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.
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
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