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BOOK REVIEWS:Blast from the Past -- A Pictorial History of Radio's First 75 Years, By B. Eric Rhoads
REVIEWED BY CANDACE SAVAGE
From Antique Radio Classified
(Copyright 1996 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)Blast from the Past -- A Pictorial History of Radio's First 75 Years by B. Eric Rhoads is a 431-page book which segments the history of radio broadcasting relative to programming personalities, performers, and coverage of major events by decade from the pre-1920s through the mid-1990s. Each decade chapter is filled with interesting photographs of high quality -- over 900 in total, many published for the first time. Each chapter also offers a brief synopsis of the strategies of the broadcasting industry within that decade.
This book, essentially a pictorial reminiscence written to coincide with the 75th anniversary of radio in 1995, captures all of the glamour, intrigue and details which radio has embraced for these many years. The author -- a former disc jockey, program director, programming consultant, station general manager, and radio group owner -- now publishes the trade magazine Radio Ink. Mr Rhoads also serves as a steering committee member of the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago.
Forewords by both Rush Limbaugh and Paul Harvey contribute further insight into the passion so many have for radio. Also included in this easy-to-read book are sections on the Radio Hall of Fame, the Broadcast Pioneers Library, a Radio Fan Directory divided by various headings, a bibliography and a detailed index.
The first chapter, summarizing the history of radio before 1920, attempts to determine the true father of radio and the name of the first radio station. The author's conclusions and the method by which he arrives at these answers provide much history of wireless communication.
The chapter detailing the decade of the 1920s describes the formation and rise of the first commercial radio stations, along with the sometimes desperate scramble to be "on the air."
Later chapters depict and discuss the "Golden Age" of radio, the impact of FM, the decline and resurgence of AM broadcasting, the everlasting impact of television on the radio industry, and the fascinating details of the strategies employed to survive in a dynamic technical age.
Little attention is given to the impact on broadcasting relative to advances in radio receiving equipment during the 75-year history. However, most readers should find the omission acceptable in light of the overall good quality of the author's efforts.
Anyone who has sat in a quiet room listening to a radio show will enjoy the pictorial and written history of radio as described by Eric Rhoads. And anyone who has never taken the time to truly listen will want to do just that after reading this book.
Published by Streamline Press in hardcover, Blast from the Past -- A Pictorial History of Radio's First 75 Years is available at $39.95 in a regular hardcover edition from A.R.C. and other A.R.C. advertisers. Be sure to check these suppliers for shipping information. A numbered Limited Deluxe Special Edition, signed by the author and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, is also available at $75, postpaid, from the publisher, 224 Datura St., Suite 701, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.
[This book should not be confused with Radio -- A Blast from the Past by Wolff and Jacobson, which is out of print.]
(Candace Savage, 10 Coral St., Brockton, MA 02402)