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Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America
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Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Boring DJs who never shut up, and who don't even pick their own records. The same hits, over and over. A constant stream of annoying commercials. How did radio get so dull?
Not by accident, contends journalist and historian Jesse Walker. For decades, government and big business have colluded to monopolize the airwaves, stamping out competition, reducing variety, and silenc
Paperback, 326 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by New York University Press (first published September 4th 2001)
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Ken Dowell
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
There’s no ambiguity about this author’s take on the state of commercial radio. “Most radio today is boring and homogeneous, chains of clones controlled by an ever-dwindling handful of focus-group-driven corporations.” He has nothing but disdain for radio consultants, fixed formats and tight playlists. But that’s not what Rebels on the Air is about. This is the story of the folks who hang out on the fringes of the radio dial. Starting with hams of the early 20th century, Walker provides a histor ...more
Jul 29, 2010 rated it liked it
As thoroughly researched as one could hope a biased book could be. The author clearly has an agenda from the start and that's OK - I'm more or less on board with him. But sometimes it felt like the details bogged down the narrative of the book. I found the earlier chapters to be a better read and more enjoyable. Reading about in-fighting at Pacifica radio leaves a bit to be desired. But if you're curious to expand your own personal understanding of the fringes of radio broadcast, read this. ...more
Apr 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: music-industry, radio

I got very excited to find this book available locally but never had much time to read it. Did read the first essay which was an incredible story about a little pirate radio station down near Lubbock, Texas which stirred up a tiny town, pissed a lot of people off but in the end, brought the community together around their little illegal soap box.
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book told me a lot about the so-called public radio networks that are left after decades of consolidation, corporatization, and deregulation. You'll think twice about sending in a check the next time you hear a fund drive after reading this book. ...more
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Haters of Clear Channel
Essential for anyone wanting to understand the anarchic, creative side of the airwaves.
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