Book Review - Shortwave Radio Trilogy
Reviewed by David Ricquish, Chairman, Radio Heritage Foundation (New Zealand), and also available at http://www.radioheritage.net/Story177.asp. Presented here with permission.
Nearly 1200 combined pages and extensive notes make the '"Shortwave Radio Trilogy"of U.S. radio listener and historian Jerry Berg a virtual encyclopedia of the global shortwave radio scene since 1923.
On the Short Waves 1923-1945
"On the Short Waves 1923-1945" released in 2007 is the introductory volume, covering The Early Days [the reality of distance and arrival of short waves], Shortwave Comes of Age: The 1930s [the stations from exotic locales, the Popular Shortwave Press and more] and The War Years: 1940-1945 [stations and voices of war, and wartime listening]
. . . and it's not just incredibly well researched text, it's carefully chosen images of the broadcasters, the stations, the equipment and the art work of these pioneer radio days. This is an absolute must read for any radio fan, and any student of the broadcasting media.
Broadcasting on the Short Waves, 1945 to Today
"Broadcasting on the Short Waves, 1945 to Today" is a stunning guide to how shortwave radio has developed on a decade by decade basis. The countries and stations that have risen to prominence on the airwaves, the ones that have long gone, the personalities that made them unique, the political and propaganda radio wars, the whole short wave radio dial comes to life in another meticulously researched and entertainingly illustrated and presented volume.
The current status of shortwave radio is examined and, through this guide, finally placed into an easy to understand historic context. For collectors of radio history, this is the one-stop shop, and for media students it's a wonderful resource second only to having been there at the dials themselves for over half a century!
Listening on the Short Waves, 1945 to Today
The final and companion volume in the trilogy is '"Listening on the Short Waves, 1945 to Today"and this is the first scholarly yet easily written coverage of how people have organized themselves to "listen" to short wave radio. Although it may seem strange to organize radio listening, it was still a relatively new entertainment medium into the 1960's, and the clubs, programs and other ways to support listening are much the same as the computer clubs and bulletin boards that emerged when the PC arrived on home and office desktops.
The audience, clubs, literature, receivers are all well covered from an American and [to a lesser extent] global perspective, and the practice of obtaining QSL cards and letters from broadcasters is delightfully explained. Actually, without collectors such as Jerry keeping these increasingly rare heritage items safe, the story of radio listening could never be adequately told with authority. A social history, with careful research notes, and illustrated from world class collections of radio memorabilia.
Jerry Berg has given us a real encyclopedia of short wave radio, its place in 20th century mass media studies, and an understanding of its social history drawn from decades of personal experience.
This trilogy is worth adding to pride of place in libraries, media study courses, and in the home or office of anyone touched by the thrill of listening to short wave radio from exotic lands over the years.
Highly recommended by the Radio Heritage Foundation.