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The Hits Just Keep on Coming

More radio history books for the holidays (or any time)


I am endlessly buying books about the history of radio. Here are some updated recommendations for the holidays.

The Hits Just Keep on Coming: The History of Top 40 Radio: Ben Fong-Torres’ immensely fun history of Top 40 radio explores the lives, accomplishments, and antics of the great Top 40 deejays. Frank, engaging, lots of photos—it’s a great read.

Sparks Out of the Plowed Ground: Bob Doll wrote this book in the 1990s to warn us that America was losing one of its most important cultural heritages: the rural/village radio operation. As I read the tome what struck me is how successful many of these stations were for so long.

Radio’s Digital Dilemma: Broadcasting in the Twenty-First Century: I have pre-ordered John Anderson’s book, which gets to the heart of crucial questions, future-of-radio-wise. A must have for forward looking radio-heads and all purpose Netizens.

Early ’70s Radio: The American Format Revolution: Turns out that songs like “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and “Rubber Duckie” were really crucial to the history of radio. Who knew?

Fat Chance: We Were the Last Gasp of the 60s and the Birth of Americana Music, But Was America Ready for Us? I know people who start crying when they talk about KFAT—Gilroy, California’s legenday Americana station. Here’s the story, lovingly told.

Station Identification: A Cultural History of Yiddish Radio in the United States: a really smart book that’s not just about Yiddish radio, but how to think about the history of non-English speaking radio in the United States. My review of Station Identification here.

Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN: The history of Boston’s free form rock station explored.

More books here.


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