The Sound and the Story: NPR and the Art of Radio

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9780395674390: The Sound and the Story: NPR and the Art of Radio
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Though we live in a culture dominated by television, some ten million people listen weekly to a quite different medium - a medium not of sight but of sound, a medium not of flashy visuals but of literate words. Over the past decade, National Public Radio has become a major source of news and inspiration for listeners all across the country: from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Hawaii, eighty-five percent of Americans can now tune in to one of more than four hundred public radio stations. NPR has single-handedly reinvented the art of radio journalism, which pioneers like Edward R. Murrow first created in the forties and which the commercial radio networks all but killed off in the sixties. NPR has become for many listeners the most beloved and important medium in their lives.
Unlike network celebrities, the National Public Radio staff labors in relative anonymity. But now Thomas Looker takes us inside NPR to witness their work, the grueling and dramatic business of attempting to evoke with sound a world of fast-breaking news stories and more reflective features. The Sound and the Story invites us backstage at NPR's most popular daily and weekend shows as they get ready, often with seconds to spare, to go on the air. We meet the all-night staff of Morning Edition and the producers and hosts of All Things Considered. We watch the muted frenzy of last-minute tape editing and the nervous finesse of the live interview. We also spend a more leisurely week watching Weekend Edition craft its uniquely engaging programs. Deftly and casually, Looker provides revealing portraits of people such as Bob Edwards and Linda Wertheimer, Nina Totenberg and Susan Stamberg, whose voices have become an intimate part of our lives.
Thomas Looker, a radio veteran, believes passionately in the medium of sound and agrees with many at NPR who turn the cliche on its head and insist that a few well-chosen words are worth a thousand pictures. In The Sound and the Story, Looker puts his case thoughtfully and with great force, helping us to understand the peculiar power of radio to inspire as well as to inform. Public radio in particular, he asserts, prompts its listeners to see and to respond to the world around them with greater insight, depth, and compassion. After reading this provocative and entertaining book, you will never listen to, or "watch," the radio in quite the same way again.

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About the Author:

Thomas Looker is now a visiting lecturer in American studies at Amherst College.

From Library Journal:

Looker attempts to show the future potential of National Public Radio (NPR) through a portrayal of its recent past, concentrating on its news division. Peabody award-winning radio journalist, former NPR staffer, and current lecturer in American studies, the author spent six months in 1993 visiting, observing, and interviewing at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. A fourth of the book is devoted to how one day's issue of Morning Edition got on the air. But Looker's primary concern is the undervalued power of radio?and NPR in particular?to add to listeners' lives. Looker contends that precisely because of radio's demand on the intellect and imagination it encourages the very faculties television dulls. More practically, Looker discusses staff dissension on such issues as the proper classification of radio as a medium, language, or a sound and the correct future direction of NPR news and the changes in funding that have added to the difficulties. NPR fans and communications students will enjoy this informative book. For communications collections in public and academic libraries.?Marianne Cawley, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780788163302: Sound and the Story: Npr and the Art of Radio

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