This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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Encyclopedia of American Radio,
1920-1960 2nd Edition,
(2 volume set)
By Luther F. Sies
McFarland and Co., 2008.
1144p., index, bibliography. $195. http://www.mcfarlandpub.com
Reviewed by by David S. Siegel
(From Radio Recall, February 2009)
Many OTR reference books use the word “encyclopedia” in their title, but none can match the remarkable depth and comprehensiveness of this two volume set. Indeed, it provides information, sometimes the only available information, on many lesser known programs and personalities not found in any other reference book covering the Golden Age of Radio.
A well known and respected OTR scholar, Mr. Sies has outdone himself in this new expanded version of his first Encyclopedia, originally published in 2000. The new two volume edition features 35,976 entries (7,128 more than in the original edition) spread over 1,144 pages. In addition to basic alphabetic entries, the book also includes a Chronology, a unique Appendix of Broadcasters divided into 83 categories from actors (men) to yodelers, a bibliography, and separate indexes for stations, programs and names.
In addition to the individual listings for programs or performers, the new edition includes extensive discussions on ten special themes, including American traitors, gender discrimination, husband and wife talk shows, superheroes, and women pioneers.
With remarkable modesty, the 82 year old Sies, who has been collecting print and audio material about radio for over 30 years, acknowledges that even his new expanded edition is not complete and represents only a representative sample of broadcasters’ work from 1920-1960. When he writes that he welcomes information from readers about errors or omission or commission, could it be that he’s planning an even larger third edition eight years from now?
If $195 is a bit too steep a price for your personal library, bring the book to the attention of your local public or academic library. The book is a must for any serious OTR researcher. Indeed, for many lesser well known programs or personalities, it is the only readily available source of information.