The Interplay of Local, Regional, and National Network Radio in Maine

Maine history talk with Michael Socolow: The Pine Tree State on the American Airwaves

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ROCKLAND — The Rockland Public Library presents Michael Socolow, Thursday, May 26, at 6:30 p.m., at the Library and via Zoom. This event is free and open to all.

Michael Socolow’s talk, “The Pine Tree State on the American Airwaves: The Interplay of Local, Regional, and National Network Radio in Maine,” examines the outsized role that Maine played in early national radio in the United States. National network radio stars on NBC – such as Rudy Vallee, star of the popular “Fleischmann's Yeast Hour” and Phillips Lord, creator and star of the hit program “Seth Parker” – created an image of Maine in America’s earliest radio imagination. 

National publications such as The New York TimesThe New Yorker, and Collier’s published features on Maine and its national network radio presence. At the same time, within the state, local operators often ran into commercial difficulties, regulatory obstacles, and other issues that made developing the local radio industry difficult. In the case of stations such as WLBZ, Bangor, affiliation with a national network (WLBZ was an original CBS affiliate) proved essential for survival. But tension and conflict with network management over program clearance issues, and low remittance for airtime, persisted within the relationship between Maine’s local stations and the national networks for years. 

Socolow’s talk looks at how national and regional networks (such as the Colonial and Yankee Networks) intersected with local broadcasting on Maine's airwaves in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Michael J. Socolow is a media historian whose research centers upon America’s original radio networks in the 1920s and 1930s. His scholarship on media history has appeared in Journalism & Mass Communication QuarterlyThe Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic MediaTechnology & Culture, and other scholarly journals. He is the author of Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016).

He is also a former broadcast journalist who has worked as an Assignment Editor for the Cable News Network. He has written pieces on media regulation and media history for The New York TimesWashington PostSlatePoliticoColumbia Journalism Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Chronicle Review, and other outlets.

He is Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine. In July 2020, Dr. Socolow was named Director of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center at the University of Maine.

This event will take place in the library’s Community Room, with limited seating; the Rockland Public Library is located at 80 Union Street. For more information or for links to join from home via Zoom, please email by 4 p.m. on May 26 and identify the event you are interested in attending in the subject line. Please note that in-person programs are subject to transition to Zoom should local transmission rates impact our ability to meet together.

Event Date: 

Thu, 05/26/2022 - 6:30pm

Event Location: 

Rockland Public Library and Zoom


80 Union Street
Rockland, ME 04841
United States