Sound Recordings


Walking down the street of the New York, I meet an elderly woman in her late seventies. I quickly approach her to finds out if she would assist me in finding out how the mass media has evolved over the last few decades. She agrees and the two of us plan a date and a venue for our meeting.

Sound Recordings

“During our times, the matters of morality were taken very seriously,” Joan told me enthusiastically; when I asked her what type of music they listened to. She told me that she loved the country music especially from Luigi Nono, John Cage and Elliot Carter, who were all the greatest composers in the early and late 1940’s. Trying to find out why she preferred those musicians, she said that they such songs that correlated with the Second World War that was going on during that time and therefore it served to calm them down.

“A radio that could play Cassettes went for about thirty dollars,” she said after a long pause. She said that many people could not afford and therefore, they could listen from their neighbors or visit any studio where such music played. It is from the same studios where she used to purchase her classic music cassettes.


She told me that there were two types of radios by then. One that could manage to play radio cassette and the other one which could not. She was not a fun of any programmes which were very few at that time, though she listened to the news that was read hourly.

“There were soap operas but I had no passion for them,” she was quick to answer. Trying to find out why, she said that what was presented in such programmes were so unrealistic in as compared with what she observed in her daily experiences with the social issues. However, she could not miss to listen to her classic music which played mostly at night. Such music made her relax according to her.

“One radio was meant to serve the whole family unlike what I see today,” she said when I asked her whether it was a family activity. She told me that the parents controlled what was to be listened to. The radio commercials according to her were there but only those concerned with what they referred to as the morality of the group members. No commercials containing sexual connotations or drugs and alcohols were allowed. I was thrilled to learn that she is still a great fan of the radio and the classic music to this era.


According to her, the introduction of the television set in the 1940’s was a new dawn for the people at that time. People marveled at the sight of real people talking from the screen.

“We did not acquire one because it was too expensive for me since I was earning little and I had children educate,” she said. However, she told me that people who did not own one like her could visit those who had so that they could watch their favorite series which included the soap operas.

The only difference that she observes between the then analogue television and the today’s digital ones is the increase in the number of uncensored music and programmes which according to her increase the levels of immorality in the current generation.


She is one lady who loved watching cow boy movies which were very common during 1950’s. However, her main motivator was her boyfriend who according to her was addicted to the same kinds of movies.

“He used to come for me every weekend,” she said happily as she recalled the ‘old sweet days’ as she referred to them. They had to drive to Front-Drive In theatre in the Upper Front Street. According to her was ten kilometers from where they used to live and therefore, they had to use public means of transport. Movies which contained explicit scenes or coarse language was forbidden not only by the parents but also by the government as I observed from her. Some of her best actors were James Arness, and Gene Autry whom she told me was the shortest cowboy movie actor she had seen.


The old but charming lady told me that she had seen the computers long before, but the current kinds of development was a marvel to her. She owned an old computer which she told me has not been used for about two decades. She has heard her grand-children talk about the internet but she has never used it. She considers herself too old for such developments, but also she has eye problems making her avoid bright light as much as she can. She however told me that since the introduction of the so-called internet, she has seen much change in people’s preference to other types of media. She rarely see her grand-children watch television or listen to the radio as they are always glued to their computers.

In conclusion, there are enormous changes that have taken place in the last few decades as far as mass media is concerned, as a result of the growing technology.

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