Radio's Legacy in Popular Culture: The Sounds of British Broadcasting over the Decades

Radio's Legacy in Popular Culture: The Sounds of British Broadcasting over the Decades

Front cover showing the title on a green background, above a radio displaying stations on offer

Author: Martin Cooper (Jesus 1977)

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

Examining work by novelists, filmmakers, TV producers and songwriters, this book uncovers the manner in which the radio – and the act of listening – has been written about for the past 100 years. Ever since the first public wireless broadcasts, people have been writing about the radio: often negatively, sometimes full of praise, but always with an eye and an ear to explain and offer an opinion about what they think they have heard. Novelists including Graham Greene, Agatha Christie, Evelyn Waugh, and James Joyce wrote about characters listening to this new medium with mixtures of delight, frustration, and despair. Clint Eastwood frightened moviegoers half to death in Play Misty for Me, but Lou Reed's Rock & Roll said listening to a New York station had saved Jenny's life. Frasier showed the urbane side of broadcasting, whilst Good Morning, Vietnam exploded from the cinema screen with a raw energy all of its own. Queen thought that all the audience heard was ‘ga ga’, even as The Buggles said video had killed the radio star and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers lamented ‘The Last DJ’. This book explores the cultural fascination with radio; the act of listening as a cultural expression – focusing on fiction, films and songs about radio. Martin Cooper, a broadcaster and academic, uses these movies, TV shows, songs, novels and more to tell a story of listening to the radio – as created by these contemporary writers, filmmakers, and musicians.

Publication date: 
Thursday 27 January 2022

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