Radio Retrospective | KUOW News and Information

Radio Retrospective

'White Christmas' composer Irving Berlin.
Wikimedia Commons

The most popular Christmas carol in America stands apart from the others in a number of ways.

World War II, When Radio Was Star

May 23, 2014
Credit Wikimedia Commons

During World War II, just about everyone got involved, from enlisting to saving their kitchen grease to build ammunition.

From Wikipedia

It’s no secret that radio in the early days was a man’s game. Men were the directors, the producers, the composers and the sound effect technicians. But it was a woman who was a major influence in the sound effects profession.

When Actors Were The Anchors

Mar 4, 2014
YouTube

Modern moviegoers are used to experiencing trailers, concession advertisements and, of course, a reminder to turn off their cell phone before the main attraction hits the screen.

But it wasn’t always that way. Until the 1950s, you got a good dose of news before you escaped into a Hollywood fantasyland. Beginning in 1935, “The March of Time” started replacing silent news reels in movie theaters, and it was a welcome change.

When Radio Censors, Go For “The Twilight Zone”

Nov 15, 2013
From Wikipedia

Rod Serling may not be a household name, but his groundbreaking television show, The Twilight Zone, certainly is. Serling’s bumpy radio beginnings set the stage for the innovative program. 

Flickr Photo/Heath Alseike

Stephen Tobolowsky: From “Groudhog Day” To “Heroes”       

You might not recognize his name but you've seen Stephen Tobolowsky in countless Hollywood movies and television shows, from "Groundhog Day" to "Heroes." The character actor is also a popular storyteller, weaving tales for radio and podcast listeners on The Tobolowsky Files. Steve Scher talked with  Tobolowsky in 2011 live on stage at the Neptune Theater.  

Radio Retrospective: Making The First Sound Effects

It's often assumed that sound effects during radio's Golden Age were all made by a person, but that's a bit of a myth. Many were played from records to save time and space. Steve Scher talks with Producer Katy Sewall about how early sound effects were created and tips on making your own at home.

The History Of Guitars

Guitars are a powerful symbol. When lashed onto someone like Keith Richards or Jimi Hendrix, they epitomize hard-sounding, hard-living, loud rock. When plucked by a flamenco player, they can evoke sultry nights and romance. Where did the guitar come from, how has it evolved and are there any changes that we can expect to see in the future? Steve Scher talks with classical guitarist Steven Novacek; Ron Reed, instrument maker and manager of Dusty Strings Guitar Shop; Gene Nygaard, guitarist and maker of Zero Guitars; and Jay Boone, owner of Emerald City Guitars.

Flickr Photo/Grant Hutchinson

A World Of Things Waiting To Be Found

Ever walked past a crumpled note and wondered what the history behind it is? Davy Rothbart, the founder of FOUND Magazine, has. He’s turned that curiosity for found objects into a career. Marcie Sillman talked with Rothbart and his brother Peter Rothbart, an expert finder and musician, back in 2006 about lost trinkets, stray photographs and cast-aside artifacts just waiting to be discovered.    

Stories From High School Reunions

One weekend back in 2005, Weekday Producer Katy Sewall attended her 10-year high school reunion. Katy claimed to have a wonderful time. High school reunions are notorious for disappointment, competition and awkward moments. But some listeners say they’re worth it. In this 2005 segment, Steve Scher talked with listeners and a few familiar voices from the KUOW studios.

Radio Retrospective: The War Of The Worlds

“The War of The Worlds” was an episode of the American radio drama, The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It aired on October 30, 1938, and convinced a number of listeners that a real alien invasion was in progress. In this edition of Weekday’s Radio Retrospective, Steve Scher talks with Katy Sewall about “The War of The Worlds” broadcast and explores whether listeners back then were just plain gullible.

Flickr Photo/wiuxflickr

  

Fed Reserve Chair
This fall, President Obama will select a new chairman of the Federal Reserve to replace two-term Chairman Ben Bernanke. During a news conference on Friday, the president mentioned two candidates he’s considering: former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellen, current vice-chairwoman of the Fed. Some critics are calling for the president to widen his search. Who else should be considered for the post? How big of an impact could the new Fed chairman have on the economy?

30 Years of Northwest Hip-Hop
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Sir Mix-A-Lot, The Blue Scholars and Shabazz Palaces. Forget grunge, Seattle’s got hip-hop. Hip-hop is as Northwest as The Wailers; as much a part of our cultural landscape as Nirvana, Soundgarden or Mudhoney. MC Geo of the Blue Scholars and Dr. Daudi Abe, author and professor at Seattle Central Community College, join us for a look back at the people, culture and industry that made three decades of local hip-hop music.

Radio Retrospective: The Alternate Lives of Sinister Hosts
During radio’s Golden Age, mystery shows were often hosted by a “sinister” host. Characters like The Man in Black, The Whistler and The Mysterious Traveler. Who are the men behind these shadowy narrators, and what other roles did they play throughout their career?

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Today she highlights Blind Pig Bistro. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook.

KUOW Photo/Amina Al-Sadi

 


Childhood Obesity Declining Among America’s Poorest
Since the mid 1970’s, childhood obesity rates in America have doubled. In recent years however, the tide seems to be turning. Between 2008 and 2011, obesity rates among poor children fell in 18 states – including here in Washington according to a new study from the Centers For Disease Control. Why do poor children suffer from high obesity rates? And what are some of the factors that are helping close the gap? We talk with Simone French of the University of Minnesota’s Obesity Prevention Center.

Thoughts On Ramadan
Muslims around the world have been fasting during the day and attending religious gatherings at night during the annual celebration of Ramadan, Islam’s holiest of holidays. Weekday producer Amina Al-Sadi reflects on this year’s Ramadan as it draws to a close.

Radio Retrospective
Katy Sewall takes a weekly listen back to the sounds of radio’s Golden Age.

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Today she highlights “Phnom Penh,” a Cambodian restaurant in Seattle’s International District. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also recommends a cookbook.

Flickr Photo/Vinicius Depizzol

Call-In: Lessons Learned From Your Worst Road Trip
The most memorable road trips are often those that don’t go well. What lesson did you learn from your worst road trip? We want to hear the funny, the horrifying, the enlightening stories you gathered on the road; call us at 206.543.5869 or 800.289.5869.

Radio Retrospective: The Rare Female Detective
During radio’s golden age, detective shows were a very popular genre.  There were well over 120 detective shows about men, and only about 44 featuring a woman. Who were those women, and were the shows any good?

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. The weather has been nice around Seattle lately, how about a picnic?  Dickerman gives tips on where to stock up. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

KUOW/Kara McDermott

Seattle School Board Elections
Six candidates are vying for two seats. The top 2 candidates in each district will advance to the general election in November. KUOW's education reporter Ann Dornfeld reports.

Writer Susan Orlean
Susan Orlean spends a lot of time working on her nonfiction. She spent ten years researching her most recent book “Rin Tin Tin.” What does it mean to devote yourself to a subject, almost to the point of obsession? We listen back to our conversation with Susan Orlean about her process and her passions.

Radio Retrospective: Radio Gets Involved In Hollywood
Last week, we looked at how Hollywood actors fared on the radio. Today we take a look at how radio adapted to the big screen. Movie stars often wandered off the mic during radio dramas because they were used to moving. Radio stars were the opposite. They were often too rigid, and had trouble working with props and delivering their lines simultaneously. Adapting radio scripts for feature length movies was another challenge. Did any radio-based skill succeed in film?

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

From The Summer Januaries' Facebook page.

Discussing The National Debt With Chris Vance
Chris Vance, public affairs consultant and co-chair of the Washington chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, was is in Washington this week meeting with Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Doc Hastings and Dave Reichert. Vance and the campaign are urging lawmakers to find solutions to curb the rising debt in order to help the economy continue to grow. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said before a House panel on Wednesday that tight federal fiscal policy and stagnant debate over issues such as a the debt ceiling in Congress “hamper” economic recovery. So how can lawmakers create budgets and policies that continue to help the economy grow? What role does reducing the national debt play in helping the country’s economy?

The Summer Januaries
Rachel Erin Sage and Sean Michael Robinson first played music together at a mutual friend's birthday party, where a spontaneous jam session became the birth of their fold duo “The Summer Januaries.” Since then they’ve played arrangements and original compilations at street fairs, farmers markets and pubs around the state and around the world. The Summer Januaries released their first album together in April.

Radio Retrospective: Hollywood Gets Involved In Radio
During the early years of radio’s Golden Age, Hollywood thought radio was the enemy. Radio directors, writers and producers, on the other hand, wanted Hollywood stars in their productions. How did Hollywood first make its way onto radio? Katy Sewall and Steve Scher look at the beginnings.

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

From Hari Kondabolu's Facebook page.

What Are The Privacy Concerns Over Facebook’s Graph Search?
Throughout its lifespan, Facebook has been all about change -- a seemingly endless overhaul of its design and how the site functions. But here’s something that’s remained steady: complaints from users about privacy. Facebook’s latest innovation is called graph search. It allows users to comb their friends’ Facebook pages and public pages to find specific answers to specific questions. Since rolling out this week, graph search is raising concerns about privacy. So what are they? And how can Facebook users lock down data that they don’t want to be shared?

Comedian Hari Kondabolu
A couple of times throughout the year comedian Hari Kondabolu makes the trip from New York to Seattle to test out his material in front of the local audience. When he is not working on stand-up he is writing for and appearing on the FX show Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell as well as recording a podcast with his brother called The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Podcast.  In his stand-up, Hari works through issues like racism, sexism, immigration and gentrification, challenging the audience as much as entertaining them. He joins us to discuss his work.

Radio Retrospective: Rocky Jordan
We look back at the show Rocky Jordan from radio’s Golden Age. Rocky runs a bar. He also runs into trouble every episode. The show is one of many Golden Age detective dramas featuring characters that aren’t detectives!  It also happens to be Steve Scher’s favorite drama recently.

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

Flickr Photo/Australian Broadcasting Company

What’s The Deal With The Budget?
Jordan Schrader of the Tacoma News Tribune reports on the latest happenings in Olympia.

The Legacy Of Nelson Mandela
Robert Taylor, former dean of Seattle's St. Mark's Cathedral, was born and raised in South Africa. He bore witness to the breakdown of apartheid. He reflects on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Radio Retrospective: Protecting Kids
Parents worried about what children heard on the radio, just like they worry about television, movies and video games today. During radio’s heyday, it was estimated that there were 1,500 murders a week on the air. As a result, strict guidelines were put in place for kids' shows. Did they work?

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman recommends a lunch spot and a cookbook.

Jonathan Alter's book "The Center Holds."

 SCOTUS, DOMA And Proposition 8
The Supreme Court is due to make a decision soon on two major cases effecting marriage equality. Law professor at the University of Washington,Peter Nicolas explains what we can expect from SCOTUS in the coming days. 

The Center Holds
Jonathan Alter has spent more than two decades covering national politics in Washington, D.C. In his new book “The Center Holds,” he examines the challenges President Obama faced in his 2012 reelection campaign, from a Republican Party determined to retake control of Congress and millions in unregulated campaign spending, to Obama’s own distaste for politics.

Radio Retrospective: Radio Expert Frank Buxton
Frank Buxton is an expert on the Golden Age of Radio and a voice talent to be reckoned with. 

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. This time she recommends Shanik.  Prefer to cook for yourself? She reviews "Mr. Wilkinson's Vegetables."

Tom Doegler's book "On Occassion."

Understanding The Facts Behind Human Trafficking
Is Seattle the number one place for sex trafficking in the country? Is Washington state third in the country? That’s what some people are hearing. Facts and figures are used to inform the public and lawmakers about human trafficking but misinformation can be passed on as well. KUOW’s Sara Lerner joins us to explain how we get the right and wrong information about human trafficking.

Reflections On Commencement
Seattle’s Tom Doelger has been teaching English to high school students at Lakeside School since 1985.  This time of year he’s often called on to speak to graduating students and their families. Doegler's reflections on life’s crossroads are always drawn from his own personal experiences. Doegler's path to teaching was an unlikely one. He underwent a jarring life transition as he moved from the glamorous world of 1970s Aspen, Colo. ski patrol to a job teaching writing to middle schoolers. Doelger speaks with KUOW’s Dave Beck about his book “On Occasion: Tom Doelger Speaks.”

The Woman Behind “Let’s Pretend”
There weren’t a lot of female directors during the Golden Age of Radio. Nila Mack was one of the few who earned herself an office on the 14th floor of CBS beside Edward R. Murrow. 

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

Brian Sweetek's book "My Beloved Brontosaurus."

Patent Trolls Explained
This week President Obama proposed a series of reforms to crack down on “patent trolls.” One proposal would require patent holders to disclose their ties to other companies. We talk with professor Sean O’Connor of the University of Washington School of Law about whether or not patent trolls can be tamed by Congress.

New Science Meets Our Favorite Dinosaurs
The creatures that have run, soared, slithered, paddled, pulsed and gyrated across water, sea and sky captivate our imaginations. Continuing research brings new theories, new data and new fossils to study.  Brian Sweetek writes about our evolving understanding in “My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs.”

Radio Retrospective: Who Played It Better?
Shows like “The Shadow” and “The Lone Ranger” had decade long runs during radio’s Golden Age.  If an actor playing the title role resigned, executives hired someone new to play the part. Who played it better?  We attempt to answer that question by listening to different actors playing the same role.

Recommended Eating
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

KUOW/Serene Careaga

Kenyan Truth Justice And Reconciliation Report
Last week a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission delivered a report on 2007 post-election violence in Kenya that killed more than 1,000 people and left 600,000 homeless. Seattle University law professor Ronald Slye was one of three international commissioners. He joins us with a look at the findings.

Understanding Developmental Outcomes In Children With Autism
By studying brain pattern responses to words in 2-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder, researchers have been able to predict a child's linguistic, cognitive and adaptive skills at age 4 and 6. Dr. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Science, studies early language and brain development. She lead the study and explains its implications.  

Radio Retrospective: The Rules Of Writing Radio Drama
At the start of radio’s Golden Age, people didn’t know how to write for radio.  They remade stage plays and movies, but that didn’t really work. Rules for writing a good radio drama developed over time. We explore the main rules scriptwriters followed.

Restaurant Recommendation
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

 Seattle-Area Employment Picture Brightens
The region's economic picture appears to be brightening as King County's unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in April. We hear why from Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton.

Call In: What Do You Remember About Prom?
It’s prom season. When you were in high school, did you go to prom? What memory stands out years later?  Maybe it’s the way you were asked to prom.  Maybe it is some little detail you’ll never forget. Maybe what you remember is why you didn’t go to prom. Share your funny, touching, sweet and embarrassing memories of prom with us at 206.543.5869 or email weekday@kuow.org.

Radio Retrospective: Not all Sound Effects Jobs Are Created Equal
Sound effects artists were in high demand during the golden age of radio. That doesn’t mean they were all equals; there definitely was a pecking order. We’ll find out what it was.

A Lunch Recommendation
For our Thursday lunch recommendation, food writer Sara Dickerman profiles El Portal at Madison and 23rd. If you prefer to cook for yourself, she suggests “Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book.”

Flickr photo/topquark22

 Ask King County Executive Dow Constantine
Every month, King County Executive Dow Constantine joins us to chat about issues facing King County. Today he’s here to discuss the possible cuts to King County Metro, Dow’s re-election campaign, and of course Seattle’s unyielding desire for an NBA franchise. If you have a question for the King County Executive, feel free to give us a call at 206-543-5869 or toll-free at 800-289-5869.  
 
Radio Retrospective: When Music and Comedy Merge
Radio had a huge effect on the music industry. Suddenly musicians had regular work composing and performing on radio dramas.  Radio also turned select musicians into actors.  What happens when music and comedy merge?

A Lunch Recommendation
For our Thursday lunch recommendation, food writer Sara Dickerman profiles the Blossom Restaurant in Renton.   If you prefer to cook for yourself, she suggests “The Duke’s Table: The Complete Book of Vegetarian Italian Cooking.”

Flickr Photo/Carbon Arc

Your Bike Helmet Isn't As Safe As You Think
You probably think your bicycle helmet keeps you safe getting a concussion. You’re wrong. It doesn’t. Most helmets only prevent skull fractures. As a result, bicycle deaths are down, but concussions and other brain injuries are on the rise as biking becomes more popular. Writer Bruce Barcott explains that some helmet manufactures have ignored the concussion problem because they believed it couldn’t be fixed. Others thought consumers would be unwilling to pay more for a protection they assume they already have.

Who's A Genius?
We often toss around the word “genius,” but what does it really mean? How does the definition of genius change depending on region or expertise? Eleven years ago, the staff at The Stranger weekly newspaper came up with the tongue-in-cheek Genius Awards for artists in the Seattle area. They were joking, but over the past decade, awards have gone to some people who would fit the dictionary description.

Radio Retrospective: From Live To Tape
During the early years of radio, performances were always live  — that is, until tape was invented and accepted by the industry. How did tape change radio?

A Lunch Recommendation
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

Seattle Reads Gregory Martin, And Comics On The Radio

May 2, 2013

 

Seattle Reads: Gregory Martin
What would you do if you found out that your 65-year-old father had attempted suicide? Or that he’d been sexually abused by his own father? Or that he’d been a closeted gay man throughout 39 years of marriage? Gregory Martin learned all this one evening, and it changed his relationship with his parents. Martin chronicles his experiences in the memoir "Stories for Boys," this year’s Seattle Reads book.

Radio Retrospective: Comics On The Radio
We’re familiar with comics being adapted to the big screen. But you might not know that comic strip adaptations aren’t new. Comics were also adapted into radio dramas. There’s Blondie, Archie Andrews, and Superman, and that’s just the beginning.  Listen back to the comics strips of the radio.

A Lunch Recommendation
Food writer Sara Dickerman joins us with a lunch recommendation. Prefer to cook for yourself? She also has a pick for a great cookbook!

South Lake Union, Gun Control, And Our Miss Brooks

Apr 25, 2013
Flickr Photo/l.madhavan (CC BY-NC-ND)

The New Affordable Housing Requirements In South Lake Union
The Seattle City Council will require developers to put in some affordable housing in new South Lake Union residential towers, or pay for the city to build it. Developers are still deciding whether the requirement will make taller buildings in the neighborhood economically feasible.

Politics Is A Fighting Word
In Olympia, stronger laws regarding gun control couldn’t get past the opposition from state Senate leadership. What will citizens who support gun control do now? Eric Liu lobbied in Olympia for stronger gun control rules in Washington state.

Radio Retrospective: Gloria McMillan From Our Miss Brooks
Our Miss Brooks starring Eve Arden was a popular comedy show during radio’s golden age. Gloria McMillan was a teenager when she played Harriet on the show. She shares her insider take on the cast, Hollywood and what it was like to work in radio.

A Lunch Recommendation
Food writer Sara Dickerman recommends Pestle Rock Isan Thai Cuisine this week. It's a Thai restaurant in Ballard with bright and spicy, salads and delicious young coconut juice. You can read her recommendation for the the best hotels for food lovers in Bon Appetite.

Living With Bipolar Disorder

Apr 18, 2013
Mental illness
Flickr Photo/Majicdolphin

What does it feel like to be bipolar? How does mental illness affect family and relationships? What misunderstandings does the general public have about people who are bipolar? Katy Sewall speaks with Janine Crowley Haynes, author of the memoir “My Kind of Crazy: Living in a Bipolar World.”

How Doctors Are Handling 'Death With Dignity'

Apr 11, 2013

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine looks at how one Seattle medical institution has managed the state’s 2009 Death With Dignity law. The report shows how rarely Washington state residents have pursued a legal prescription to end their own life, and describes the early debate among physicians over whether to participate. We talk with study author Dr. Elizabeth Loggers of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Leslie Helm was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan. Most of his family members are of European descent, and you would be hard pressed to look into his face and see his half-Japanese grandparents reflected back. When he adopted Japanese children, he started exploring his own roots. Leslie Helm takes us along on his journey as a "Yokohama Yankee" — a story that outlines the racial and economic tensions that defined US and Japanese relations for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Rising Popularity Of Microhousing

Mar 14, 2013
apodment
Flickr Photo/Jseattle/Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

As the cost of living continues to rise in the city, people are finding it harder to find an affordable place to live. To accommodate the demand, developers are building microhousing -- tiny studio apartments with private bathrooms that share a kitchen with other units. The microhouses boast affordable living in high-demand neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill and the University District. However, residents in some neighborhoods fear the developments skirt zoning laws and create too much density too fast. City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is considering legislation that could put new restrictions on microhousing. He joins us to explain.

Connie Rice On Seattle Police Reform

Mar 7, 2013
Seattle Police cars
Flickr Photo/ Eric Peacock (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A plan from the court-appointed monitor overseeing Seattle’s police reforms to address biased policing and excessive use of force within the SPD was overshadowed this week by a standoff between Mayor Mike McGinn and City Attorney Pete Holmes. The two argued publicly over who has authority to act on the city’s behalf. Yesterday, Mayor McGinn said he regretted the public argument and called for a pause. L.A.-based civil rights attorney Connie Rice is advising the mayor's office as the city moves forward on a consent decree with the Justice Department. We’ll speak with her about the work so far and what she calls a “quest for trust” in Seattle.

Why Are Used Cars So Valuable?

Feb 28, 2013
Used car sales
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Right now is a terrible time to buy a used car. But it’s an excellent time to sell a used car, especially here in Seattle. Sales of new cars plunged between 2008 and 2010, and that’s caused a shortage of used cars. According to Forbes, Seattle is the second worst city in the country to buy a used car. So why here? We'll get some answers from Micheline Maynard. She covers business and the automobile industry for Forbes and other publications.

Ask King County Executive Dow Constantine

Feb 21, 2013
Dow Constantine in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

For four decades, public defenders in King County have worked for private, non-profit companies. Soon they'll become public employees. Some are concerned this could weaken the county's public defense system. What will it mean for those who rely on public defenders? We’ll talk it over with King County Executive Dow Constantine. Plus, we’ll find out what’s in store for Seattle's next gun buyback as state legislators in Olympia consider background checks on gun sales. And are the Sonics any closer to coming back to town? King County Executive Dow Constantine joins us. Have a question? Email us at weekday@kuow.org.

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