Oral History An Interview Report


OralHistory: An Interview Report

OralHistory Paper: Sound, Radio, Television and Film in 20thCentury

Mygrandmother’s name is Suqin Zhao and is 83 years old. I conductedan interview with her to find out her own personal experiences duringthe development of sound recording, radio, television and films inChina where she has lived all her young and mostly adult life. Soundrecording was a great relief to the earlier methods of communicatingwith individuals from far distances. It eliminated the drawback ofhaving to wait for weeks or even months to get a reply or responses.The introduction of the telephone was a great mile storm too manypeople, particularly for those who conducted business overseas or hadrelatives in far distances. However, during its inception there wasscarcity of machines to the normal population with telephones being apossession of the powerful and wealthy. People had to travel longdistances to make or receive a phone call and most cases, one had towait by queuing for long hours.

Soonthereafter there was the introduction of the radio machines that arenow common and basic to every home. This invention marveled manypeople with the possibility of having sounds magically travellingthrough the air and reaching many people at the same time, overdifferent regions. The invention of radio and its strange capabilitycaptured everybody’s imagination. However, in the earlier days, notanyone could be able to own such a prestige as it was reservedparticularly for the military. In fact, there are many young men whoenrolled in the military for the mere chance of having to own aradio. Nonetheless, with the development of technology over theyears, this technology was passed over to homes owned by commonpeople. During this period there was radio mania that swept the wholecountry as everyone was struggling to own one. It seemed as a marvel,a prestige yet a necessity in the later years.

Inthe following years, there was the development of a technology thatallowed people not only to hear sounds but also view the imagestaken. This new technology seemed like the epitome of technologicaladvancement. No one could ever imagine that such a thing existed orwhether it was even possible. Many people would travel safe distancesto go and watch what was happening from around the world through thisnew technology. It seemed to replace the radio invention and anyonewho had earlier owned a radio was scattering to get a television set.It was considered as a prestigious asset by the houses that ownedone. The emergence of television set led to the decline of prices ofthe radios from across the countries with many people having anopportunity to afford at least one technology in their homes.Television was used for the purposes of giving information. Educatingand for entertainment.

Moviesand films were developed later on the following years as demand forentertainment rose across the nation. Most of the people, who ownedtelevision sets, particularly enjoyed the function of entertainment.Therefore theatres and other entertainment avenues where peopletravelled before was demanded. There was a great need of bringingthese services to the consumers’ right in their homes. This needled to the development of movies and films which was considered anideal method of relaxing and enjoying leisure. This development wasparticularly significant for the art schools with more studentsenrolling to pursue a career in acting, producing or directing. Itwas regarded as a famous career option after law or medicine.


Zhao,Suqin. (2016). Personal interview on 1 March, 2016