Proposal for a book on Special Sounds: The Art of Radio in North America

There have been several histories of radio in America, but what distinguishes this book, in progress for the past two decades, is an emphasis upon artistic achievement by Americans, from the 1920s to the present. Special Sounds will have an’ introduction, yet unwritten, about issues and problems in radio criticism, in part to praise such distinguished books as Rudolf Arnheim’s Radio (1937) but also to lament the absence of the kind of extended considerations we’ve come to associate with a mature art. Otherwise, the chapters will be drawn from talks initially done as features for European radio, some of which have appeared in print here in literary magazines:

  1. The American Tradition of Radio Drama, which suggests that in contrast to Europe our best radio theater is vernacular (e.g., radio conedy).
  2. Audio Comedy in America Today, which argues that since 1952 the best radio art, including comedy, appeared first on lp records;
  3. New York City Radio, which explains narrow-casting and appreciates variety;
  4. Glenn Gould as a Radio Artist, which introduces the compositions of speech and sound that the great Canadian pianist produced from 1967 to his early death;
  5. John Cage as Hörspielrnacher, which traces his work with audiotapes and radio from Williams Mix through the famous Roaratorio;
  6. American Sounds in Germany, which introduces the extraordinary, and extraordinarily successful, radio produced by Americans working in the 1980s for German stations;
  7. Tony Schwartz and One-Minute Audio Art, which elaborates the thesis, mentioned elsewhere, that the best art produced nowadays for radio, rather than radio, appears in abbreviated forms (i.e., commercials);
  8. The funding of quality radio in America, which explained to Europeans how radio art is produced here by stations lacking funds;

The essays appeared here in magazines ranging from the New York Times to North American Review. Any book publisher wishing to know more should contact the author.