1st Edition

Masterful Stories Lessons from Golden Age Radio

By John V Pavlik Copyright 2017
    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    The early eras of radio storytelling have entered and continue to enter the public domain in large quantities, offering unprecedented access to the Golden Age of Radio. Author and Professor John Pavlik mines the best this age of radio has to offer in Masterful Stories, an examination of the masterpieces of audio storytelling. This book provides a chronological history of the best of the best from radio’s Golden Age, outlining a core set of principles and techniques that made these radio plays enduring examples of storytelling. It suggests that, by using these techniques, stories can engage audiences emotionally and intellectually. Grounded in a historical and theoretical understanding of radio drama, this volume illuminates the foundational works that proceeded popular modern shows such as Radiolab, The Moth, and Serial.

    Masterful Stories will be a powerful resource in both media history courses and courses teaching audio storytelling for modern radio and other audio formats, such as podcasting. It will appeal to audio fans looking to learn about and understand the early days of radio drama.




    Chapter 1: A Theory of Masterful Stories

    Chapter 2: Golden Age Radio Plays: Examining 120 Case Studies

    Chapter 3: Radio’s Earliest Plays: Inventing the Medium’s Storytelling Form in the 1920s and 1930s

    Chapter 4: Radio Hits its Dramatic Stride: The Early 1940s

    Chapter 5: Classics Continued Post WWII: From the Mid to Late 1940s

    Chapter 6: Post-WWII Radio Drama: Early to Mid 1950s

    Chapter 7: End of an Era: Exemplary Plays from the 1950s and Beyond

    Chapter 8: Concluding Reflections on Stories from Golden Age Radio


    John V. Pavlik is a Professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Pavlik has written widely about the impact of technological change on journalism, media, and society. His new book offers an historical perspective on the development of storytelling in the first electronic medium of mass communication, radio.

    John makes the case that radio broadcast is baked into the recipe of American culture.  He shows how The Golden Age of Radio is a template for today’s quality Podcast and radio story telling.  Podcasters wanting to build and hold on to audiences have much to learn from this book.

    - Benjamin A. Davis, Assistant Professor, California State University Northridge

    "As an old Brazilian professor, I’ve been following John Pavlik’s career for many years. He is an international reference mainly for studies about the future of Journalism and New Media. Now, to my surprise, he is reaching back into the past. But instead of just examining old time Radio, Pavlik is in fact announcing a new "Golden Age of Internet" with ample access to the best in digital memories and archives. This is innovative and creative thinking; in summary, this is a "masterful book".  

    -Antonio Brasil, Federal University of Santa Catarina