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Unidentified Sounds: Radio Reporting From Copenhagen 1931–1949

Autor: Jacob Kreutzfeldt
Revista: Journal of Radio & Audio Media Nº 22 (1)
Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19376529.2015.1015858?journalCode=hjrs20#

This article investigates how urban spaces and their noises were approached by radio reporters in the first decades of public radio production in Denmark. Focusing on the period before reel tape was incorporated in production by the early 1950s, the author explores how urban space and urban sounds were heard, contextualized, and conceptualized in an era of transmission.

Observing that urban sounds until the late 1930s were rarely heard in Danish radio compared to German and English broadcasting, the author argues that an urban and auditory aesthetics incorporating noise, heterogeneity, and unpredictability did not really develop in Danish radio until the early post-war years.

Yet this study traces early attempts at managing noisy urban conditions in a collection of 22 archived reportages from 1931–1949 and demonstrates how reporters experimented with available technological repositories and developed techniques in order to make sense in and through urban environments. Inspired by Michel Serres' idea of the parasite, the author analyzes such techniques as ways of distinguishing between noise and meaningful sounds, and ultimately identifies three different types of urban sonic environments in the period: the extraordinary, the everyday, and the socially foreign.