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There's not a bit of dead air in this well-written and researched history of radio and its pivotal role in the emergence of American youth culture. Washington Post columnist Fisher (After the Wall: Germany, the Germans and the Burdens of History) traces the evolution of radio from the 1950s, when the spread and popularity of television made it almost extinct, to its rise to become "the sound track of American life" and "the mere act of listening made you feel like a part of a secret society." Built around narratives compiled from nearly 100 interviews, Fisher knits together a compelling story detailing how radio helped penetrate race barriers, created a "shared pop culture" and was the "birthing room of the counterculture." Fisher shows readers how the personalities of radio shaped our popular culture, from visionaries like marketing genius Todd Storz to radio artists Cousin Brucie of New York and Jean Shepherd, who was a precursor to Garrison Keillor and Ira Glass. He follows radio's decline from a medium driven by freedom and passion to one comprising wastelands of unmanned stations, prefab formats and narrow niche markets. Fisher does more than take a nostalgic look backward at what we've lost. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
On a path paved with deejay profiles and pithy anecdotes, Fisher tracks how rock programming in the 1950s saved radio from oblivion as TV became America's entertainment medium of choice. Obvious profile choices, such as Alan Freed, have their stories retold, and obscurer figures, such as Todd Storz, who developed the Top 40 concept, are given their due. Wolfman Jack is limned, of course, and so is Hunter Hancock, an important figure, along with Freed, in bringing African American music to the mainstream. Eventually, such rock programming led to a comprehensive change in what Americans expected to hear on the radio, with music or not, and irreverent wordsmiths like Jean Shepard paved the way for the likes of Howard Stern today. Fisher covers a lot of ground in a lengthy study, and the sheer enjoyment felt by the people he writes about helps carry the story along. This is rock and entertainment-world history that explains the changing bottom line in the economics of delivering entertainment to the masses. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
At page 120, Fisher writes that Jean Shepherd was the "model" for Jack Kerouac's all-night radio talker in On the Road. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Herodotus12
Fisher beautifully recaps the history of radio, from pioneer all-night storytellers like Jean Shepherd to crazies like Wolfman Jack, from stars like Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tracy Deaton
I would not have read this book but I purchased it for a class project. It is very good for someone interested in the history of radio. I enjoyed it. Read morePublished 17 months ago by D. Jones
Well-written, and the first few chapters provide as good a history of Top 40 format beginnings as you will find. Read morePublished on March 29, 2013 by Robert Weisbuch
this book takes you all the way back to how radio was operated and ran and you get the modern day technilogy with sirus and other outlets that control what you here and how often... Read morePublished on May 31, 2011 by MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD
I've read a few books on the history of radio and this is the most lively and readable. Well written, conversational and the author lets his love of the medium show. Read morePublished on May 27, 2011 by G. Keener
There is a lot of great information about how radio, mostly comercial, grew up in the USA during the past 75 years. Read morePublished on November 22, 2010 by Paul A Porzio
This book was a gift to my husband. He loved it. He read exerpts from it to me several times. If you like the history of pioneers in radio, you will want to read this book.Published on September 27, 2010 by HeyJude
To anyone over the age of 30, memories of the heyday of free-form fm radio will abound
with moments when it felt as if radio really cared and communicated with you the... Read more