The Effects of Black Radio on the African American Community in the 1940s- 1970s and the New Millennium: A Qualitative Analysis Using the Cultivation Analysis Theory

Marcia V. A. Jennings


Before thought provoking movies and highly charged reality television shows, there was the radio. Since 1907, the device has served as a connection between community and the people who consider it home. With its help, social movements have been supported, distinguished individuals mourned, artists propelled to fame and, most importantly, the people given a voice and identity of which to be proud. This especially rings true for the African American community. Before the presence of “Black Radio,” the community had been debased—a result of a past rooted in second-class citizenship. With it, however, African Americans were able to address not only that widely held view, but also any other negative perceptions of the culture. In doing so, the community became more of a unified body conscious of its role in society and bent on progression. This all changed, however, with the growth of the “urban radio,” television, and movie industries that eventually forced Black Radio out of the forefront. Consequently, the unification and progression of the African American community was halted. Using the Cultivation Analysis Theory, which maintains that media play an important role in how people view their world, this paper hypothesizes that the absence of Black Radio in the African American community has negatively affected the way in which African Americans in the new millennium view themselves and their world. Comparative and qualitative data were derived from primary and secondary sources by utilizing the document analysis and observational techniques. The research findings seem to suggest that the hypothesis is valid.


Cultivation Analysis Theory; Black Radio

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