Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2009

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Mass Communications

First Advisor

Daniel Berkowitz

First Committee Member

Venise T Berry

Second Committee Member

Stephen J Berry

Third Committee Member

Frank Durham

Fourth Committee Member

Joy E Hayes


In the early 1920s, commercial radio presented many possibilities, including the nationalization of the listening audience, professional opportunities for women, the ability for ministers to spread the gospel, and access to the world for geographically isolated listeners. The media ministry of the Rev. Edythe Elem Swartz Stirlen operated outside the confines of a brick-and-mortar church and created an imagined religious community of congregants. Through the Shenandoah, Iowa, based Radio Church of the Air program, the Send Out Sunshine magazine, and the Send Out Sunshine Clubs, Stirlen and her virtual parishioners created images of communion they interpreted and used to maintain their community. This project examines the cultural work and the community building function of early American radio.


cultural history, religious broadcasting


xiv, 183 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 179-183).


Copyright 2009 Arlecia Deandra Simmons