Radio Documents CAROLYN BIRDSALL
This article investigates the relationship between broadcasting, sound archiving, and the rise of radio studies through the case of Germany’s first radio studies institute, led by linguist Friedrichkarl Roedemeyer at the University of Freiburg from 1939 to 1945. I outline an emergent notion of radio research starting in the early 1920s, which contributed to a concept of radio content as both documentation and commodity object. The work of Wilhelm Doegen at the Lautabteilung (“sound department”) in Berlin proved key to the development of radio research based on archival documentation, recording media, and multidisciplinary research agendas. The Nazi takeover in 1933 gave further ideological impetus to radio as a culturally and politically significant form that was worthy of costly archival documentation. Roedemeyer’s institute of radio studies gained substantial support, but after it was closed down in 1945, researchers and archivists hastened to downplay their involvement with Nazi-era broadcasting and knowledge production.