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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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(p.117) 6 Ears
Isles of Noise

Alejandra Bronfman

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter opens with an exploration of audience research techniques and the ways that even those conducting the research acknowledged the impossible nature of their task. This sets out the paradox that structures the chapter: even while there was no guarantee that listening publics were listening, they came to occupy a central position in the political struggles of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The notion of fidelity runs through the chapter as it traces the mediated strategies with which institutions and entities vied for the loyalty of listeners and laid the ground for the media battles of the anti-Batista struggle in Cuba. The “radio wars” that erupted in the Caribbean, a series of clandestine broadcasts urging the overthrow of Castro, Trujillo, and Duvalier in the early 1960s, speak to the centrality of mediated interventions in the changing geopolitics of the Cold War. The chapter ends with an emphasis on silence, as it attends to the ways that Jamaican broadcasting continued to speak only to limited publics and tendered a deaf ear to the creole-inflected sounds of politics on the eve of decolonization.

Keywords:   Audience research, Fulgencio Batista Zaldívar, Fidel Castro, Rafael Trujillo, François Duvalier, Cold War, Decolonization

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