12 Pages

Nations, National Identity, and the Transnational

Historians and critics have noted the importance of Anglo-American relations in many other fields, from politics, economics and social policy to art, literature, music, and film. Sharing a common language and a common history, united in the twentieth century through two world wars, and vying for leadership in global influence, Britain and America have a substantial record of both competition and cooperation across multiple spheres of activity that is hard to overlook or deny (Rodgers 1998). Yet their relationship in the field of broadcasting-a medium that stands at the very center of social, cultural and political communication-has been largely overlooked, as though each nation developed radio and television in splendid national isolation. In fact, it requires a real effort of will on the part of the media historian to overlook the constant and constitutive presence of Great Britain in the United States experience, and vice versa, when it comes to broadcasting.7 Hollywood’s influence on the development of the art of film, and the adaptations and resistances to it that various national traditions contribute, has been well established; no such critical transnational historiography has yet been developed for broadcasting.8