Say Goodnight, Gracie

The Last Years of Network Radio

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About the Book

Until the late 1940s, most Americans relied heavily upon radio, the only means of mass communication they knew, for information and entertainment. But with the 1950s came television sets and prosperity enabled more people to afford them. Radio began a decline.
This work examines what could be called the final decade of AM network radio and the many factors that contributed to its decline. The first chapter is an overview of AM radio in the 1950s. The second chapter covers 1950 through 1953, when radio was still a popular medium but faced a need to make changes in its programming. Bill Paley and David Sarnoff strongly promoted radio in those years and the networks attempted to increase the ratings of their programs. Chapter three covers 1954 through 1956, three years in which radio experienced losses of its primary audience and some of its most popular shows (because of the pullout of advertisers), and an effort was made by the networks to keep their programs going and to convince audiences the medium was not on its way out. Chapter four, 1957 through 1960, chronicles the “end” of AM radio in homes, the cancellation of almost all remaining programs, network affiliates’ going independent, and the rise in popularity of “drive time” radio. Chapter five covers 1961 to the present and summarizes the major changes that have taken place.

About the Author(s)

Jim Cox, a leading radio historian, is an award-winning author of numerous books on the subject. A retired college professor, he lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

Jim Cox
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1168-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6239-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii

Preface     1

1 The Fifties: An Introduction     3

2 The Early Years (1950–1953)      21

3 The Middle Years (1954–1956)      71

4 The Late Years (1957–1960)      120

5 The Postgolden Years: (1961–Present)      151

Appendix     183

Bibliography     187

Notes     191

Index     199

Book Reviews & Awards

“lively…recommended”—Library Journal; “well researched and superbly written…highly recommended”—The Illustrated Press; “Cox continues to establish himself as one of the premier chroniclers of the golden age of radio…excellent…a must-read…wonderful”—Chattanooga Airwaves; “one of the best…delightful…highly recommend[ed]”—Old Time Radio Digest; “in-depth…excellent…informative…thought-provoking…entertaining…lively discussions…fine contribution…well-worth reading”—Radio Historical Association of Colorado; “useful”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly.