TRE-panel at NordMedia 2015 Conference

TRE researchers from IP3 appeared at a panel on Transnational radio and the construction of regionality in interwar Europe at the NordMedia Conference in Copenhagen August 13.-15.. See the abstract for the panel and the individual papers below.

Transnational radio and the construction of regionality in interwar Europe Chair: Jacob Kreutzfeldt, Assistant Professor Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, The University of Copenhagen The introduction of radio as a broadcast medium in interwar Europe provided a new sphere for sensing presence, for interaction and for the construction of identities. This panel will present three papers on the production of regionality in interwar radio and will facilitate discussion on the ways in which this technical medium reshaped identities between national and transnational culture. It has been argued that radio, due to the national institutionalization, mainly took part in constructing national cultures (Briggs 1961-95). However it should not be forgotten that the medium from the outset was intimately connected with ideas of transnationalism (Hilmes 2012), and that within international fora (i.e. IBU or Nordic Collaborations), efforts were made to use radio as an instrument for internationalism (Lommers 2012). Due to newly established online research access to historical radio programs and schedules, researchers in the panel are able to focus on historical programs and asks how these, represent and perform ideas of transnationalism influenced by ideological and technological factors. Focusing on three different kinds of collaborations between national broadcasters, namely musical programs, city portraits and staff exchanges, the panel will provide a broad spectrum of cultural programming and exchanges, and will ultimately question whether Benedict Anderson’s notion of Imagined Communities (Anderson 2006) was already supplemented by Arjun Appadurai’s multiple Imagined Worlds (Appadurai 1996) in interwar radio. All researchers in the panel are part or the HERA-funded Transnational Radio Encounters research project, which furthers a transnational approach to radio. Keywords: interwar radio, transnationalism, culture & identity, program analysis


European music? The International Broadcasting Union’s interbellum concert series “European Concerts” Morten Michelsen, Associate Professor Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, the University of Copenhagen After the Great War radio became an important tool for nation building in the old and the many new European nations, and the International Broadcasting Union (1925-45) intended to use it for ‘regional building’ as well. To some, nation building and international cooperation would be opposites. But most European countries, though, had no problem with following both strategies at the same time, and apparently listeners had no problems either. In many ways language was an obstacle to international transmissions, but music lent itself willingly to be the basis for such communication (O’Flynn 2007). By the 1920s most music was related to or associated with more or less specific geographical places. Romantic nationalism had seen to that either by creating ‘national styles’ and/or by incorporating various kinds of folk music into concert music. At the same time the notion of music as a universal phenomenon came to the fore, sometimes articulated in the cliché ‘music is an international language’. Drawing upon theories of nationalism I will demonstrate how music fitted well within the double or paradoxical strategy of nation and region building by discussing one aspect of the strategy, namely, in what ways did interbellum radio organizations and leaders use music in their multilateral collaborations, especially the concert series “European Concerts” (1931-39) organized by the IBU (cf. Lommers 2012). What did the orchestras play, how did the broadcasting houses contextualize it, and how did they communicate nationality/internationality in music, in concert programs, in radio magazines? Keywords: IBU, concert transmissions, nation building, national/international, romantic nationalism  


Radiophonic cities. The city portrait in interwar radio exchanges. Jacob Kreutzfeldt, Assistant Professor Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, The University of Copenhagen The radiophonic city portrait became one of the genre through which transnational collaborations took place in the interwar years. In the early 1930’es there are several examples of city portraits produced by local or visiting radio producers and broadcast to foreign stations. That the city in this way became a locus for internationalism does – considering the technological and cultural backgrounds – not surprise. But what was the function of the urban sounds in these productions? And how did the site-specificity of reportage sound contribute to building local or global, national or transnational frameworks of representation? In Danish context two notable examples of radio city portraits are Our Day’s Copenhagen in Radiophonic images a more than four hours long program prepared by Emil Bønnelyche (DBC 1930) and North Germany Visiting Copenhagen (NORAG and DBC 1931), one of the earliest archived programs in the Danish radio archive, but there are several examples of similar programs from Stockholm, Oslo, Hamburg and London. Drawing on concepts of staged and iconic sound (Bijsterveld 2013) the paper presents analyses of sonic and textual archive material. It argues that while the genre balances between ideas of the city as modernistic subject matter and the city as a tourist attraction, much significance lies in the ways in which collaborators produce regional identities by their sheer collaboration and circulation between cities. Keywords: transnationalism, city portrait, interwar radio, program analysis, modernism


The Radiophonic North Heidi Svømmekjær, Postdoc Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, the University of Copenhagen In the 1920s, the national broadcasters of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and eventually Iceland, established a Nordic connection, which developed into a strong collaboration in the 1930s, with cultural, technical, financial, and social benefits for those involved. According to then Managing Director of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, F.E. Jensen (Jensen, 1940), the aim was to build on existing ideas of “Nordic brotherhood” and “a common Nordic culture” and further them through the exchange of programmes and knowhow. The question is how or even whether the countries involved managed to achieve some level of “approachment” and what role the radio medium had in this constellation? Using an imagological approach (e.g. Leerssen, 2007), i.e. the study of images of national stereotypes- as-discourse, this presentation will compare the content of selected programmes with institutional documents revealing the more over-arching institutional visions of a united region. Thus, this presentation will examine the early contribution of radio to the ongoing cultural forging of the North (e.g. Arndt, 2004). Keywords: Nordic collaboration, imagology, early radio, national stereotypes, program analysis.