07 April 2009

Beverly Hamilton Oral History

Beverly Riche Hamilton
An Oral History

Mark Hamilton: What is your name?
Beverly Riche Hamilton: Beverly Hamilton. Though I was Beverly Riche when I was born.

MH: And when were you born?
BH: [August 31,] 1925

MH: And where were you born?
BH: Salt Lake City

MH: And is that where you lived as a child?
BH: Um, 'till I was three-and-a-half.

MH: And where did you move when you were three-and-a-half?
BH: Well, my father was transferred to Phoenix, Arizona, and we lived there for seven years.

MH: And then from there, did you move somewhere else?
BH: Yeah, from there he was transferred back to Salt Lake, and we were there eleven months, and then he was transferred to Riverside, California. And then, after four years, he was transferred to Sacramento. And that's where his home office was, so that's where we stayed.

BH: Except we moved out to Carmichael, about ten miles from Sacramento onto a fruit ranch.

MH: What's your earliest memory of media consumption? Like your first experience using radio, or anything like that?
BH: Um, when I lived in Phoenix, I can remember sitting in front of the radio shelling peas for my mother. And that would have been when I was about maybe seven or eight.

MH: OK, did you primarily use the radio for music, or did you use it for news, or programs?
BH: Well, at that time, I think we used it mainly for programs and the news. But we moved to Riverside, and there were newsboys on the streets downtown, and if there was something exciting like another revolution in South America, they'd go through the residential areas yelling "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" And, uh, if homeowners wanted to do that, they'd go out and buy the paper from them.

MH: What do you remember about how you and your family used the media in your youth? You said that you used the radio primarily for programs and news, but also related, I guess to the newspaper and things like that, how big of media consumers would you say you were?
BH: Uh, I think we were kind of like most people--kind of, uh, minimal. Uh, we would listen and you know, to get excited about those extras, but, uh, I remember when Joe Lewis won the world championship in boxing. We were listening to it on the radio, and then we heard the newsboys coming, you know, later to, you know, “read all about it” that “Lewis knocks out Schmeling” or whatever, you know.

MH: Right.
BH: So, uh, and we kids, when we lived in Phoenix, uh, listened to afternoon programs like “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy” and “Little Orphan Annie” and I can’t remember what the other ones were. And also, later, when we lived in Riverside, we would listen to Soap Operas on the radio.

MH: OK. And, one of the most popular programs back then was, um “The Lone Ranger”…

BH: Oh yeah! We listened to that!

BH: And uh, and “The Shadow!”

MH: Yeah! “The Shadow knows…” I used to listen to “The Shadow.”
BH: Did ya’? [Laughs]

MH: Yeah. Just recordings of it. Um…
BH: Uh-huh. Oh, we used to listen to “Roy Rogers”, and uh, “Tom Mix.” “Tom Mix” was a Hollywood cowboy. And, uh, it was exciting, and you know, we’d listen to his program, and then I got to see him in a rodeo in Phoenix!

MH: Wow.
BH: Yeah.

MH: OK, so obviously the radio was a big part of life when you were younger…
BH: Right.

MH: …but what do you remember hearing or seeing about a television for the first time?
BH: I didn’t…well, we’d heard from the time I was in Junior High School, we’d heard, um, television was coming, and you know, we were just enthralled to think that we could see pictures, you know? And uh, but I did not see a television until after I came home from my mission, which was at the end of 1949. And I came home in December, and I went to visit my relatives and friends in Riverside, in, uh, late March [1950], and that’s when I saw my first television set.

MH: And it was black and white back then, right?
BH: Oh yes! Of course. Uh-huh.

MH: And when did you or your family first own a television?
BH: I don’t remember when my parents got one…it must have been after I was married, and I was married in June of 1950, and we—my husband and I—we didn’t want one, because we saw what a time-waster it was, you know? And my aunt, they had one in Salt Lake. And so, we resisted getting a television set until when we lived in Connecticut, after, you know, after we had four or five children, maybe six, one of our neighbor couples adopted Steve, my fourth son, as a grandchild—they’d never had children, and they just adored him. And they felt so sorry for him because we didn’t have a TV, that they gave us a used one. And that’s when we got our first television set. And that would have been, uh, oh about, 19…uh…62.

MH: Right, I was going to say, my dad was born in Connecticut, so it must have been…
BH: Right.

MH: …around that time, so…
BH: So we had one, then, for a few years, even after we moved to New York State. The one we had died, so we got another used one. But then we decided…actually, our children requested that we not use it because they wanted to do better in school, and so we took a family vote, so only one child voted to keep the TV.

MH: [Laughs]
BH: And so, we didn’t throw it out, we just turned it off. And we raised our children mostly without television. And they would come home from neighbors and, uh, you know, our friends where they’d seen TV, and say “Boy, I’m so glad we don’t have TV.” And this was in uh, what? 1960s-70s. And it was mild in those days.

MH: Right. Wow. Um, just a question out of curiosity…um, most generations have some kind of “defining moment,” you know, like a September 11th, or the Kennedy assassination, or things like that. Um, what is a big news event that you remember—or a few—and how did you learn about them? Was it on TV, or was it on a radio…?
BH: Well, the biggest one in my lifetime was Pearl Harbor day, December [7th] 1941. And it was a Sunday. And I’m sure that was deliberate by the Japanese, you know, to bomb on Sunday, when people wouldn’t be that concerned about the world…they’d be worshipping instead. And we were at Stake Conference, and it was between sessions of conference they had in the morning and then in the afternoon. So while we were eating our lunch between sessions, uh, someone had their car radio on, I guess, and heard the announcement. And, so, we were really worried about our mother, because she was home with the little children, and we were feeling for her, that she’d be terrified, you know, and she hadn’t had the radio on, fortunately, so she didn’t know ‘till we got home and told her. But that affected our lives forever, I think. An incident like the twin towers has affected people in your generation.

MH: Right. Um, you mentioned that later, people kind of started making the transition from radio to TV, and so…
BH: Uh-huh. It was a gradual thing, as people could afford it, I guess.

MH: Right, and were there any major events like a “pearl harbor” that you ended up finding out on TV instead of radio later in life?
BH: Uh, yeah. The twin towers. Your Aunt Chris called me and said “Are you watching TV?” And I didn’t watch it during the daytime, so I uh…she said “Turn it on!” And that’s when I learned about them.

MH: OK. And we’ve talked a little bit about watching the transition kind of from newspapers and radio to television and now the Internet and things like that. Um, how has media changed in your lifetime?
BH: Well, it’s changed from my being not aware of it as a child, you know, from newspapers to—look, you take computers, you know? Uh, the information you can acquire…like, we had, uh, Encyclopedia Americana, used it extensively. Our kids used it with their schoolwork—now they just go on the Internet. And they probably learn a lot more, a lot faster than we did with encyclopedias. Although I still like the encyclopedias.

MH: Right.
BH: Um, the thing that has amazed me is, that my mother who was born in 1903 went from being in an orchestra, in the orchestra pit at silent movies to producing TV programs in the Church in Sacramento.

MH: Wow.
BH: And so that was a tremendous change in her lifetime, you know. But she didn’t live to see the computers and all they have accomplished, but she did live that spread of years. That was really interesting to me.

MH: Yeah. Um, is there something that you wish—you mentioned that youth today use the Internet instead of encyclopedias and things like that—uh, is there something that you wish the youth of today knew about the media in your lifetime?
BH: Uhhh…it would be nice if they knew what I know, you know, because I’ve lived it. But I don’t think they would comprehend it, uh, because they don’t comprehend other things that have transpired in my lifetime like the Depression, and you know, and the war, I mean—and, and I understand that because, when I was—I was born in ’25…and the [first] world war ended in 1919, and by the time I was old enough to know anything about it, that was ancient history to me. And I find that World War II, while it’s still very fresh in my mind, is ancient history to people today. Young people especially. But even my own children’s generation, it’s ancient history.

MH: Um, do you have any final thoughts, maybe about your media use…um, how it has changed over time?
BH: Well, partly it’s changed because I have more time for it now than when I was raising my family. But, uh, you haven’t mentioned magazines, and they have had an influence too in my life, and in the lives of people in my era, and in your era too, I think. And we have a lot more magazines to choose from, and so I think we have to be careful what we choose. And I’m really grateful for the Church publications, that I’m sure my parents used, but I wasn’t aware of, except for the Children’s Friend.

MH: Right.
BH: And so I think we all need to appreciate the generations before us, but I don’t think we can fully understand them, because we didn’t live them.

MH: OK. Um, where do you see the media moving, um, in the future—in the next few years what do you think is the future of the media and our media consumption?
BH: Um, you know what, I haven’t thought of that. Elliott—uh, your Uncle Elliott just showed me just a little tiny instrument that he plugs into his computer, and I don’t know what it is, but it’s amazing. And I think, chips are getting smaller and smaller—I don’t see how they can get much smaller—but uh, my concern is that there’s, uh, too much pornography—there shouldn’t be any. But it’s so easily available on the Internet…and other things that aren’t good for us. So I think we have to—as parents and grandparents—be very, uh, sure that we’re aware of what the children are watching, and put blocks on. And some people will say “Well, they’re gonna’ see it anyway…” Well, what we see today is worse than what was “burlesque” when I was growing up. And we didn’t have to see burlesque to know that it wasn’t good for us to watch, and it wasn’t available to children either…you had to go to a burlesque show to see it.

MH: Right.
BH: Uh-huh. Yeah, you had to travel, yeah.

MH: So, kind of a clarifying question, I guess…you mentioned that Elliott plugged something into his computer. Was it a music player?
BH: No…I’ll let him tell you…he’s sitting right here.

Elliott Hamilton: Hi. It’s just a flash drive.

MH: Oh, OK.
EH: Yeah, where, where I have, you know, my files backed up on it that—uh, document files as well as some pictures that I’ve taken, you know, as a wedding photographer.


EH: So I was just talking about a flash drive.

MH: Alright, thanks. I was just trying to clarify for the purposes of this interview.

EH: Yeah, OK…here’s grandma again.

MH: OK, thanks.
BH: You can see, uh, how computer literate I am.

MH: [Laughs] No, that’s fine. Um, do you have any other final thoughts or things that you want to say?
BH: Uhhh…I can’t think of any. I think, uh, the computer is marvelous, uh, I don’t understand it, but I don’t understand electricity either, but I’ve been happy to use it, you know? But I think it has great potential for, you know, things like Elliott’s mentioning. And it amazes me that a TV program can come up on the computer screen, or the pictures like he was telling you that he takes, he can put on that screen, and it’s really amazing to me. And I think it’s a wonderful tool, we just have to, like all tools, use it wisely.

10 November 2008

Internship Report, Week(s) 9-10

Intern Name: Mark Hamilton
Internship Site: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM
Emphasis: Broadcast Journalism
Semester and Section: Fall 2008, Section 001
Week Number: 9-10
Number of Hours This Week: 45

Week 9-10 Report:

When I went to write the report for week 10, I realized I never wrote a week 9 report. Sorry about that! I’ll try to re-cap both weeks…

So, after I was offered the position working BYU’s basketball season too, things started changing. All of a sudden, I was “in the loop” about planning and preparation for games. I started getting schedules, getting timing rundowns for the show, etc.

Last week was much like the others have been, since the basketball season hadn’t actually started yet. But then this week was crazy! I did all of my normal football-related duties, but added in a basketball game. That was crazy, because we had to use a whole different studio upstairs in the Triad Center. We had to use that studio, because this pre-season exhibition game was not broadcast on KSL Newsradio—it was only on ksl.com. In addition to the change of venue, it was interesting adapting to only having two people doing the work of four. Normally for football, there are four of us working to cut audio, get ready for half-time shows, etc…but for basketball, we’re basically on our own.

My responsibilities for basketball include—but are not limited to—updating the score on the website for people following the game from Iraq, or wherever, cutting highlight audio during the game, cutting post-game interview audio, and rolling a recording of the whole game for the podcast.

The guy I’m working with did what I was doing last year, and he is now a full-time employee of KSL. He showed me everything I needed to do, and I did my best to go above and beyond what he told me. Really, an offer of a “real” position at KSL would be great, so I am doing everything I can to secure one. One example of what I did was get highlight audio prepared from the first half in time for him to use it in the halftime show. He was extremely grateful for it, since he didn’t even expect it.

Basically, I’m learning that you have to do whatever it takes to get what you want in this industry—something that should help me next week, when I have two basketball games AND a football game, and I will have to drive to KSL SIX times in one week.

Things are going great though! I love what I’m doing!


02 November 2008

Increased Interconnectedness Suppresses the Spiritual

Media and World Religions Midterm
Question 6

Discuss the interconnected nature of our lifeworld. What is the impact of this interconnectedness on our spirituality?
As the world grows more and more interconnected, mankind seems to simultaneously be losing its connection with the divine. In the earliest times of civilization, people seemed to focus their time and attention on religious matters. In fact, it is difficult to completely divorce the divine from daily life during much of the earth’s history. Entire religious groups intentionally separated themselves from “corrupting” influences and society, and established their own belief systems where they lived in isolation, cut off from the world. These people were often viewed as religious zealots. We think of them as monks, reformers, Puritans, the Amish, and others. Often, these monks would sacrifice all their earthly possessions in order to grow closer to the divine. Their entire focus was their personal spirituality.
Conversely, in these so-called “modern times,” mankind has become so busy and distracted, that we have distanced ourselves from the divine. This process has been so gradual that most people seem to have not noticed, like a frog you place in a pot in which you gradually increase the heat. An ever-more interconnected world inevitably leads to the stifling of originality. An ever-more interconnected world is an ever-more homogenized world, as weaker practices and cultures are forced to adapt to the whole. In a setting such as this, the spiritual has become marginalized, and in some places ceases to exist altogether.
It has been said that the human mind is like a stage where only one actor can be performing at a time. This means that in our frantic attempts to simplify our lives with invention and innovation, our lives have become so cluttered with “necessity” that other, former, and arguably more important actors cannot break through the din for their chance to perform. Deity has taken a backseat to politics, the economy, entertainment, professions, and leisure. Religion and spirituality was once seen as as much of a necessity as anything temporal. These times have passed for all but the select few groups we mentioned earlier. Indeed, it requires great effort to maintain the spiritual aspects of our lives, and our society in a world where doing so has become looked down upon, and is no longer touted as honorable by at least a vocal minority who would seek to stamp out spiritual practices altogether.
It is evident that increased interconnectedness suppresses the spiritual.

Religion's Survival in a Mediated World

Media and World Religions Midterm
Question 5

Present media tends to be more visual. How is the visual interpreted by religions? What do you forecast for major changes in visual media and how will that affect religious practice?
The visual nature of today’s media dictates adaptation for survival of religious practices as we know them. Increased media exposure makes sacred things less sacred. The term “sacred” could practically be synonymous with “scarce.” The very nature of the sacred thing, practice, location, etc. is almost tied to its scarcity. The more people who have access to something or somewhere, the less sacred it becomes. In an ever-increasingly visual world, more people have access to more things than ever in the world’s history. Now, things that were once sacred rites or practices are now fodder for tourists, spectators, and TV Producers. The cathedrals, mosques and synagogues of the world have been converted into tourism hotspots for architectural or historical junkies.
I suppose it was inevitable. The predominant mediated religion is Christianity, and Christian structure dictates communication. In Christian tradition, a single person or limited group of people has control over information, and has to disseminate this information to their adherents. This source takes different forms, whether it be the Pope, a prophet, a leader, etc. Indeed, the centralized nature of Christian religions necessitates this system of dissemination of information. Within the sects of Christian religions, congregations tend to be as close to uniform as possible in their practices and teachings. This cohesiveness is the strength of the organized religion. But religion’s dependence on visual media could prove its undoing, if it goes unregulated.
So-called “televangelists” got their name from the showmanship of their profession. In the Book of Mormon, we read why televangelists cheapen the very faith they seek to build: “…if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith…And neither at any time hat any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.” (Ether 12:12, 18)
Those religions which seek to use the media without being used by the media are those religions who succeed in an ever-mediated environment. Religions like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who embrace every new medium to share their basic tenets with the world, without divulging the sacredness of their rites by splashing it across computer and TV screens. This allows for true faith to exist where other religions have consciously or subconsciously “damned” their own progress.
Indeed, one might explain that the very reason The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had to be restored when it was is because of the inevitability of the mediated world not long after. If Joseph Smith had seen God the Father and Jesus Christ in 2008 instead of 1820, the world would demand proof, and he would be publicly decried and largely ignored…his efforts would have been in vain. “Seeing is believing” is really a phrase that can only describe our most recent history. Because Joseph Smith had no “tangible” evidence of his claims, the people of his time had to genuinely believe in the teachings, instead of believing in the miracles alone.
One might argue that ALL organized religions depended on an unmediated world to establish themselves and expand. Would the world accept the Islamic religion if someone named Muhammed claimed today that he had been visited and instructed by an angel? And what of polytheistic religions such as Hindu? The simple fact of the matter is that these religions exist today because they were conceived in an unmediated world.
That being said, the religions exist. The LDS Church enjoys one of the fastest growth rates at a time when church attendance worldwide is down, largely because they have embraced television, the Internet, Blogs, etc. and used them without being used by them. Today, they—especially Christian religions—must adapt to an ever visual world in order to continue to thrive and grow.