Oral History Project

Interview a person in his or her 60s or older. Friends or family members are great resources. Find someone who likes to talk. Ask him or her questions about their mass media experiences. Focus on their childhood through their mid-20s. Use the questions below as a starting point.


a. Sound recording

What records did you listen to?

What kind of record player did you have? Where was it in your home?

Was there any kind of music you weren’t supposed to listen to? If so, why?

How much did a record cost?

Where did you buy your records?

How did you find out about new artists?

What did your parents think about records and record players?

b. Radio:

What do you remember about your experiences with radio?

What kind of radio did you have? Where was it in your home?

Do you remember anything about early radio commercials?

What kind of programs did you listen to? Did you listen alone or with family?

Was it a local station that emphasized your community? Do you remember the Deejay?

Did you listen to FM or AM radio?

c. Television/Cable:

When did you first start watching TV programs? What kind of programs?

What was the viewing experience like? Alone or as a family?

What kind of TV set did you have and what factors figured into its purchase?

What was reception like?

How did your family use TV?

What do you remember about TV commercials?

How does the television from your youth compare with television today?

What were your favorite TV programs when you were young? Why?

d. Movies:

What were your first movie going experience like and how were they different form                                  today?

Who did you go to movies with? How many times did you go each month?

What were some of your favorite films growing up and why?

Where there films you were not allowed to see and why?

Are there any films from your childhood that stand out? Why?


Put your name, the participant’s name, age, phone number and your relationship at the top. Write a section for each category or focus your interview on one or two topics, i.e. just TV and movies. Paraphrase your interview, unless you have a great quote. Include a lot of detail—program names, film titles, actors, musicians, TV brands, theater names. Bold any responses that were most interesting or poignant to you. Discuss three trends, issues or themes we’ve discussed in class that relate to your interview

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