Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I've been listening to some of the broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 for their Handel celebration, and it struck me how different it used to be, when people did not have a television, but only a radio. Would not the quality of the voice and the pronunciation of the language have been emphasized more? (Comparing it to American TV may be the wrong thing to do--I think the announcers and anchors for BBC TV have maintained the same standards in the past, though things appear to be changing, with the abandonment of received pronunciation.) Radio programs demand a greater use of the imagination, and it is akin to story-telling and other products of an oral culture. The imagination would also be employed in the idolization of certain radio celebrities--picturing what someone looks like based on their voice alone. It seems difficult to be infatuated with someone just because of their voice, but undoubtedly it did happen. (Seeing a photograph of them in the newspaper would be useful, but how many radio celebrities had their photos taken for the newspapers?)

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