Synopses & Reviews
"Living in this world of 24/7 communication, where it is vitually impossible to avoid being in touch, where information and entertainment continuously stream at us, its hard to fathom that less than a century ago the very idea of sound traveling through walls into peoples homes must have seemed like some wild science fiction
But thats how it began; radio provided the formidable foundation for all of the electronic mass media that followed. As with the Internet, radios growth was incredibly swift, and the reaction to these two communication industries was quite similar: intrigue, dismissal, and acceptance, until finally each medium came to dominate its respective time."-- From Hello, Everybody!
"One of the many reasons I love radio is its tolerance for eccentricity. What I learned from Hello, Everybody! is the origin of this eccentricity: It turns out that American radio is descended from wonderful, oddball radio pioneers of all shapes and sizes, a group who contributed mightily to the rich texture of the medium. Rudel is much more than a radio aficionado, he is a master storyteller." David Brancaccio, host, NOW on PBS.
"Novelist and classical music expert Rudel (Imagining Don Giovanni), who has an extensive background in radio broadcasting, offers a lively overview of the birth of radio with an emphasis on the entrepreneurs and evangelists, hucksters and opportunists who saw the medium's potential. He traces the transition from hobbyists to the 'radio craze' of 1922 when Americans spent more than $60 million on home receivers that brought the sounds of urban life to rural areas. The first station west of the Rockies, KHJ, prompted the notorious sexual-rejuvenation surgeon John R. Brinkley to open KFKB in 1923 Kansas. By the end of the 1920s, the Federal Radio Commission was established to manage the airwaves, NBC and CBS competed and advertising increased. Along with political campaigns and sports broadcasts, Rudel covers the 'love/hate relationship' of newspapers and radio stations. His chapter on 'the unholy marriage between radio and religion' details the rise and fall of evangelist Sister Aime Semple McPherson. Profiles reveal Rudy Vallee's vast appeal and important role in creating the radio variety show. With extensive newspaper research, this is an authoritative and entertaining survey of the early days of dial twisting." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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.
About the Author
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.