Sunday, September 26, 2010

Government Regulation

I chose government regulation and intervention as the most influential force in the development of the radio industry in the 1920's because many standards and ideas were set that shaped just how this new technology would be primarily used. Government regulation is a tool for the government to assist the country's economy. The United States promotes capitalism, where minimal regulation is enforced on any industry. Socialism is generally perceived as the opposite, as it encourage public, not private, ownership of industries. Generally in the United States government regulation is only enforced when it appears to be strongly needed for an industry to function or to prevent any major economic failure, such as a monopoly being formed. Regulation is neither directly good nor bad but the degree to which it is applied can greatly affect an economy. Over-regulation can lead to a dissatisfaction among citizens as far how an industry is run because they have little direct control of it. Also, heavy regulation reduces or even eliminates competition so that potential for unfair prices and limited product choices is more likely. Under-regulation has a potential for exploitation within industries through monopolies or unequal opportunity to compete. As well as exploitation, under-regulated economies can lose jobs to outsourcing to cheaper options. Regulation during the 1920's in regards to the new radio industry greatly influenced its direction. Most specifically is the fact that AT&T was made to break up their near-monopoly over the industry in its beginnings. Government regulation was also used during World War I to have absolute control of the airwaves during the war reserved for the military. Once the airwaves were available for use after the war, the government decided it was necessary to regulate who had what frequencies and how many they had, known as frequency allocation. The supreme court wasn't immediately on board and to this day questions occasionally arise on the constitutionality of frequency allocation.

Regulation? No. This picture right here is madness!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Social Learning

The social learning theory is a way media effects its viewers through user imitation in attitudes, behaviors, and general thinking. The original theory comes from the experiments done by Bandura, where he showed children videos of adults beating a Bobo doll with a number of alternate endings that either rewarded or punish such behavior. He then put the children in a similar situation and found that the behaviors displayed were similar to those of the adults. Many example contain negative sides to social learning, but occasionally there are positive effects. This can be seen in the amount of fatalities from car accidents in the US. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) shows in their statistical studies that in 2008 there were less fatalities from car accidents than in the past 14 years. Regardless of the fact that more cars and people fill the roads each year, the number remained below 35,000. The chart can be viewed here. While car safety improvements can definitely be attributed to the decrease in deaths, another cohort responsible for the decrease is a raise in awareness about the issue. Here are a couple of commercials that have put the theory of social learning into action by raising awareness and encouraging viewers to think before making a big mistake behind the wheel.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I think the concept of framing is well demonstrated in the tv commercial from Kia Motors where, throughout the one minute spot, Kia works to associate purchasing one of their vehicles with straight up having a blast. This is a common tool used in advertising where the company infers that if you purchase their product, all aspects of your life will improve, regardless of whether or not the product has any direct influence over things like happiness or relationships. Framing is a media practice that helps enforce hegemony by showing the viewer how to think of an issue and what is associated with that issue. In these two photos you can see how a different setting can help the viewer determine what they think of the subject;



In this example, the theme, the war in Iraq, can be determined or "framed" by the setting and context. Liberation vs defeat. Assistance vs pain. Life vs death. Both images contain the same subject, but due to framing, the viewers' outlook can be affected.
In the Kia commercial, characters are shown having a great time, all the while using their new Kia vehicle. If someone thinks about what they are actually watching, they will notice that clearly, the car itself did not create their "fun times". Ironically the only scenes which involve the characters having a good time while with the car both have warning subtitles at the bottom, the first being that the jump they did over the hill with the car was done by a professional and you should actually never attempt such a maneuver, and the second scene where one of the character stands up out of the sun roof of the car while the white subtitles warn that you should always have your seat belt on. Regardless of these facts, the overall feel of the commercial leaves you, if only sub-consciously. thinking that buying that Kia might add a little spice to your boring life, thanks to that which is the almighty framing.