On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio / Edition 2

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $18.11
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 75%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (23) from $18.11   
  • New (6) from $39.56   
  • Used (17) from $18.11   


Now long out of print, John Dunning's Tune in Yesterday was the definitive one-volume reference on old-time radio broadcasting. Now, in On the Air, Dunning has completely rethought this classic work, reorganizing the material and doubling its coverage, to provide a richer and more informative account of radio's golden age.
Here are some 1,500 radio shows presented in alphabetical order. The great programs of the '30s, '40s, and '50s are all here—Amos 'n' Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Lone Ranger, Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour, and The March of Time, to name only a few. For each, Dunning provides a complete broadcast history, with the timeslot, the network, and the name of the show's advertisers. He also lists major cast members, announcers, producers, directors, writers, and sound effects people—even the show's theme song. There are also umbrella entries, such as "News Broadcasts," which features an engaging essay on radio news, with capsule biographies of major broadcasters, such as Lowell Thomas and Edward R. Murrow. Equally important, Dunning provides a fascinating account of each program, taking us behind the scenes to capture the feel of the performance, such as the ghastly sounds of Lights Out (a horror drama where heads rolled and bones crunched), and providing engrossing biographies of the main people involved in the show.
A wonderful read for everyone who loves old-time radio, On the Air is a must purchase for all radio hobbyists and anyone interested in 20th-century American history. It is an essential reference work for libraries and radio stations.

"Truly a labor of love, this enormous volume updates and greatly expands the author's earlier work, Tune in Yesterday, a Compendium of Information about Radio's Golden Years. When were various episodes of "Fibber McGee" broadcast? Who were the cast members in "The Shadow"? These questions and many, many more will be answered by this treasure-trove of' information. Over 1,500 radio shows are covered, with complete indexing. It is unparalleled as a resource for understanding American life, culture, and history in the early decades of this century.'"--"Outstanding Reference Sources : the 1999 Selection of New Titles", American Libraries, May 1999. Comp. by the Reference Sources Committee, RUSA, ALA.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Mystery novelist, antiquarian, and radio-show host John Dunning interviewed 125 radio stars, writers, newscasters, and sound-effects people in researching On The Air. On The Air traces the history of hundreds of radio shows and personalities from the medium's golden age. For each show, Dunnings provides a complete broadcasting history, with information about the show's dates and times slots, its creator, sponsors, announcers, sound people, and even its theme song. From Amos 'n' Andy to The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air, they're all here.
Library Journal
Mystery writer and radio talk show host Dunning has expertly compiled and organized a massive amount of research data on hundreds of radio shows aired from the 1920s through the 1960s. The entries, listed alphabetically by show title, each contain a treasure trove of information--broadcast dates, casts and personnel, anecdotes, special analyses, and a detailed overview of each show's background, format, and content. Entries range from popular series such as Amos 'n' Andy and The Green Hornet to the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the NBC University Theatre--everything from soaps, Westerns, and comedy to sports, drama, and documentaries. An extensive bibliography and index enhance the book's appeal. For those who once gathered around the console, the more than 700 pages of entries should provide a wonderful stroll down memory lane. Historians and researchers will also find this a valuable reference tool, offering new discoveries and insights. For reference libraries with large media collections.--Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195076783
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/7/1998
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 840
  • Sales rank: 798,026
  • Lexile: 1000L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Dunning is a popular mystery novelist, author of The Bookman's Wake and Booked to Die. He lives in Aurora, Colorado.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 29, 2013

    This is a useful book for getting the details of old radio shows

    This is a useful book for getting the details of old radio shows. One reviewer apparently has no idea of what old time radio is as they left the comment that it is bad because it was not about music. In the days before TV radio was the dominant form of entertainment. It has left a rich heritage of shows from children's to dramas, westerns comedies, mysteries. This book helps to answer some of the questions about these shows. I as far as I can tell it is an exhaustive reference.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Not music


    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)