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Music and the Broadcast ExperiencePerformance, Production, and Audiences$
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Christina Baade and James A. Deaville

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199314706

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199314706.001.0001

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“From Operatic Pomp to a Benny Goodman Stomp!”

“From Operatic Pomp to a Benny Goodman Stomp!”

Frame Analysis and the National Biscuit Company’s Let’s Dance

(p.153) Chapter 6 “From Operatic Pomp to a Benny Goodman Stomp!”
Music and the Broadcast Experience

Rika Asai

Oxford University Press

The radio program Let’s Dance (1934–35) is best known for its role in launching Benny Goodman’s career and the swing era, but for the creators of the program, the central focus was neither of these. Rather, Let’s Dance was developed by the advertising agency McCann-Erickson to increase sales of the National Biscuit Company’s baked goods. This chapter combines archival evidence from the Josef Bonime Collection of Radio Music with the critical discourse of frame analysis to demonstrate how the program’s builders created a site of play that conflates discursive and narrative frames in the context of a musical number that advertises Nabisco’s “Zu-Zu.” Such a consideration challenges the common conception of music’s place in the radio format, suggesting that rather than engaging in passive listening, audiences were asked to participate in a synesthetic experience that blurred the relationship between the pleasures of music, dance, and the taste of Nabisco cookies.

Keywords:   radio, advertising, frame analysis, Let’s Dance, Benny Goodman, Josef Bonime, McCann-Erickson

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