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Incorporating descriptions and analyses of sound into Middle Eastern history offers a wealth of opportunity for enriching our understanding of the historical record. But sometimes we need to get back to the basics: the “five w's and one h” of sound studies, so to speak. In what follows I would like to run this simple exercise with radio in the Mandate-era Levant, in order to lay out the basic data and begin to reflect on how it might aid scholars in better understanding other aspects of life in this period. I will do this by first addressing some of these basic what, who, when, where, why, how questions, and then by examining one day's programming of the Palestine Broadcasting Service in 1937: the day immediately following the release of the Peel Commission Report. What can we learn from examining this day's programming?

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This article was originally published by Cambridge University Press in the International Journal of Middle East Studies. The published version may be found at