Radio, Rock, and the Revolution That Shaped a Generation
On Sale: January 9, 2007
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A sweeping, anecdotal account of the great sounds and voices
of radioâ€“and how it became a bonding agent for a generation
of American youth
When television became the next big thing in broadcast
entertainment, everyone figured video would kill the radio
starâ€“and radio, period. But radio came roaring back with a
whole new concept. The war was over, the baby boom was on,
the country was in clover, and a bold new beat was giving
the syrupy songs of yesteryear a run for their money. Add
transistors, 45 rpm records, and a young man named Elvis to
the mix, and the result was the perfect storm that rocked,
rolled, and reinvented radio.
Visionary entrepreneurs like Todd Storz pioneered the Top 40
concept, which united a generation. But it took trendsetting
â€śdisc jockeysâ€ť like Alan Freed, Murray the K, Wolfman Jack,
Cousin Brucie, and their fast-talking, too-cool-for-school
counterparts across the land to turn time, temperature, and
the same irresistible hit tunes played again and again into
the ubiquitous sound track of the fifties and sixties. The
Top 40 sound broke through racial barriers, galvanized
coming-of-age kids (and scandalized their perplexed
parents), and provided the insistent, inescapable backbeat
for times that were a-changinâ€™.
Along with rock-and-roll music came the attitude that would
literally change the â€śvoiceâ€ť of radio forever, via the likes
of raconteur Jean Shepherd, who captivated his loyal
following of â€śNight Peopleâ€ť; the inimitable Bob Fass, whose
groundbreaking Radio Unnameable inaugurated the
anything-goes free-form style that would come to define the
alternative frontier of FM; and a small-time Top 40 deejay
who would ultimately find national fame as a political
talk-show host named Rush Limbaugh.
From Hunter Hancock, who pushed beyond the limits of 1950s
racial segregation with rhythm and blues and hepcat patter,
to Howard Stern, who blew through all the limits with a blue
streak of outrageous on-air antics; from the heyday of
summer songs that united carefree listeners to the latter
days of political talk that divides contentious callers;
from the haze of classic rock to the latest craze in
hip-hop, Something in the Air chronicles the extraordinary
evolution of the unique and timeless medium that captured
our hearts and minds, shook up our souls, tuned inâ€“and
turned onâ€“our consciousness, and went from being written off
to rewriting the rules of pop culture.
Talk of the Nation - June 25, 2007
Talk of the Nation - January 31, 2007
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