt to create a brief excursion into the history of sound recording, radio, cable television and movie.
The spirit of the Roaring Twenties was perceived by contemporaries to be a radical modernization and break with the traditional values of the Victorian era. For this reason, everything seemed easy to achieve. Life seemed to be a frivolous dance. That is why, the period was called the Age of Jazz, although its flowering occurred 30 years later.
The Roaring Twenties are connected with the rapid development of American society. During that period, different genres of the music appeared, for example jazz, musicals and country music. Cradle of jazz became the cosmopolitan New Orleans, where Louis Armstrong was born.
The development of technology has led to the spread of sound recordings and broadcasting, etc. Music played a significant role in radio programs, The system of music education and music publishing was developing.
In the 30s, the formation of the national American school of composition finished. The main features are the liberties with the traditional music forms, the dominance of the impulsive start and dynamic development of the melody.
It is interesting that at the beginning of record's evolution there was a high speed track and it was thicker. This fact significantly reduced the duration of sound - about 2 minutes on one side. In the 1930s, the plates were produced by one track on the one side. Very often only one concert of the certain artist was sold in a set of plates for a few pieces. As usual, they were put into the cardboard, sometimes into the leather boxes. Because of the resemblance of these boxes to photo albums, they were called record albums.
Radio was the first media outlet and, at first, it was expensive. It proposed new entertainment and advertising media, thereby it acquired a high value, which led to mass culture.
The pre-war period is the golden age of American broadcasting, which has been able to combine the urban and rural areas in a single information space, becoming the main source of news and entertainment for millions of Americans. Radio developed actively different entertainment genres - radio shows, sports coverage, music shows. In the 1930's, many radio stations had their own bands and broadcast live music according to their tastes - jazz, classical, pop music. The impact of new stars - broadcasters became significant.
The Press moved quickly from ignoring the new forms of media to cooperation; in magazines, special sections on radio broadcasting programs appeared. The pioneers in this field in the United States were Collier's Magazine and the Literary Digest. In addition, new magazines like Radio Broadcast were created; they were entirely dedicated to the new phenomenon in American life.
The most significant event of the 1930s, which demonstrated the capabilities of the new forms of media, was running commentary from the place of death of airship Hindenburg, reported by NBC's broadcaster, Herb Morrison.
One of respondents told an interesting story: The impact of new communication technologies was far greater than the power of the written word. In 1938, Orson Welles' radio adaptation by H. G. Wells novel War of the Worlds caused panic. Therefore, most of the audience believed that the speaker post on the landing of Martians. Such a fact has become a serious confirmation of this force.
Promotional opportunities of the radio were quickly mastered by politicians. The efficient use of new technologies for propaganda purposes was demonstrated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He became the first U.S. president who actively communicated with his fellow citizens through radio waves. Franklin D. Roosevelt, from 1933, had an informal conversation with the nation, which was known as the fireside chat. By his talks he entered every home, explaining to Americans who found themselves in the situation of the Great Depression, the goals and tasks of his New Deal. During the presidential election of 1936, almost 80 per cent of the American press was opposed to the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Nevertheless, but Roosevelt believed in radio propaganda and won.
Formation of American television occurred in a close race with the British one, technical development of which was financed by the British government. The first successful transfer of TV signals from New York to Washington took place in 1927. In 1928, General Electric (GE) produced the first show of teledrama. It was created on the basis of old drama of J. Harley Manners The Queen's Messenger - one respondent says. On April 30th, 1939 the first television program was made, from the World Fair in New York with a broadcast range of 25 miles. Speaking on this telecast, President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the era of television broadcasting in the United States.
In the late 20's, the silent era in American cinema ends. Sound comes to Hollywood. In the film, except for the singing, the actors had little dialogues. That gave the audience the absolute delight. Of course, the first sound films were not perfect, but had a huge success.
It is notable that the number of gangster films increased. Moreover, in the 30s, so-called "horror movies" became particularly popular. For example, in 1931, two movies drew the attention of audience Frankenstein and Dracula. The first was about the adventures of a powerful monster with the brain of a killer and the second one about the vampire.
The most optimistic movies of that period were musicals. Their release began with the playbacks like revues and operettas. These films had few series, such as Gold Diggers or Broadway Melody. Usually, it was the story of the ascent to fame girl. Certainly, she was supposed to be pretty and good-tempered. Deanna Durbin played the uncomplicated role of lovely singing Cinderella. Nevertheless, the most cash star in 1935 was a six year old Shirley Temple. She sang, danced, reconciled foolish adults, adjusted social problems and, at the same time, distracted from them.
However, some respondents noted that the audio comedy of 30s, with the exception of Chaplin's movies, was weaker than dumb one.
Obviously, press, radio and television compose a kind of triumvirate of the media; each of them has a number of features that are manifested in the character and the ways of delivering information to the audience.
In the past decade, the fourth type of information channels has actively developed the Internet which combines features of all types of media.
According to the results of survey, the representatives of older generation while using the opportunities of the Internet, most often only configured to receive information. They are assessing and use it as media outlet. However, there are fans among them on whom the Internet influences like drugs.
Therefore, the results of conducted survey together with the analysis of materials presented in different sources confirm the profound importance of 30s. They had a considerable influence on the development of media not only in the USA, but around the world, as well. Moreover, one should note the convergence of technical and artistic development of media and also psychological maturing of the audience.