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Life on Air: A History of Radio Four Hardcover – October 11, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0199248810 ISBN-10: 0199248818 Edition: First Edition

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Editorial Reviews


...meticulously documented... a magnificent chronicle. Laurie Taylor, THES An unalloyed treat... If Radio 4 is a great four-funnelled liner, radiating serene intelligence and self-control, this is the ship's secret logbook. Life on Air is a gem. Libby Purves, The Times Filled with riveting detail and anecdote, constantly illuminating ... endlessly engrossing. Stefan Collini, Guardian Review Hendy has explored those relating to Radio 4 in its first two decades very thoroughly indeed. Stefan Collini, Guardian Review Hendy's book will certainly sort the sheep from the goats among listeners Kate Chisholm, Daily Telegraph Hendy charts in masterly detail the improbable evolution of a network. John Tusa, Times Literary Supplement Hendy examines a many-faceted national treasure with the cool eye of a jeweller and the ardour of a proper fan. Libby Purves, The Tablet Revelatory. Advance praise from Ned Sherrin, broadcaster Eminently readable, utterly reliable, on occasions painfully frank, it is a joy to read. Advance praise from Gillian Reynolds, Radio Critic of the Daily Telegraph A tremendous read: impeccable research used with wit and insight about a national treasure. Advance praise from Jean Seaton, Official Historian of the BBC This is the reverse of sexed up. Valerie Grove, Literary Review [An] academically rigorous, but eminently readable book that rightly sub-titles itself A History of Radio 4 Jenni Murray, Daily Mail engrossing and highly entertaining reading...this is a rich book about a rich subject Camden New Journal [A] fine, meticulous history Financial Times There is a nugget of surprising and entertaining fact on every page. Lisa Mullen, Time Out

About the Author

David Hendy studied history at St Andrews and Oxford, before joining the BBC in 1987. For the next six years he worked 'worked in current affairs, producing series such as The World Tonight and Analysis on Radio Four. During his time at the BBC he worked on programmes covering the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as a range of domestic British political events. Since 1993, he has been teaching about broadcasting and media history at the University of Westminster in London, where he is currently Reader in Media and Communication. He continues to contribute to - and occasionally produce - radio programmes in Britain and overseas.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (October 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199248818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199248810
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,748,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Kindle Edition
LIFE ON AIR tells the story of BBC Radio Four, from its creation in 1970 to 2007 and beyond. It is a checkered history, the story of producers and creative artists sustaining a British institution, often in the face of considerable attack from politicians, listeners and (especially) BBC managers. Hendy's story is one of trying to sustain the best of the station's schedule, including several long-running programs (such as the soap opera THE ARCHERS, or the current affairs program TODAY), while trying to acknowledge the social and political changes happening in the outside world. One of the particular battles faced by anyone in power at the BBC has been to institute change without alienating the station's loyal listeners. Sometimes they have been successful; on other occasions (especially in the early Nineties), the BBC have bowed to listener pressure. Hendy adopts an even-handed approach to his material; he offers criticism of Radio 4's output for being rather too cozy at times, but recognizes the ways in which certain aspects of that output (especially drama) have been subtly modified to embody social and economic changes. Many of the points he makes are as significant today as they were in the past; Radio 4 will always be a well-loved institution, but one that has to move with the times, despite the resistance of some of its listeners.
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