I bought a satellite radio for my car recently, which led me to reflect that the futurists of my parents’ day predicted that television would kill radio. Instead, radio changed with the times. Although the family stopped gathering around the radio in the evening, Mom still listened to her favorite music on the radio during the day, and the demand for radios in cars was so strong that they became standard equipment. Then came those little pocket sized transistor radios, and kids were practically grafted to them. AM top 40 stations gave way to FM, and now, here we are paying a monthly subscription charge to have music, talk and even the old classic radio shows beamed to our radios from satellites in space.
The “radio classics” station, which plays old radio plays and serials, has become one of my favorites. I am a “boomer” and grew up with television providing the background soundtrack to life, so these radio shows are all new to me. The other day I was listening to “Richard Diamond, Private Detective”, starring Dick Powell. Some of these old classics are also available as CDs in several of our libraries. Some of my personal preferences are Orson Welles as The Shadow, Sydney Greenstreet as Nero Wolfe, and the old comedy shows like Abbott and Costello or Burns and Allen. My husband is a fan of the big bands, and has found a station that suits his taste, as well. The library’s CD of Glenn Miller radio broadcasts from 1944 is just his cup of tea.
For more contemporary listening, I personally lean towards NPR. Their programming ranges from the humor of the Car Talk guys and A Prairie Home Companion to serious topics such as this interview with Desmond Tutu about the life of Nelson Mandela. The library also has a selection of NPR’s “curious listener” music guides.
These days, the forecasters are predicting the death of books and libraries because of Kindles, smart phones, the Internet, and the like. I expect that like the radio, books and libraries are not going to fade away. They will change, but they aren’t going to disappear. What do you think? We’d love to hear your comments on the future of books, libraries, and our old friend, the radio. And, stop by the library and enjoy some radio.
Some other library items you might enjoy –
- Hello, everybody! : the dawn of American radio by Anthony J. Rudel
- The Murrow boys : pioneers on the front lines of broadcast journalism by Stanley Cloud
- All I did was ask : conversations with writers, actors, musicians, and artists by Terry Gross from NPR’s Fresh Air.
- The 60 greatest old-time radio shows of the 20th century introduced by Walter Cronkite
- NPR driveway moments : all about animals with Steve Inskeep.
- A prairie home companion directed by Robert Altman – Based on Garrison Keillor’s popular radio show. Explores life backstage at the final broadcast of the Saturday night radio show A Prairie Home Companion.
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