Masters Thesis

High Hopes for Radio: Newspaper-operated Radio Stations in Los Angeles and San Diego in the 1920s

In this thesis, I argue that the newspapers that owned and/or operated radio stations in Los Angeles and San Diego sought to create new print and broadcast multimedia corporations but ultimately failed because they faced several obstacles that they could not overcome. Newspapers wanted to use radio to promote their stations and to attract advertising revenue. However, as radio grew into an entertainment business rather than an information business, the newspaper-owned or controlled stations found that they needed to create live entertainment programming in addition to the news. The cost of broadcasting equipment and programming ultimately led the Los Angeles and San Diego newspapers to sell or discontinue their stations. By the time that network broadcasting reached the west coast in 1930, none of the newspapers in Los Angeles or San Diego county-owned radio stations. This thesis covers the period of early broadcast radio that occurred from 1920 through 1930.