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university of tampere: faculty of communication sciences: contact information: staff: kaarle nordenstreng:
Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of Tampere The School of Communication, Media and Theatre

Marshall McLuhan interviewed by Kaarle Nordenstreng

Toronto, April 1967

As a freelance journalist and young scholar, nearing the end of my academic excahnge year in the USA (first Southern Illinois University and later travelling across the country – see my publications, article in Gazette 1968), I had agreed to interview the man who by 1967 had become widely known as a guru – not so much in communication studies as in humanities and intellectual life in general. This interview led to a half‐hour documentary programme on the Finnish national radio under the title “Prophet of the new communications age”. This programme, in Finnish with only short excerpts of the original interview, has since been replayed several times and is stored in the open access “Living Archive” of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) at

The original interview in its entirety was also saved in YLE’s sound archive, which I had totally forgotten during all these decades. It surfaced only in early 2011, when I began to dig up those materials, inspired by the centenary of McLuhan’s birth – and also the new trend in media studies known as “mediatization”. Today the interview turns out to be quite a good crystallization of McLuhan’s thinking, in his own words. Therefore the unedited interview is made available here as an mp3 file

Actually it is more of a monologue by the master than an interview with a journalist. McLuhan lay on the sofa of his office, took the microphone from me, keeping it in his hand (with fingers moving around the mike which caused some noise), and spoke mostly with his eyes closed. He began by referring to the Gutenberg Galaxy and then, after a short break in recording, went on to Eric A. Havelock’s Preface to Plato, etc.


After the appointment McLuhan saw me off onto the street and I took a picture of him in front of the entrance to the University of Toronto’s Centre for Culture and Technology.

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Last update: 4.11.2014 13.31 Muokkaa

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