Michele Hilmes

Michele Hilmes's picture
  • Professor
  • Media and Cultural Studies
Office Hours:
  • Away on sabbatical 2013-14
Expertise and Activities: 

The cultural history of broadcasting, from its very beginnings to the present day, is the subject that has captivated my attention for more than 30 years. Though I teach and write about television and new media, my real love is radio, particularly radio's "golden age," the period before television. We're now in a new golden age of radio, inspired by the advent of digital media, where old radio and new radio are coming together in new forms of what I call "soundwork." My most recent work is a volume on this topic, co-edited with Jason Loviglio, called Radio's New Wave: Global Sound in the Digital Era (Routledge 2013). It has a collection of wonderful essays by new and established scholars, exploring radio's past, present, and digitally-enabled future. I also recently completed a revision of my textbook, Only Connect: A Cultural History of Broadcasting in the United States (Cengage 2013), expanded and updated for this fourth edition. The transnational flow of media, and its role in national cultures, has always been one of its most significant and controversial qualities. This is true both of radio and of television. In 2013-14 I will be spending the year in the UK, at the University of Nottingham on a Fulbright Fellowship, to explore the area of US/UK television co-production. Productions like the recent worldwide hit Downton Abbey, often seen in the US on PBS's Masterpiece series, are just the tip of this iceberg -- resulting in programs that circulate around the world. The pre-history of this phenomenon is the subject of another recent book, Network Nations: A Transnational History of British and American Broadcasting (Routledge 2011). The great thing about being a media scholar is that you can entertain yourself with your research interests. I'm a big fan of complex dramatic serials like Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad, The Killing, and Mad Men, and without podcasts of radio shows like This American Life, Radiolab, On the Media, NPR's news programs, and the BBC's excellent In Our Times, life would be dull indeed.


  • B.A. Comparative Literature (with honors), Indiana University - Bloomington, 1975
  • M.A. Department of Cinema Studies, New York University, 1981
  • Ph.D. Department of Cinema Studies, New York University, 1986


  • Fulbright Scholar Fellowship, University of Nottingham , Fulbright Comission , 2013
  • Faculty Fellowship , Institute for Research in the Humanities, UW-Madison , 2010
  • Visiting International Fellow , University of Central England (Birmingham, UK) , 2009
  • Honorary Associate, Center for Media History , Macquarie University (Sydney, Austrailia) , 2009
  • Grant-in-Aid , Rockefeller Archive Center , 2009
  • Helm Fellowship , Lilly Library, Indiana University-Bloomington , 2010


  • 2013. Radio's New Wave: Global Sound in the Digital Era. New York: Routledge .
  • 2013. Only Connect: A Cultural History of Broadcasting in the United States -- 4th edition. Wadsworth Press .
  • 2011. Network Nations: A Transnational History of British and American Broadcasting. Routledge .
  • 2007. NBC: America's Network. University of California Press .
  • 1997. Radio Voices: American Broadcasting 1922 to 1952. University of Minnesota Press .
  • 2003. The Television History Book. British Film Institute .
  • 2001. Radio Reader: Essays on the Cultural History of American Radio. Routledge .
  • 1990. Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable. University of Illinois Press .
  • 2002. Connections: A Broadcast History Reader. Wadsworth .


  • 2010. "The 'North Atlantic Triangle': Britain, the US, and Canada in 1950s Television." Media History , 16:1 .
  • 2008. "Whose Text Is It Anyway? Creativity, Authorship, and the Transnational in Television." Critical Studies in Television 3:2 .
  • 2007. "Front Line Family: Women's Culture Comes to the BBC." Media, Culture and Society , 29:1 .
  • 2005. "British Quality, American Chaos: Historical Dualisms and What They Leave Out." The Radio Journal , The Radio Journal, Vol. 1 #1 .
  • 2005. "The Bad Object: Television in the American Academy." Cinema Journal , 45:1 (Fall) .


  • 2013. "Never Ending Story: Authorship, Seriality, and the Radio Writers Guild." Companion to Media Authorship , Jonathan Gray and Derek Johnson Wiley Blackwell .
  • 2012. "'The New Vehicle of Nationalism': Radio Goes To War." Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies , Russ Castronovo and Jonathan Auerbach Oxford University Press .
  • 2012. "The Whole World's Unlikely Heroine: Ugly Betty as Transnational Phenomenon." Reading Ugly Betty: TV's Betty Goes Global , Janet McCabe and Kim Akass London: I.B. Taurus .
  • 2012. "Sound Representation: Nation, Translation, Memory." Media, Sound and Culture in Latin American and the Caribbean , Alejandra Bronfman and Andrew Grant Wood University of Pittsburgh Press .
  • 2010. "Cinema and the Age of Television, 1945-1975." Blackwell's History of American Film , Cynthia A. Lucia et al Blackwell .
  • 2008. "Nailing Mercury: The Problem of Media Industry Historiography." Media Industries: History, Theory, and Method , Alisa Perren and Jennifer Holt Blackwell , 21-33 .
  • 2008. "Digital Television: High Definitions." Digital Culture: Understanding New Media , Glen Creeber Open University Press .
  • 2012. .


  • 2012. "What Is Television?," University of Oregon , Portland, OR .
  • 2011. "Broadcasting in the Long 1950s," University of Aberystwyth , Aberystwyth, Wales .
  • 2009. "Globalisation, Empire and Culture," University of Galway/Andrew W. Mellon foundation , Galway, Ireland .
  • 2008. "Television Without Borders: Transfers, Translations, and Transnational Exchange," University of Reading , Reading, UK .
  • 2006. "Nationality and Television: The Anglo-American Connection and its Global Consequences," Society for Cinema and Media Studies , Vancouver, CA .


  • CA 450 - History of Broadcasting
  • CA 613 - Radio and the Art of Sound
  • CA 950 - Transnational Media Histories: Beyond "Americanization"
  • CA 950 - Media, Nation, and Public
  • CA 951 - Media History and Historiography: Sound Histories
Curriculum Vitae: