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QC professor earns fellowship for book

Queens College associate professor Heather Hendershot was one of six CUNY teachers to receive a Guggenheim earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Queens College
By Anna Gustafson

Queens College associate professor Heather Hendershot was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship earlier this month, which will allow the media studies teacher to finish her book, “What’s Fair on the Air? Cold War Right Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest.”

“I am very excited,” said Hendershot, who in addition to being a professor in the Media Studies Department of Queens College is the coordinator of the Film Studies Certificate Program at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan.

“It’s really wonderful,” Hendershot continued. “The Guggenheim has funded filmmakers, and it’s really exciting to see them funding television and radio studies as well.”

Guggenheim Fellowships are American grants that have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those “who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts,” according a statement from the group. The foundation this year gave an average of $36,672 to 180 artists, scientists and scholars. More than 3,000 individuals applied for the prestigious award.

Hendershot began research for her book on right−wing broadcasting in 2005, and it will be published by the University of Chicago Press within the next couple years. “What’s Fair on the Air? Cold War Right Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest” will focus on four radio personalities who emerged very strongly in the 1960s, including Bill James Hargus, a religious fundamentalist who had a radio show and appeared sporadically on television; Carl McIntyre, a radio preacher; H.L. Hunt, a Texas oilman and broadcaster; and Dan Smoot, another conservative radio voice.

“Right wing broadcasting increased dramatically in the mid− and late 1960s,” Hendershot said. “They were anti−civil rights and opposed integration and communism. These broadcasters were labeled extremists and taken off air by the FCC.”

The book will help readers to understand “contemporary conservatism and see how it has changed in the last 20, 30 years,” Hendershot said. “These extremists had to be pushed out of conservatism for conservatism to move forward.”

Hendershot was one of six CUNY professors to receive a Guggenheim this year. CUNY tied Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University for first place in the nation for the number of Guggenheim winners.

Hendershot is the author of “Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation Before the V−Chip” and “Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture.” She is the editor of Cinema Journal.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

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