Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

History

First Advisor

Liora Halperin

Second Advisor

Sasha Senderovich

Third Advisor

Mithi Mukherjee

Abstract

Yiddish Radio is often overlooked by Jewish historians because of its obscurity. The availability of primary and secondary sources that examine this phenomenon is incredibly limited, making it difficult to fully understand its overall importance. Radio was one of the cornerstones of American identity formation in the 1930s because of its ability to transcend the boundaries previously set by other forms of mass media. With the passing of the 1927 Radio Act, radio transformed into a commercial enterprise with unlimited possibilities. This thesis examines WEVD, one of the most prominent Yiddish radio stations in New York City during this period. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not the 1927 Radio Act was successful in its original mission of promoting public interest and welfare through radio by using WEVD as a case study. While it is difficult to judge the success of such a significant piece of legislation on such a small community, the Jews in New York were something of a special case because of their unique ethnic character. The original intention behind the 1927 Radio Act was to create a standard to which radio should be held, and it accomplished this goal, while simultaneously reinforcing the tradition of multiculturalism within the United States of America.

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