Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America

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A history of alternative radio.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Both academics and radio enthusiasts will appreciate this book.
About Guide
Without a doubt, this is the most detailed and well-researched book ever published on the history of free radio in America. This includes the most comprehensive history ever written on the modern microradio movement; culled from personal interviews, the writing is most engaging and fast-paced...A must read.

(The About Guide also rates this book as the top radio history book on the market)

Library Journal
Contemporary mainstream radio offers very little diversity; play lists are chosen in corporate offices, and stations across the country sound very similar. An associate editor for Reason magazine, Walker argues that government collusion with big business for decades is responsible for reducing variety and eliminating dissident voices in radio broadcasting. Opening his history of alternative radio with the amateur operators in the early 1900s, he shows that as soon as the first regulations were passed in the Radio Act of 1912, pirate stations began defying the rules. Walker de0ions that pushed the limits of radio broadcasting (both legally and illegally), documents the history of the Pacifica Foundation and the community radio movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and ends with some open questions about the future of micro radio and the potential of the Internet. The use of interviews and anecdotes brings life to this history. Both academics and radio enthusiasts will appreciate this book. Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Present-day American radio—both public and commercial—has, with its blandness, hidden the bodies of hundreds of idealists who tried to make it meaningful and interesting and alive. Whether it's micro radio, pirate radio, the Citizens Band, or Pacifica, Jesse Walker has done his homework, digging up often funny tales of strange characters who tried, in one way or another, to better the airwaves."

-Lorenzo W. Milam,author of Sex and Broadcasting and the Radio Papers

"Rebels on the Air is a joyous, smart, lucid, hilarious, critical and engaging celebration of community based, non-commercial radio in the United States. Jesse Walker vividly captures the people, their visions and achievements, their friends and enemiesall in a book that is great fun to read.”

-Matthew Lasar,author of Pacifica Radio: The Rise of an Alternative Network

"Throughout Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America, Walker surveys the current state of radio and finds it wanting.”


"Without a doubt, this is the most detailed and well-researched book ever published on the history of free radio in America. This includes the most comprehensive history ever written on the modern microradio movement; culled from personal interviews, the writing is mostly engaging and fast-paced...A must read."

-The About Guide

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814793824
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Pages: 326
  • Sales rank: 815,053
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jesse Walker is an associate editor of Reason magazine. His articles have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, L.A. Weekly, Salon, The New Republic,, the All-Music Guide, Radio World, and Z. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

1 Joe's garage 1
2 The first broadcasters 13
3 Siberia 41
4 The '60s 69
5 Into the '70s 99
6 Money from Washington 134
7 Free radio abroad 172
8 American pirates 197
9 Micro radio : every man a DJ 209
10 The FCC's wars 245
11 CB, the internet, and beyond 270
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    Mimi to sabistian

    Do u have nick name?

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