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Caribbean Radio Histories

I love learning about both radio history and international radio, so was pleased to see an analysis of the early history of Caribbean radio on the Sounding Out! blog this week. Part of a 4-part series focused on radio broadcasting in the Caribbean and South America, Alejandra Bronfman’s article, Radio de Accion: Violent Circuits, Contentious Voices: Caribbean Radio Histories, examines the early days of radio in the Caribbean. Bronfman writes,

In the earliest years, radio competed for attention in Caribbean soundscapes full of talk and music rooted in the legacies of slavery. In Haiti, a US occupation (1915-1934) coincided with the development of wireless technology by the US military. Military officials understood the potential of wireless for communication among ships. When US marines landed in Port-au-Prince in 1915, they immediately landed a radio set as well. Although wireless linked the marines to their passing ships, it was not yet a cultural medium sustaining a connection to familiar songs and voices.

Bronfman also takes a look at radio as “a regional history” through additional examples of the early days of radio in Jamaica and Cuba. The series continues next Thursday on the Sounding Out! blog with another piece about radio in South America and the Caribbean.


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