Points on the Dial: Golden Age Radio Beyond the Networks. Alexander Russo. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. 292 pp.
The Golden Age of Radio, which lasted from 1930 until 1948, implies images of a communal listening experience both in individual homes and on a national level. Families gathered around the floor model radio in the living room after dinner, young children on their parents’ laps and older children camped out on the floor while they munched popcorn, focusing their attention on network-sponsored radio dramas, variety shows, and music programs. These network offerings brought the same entertainment to people across America simultaneously, creating a collective and unifying experience. However, radio’s Golden Age was much more complex. In Points on the Dial, Alexander Russo, an assistant professor of media studies at Catholic University, challenges our assumptions about radio programming, production, and use.