Talking Radio: An Oral History of American Radio in the Television age

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Having reached the height of its popularity at the end of WWII, what happened to radio after television began to bump it out of America's living rooms in the early '50s? In a series of conversations with scores of radio personalities and aficionados--including Paul Harvey, Dick Clark, Alan Colmes, Walter Cronkite, Larry Gelbart, Studs Terkel and Susan Stamberg--the author of Voices in the Purple Haze traces radio's transformation from a source of drama and news to an outlet for music, the advent of FM and transistor radios, discrimination in broadcasting, and the future of the medium. Expressing great nostalgia for the golden days of radio, many of Keith's subjects agree with writer Stan Freberg, who believes that commercial radio is all but worthless, and with William Siemering, cofounder of National Public Radio, who contends that noncommercial stations have been better able to experiment with creative programming and to afford women and African-Americans greater representation on the air. Former news anchor Walter Cronkite theorizes that radio may someday be "an adjunct to the Internet." Although Keith raises many provocative issues (there is a spirited exchange regarding the popularity of shock jock Howard Stern), the transcription format will likely discourage readers who do not already have a great interest in the medium. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Twenty-three roundtable interviews discuss the impact of the arrival of television, the rise of transistor radios, the popularity of rock `n' roll, FM stereo stations, underground radio in the 1960s, the relaxing of regulation in the Reagan era, talk radio, public radio, and how technology and the Internet will affects radio's future. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Frank Sisson
While the birth of television didn't bring about the death of radio as predicted by many, including the then president of NBC, it did cause it to fall on troubled and uncertain times. The stars of radio, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Burns and Allen et al, followed "Mr.Television" Milton Berle on to the television screen and radio was no longer the household's number one entertainment medium.
Michael C. Keith, a former broadcaster, senior lecturer of communications at Boston College and the author of over a dozen books on radio, lets us "listen in" on more than one hundred broadcasting executives and personalities as they trace radio's history from its sharp decline in the early fifties to the influential and profitable position it enjoys today.
Keith has done a good job in assembling people with varying backgrounds, different points of view and from all sections of the country. From Studs Terkel recalling the "brilliance and creativity" of radio's early years to True Boardman remembering an "overemphasis on evil doings and foul deeds." From Paul Harvey calling the Howard Stern style of broadcasting "inexcusable" to Dick Orkin finding Stern "unique" and a "reminder of radio's strength as an up-close and intimate medium." As to its future, Walter Cronkite is one of several who suggests that it might become an adjunct to the Internet while Larry Gelbart laments that "despite all these new technologies, it will be just an outbox filled mostly with prattle (except for Garrison Keilor) and the same old same old."
The book's wide range of discussions and debates leaves it up to the reader to conclude the impact of radio's contributions in the past, what it's contributing today and what might be expected of it in the future. It merits a place on the bookshelves of anyone who is or has been a part of the broadcast industry, and should also be of almost equal interest to the members of its audience.
Foreword
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765603982
  • Publisher: Sharpe, M. E. Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/29/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 223
  • Lexile: 1130L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.97 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2004

    best radio oral history

    Amazing first person account of the history of radio after TV changed the medium forever. So many pioneers and famous radio people tell their tale and give their views of how radio changed when pictures entered the parlor. Real informative and entertaining read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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