Exploring Electronic Media

Course Description

The course will cover the dynamics of contemporary electronic media. The course will examine the following rapidly evolving technologies: Terrestrial AM and FM radio, HD Radio, Satellite Radio, Internet Radio, Digital High Definition (HD) Television, Cable TV, Direct Broadcast Satellite TV, Internet/broadband Webcasting, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Broadband over Power Line (BPL), Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), Satellite-based Broadband, Peer-to-peer File Sharing, Blogs, Wikis, RSS News Feeds and Podcasting. The course will cover the historical influences and contemporary issues in programming, technology, regulation, and the business of media. The course will also explore the future in this ever-changing field. Students will gain hands-on experience at the school district’s FM radio station.


Exploring Electronic Media: Chronicles and Challenges

Peter B. Orlik, Steven D. Anderson, Louis A. Day, and W. Lawrence Patrick

Media Current Events

Any media current events worthy of discussion will be covered at the beginning of each class. Feel free to bring in any articles you read in print media or from reliable websites.

Discussion Topics

Take One: Bringing Electronic Media into focus; Components of communication; Communications vehicles; The broadcast and nonbroadcast electronic media.

Take Two: Technological chronicles; Channels and the electromagnetic spectrum; Television broadcasting; Electronic recording-audio; Electronic recording-video; Cable television; Satellite technology; Analog vs. Digital; Digital television.

Take Three: Content chronicles; Radio’s gilt-edged years; Post-war adaptations; Radio’s second half-century; Television at center stage; Content for the second and third screens.

Take Four: Regulatory chronicles; Early electronic media regulation; Radio regulation’s foundation in the United States; Political programming and the public sphere; Policing new technologies.

Take Five: Business chronicles; The mass audience; The rise of the network model; Cable flexes its muscles; New technologies change the business; Vertical integration as a survival


Take Six: Technological challenges; Changes to traditional media; Device convergence; The internet and broadband; Internet applications.

Take Seven: Content challenges; Video news issues; The incredible sports hulk; Reality vehicles and Product placement; The ethnic and global dimension.

Take Eight: Regulatory challenges; History’s legal lessons; Beyond broadcasting, laws for new media; Convergence and the legal landscape.

Take Nine: Business challenges; Consumers and advertisers; Restructuring the media landscape; Living in a personal media world; What’s ahead.

Student Responsibilities

Students are responsible for all material discussed in class. A three-ring one inch binder with pockets is needed for notes and handouts. Bring your binder to class every class period. Those who forget to bring their binder to class will sign a “I forgot my binder” sheet which can be used against you when grades are determined.

Missions are to be turned in at the beginning of class on the due date. After that, missions can be turned in, but will be considered “late” and will receive a grade penalty. Make-up exams and missions for excused absences will be taken or turned in on the day you return—unless it is more than one day. Missions should be typed.

Missions and Exams

Students will be given missions that relate to the course topics. A mission sheet will be provided giving detailed directions on how to complete the mission. Each mission will be worth a certain number of points. A mid-term test will be given at the middle of the semester and another test will be given at the end of the semester. Each test will be worth a certain number of points.

Grades/Grading Scale

Grades will be determined by the following grading scale from the points earned from missions and exams.

90%-100% A

80%-89% B

70%-79% C

60%-69% D

59% or less E

Class Participation

Contributing to the discussion of class topics is not required but encouraged. It can’t hurt you to participate, it can only help you.

How To Do Well in This Class

Students can do well in this class by doing the following: Bring your binder to class; Keep handouts in your binder; Take notes; Keep your notes in your binder; Read the chapters assigned; Do the missions and turn them in on time; Study for the exams.