Broadcasting Public: Radio Station KOAC and the Making of Modern Citizens, 1923-1958
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In 1923 the Oregon Agricultural College began broadcasting market information and weather reports to farmers in the Willamette Valley. By 1958 the programming had expanded to include everything from symphonies to lectures in psychology. This thesis poses the following questions: How did the producers and funders of Station KOAC understand the medium’s potential to reach spaces they believed were isolated from the promise of modernity? What were the values that the state prioritized through its funding of Station KOAC? How did listeners understand and experience KOAC? Based on archival research, I argue that the station was recruited to welcome rural and domestic listeners into modernity and simultaneously task them with the maintenance of traditional institutions on which the state relied. However it also brought information and companionship to listeners, who claimed their own citizenship through state supported radio.