BBC Radio 4 recently aired a special one hour program about interviewing members of the public in the historic format of the vox pop. Jason Loviglio, associate professor and chair of media and communication studies, was interviewed for the program and provides historical context throughout the segment.
“The origins of vox pop in the United States are almost as old as the origins of broadcasting in the United States. The juxtaposition of the polished, educated voice of the professional radio announcer was then juxtaposed with the voice of the man on the street, sometimes quite literally,” Loviglio said. He pointed to Houston, Texas in 1932 as the origin of vox pop where broadcasters strung a microphone out of a window to interview passers by on the street.
Later in the program, Loviglio describes the differences between American radio and the BBC in the 1940s and 1950s: “The kinds of opinions that were the prerogative of professional journalists and were not the prerogative of anyone else. So the idea that there would be a meaningful contribution from the average person on the street really did not resonate in the same way for the BBC and for very logical business model reasons.”
To listen to the program in its entirety, click here.