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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article deals with the radio dial as a mediating interface. It begins with briefly tracing the early history of amateur radio technology and its advent as a sensorial revolution. It then discusses the crucial steps in the technological development of radio in the 1920s by focusing on the central role of radio amateurs and the tacit knowledge needed for the operation of these new electronic machines. Furthermore, it explores the gradual emergence of a European regulatory regime in frequency planning, mirroring the need for regulation of the fast-expanding broadcasting infrastructure of the mid-1920s. The successful promotion of a “technopolitics of accuracy” by the technical committee paved the way for the standardization of European frequencies and enabled the successful implementation of calibrated station scales as technical and aesthetic innovations in radio receiver design in Europe. Finally, the article interprets the changes in receiver design as material inscriptions of regulatory efforts.

Keywords: radio dial, mediating interface, radio technology, technopolitics, European regulatory regime, radio receiver design

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