Radio Voices: American Broadcasting, 1922-1952


In Radio Voices, Michele Hilmes looks at the way radio programming influenced and was influenced by the United States of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, tracing the history of the medium from its earliest years through the advent of television.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $2.19   
  • New (2) from $23.49   
  • Used (15) from $2.19   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Brand new and never been read. Pages are crisp with no markings on the cover.

Ships from: Bellerose Village, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:


Condition: New

Ships from: Avenel, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by
Sending request ...


In Radio Voices, Michele Hilmes looks at the way radio programming influenced and was influenced by the United States of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, tracing the history of the medium from its earliest years through the advent of television.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Don't expect a sentimental journey through radio's Golden Age in Hilmes's well-researched study. Jack Benny, Orson Welles and the soaps are all here, in passing, but the agenda is serious sociology: the dialectics of American culture as reflected in this "lost" medium. Hilmes presents radio as an ongoing battle to first define, then exploit, a changing America by a shifting cast of power brokers. It didn't take long for the 1920s invention to be wrested from the amateurs by the moguls of commerce: networks, sponsors and, most powerfully, ad agencies. Hilmes then examines their attempts to bring into a big new "imagined community" all the tensions of a very diverse society, as when racial stereotypes are spun into a narrative that transfixes white America in Amos 'n' Andy. Women are ghettoized to the soaps and daytime programming while at night Hollywood voices try both highbrow and lowbrow bait in comedy/variety and drama. WWII further strains the disenfranchised members of radio's utopia, before TV inherits the whole mess. Hilmes, who teaches communication arts at the University of Wisconsin and is the author of Hollywood and Broadcasting, backs up her theses with fascinatingly cynical memos from the incunabula of J. Walter Thompson and NBC, as well as comments from an impressive chorus of social scientists. Her writing, alas, suffers from too many phrases like "naturalizing strategic cultural hierarchies behind the screen of gender destruction." This should not deflect readers, however, who are willing to sacrifice radio's golden Oz to meet the often forgotten men and women working the levers behind the curtain. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
An often evocative study of the sociological impact of the Golden Age of radio.

Hilmes (Communication Arts/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) notes that the years in which radio was the principal source of American mass entertainment and information have been almost completely forgotten by the public and ignored by academics. She believes that radio had just as much of an impact on the way we live as the frequently studied media of film and television, and her study is an effort to redress this imbalance. Not attempting a complete history, Hilmes has cast the book as a series of interlocking but essentially self-contained essays on such subjects as the radio images of immigrants (Rise of the Goldbergs, etc.), blacks (Amos 'n' Andy), and women (the evolution of daytime programming, etc.). This is intriguing material and Hilmes, an admitted radio buff, appears uniquely suited to present it. However, Radio Voices is uneasily balanced between the more casual voice of popular history, with its entertaining anecdotes and emphasis on vivid personalities, and a more rigorous scholarly tone, with its heavy footnoting of sources and extensive, sometimes ponderous analysis. The more scholarly voice often wins out, and this is unfortunate, because Hilmes is at her best when simply telling the lively stories of such forgotten favorites as Gertrude Berg and Mary Margaret McBride. If her often insightful analyses were couched in the same easy tone, she might have had a book that would appeal to a wider audience than she attempts to reach.

There is much to admire here, but pop culture buffs may wish that Hilmes could break her academic chains and speak as directly as the radio voices she so clearly loves.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816626212
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Pages: 353
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Nation's Voice
1 Radiating Culture 1
2 How Far Can You Hear? 34
3 Who We Are, Who We Are Not: The Emergence of National Narratives 75
4 Eavesdropping on America: Kitchen Table Conversations 97
5 The Disembodied Woman 130
6 Under Cover of Daytime 151
7 The Disciplined Audience: Radio by Night 183
8 On the Home Front: Fighting to Be Heard 230
Conclusion: Terms of Preferment 271
Notes 291
Collections Consulted 329
Index 331
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & 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 & 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 & 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 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 & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & 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 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

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