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Resources: Abstracts of American Studies Dissertations

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Weinstein, David. "Live From the Nation's Capital: A History of Television in Washington, D.C., 1946-1958," American Studies Department, University of Maryland, College Park, May 1997.

This work examines the growth of commercial television during its crucial early years, 1946-1958. Nowhere was television’s rapid development more visible than in the nation’s capital. Media historians have generally analyzed national network business practices and programming to explain television’s postwar innovation. My dissertation, however, takes a new, locally-oriented approach to television history. I survey the goals and activities of networks, sponsors, federal regulators, and local residents. I argue that big network political productions from Washington, such as the Army-McCarthy hearing and presidential inaugurations, showcased television’s capacity to deliver news and information. I also probe the nature and importance of strictly local productions with which broadcasters filled their schedules, focusing on two program genres: the local news and daytime women’s programs.