I was recently invited to make a contribution to the Mobile Music Symposium taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the US. I offered the organisers a paper on the transistor radio and its role in the developments of US radio music listening in the 1950s and 60s.
In fact I should have been there today, but sadly at the last minute I wasn’t able to make the journey. In true Interactive Cultures style, though, I offered a videoed version of my paper, and a Skype link so I could join in the question and answer session. You can watch the whole paper presentation (it’s just over 16 minutes long) thanks to Vimeo.
The paper is based upon research I’ve been working on with my colleague Nick Webber. I called the paper Changing cultural co-ordinates: the transistor radio and space / time / identity. It explores the way in which the portability of the radio set (in the car and later the pocket radio) connected with some major cultural imperatives and substantial social change in the mid 1950s to bring around a major shift in the radio listening experience. At this time the dominant form of radio moved from the sort of mixed entertainment we get on TV today, to music and the record playing DJ.
The event has been organised to tie in with a new book The Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies, edited by Sumanth Gopinath and Jason
Stanyek. Nick and I have a chapter in the book which will build on the paper I talk about here, and develop the analysis into Europe and beyond.
The whole event looks really interesting and I’m very disappointed not to be there in person, but at least I can contribute and participate.