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The Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction and the Ford FoundationNovember 6, 2020
The Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction (MPATI) was a major investment by the Ford Foundation and other philanthropies in the 1950s and 1960s. Project administrators used broadcast antennae on airplanes to provide educational programs to schools across a six-state region, with the goal of closing the gap between wealthy, higher-performing schools in the region, and poorer school systems in cities and rural areas. Furthermore, MPATI was envisioned as a potential model for other disadvantaged regions, such as Appalachia, as well as for other nations. This report draws primarily from correspondence between Ford Foundation officials and MPATI administrators.
Broadcasting the Gospel of Tolerance: Media, Capitalism, and Religion in Twentieth-Century AmericaSeptember 5, 2019
Most histories of religion, media, and capitalism have focused on televangelists or on conservative religious leaders who built their own broadcasting networks. But this is not the entire story. Religious insiders—frequently centrist liberals—did not need to create their own broadcasting networks because their connections with media networks and philanthropists gave them a privileged place in the American mediascape. In this report, I investigate the relationship between the Rockefeller family and religious media. I focus especially on John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his funding of Riverside Church's Harry Emerson Fosdick and his National Vespers radio program. This report demonstrates the prominence of liberal religious media during the "Golden Age" of radio, and it helps explain how religious liberals navigated the financial dilemmas of producing sustaining programs.
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