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Isles of NoiseSonic Media in the Caribbean$
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Alejandra Bronfman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628691

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628691.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CSO for personal use (for details see http://www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 October 2017

Receivers

Receivers

Chapter:
(p.37) 3 Receivers
Source:
Isles of Noise
Author(s):

Alejandra Bronfman

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628691.003.0003

Picking up in the early 1920s, this chapter tracks the shift of radio technology from military to commercial uses. It follows linkages among the changing material conditions for Caribbean workers, the radio industry’s search for materials like mica and bakelite, and the generation of new markets. Having placed broadcasting in its ecological and political contexts, the chapter uses the trajectories of two amateur radio operators, John Grinan, a New Yorker/Jamaican son of a plantation owner and a member of the team which produced the first transatlantic wireless signals, and Frank Jones, an American plantation manager in Cuba, famous for his self-promoting shortwave transmissions to recover the world of the tinkerers’ romance with an ether jammed with distant sounds. It traces the creation of audiences and publics for the emerging technology, arguing that radio appealed to listeners not because it shrank distances, but because it underscored them, demarcating the Caribbean as exotic and remote. Ironically, it was the deeper technological connections that would propel the mapping of these imagined boundaries between the “tropics” and “the world.”

Keywords:   Mica, Bakelite, John Grinan, Amateur radio, Frank Jones, Transatlantic, Cuba, Jamaica

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