Italian Radio Broadcasting in the US during the Interwar Years


Michele Segretario (University of California, Berkeley)

In the interwar years, about 200 US radio stations began to serve the listening interests of an audience of 25 million immigrants by hosting “foreign-language” programs. Among these, those in Italian constituted the majority of the radioscape of the time. This paper employs ethnographic analysis to show how interwar radio broadcasting mediatized Italian identity and the tensions established between Italian fascist radio propaganda and the process of Americanization promoted by the US Government. Such tensions generated fluctuation in the perception of the idea of center and periphery, which alternatively switched between an idyllic, ideologically charged Italy, and Italian America.

Part of 04-13 Inventing Italy from Its Edges, Friday, October 14, 8:30 am–10:00 am