Feature Article

A Collection of Books about Radio

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For decades now, one or two at a time, I have been collecting books about radio, my medium-of-first-love.

In 2018, I began to more intentionally keep an eye out for volumes about imaginative audio production, theater of the mind, and the history and impact of sound-based news and entertainment. Below: what I’ve gathered so far.

Abel, Jessica. Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio. New York: B/D/N/Y, Broadway Books, 2015.

Bannerman, R. Leroy. On a Note of Triumph: Norman Corwin and The Golden Years of Radio. University, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1986.

Barber, Red. The Broadcasters. New York: The Dial Press, 1970.

Barnouw, Erik. A Tower in Babel: A History of Broadcasting in the United States, Volume I – to 1933. New York: Oxford University Press, 1966.

Barnouw, Erik. The Golden Web: A History of Broadcasting in the United States, Volume II – 1933-1953. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Barnouw, Erik. The Image Empire: A History of Broadcasting in the United States, Volume III – from 1953. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.

Barson, Michael (Editor). Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel: The Marx Brothers’ Lost Radio Show. New York: Pantheon, 1988.

Bernstein, Mark and Alex Lubertozzi. World War II On The Air: Edward R. Murrow and the War That Defined a Generation. Naperville, Illinois: SourceBooks, 2003.

Biewen, John, and Alexa Dilworth (Editors). Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

Bilby, Kenneth. The General: David Sarnoff and the Rise of the Communications Industry. New York: Harper & Row, 1986.

Billips, Connie, and Arthur Pierce. Lux Presents Hollywood: A Show-by-Show History of the Lux Radio Theatre and the Lux Video Theatre, 1934-1957. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1995.

Birkby, Robert. KMA Radio: The First Sixty Years. Shenandoah, Iowa: May Broadcasting Company, 1985.

Birkby, Robert. KMA Radio: The First Sixty Years. Shenandoah, Iowa: May Broadcasting Company, 1985.

Blade, Richard. World In My Eyes. Pensacola, Florida: Indigo River Publishing, 2017.

Briggs, Asa. The Birth of Broadcasting, Volume I: The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961.

Bunis, Marty and Sue. A Collector’s Guide to Transister Radios: Identification and Values. Paducah, Kentucky: Collector Books, 1994.

Bunzel, Reed. Clear Vision: The Story of Clear Channel Communications. Albany, Texas: Bright Sky Press, 2008.

Buxton, Frank, and Bill Owen. The Big Broadcast: 1920-1950. New York: Avon, 1973.

Cantor, Louis. Wheelin’ on Beale: How WDIA-Memphis Became the Nation’s First All-Black Radio Station and Created the Sound that Changed America. New York: Pharos Books, 1992.

Charnley, Mitchell V. News By Radio. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1948.

Chester, Giraud, and Garnet R. Garrison and Edgar E. Willis. Television and Radio (Third Edition). New York: Meredith Publishing Company, 1963.

Cloud, Stanley, and Lynne Olson. The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996.

Coleman, Wim and Pat Perrin. The Age of Broadcasting: Radio. Carlisle, Massachusetts: Discovery Enterprises, 1997.

Collins, Mary. National Public Radio: The Cast of Characters. Washington, D. C.: Seven Locks Press, 1993.

Collins, Philip. Radios: The Golden Age. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 1987.

Crider, David. Performing Personality: On-Air Radio Identities in a Changing Media Landscape. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2016.

Crews, Albert. Radio Production Directing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1944.

Culbert, David Holdbrook. News for Everyman: Radio and Foreign Affairs in Thirties America. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1976.

Cullen, Jr., Benjamin T., Editor. Old Time Radio Days: An Album of Memories. Richmond, Virginia: WBTC Productions, 2003.

Dary, David. Radio News Handbook (Second Edition). Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books, 1970.

Doolittle, John. Don McNeill and His Breakfast Club. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001.

Douglas, Susan J. Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination. New York: Times Books, 1999.

Dunning, John. On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Dunning, John. Two O’Clock Eastern War Time. New York: Scribner, 2001.

Eberly, Philip K. Susquehanna Radio: The First Fifty Years. York, Pennsylvania: Susquehanna Radio Corp., 1992.

Edwards, Bob. Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004.

Edwards, Bob. Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Ehrlich, Matthew C. Radio Utopia: Postwar Audio Documentary in the Public Interest. Ubana: University of Illinois Press, 2011.

Elkin, Stanley. The Dick Gibson Show: A Novel. Normal, Illinois: 1998.

Elliott, Bob, and Ray Goulding. From Approximately Coast to Coast…it’s The Bob and Ray Show. New York: Atheneum, 1983.

Elliott, Bob, and Ray Goulding. Write If You Get Work: The Best of Bob & Ray. New York: Random House, 1975.

Ewbank, Henry L., and Sherman P. Lawton. Broadcasting: Radio and Television. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952.

Field, Charles Kellogg. Cheerio’s Book of Days. New York: Garden City Publishing Company, 1940.

Fisher, Marc. Something in the Air: Radio, Rock, and the Revolution That Shaped a Generation. New York: Random House, 2007.

Fitzhugh, Bill. Highway 61 Resurfaced. New York: William Morrow, 2005.

Fitzhugh, Bill. Radio Activity. New York: William Morrow, 2004.

Flaherty, John J. Behind the Microphone. New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1944.

Flanagan, John Mack. Tight & Bright: A Diskjockey – Vietnam Memoir. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, 2015.

Fleece, Larry. Perry on the Left, Price on the Right: Thirty Years with the Odd Couple of Island Radio. Honolulu: Watermark Publishing, 2014.

Fong-Torres, Ben. The Hits Just Keep on Coming. San Francisco: Miller-Freeman Books, 1998.

Fornatale, Peter, and Joshua E. Mills. Radio in the Television Age. New York: The Overlook Press, 1980.

Fowler, Gene, and Bill Crawford. Border Radio: Quacks, Yodelers, Pitchmen, Psychics, and Other Amazing Broadcasters of the American Airwaves. Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1987.

Frederick, Howard H. Cuban-American Radio Wars: Ideology in International Telecommunications. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corportation, 1986.

Gabler, Neal. Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.

Garner, Joe. We Interrupt This Broadcast. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc., 1998.

Gifford, F. Tape: A Radio News Handbook (Third Edition). Englewood, Colorado: Morton Publishing Company, 1987.

Gordon, George N., and Irving A. Falk. On The Spot Reporting: Radio Records History. New York: Julian Messner, 1967.

Gorman, John, with Tom Feran. The Buzzard: Inside the Glory Days of WMMS and Cleveland Rock Radio, A Memoir. Cleveland: Gray and Company, 2007.

Gray, Barry. My Night People. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975.

Hall, Claude, and Barbara Hall. This Business of Radio Broadcasting. New York: Billboard, 1977.

Hamilton, Bob. D. Radio ’73: Operating Manual for Starship. Los Angeles: Hamilton & Friends, 1973.

Harper, Laurie. Don Sherwood: The Life and Times of the “World’s Greatest Disc Jockey”. Rocklin, California: Prima Publishing, 1989.

Hart, Dennis. Monitor (Take 2): The Revised, Expanded Inside Story of Network Radio’s Greatest Program. New York: iUniverse, Inc., 2003.

Hausman, Carl, and Philip Benoit and Lewis B. O’Donnell. Radio Production: Production, Programming and Performance (Fifth Edition). Belmont, California: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2000.

Havers, Richard. Here is the News: The BBC and the Second World War. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 2007.

Heil, Alan L. Voice of America: A History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Henderson, Amy. On The Air: Pioneers of American Broadcasting. Washington City: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Portrait Gallery, 1988.

Herr, Michael. Walter Winchell: A Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.

Hilmes, Michele, and Jason Loviglio (Editors). Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of Radio. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Hilmes, Michele. Radio Voices: American Broadcasting, 1922-1952. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.

Hobler, Herbert W. And Now the News, 1945: A Momentous Year Comes Alive Through Daily Brief Radio Newscasts. Princeton, New Jersey: Passport Communications, 1994.

Hoffer, Jay. Radio Production Techniques. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books, 1974.

Isay, Dave (Editor). Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project. New York: The Penguin Press, 2007.

Joyner, Tom, with Mary Flowers Boyce. I’m Just a DJ But…It Makes Sense to Me. New York: Warner Books, 2005.

Kassis, Annette. Sacramento on the Air: How the McClatchy Family Revolutionized West Coast Broadcasting. Charleston: The History Press, 2015.

Keiller, Garrison. WLT: A Radio Romance. New York: Viking Penguin, 1991.

Keith, Michael C., and Mary Ann Watson (Editors). Norman Corwin’s One World Flight: The Lost Journal of Radio’s Greatest Writer. New York: Continuum, 2009.

Keith, Michael C. (Editor). Radio Cultures: The Sound Medium in American Life. New York: Peter Lang, 2008.

Klavan, Gene. Turn That Damned Thing Off: An Irreverent Look at TV’s Impact on the American Scene. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1972.

Krasny, Michael. Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Krieg, Joyce. Murder Off Mike: A Talk Radio Mystery. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St, Martin’s Minotaur, 2003.

Krieg, Joyce. Riding Gain: A Talk Radio Mystery. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St, Martin’s Minotaur, 2005.

Krieg, Joyce. Slip Cue: A Talk Radio Mystery. New York: St, Martin’s Minotaur, 2004.

Ladd, Jim. Radio Waves: Life and Revolution on the FM Dial. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.

Lister, Hal. Krautland Calling: An American POW Radio Broadcaster in Nazi Germany. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 1989.

Lodge, Tom. The Ship That Rocked: How Radio Caroline Defied the Establishment, Launched the British Invasion and Made the Planet Safe for Rock and Roll. Washington: Bartleby Press, 2010.

Looker, Thomas. The Sound and the Story: NPR and the Art of Radio. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995.

Lucas, Fred V. The Right Frequency: The Story of the Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political Establishment. Palisades, New York: History Publishing Company, 2012.

Lujack, Larry, and Daniel A. Jadlicka. Super Jock. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1975.

MacDonald, J. Fred. Don’t Touch That Dial!: Radio Programming in American Life from 1920 to 1960. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1991.

Mansfield, Stephen, and David A. Holland. Paul Harvey’s America: The Life, Art, and Faith of a Man who Transformed Radio and Inspired a Nation. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndall House Publishers, 2009.

Milam, Lorenzo Wilson. The Radio Papers: From KRAB to KCHU, Essays on the Art and Practice of Radio Transmission. San Diego, California: MHO Works, 1986.

Mitchell, Curtis. Cavalcade of Broadcasting. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1970.

Morgan, Henry. Here’s Morgan: The Original Bad Boy in Broadcasting. New York: Barracade Books, Inc., 1994.

Morrow, Cousin Brucie, and Laura Baudo. Cousin Brucie: My Life in Rock ’n’ Roll Radio. New York: Beech Tree Books / William Morrow, 1987.

Nachman, Gerald. Raised on Radio. New York: Pantheon, 1998.

Napoli, Lisa. Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth. New York: Crown Press, 2010.

Neer, Richard. FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio. New York: Villard, 2001.

Nightingale Gordon. WNEW: Where the Melody Lingers On. New York: Nightingale Gordon, 1984.

Paley, William S. As It Happened: A Memoir. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1979.

Passman, Arnold. The Deejays. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1971.

Peck, William A. Radio Promotion Handbook. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Tab Books, 1968.

Phillips, Lisa A. Public Radio Behind the Voices: Profiles of Public Radio’s Most Treasured Personalities. New York: CDS Books, 2006.

Porter, Jeff. Lost Sound: The Forgotten Art of Radio Storytelling. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016.

Reed, Jim. Everything Imus: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Don Imus. Secaucus, New Jersey: Birch Lane Press, 1999.

Reel, A. Frank. The Networks: How They Stole The Show. New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons, 1979.

Rehm, Diane. On My Own. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.

Rubery, Matthew. The Untold Story of the Talking Book. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2016.

Rudel, Anthony. Hello, Everybody!: The Dawn of American Radio. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2008.

Schiels, Michael. J. P. McCarthy: Just Don’t Tell ‘Em Where I Am. Chelsea, Michigan: Sleeping Bear Press, 1997.

Schlitt, Monsignor Harry G. I’ll Never Tell: Odyssey of a Rock & Roll Priest. San Mateo, California: Sand Hill Review Press, 2016.

Schneider, John F., in association with the California Historical Radio Society and its Bay Area Radio Museum. Images of America: Bay Area Radio. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2012.

Schwartz, A. Brad. Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News. New York: Hill and Wang, 2015.

Settel, Irving. A Pictorial History of Radio. New York: The Citadel Press, 1960.

Sklar, Rick. Rocking America: How the All-Hit Radio Stations Took Over. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984.

Slide, Anthony. Great Radio Personalities in Historic Photographs. New York: The Vestal Press, 1982.

Smith, Sally Bedell. In All His Glory: The Life of William S. Paley, the Legendary Tycoon and His Brilliant Circle. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Smulyan, Susan. Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting 1920-1934. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.

Squier, Susan Merrill (Editor). Communities of the Air: Radio Century, Radio Culture. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.

Stamberg, Susan. Every Night at Five: Susan Stamberg’s All Things Considered Book. New York: Pantheon, 1982.

Stein, Jeff. Making Waves: The People and Places of Iowa Broadcasting. Cedar Rapids: WDG Publishing, 2004.

Sterling, Christopher H., and Michael C. Keith. Sounds of Change: A History of FM Broadcasting in America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

Sweeney, Michael S. Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

The Man at the Microphone. Washington Broadcast. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1944.

Thomas, Bob. Walter Winchell: The Man and the Myth. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company,1971.

Thomas, Lowell. Good Evening Everybody: From Cripple Creek to Samarkand. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1976.

Vowell, Sarah. Radio On. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996.

Walker, Jesse. Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America. New York: New York University Press, 2001.

Warren, Donald. Radio Priest: Charles Coughlin, The Father of Hate Radio. New York: The Free Press, 1996.

Weaver, Pat, with Thomas M. Coffey. The Best Seat in the House: The Golden Years of Radio and Television. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.

Whittinghill, Dick. Did You Whittinghill This Morning? Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1976.

Wolfman Jack, with Byron Laursen. Have Mercy: Confessions of the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal. New York: Warner Books, 1995.

Woodfin, Jane. Of Mikes and Men. New York; McGraw-Hill, 1951.

Woolley, Scott. The Network: The Battle For The Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age. New York: HarperCollins, 2016.

Broadcasting the Marine Corps Marathon

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For decades now, on the last Sunday of each October, tens of thousands of runners have lined up within sight of the Washington, D. C. statue depicting Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima.

Anxious and pumping adrenalin, they prepare to take on the challenge of the Marine Corps Marathon. Most crowd the start line to embark on a 26.2-mile journey; a smaller number queue up along the national mall to start a 10k (6.2-mile) course. Since 1989, I have had the privilege of serving on a volunteer committee formed by the event’s founders — working to make the MCM available to more Americans and people from around the world. While still an active-duty Marine, I worked as finish line public address announcer. Later, for WTOP Radio, I would produce features about remarkable runners, then broadcast live race-morning updates. In most recent years, I have had the privilege of co-hosting TV coverage bringing the race’s excitement and pageantry to viewers of NBC Sports Washington.

As dawn broke near the starting line of the 41st Marine Corps Marathon, Michael Jenkins and I asked General Robert Neller, then-commandant the Marine Corps, about the Marines’ reputation for providing runners an exceptionally well-organized race experience. (Photo/Angelique Que)

The Marine Corps Marathon stands out among similar events in ways that earned it the nickname “The People’s Marathon.” No prize money is offered. The event is not centered on world-class professional athletes. Rather, the Marine Corps, known for its ethos of physical fitness, provides ordinary individuals an opportunity to take on the personal challenge of completing a marathon.  Those crossing the MCM starting line are motivated by almost as many reasons as there are runners. Some are marking a milestone birthday, others celebrating recovery from a life-threatening illness or recalling the life of a loved one who has died. Many are running their first-ever marathon. All experience what many have described as the most well-organized such event in the world — on a generally flat course through the majestic historical scenery of the United States’ capital city.

Overlooking the MCM starting line with co-anchor Michael Jenkins during our coverage on the 41st Marine Corps Marathon on NBC Sports Washington.

Spectators play a key role in encouraging MCM runners toward the finish line — and through the arc of energy and pain experienced along the the way. Given the event’s location, it is not uncommon to find plenty of  nationally-familiar faces among crowds of cheering race spectators. Nor is it odd for runners to look over and see that well-known Americans have joined them in taking on the MCM challenge.

As thousands of runners made their way across the starting line of the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recalled his and other lawmakers’ work in 2001 to ensure the MCM was held that year — despite the date falling just weeks after the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks — one target of which was the Pentagon, which runners passed on the course that year. I was privileged to run the 26.2 miles on that meaningful Sunday.

On Reporting the Beginning of the Iraq War

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In early 2003, I was among a hundred or so journalists in the Middle East who would every day engage in reportorial Q&A sessions at the U. S. Central Command (Forward) media center.

Chas at Doha News Conference Blue Shirt 2c

On a Qatari military compound outside Doha in 2003, Chas and other international reporters posed questions to U. S. Central Command leaders.

The briefings took place in a million-dollar “media briefing warehouse” constructed on Camp As Saliyah, a desert military base outside Doha, Qatar.

At the time — and even on reconsideration — it was a surreal exercise. Rather than being progress reports from the senior headquarters closest to fighting in nearby Iraq, the briefings devolved into embarrassingly simplistic presentations of talking points originating in Washington. While ostensibly run by a group of respected military public affairs officers, the Doha effort was truly marshaled by a handful of political appointees.

Michael Wolff of New York Magazine etched definitive sketches in this article describing the sterile setting in which we tried, with little success, to obtain substantive information useful to our news audiences during the first weeks of the Iraq war. In this column, he described the uproar that followed his exchange at one of those briefings with Army Brigadier General Vince Brooks. Brooks — and others presenting from the center’s $100,000 video monitor-and-CentCom-logo-festooned stage — were offering little information about ongoing savage battle, but did have a dubious story for us about the rescue of Army Private Jessica Lynch, and lots of photos of Iraqi children offering “thumbs up.”

From the transcript:

General Brooks: “Please, in the center.”

Michael Wolff: “I’m Michael Wolff from New York Magazine. I mean no disrespect by this question, but I want to ask about the value proposition of these briefings. We’re no longer being briefed by senior-most officers. To the extent that we get information, it’s largely information already released by the Pentagon. You may know that ABC has sent its senior correspondent home. So I guess my question is, why should we stay? What’s the value to us for what we learn at this million-dollar press center?” (Applause.)

Over time, expectations scaled back to the point that my goal became simply to try to ask good questions — hoping they, irrespective of official answer, might prompt listener and viewer thinking about the project of concentrated violence being launched by the U. S.

Did I succeed?

In his book Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Why, retired U. S. Air Force Colonel Walter J. Boyne credited a query of mine on March 31, 2003. By that twelfth day of the U. S. ground attack toward Baghdad, life in many Iraqi towns through which Americans had fought was in disarray. “The most incisive question of the day,” Boyle wrote, “was from Chas Henry of WTOP Radio, who asked if there was ever a competition between humanitarian and military tactical supplies in the flow of material into Iraq. The answer was that military tactical supplies would necessarily have priority until the conflict was over.”

Click here to see and hear a few of my questions.