Erica Risberg

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During the first third of the twentieth century, the United Sates underwent profound social, technological, and economic changes that fundamentally altered rural society. This shift created a divide between rural and urban dwellers, and by the 1930s, country people were developing their own cultural expressions, often reflecting the unique folkways of various regions — the South, Appalachia, the Ozark Plateau, the rural West. One such manifestation of country culture was old-time, or country-western music — also known as hillbilly music. At the time, radio broadcasting was at an experimental stage in reaching an American audience. Station WBLZ in Bangor covered a broad demographic of predominantly rural and urban communities, and until 1938, the station was affiliated with the Columbia Broadcasting System which provided a flexible schedule for station programming. In an effort to garner a large audience, WLBZ presented a broad range of musical genres, one of which was country-western music. Erica Risberg received her Ph.D. from the University of Maine in 2006. Her interest in radio broadcasting stemmed from her research on Maine in the 1930s. She is the owner of Museum Podcasts, which creates 5-minute segments of audio clips that tie in with museum exhibits to bolster the online presence of museums. She is also is a voice-over artist. She divides her time between Washington State and Connecticut.