Public radio stands as a valued national institution, one whose fans and listeners actively support it with their time and their money. In this new history of this important aspect of American culture, author Jack W. Mitchell looks at the dreams that inspired those who created it, the all-too- human realities that grew out of those dreams, and the criticism they incurred from both sides of the political spectrum. As National Public Radio's very first employee, and the first producer of its legendary All Things Considered, Mitchell tells the story of public radio from the point of view of an insider, a participant, and a thoughtful observer. He traces its origins in the progressive movement of the 20th century, and analyzes the people, institutions, ideas, political forces, and economic realities that helped it evolve into what we know as public radio today. NPR and its local affiliates have earned their reputation for thoughtful commentary and excellent journalism, and their work is especially notable in light of the unique struggles they have faced over the decades.
This comprehensive overview of their mission will fascinate listeners whose enjoyment and support of public radio has made it possible, and made it great.
Jack W. Mitchell was the first producer of All Things Considered and served three times as Chair of the NPR board of directors. He is now a Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he teaches courses in public broadcasting, broadcast journalism, and mass media and society.
Acknowledgments Introduction Dreams The Progressives Pioneers Public Radio Purposes Reality All Things Considered All Things Reconsidered Morning Edition Weekend Edition Performance Today Talk of the Nation Marketplace Critics Critics on the Right Critics on the Left Conclusion: The Ideas Network Bibliography