The Dawn of American Radio
By Anthony Rudel
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151012756, 416pp.)
Publication Date: October 2008
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Long before the internet, another young technology was transformed--with help from a colorful collection of eccentrics and visionaries--into a mass medium with the power to connect millions of people.
When amateur enthusiasts began sending fuzzy signals from their garages and rooftops, radio broadcasting was born. Sensing the medium's potential, snake-oil salesmen and preachers took to the air, at once setting early standards for radio programming and making bedlam of the airwaves. Into the chaos stepped a young secretary of commerce, Herbert Hoover, whose passion for organization guided the technology's growth. When a charismatic bandleader named Rudy Vallee created the first on-air variety show and America elected its first true radio president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, radio had arrived.
With clarity, humor, and an eye for outsized characters forgotten by polite history, Anthony Rudel tells the story of the boisterous years when radio took its place in the nation's living room and forever changed American politics, journalism, and entertainment.
ANTHONY RUDEL has spent his professional life in radio, including ten years on the air, as well as stints as vice president of programming for WQXR in New York and SW Radio Networks. The author of the novel Imagining Don Giovanni and two books on classical music, he now consults for radio stations across the country and lives in Chappaqua, New York.
" ... a lively overview of the birth of radio with an emphasis on the entrepeneurs and evangelists, hucksters and opportunists who saw the medium''s potential ... an authoritative and entertaining survey of the early days of dial twisting."
"Rudel, with extensive professional radio experience, revels in the enterprising personalities who set up shop on this technological frontier ... Rudel vividly re-creates the anything-goes atmosphere of the ether’s early days."
"Hello, Everybody! offers rich rewards. Written in a conversational style, it includes odd facts and eccentric people. Rudel goes back and forth comfortably from radio programming to the social upheavals of the 1920s and 1930s. As a story about the birth of broadcasting, it''s appropriately upbeat and optimistic."
" ... entertaining and informative ... lively ..."
"Rudel''s book is an enjoyable read, benefiting from the author''s extensive use of newspaper columns and a bibliography incorporating both web and print sources ... the book will appeal to pop culture enthusiasts and is recommended for all public libraries."
"Turn down the television set and give Hello, Everybody! a look."
"Rudel uses wide-ranging examples--the coverage of the Lindbergh baby''s kidnapping and America''s fascination with sports--to show how radio and the nation grew and navigated change together. It''s thoughtful reading, particularly as radio and the rest of the "old" media navigate today''s new media age."
" ... interesting ... this is a book I wa