The Lord’s Radio

Gospel Music Broadcasting and the Making of Evangelical Culture, 1920–1960


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About the Book

Evangelical Christianity—the faith professed by one in four Americans—exerts an enormous influence in American society. Believed by some to have originated as a reaction to the social revolution of the 1960s, evangelicalism as a distinct subculture in fact dates to the advent of radio. The evangelical faithful flocked to the airwaves, developing a nationwide mass culture as listeners across denominational lines heard the same popular preachers and music. Evangelicals left behind the fundamentalism of the early 20th century as broadcast ministries laid the foundation for the culturally engaged New Christian Right of the late 20th century. This historical ethnography presents the era’s major radio evangelists and songwriters in the own words, drawing on their writings and recordings, as well as songbooks, liner notes and “song story” anthologies of the period.

About the Author(s)

Mark Ward Sr., is an associate professor of communication at the University of Houston-Victoria in Victoria, Texas, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Communication and Religion and executive council of the Religious Communication Association.

Bibliographic Details

Mark Ward, Sr.

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 308
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6734-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2889-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Preface 1
Introduction 6
One—The Twenties: Prophets and Pioneers 15
Two—The Thirties: Preachers and Programs 57
Three—The Forties: Crusades and Conventions 103
Four—The Fifties: Words and Music 184
Five—Other Notable Songwriters 219
Epilogue 256
Chapter Notes 263
Bibliography 273
General Index 283
Song Index 292

Book Reviews & Awards

“Ward’s talent for storytelling makes the pioneers of evangelical radio come alive on the printed page. The Lord’s Radio shines an important spotlight on an all-but-forgotten community of mid-century evangelical popular music artists, songwriters, and radio personalities. Their stories show how mass media built an evangelical popular culture that ultimately influenced national politics.”—ARSC Journal.