Broadcasting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television, 1950-1960
Yeidy M. Rivero is Associate Professor of Screen Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Tuning Out Blackness: Race and Nation in the History of Puerto Rican Television, also published by Duke University Press.
Prelude to the Spectacles: Constituting a Modern Broadcasting System Through the Law, 1923–1950
This chapter analyzes the laws that regulated Cuban broadcasting prior to the launching of television. Cuba’s pre-television laws reflected the ongoing negotiations that took place in the island’s public sphere regarding the institutionalization of a commercial broadcasting system instead of a public broadcasting system. Prior to the establishment of television in Cuba, the broadcasting laws that governed radio programming were the product of a balancing act between the public, the private sector, and the State, in which the laws tilted to the perceived needs of the citizenry. These laws also reveal how various views of broadcasting intersected with aspects associated with Western modernity. By exploring how national and transnational circumstances influenced legislation and the conceptualization of broadcasting, the chapter traces the ways in which notions of modernity began to infiltrate the legal and regulatory imaginings of Cuban media. In addition, this chapter draws attention to the development of Havana as an important radio production center for Cuba and Latin America.