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Listening In

Radio and the American Imagination

2004
Author:

Susan J. Douglas

Listening In

The powerful effect of radio on American culture from Big Band music to Top 40 to conservative talk radio—now back in print!

In Listening In, Susan Douglas explores how listening has altered our day-to-day experiences and our own generational identities, cultivating different modes of listening in different eras; how radio has shaped our views of race, gender roles, ethnic barriers, family dynamics, leadership, and the generation gap. With her trademark wit, Douglas has created an eminently readable cultural history of radio.

Listening In has become something of a classic in the recent renaissance of radio studies . . .although Listening In is much more than a textbook, it is highly recommended as a teaching text, not least for the sheer enthusiasm for her subject that Douglas conveys in her richly referenced but very readable prose.

The Radio Journal

Few inventions evoke such nostalgia, such deeply personal and vivid memories as radio—from Amos ’n’ Andy and Edward R. Murrow to Wolfman Jack and Howard Stern. Listening In is the first in-depth history of how radio culture and content have kneaded and expanded the American psyche.

But Listening In is more than a history. It is also a reconsideration of what listening to radio has done to American culture in the twentieth century and how it has brought a completely new auditory dimension to our lives. Susan Douglas explores how listening has altered our day-to-day experiences and our own generational identities, cultivating different modes of listening in different eras; how radio has shaped our views of race, gender roles, ethnic barriers, family dynamics, leadership, and the generation gap. With her trademark wit, Douglas has created an eminently readable cultural history of radio.


Listening In

Susan J. Douglas is professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and author of Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media.

Listening In

Listening In has become something of a classic in the recent renaissance of radio studies . . .although Listening In is much more than a textbook, it is highly recommended as a teaching text, not least for the sheer enthusiasm for her subject that Douglas conveys in her richly referenced but very readable prose.

The Radio Journal

Douglas’s wonderful book offers a sophisticated history of radio listening.

Journal of American History

If you’re into radio and enjoy history, you will probably love this book.

Radio World

Listening In lives up to its title in that it was written by an outsider, one who has done her homework.

Radio World

Listening In

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. The Zen of Listening
2. The Ethereal World
3. Exploratory Listening in the 1920s
4. Tuning In to Jazz
5. Radio Comedy and Linguistic Slapstick
6. The Invention of the Audience
7. World War II and the Invention of Broadcast Journalism
8. Playing Fields of the Mind
9. The Kids Take Over: Transistors, DJs, and Rock 'n' Roll
10. The FM Revolution
11. Talk Talk
12. Why Ham Radio Matters

Conclusion: Is Listening Dead?
Notes

Index