Cover image for Talking radio : an oral history of American radio in the television age
Talking radio : an oral history of American radio in the television age
Keith, Michael C., 1945-
Publication Information:
Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, 2000.
Physical Description:
xvi, 223 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1130 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1991.2 .T35 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Includes interviews with such well known personalities as Walter Cronkite, Dick Clark, Steve Allen, Art Linkletter, Paul Harvey, Howard K. Smith, Ed McMahon, Bruce Morrow, as well as more than fifty other individuals who were or continue to be actively involved in radio.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

According to the preface, this book is "a well-informed discussion about post-World War II radio by the people who were instrumental in making radio history from around 1945 to the present." Among those who share their reminiscences are Steve Allen, Norman Corwin, Walter Cronkite, Rick Dees, Stan Freeberg, Paul Harvey, Richard C. Hottelet, Ed McMahon, Howard K. Smith, and Susan Stamberg. Topics range from the end of radio's golden age and the ascendancy of FM over AM to the emergence of NPR, talk radio, and shock jocks. Given the number of well-qualified participants (the ten names above represent about ten percent of the total) and the wide variety of topics covered (two dozen in all), it is virtually guaranteed that students of the history of radio will find something of interest in this book. Nevertheless, they may well come away equally frustrated and enlightened: a 200-page book simply cannot do full justice to so many subjects and so many speakers. As a result, some chapters seem to lack substance while others (like "Chatter That Matters"--talk radio) end far too soon. With that warning, however, this book can be recommended for libraries supporting interest in radio and broadcasting history. D. Highsmith; formerly, California State University, Fullerton

Table of Contents

I The War Ends and the Picture Begins
1 The Quiet After and Before: Radio's Victory and Short Peace
2 Assault of the Infant: Television Takes Over the Livingroom
3 Together à but Separate: When the Two Worked as One
4 The Word Is the Thing: The Substance of Sound
5 In Mourning and Evening: The "Way It Was" Radio
6 Reinventing Itself: A Winning Formula Is Found
II The Second Coming of Radio
7 Home of the Hits: Going to the Top 40
8 Airy Personas: New Legends of the O1' Airwaves
9 At the Top of the Hour: And Now the News
10 Talking Radio: Words Without Music
11 Good Air: As a Public Trustee
12 Bad Air: Those Tuneout Factors
III The Times and Band Are a Changin'
13 People's Radio: A Medium for Everyone
14 Under Suspicion: Behind Every Set
15 Equality for Some: A White Man's Medium
16 Descent from Dominance: AM's Fall from Grace
17 Ascent of Fidelity: FM's Rise to Power
18 Shock Waves: Polluting the Air
IV Into the New Millennium
19 Business by the Book: Impressions Count
20 Going Public: Noncommercial Stations
21 Turn of the Screw: Tubes and Wires in a Box
22 Hoarding the Air: Stations in the Fold
23 In the Air Ahead: The Future of Radio
24 Seems Radio Is Here to Stay, by Norman Corwin: A Play for Broadcast