Thursday, May 03, 2012

BOOK WEEK: Don't Touch That Dial!

J. Fred MacDonald published Don't Touch That Dial! Radio Programming In American Life From 1920 To 1960 in 1979.It's a long title so I'll be truncating it from here on in. This book is referred to less by my other reference books and seems to overlap less as well. I am as often surprised what I find in it by what I don't find in it. It is not a reference book. It's just really detailed in in it's narrative and is built on a lot of original research. His section on Westerns is more detailed than anything I've found elsewhere. He also gets in to advertising and ratings in a way that other books completely skipped.

Author MacDonald was a professor of history at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He retired in 2002. He also was the curator of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. [Side note: Northeastern Illinois University is home to 88.3 WZRD.] Don't Touch That Dial! is just one of his 6 published books, not counting his e-books. (I'd really need to get a few more of them.) He's also been published in Phylon, Popular Music and Society and some educational mags. Did I mention his blog?  Prof. MacDonald made this post easier to research by maintaining his own personal domain here.