Books

Michael C. Keith has authored many books and dozens of articles for journals and magazines. His noted "fringe group" series (Waves of Rancor, Signals in the Air, Voices in the Purple Haze, and Queer Airwaves), which examines the role of minorities and the outer-culture in electronic media, has received critical praise for its ground-breaking nature. Keith is also the author of several noted textbooks, including the most widely adopted text on radio in the US, "The Radio Station".

  • "Treasures such as One World Flight will last as long as there is the spoken word."—Larry King

  • "The Next Better Place is a charming and light-hearted hybrid of On the Road and Stand by Me . . . a picaresque, comic romp with an undertow of melancholy more affecting for its subtle counterpoint.."--Publisher's Weekly

  • "Waves of Rancor is the most controversial book on President Clinton's reading list."—The New York Times

  • "Keith is the most prolific academic chronicler of the radio industry."—Journalism History

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Books Published


Slow Transit

Slow Transit

A collection of short and short-short tales of love, laughter, and longitude.

> Buy on Amazon.com

 


Perspective Drifts Like a Log on a River

Perspective Drifts Like a Log on a River

A volume of prose poetry intended to provoke and amuse.

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Bits, Specks, Crumbs, Specks

Bits, Specks, Crumbs, Specks

A gale of clever and witty tales.

> Buy on Amazon.com

 


The Near Enough

The Near Enough

A variety of giggles and shivers.

> Buy on Cold River Press

 


If Things Were Made to Last Forever

If Things Were Made to Last Forever

Big Table Publishing, 2014

Some laughs, some tears, and some thrills.

> Buy on Amazon

 


The Collector of Tears

The Collector of Tears

Los Angeles: Underground Voices Books, 2014

A romp through the fantastic, bizarre, and funny.

> Buy on Amazon

 


Everything is Epic

Everything is Epic

Los Angeles, Silver Birch Press, 2013

A fantastic mix of story genres to delight any reader. A powerfully entertaining collection of EPIC stories.

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Sad Boy

Sad Boy

Big Table Publishing, 2013

An intriguing compendium of tales in which young (and old) males deal with the challenges the world places before them. Sad, funny, and weird. Typical Keith stories.

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Of Night and Light

Of Night and Light

Blue Mustang Press (June 8, 2012)

More stories of the bizarre, outrageous, and absurd.

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Hoag's Object

Hoag's Object

Whiskey Creek Press, 2011.

A volume of short stories of the horrifying, fantastical, and other-worldly.

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And Through the Trembling Air

And Through the Trembling Air

Blue Mustang Press, 2010.

Thirteen stories of the weird, wild, and wonderful.

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Norman Corwin's

Norman Corwin's 'One World Flight:' The Lost Journal of Radio's Greatest Writer (with Mary Ann Watson)

New York Continuum Books, 2009.

In 1946, legendary broadcaster Norman Corwin traveled to 17 countries to document the postwar world for the CBS radio series "One World Flight." Recently discovered and now published for the first time is his personal journal of his historic trip.

> Buy on Continuum Books


Life Falling Sideways

Life is Falling Sideways

Cambridge: Parlance, 2009.

A young adult novel set during the polio epidemic of the 1950s. Fourteen year old Davy Ketchum confronts life's many challenges, among them visits from a dead girl.

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Radio Cultures

Radio Cultures: The Sound Medium in American Life.

New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2008.

Radio Cultures examines the manifold ways in which radio has influenced the nation's social and cultural environment since its inception nearly a century ago. Written by leading scholars in the field, chapters address a wide range of topics, including how this powerful medium has impacted and affected non-mainstream segments of the population throughout its history and how these repressed and neglected groups have employed radio to counter and overcome discrimination and bias. The use of the audio medium for political, economic, and religious purposes is comprehensively probed and analyzed in this insightful and innovative volume.

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Sounds Of Change

Sounds of Change: The History of FM Broadcasting in America (with Christopher Sterling)

University North Carolina Press, 2008.

When it first appeard int he 1930s, FM radio was a technological marvel, providing better sound and nearly eliminating the static that plagues AM stations. It took another forty years, however, for FM's popularity to surpass that of AM. In Sounds of Change, Christopher Sterling and Michael Keith detail the history of FM, from it's inception to its dominance (for now, at least) of the airwaves.

Initially, FM's identity as a separate service was stifled, since most FM outlets were AM-owned and simply simulcast AM programming and advertising. A Wartime hiatius followed by the rise of television precipitated the failure of hundreds of FM stations. As Sterling and Keith explain, the 1960s brought FCC regulations allowing stereo transmisson and requiring FM programs to differ from those broadcase on co-owned AM stations. Forced nonduplication led some FM stations to branch out into experimental programming, which attracted the counterculture movement, minority groups, and noncommercial public and college radio. By 1979, mainstram commercial FM was finally reaching larger audiences than AM. The story of FM since 1980, the authors say, is the story of radio, especially in its many musical formats. But trouoble looms. Sterling and Keith conclude by looking ahead to the age of digital radio--which includes statellite and internet stations as well as terrestrial stations--suggesting that FM's decline will be partly a result of self-inflicted wounds--bland programming, excessive advertising, and little variety.

> Buy on Amazon


The Quieted Voice

The Quieted Voice: Rise and Demise of Localism in American Radio
(with Robert Hilliard)

Carbondale, Il. Southern Illinois University Press, 2006

How has American radio–once a grassroots, community-based medium–become a generic service that primarily benefits owners and shareholders and prohibits its listerners from receiving diversity of opinions, ideas, and entertainment through local programming? In The Quieted Voice: The Rise and Demise of Localism in American Radio, Robert L. Hilliard and Michael C. Keith blame the government's continual deregulation of radio and the corporate obsession with the bottom line in the wake of the far-reaching and controversial Telecommunications Act of 1996. Fighting for greater democratization of the airwaves, Hilliard and Keith call for a return to localism to save radio from rampant media conglomeraton and ever-narrowing music playlists–and to save Americans from corporate and government control of public information.

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the radio station

The Radio Station

8th ed. Boston: Focal Press 2009. 1st ed. 1986, 2nd ed. 1989, and 3rd ed. 1993, 4th ed. 1996, 5th ed. 2000, 6th ed. 2004. (Cited by Freedom Forum's Media Studies Journal as one of seven "key" works published on topic. Most widely adopted book on subject in US.)

The bible for beginning radio professionals. A complete guide to the internal workings of the soundcasting media: terrestrial, satellite, and Internet radio. The book is a classic and cornerstone on this topic. Not only will readers new to radio understand how each job is best performed, they will know how it meshes with those of the rest of the radio station staff. For readers uncertain of career goals, this book provides a solid foundation in who does what, when, and why. The Radio Station details all departments within a station. Topics explained include satellite radio, web radio, AM stereo, cable and podcasting. in addition to mergers and consolidation, future prospects, and new digital technologies. The test contains a wealth of illustrations, feature boxes and quotes from industry pros, bringing it all together for the reader. Long considered the gold standard on its subject, after decades the new edition remains a concise and candid guide to the internal workings of radio stations.

> Buy on Amazon


the broadcast century and beyond

The Broadcast Century and Beyond (with Robert Hilliard)

5th edition 2010
Boston: Focal Press
For Online Supplements

The Broadcast Century and Beyond is a popular history of the most influential and innovative industry in the previous and current century. The story of broadcasting is told in a direct and informal style, blending personal insight and authoritative scholarship to fully capture the many facets of this dynamic industry. The book vividly depicts the events, people, programs, and companies that made television and radio dominant forms of communication. The ability of radio and television to educate, enlighten, and stimulate the contemporary mind is perhaps the most important of all technological developments. This text places the communication revolution in a comprehensive chronological context, allowing readers to fully grasp the media’s profound impact—both positive and negative—on the political, social, and economic spheres.

http://books.elsevier.com/companions/0240805704/software/index.html

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Next Better

The Next Better Place (a memoir)

Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2003. Paperback 2004.

In 1959, at the age of eleven, Michael Keith ditched his relatively stable life with his mother and sisters in Albany, New York, and surreptitiously set off hitchhiking out West with his estranged, alcoholic dad. His memoir, told without sentimentality in the funny, world-wise voice of the young boy he once was, describes the bizarre characters they encounter in the rundown rooming houses and homeless missions of Pittsburgh and Ft. Worth, where they hole up as Michael's father works odd jobs to make enough money for them to move on; in the carnivals of the Midwest and the casinos of Las Vegas, where Michael dreams of Hollywood stardom; and in every two-bit town along the way, where they attend AA meetings just for a cup of coffee and a decent doughnut.

The Next Better Place explores the fine line between wanderlust and compulsion, between running away and arriving, and will resonate for anyone who has enjoyed the work of Tobias Wolff, Jack Kerouac, and William Kennedy.

*The Audio Version of The Next Better Place is now on sale at HighBridge.

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DIrty Discourse

Dirty Discourse: Sex and Indecency in American Radio (with Robert Hilliard)

Blackwell Publishing (from Iowa State University Press), 2003

Changes in society, the pluralistic nature of the citizens and the geographic breadth of America preclude a common definition of what is indecent, profane, or obscene. What may appear to be 'dirty discourse' to some may be considered to be laudable satire to others. In this fascinating book, renowned media schoars and authors, Robert Hilliard and Michael Keith, examine the history and nature of the indecent program content in American radio.

  • Examines the blue side of the airways with first-ever analysis of the history and nature of off-color program content.
  • Explores the treatment of once-forbidden topics in the electronic media, investigating the beliefs, attitudes and actions of those who present such material, those who condemn it, and those who defend it.
  • Written from a social and cultural perpective, concentrates on the means of greatest distribution - radio, with its phenomenal growth of "shock jocks" and rap music lyrics.
  • Provides coverage of television and the Internet, showing how and why broadcasing has evolved from the ribald antics of the Roaring 20's to today's streaming cybersex, contrasting the standards and actions of the FCC v. the first Amendment amidst the over-the-air and in-the-court battles of over-the-top radio.
  • Illustrates political pressures and legal considerations, including Supreme Court decisions, and efforts to protect children from media smut.

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Sounds In the Dark

Sounds in the Dark: All-Night Radio in American Life

Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 2001.

Sounds in the Dark chronicles the history and development of nighttime radio in the United States from its inception in the 1920s through its present all-night format.  The book examines and analyzes the attraction and popularization of nocturnal radio in relationship to social, cultural, and industry influences.  This is a first-ever book on this subject.

> Buy on Amazon


Sounds In the Dark

Queer Airwaves: Gay and Lesbian Broadcasting in America
(with Phylis Johnson)

Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe Publishing, 2001.

Queer Airwaves is the first book-length study of the role of gays and lesbians in the field of television and radio.  Using dozens of interviews and oral histories, the book examines the obstacles encountered—and significantly surmounted—by gays and lesbians in the broadcast industry.  Both scholarly and groundbreaking, the book is also a compellingly human story of courage and perseverance. 

> Buy on Amazon


Talk Radio

Talking Radio: An Oral History of Radio in the Television Age

Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe Publishing, 2000.

Having reached the height of its popularity at the end of WWII, what happened to radio after television began to bump it out of America’s living room in the early 1950s? In a series of conversations with scores of radio personalities, aficionados, and luminaries—including Paul Harvey, Dick Clark, Alan Colmes, Norman Corwin, Walter Cronkite, Larry Gelbart, Studs Terkel, and Susan Stamberg--the author traces radio’s transformation from a source of drama and comedy to an outlet for music and talk, the advent of FM and transistor radios, discrimination in broadcasting, and the future of the medium. Expressing great nostalgia for the golden days of radio, many of the author’s subjects agree with writer Stan Freberg, who believes that commercial radio is all but worthless, and with William Siemering, cofounder of National Public Radio, who contends that noncommercial stations have been better able to experiment with creative programming and to afford women and African Americans greater representation on the air. Former news anchor Walter Cronkite theorizes that radio may someday be ”an adjunct to the Internet.”

> Buy on Amazon


Waves of rancor

Waves of Rancor: Tuning in the Radical Right
(with Robert Hilliard)

Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe Publishing, 1999.

Waves of Rancor surveys the radical right radio phenomenon from mainstream conservative broadcasts (Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy) to those provided by the Patriot Network and those underwritten by revolutionary hate groups, such as the Phineas Priesthood.  The political climate inspiring right-wing rhetoric is evaluated, as well as the agendas of the nation’s popular conservative talkers.  The book features exclusive interviews with far-right and extreme-right leaders, and it evaluates the work of groups working to counter the efforts of these right-wing groups.

> Buy on Amazon


Hidden Screen

The Hidden Screen: Low Power Television in America
(with Robert Hilliard)

Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe Publishing, 1999.

Hilliard and Keith report on a highly eclectic form of broadcasting in the United States—low-power television (LPTV).  Not an insignificant blip in the industry, there are more LPTV stations licensed that there are full-power TV outlets.  In this, the first book devoted entirely to LPTV, the authors tell the complete story of this unique and important medium from its inception to the formidable challenges it faces today and its potential for tomorrow.

> Buy on Amazon


voices in the purple haze

Voices In the Purple Haze: Underground Radio and the Sixties

Westport, CT: Praeger/Greenwood Publishing, 1997. Selected by Amazon.com Nonfiction Editor as a "Recommended Book of the Month".

When people complain there's nothing on the radio, it's only because they live in the wrong time. And a ticket back to the right time, the heyday of the freeform FM radio of the 1960s, is contained in the pages of Voices in the Purple Haze. In the 1966 a few radio deejays began a revolution, doing away with loudmouth schtick between top-40 songs, adopting a cool understated attitude, and playing music that had never made it to the airwaves before. Many of the principals are quoted extensively, and in some particularly illuminating pages the author, Michael C. Keith, reproduces internal radio station memos. It seems inconceivable that anyone today would write that playing In a Gadda Da Vida by Iron Butterfly is "the best favor you can do for your audience" as "this heavy group can do no wrong." But reading such documents today brings back another time as it truly was.

Beyond a nostalgia trip, Voices in the Purple Haze also makes some serious points about what happens when fringe culture becomes a big business.

> Buy on Amazon


Global Broadcasting Systems

Global Broadcasting Systems
(with Robert Hilliard)

Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann/Focal Press, 1996.

Global Broadcasting Systems assesses within a social, economic, and historical context the way countries design, organize, and operate their radio and television media and how governments regulate them.

> Buy on Amazon


signals in the air

Signals In the Air: Native Broadcasting In America

Westport, CT: Praeger/Greenwood Publishing, 1995. (Employed as a "principle document" in a study published by the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment on Native American telecommunications.)

The first booklength study of the role of radio in the Native American community. Although of particular interest to Native broadcasters, their audiences, and Native American studies specialists, this book affords an interesting, unexpected angle on a number of important, current issues of general interest. Keith has brought together valuable, detailed historical information about native broadcasting and firsthand accounts of the problems and prospects faced by native broadcasters. Politics, culture, and communication are central topics in the current context of multiculturalism and high technology, and this book presents an interesting case study of some basic issues. Upper-division undergraduate and above.

> Buy on Amazon


broadcast voice performance

Broadcast Voice Performance

Boston: Focal Press, 1989.
Spanish edition: Limusa Espanola, 1993.

Broadcast Voice Performance provides the aspiring on-air presenter a host of pertinent information intended to maximize on-microphone and on-camera performance.  Practical examples, instruction, and advice from industry professionals give this textbook a real-world orientation designed to put students in a strong position to compete for radio and television positions in a highly competitive field.

> Buy on Amazon


selling radio direct

Selling Radio Direct

Boston: Focal/Broadcasting Publishing, 1992.

Selling Radio is designed to aid station account executives prepare, present, and close sales with local retailers.  It gives the station salesperson nuts and bolts information on how to approach non-agency represented businesses in a manner that enhances the success ration on this level of station sales.  Comprehensive and real world based, the book provides station account executives a valuable tool for increasing the number of active accounts on their client lists.

> Buy on Amazon

 


radio production

Radio Production: Art and Science

Boston: Butterworth/Focal, 1990.
Spanish edition: Instituto Oficial de RadioTelevision Espanola, 1993.

Provides aspiring radio producers, and those already applying their craft in the station studio, invaluable perspectives and information on the aesthetics of audio mixing and the effective operation of studio equipment.  Industry experts provide unique advice and strategies for the successful preparation of sound elements in commercials, promos, public service announcements, and features.

> Buy on Amazon


radio programming

Radio Programming: Consultancy and Formatics

Boston: Focal Press, 1987. Finalist for BEA/NAB
"Electronic Media Book of the Year" award.

This book covers every aspect of programming, from audience targeting to program clock structuring, viewing the subject from the consultant’s and station programmer’s perspectives within the context of today’s major formats.  The industry’s top professionals reveal the techniques, strategies, and insights that help build a successfully programmed radio station.  Nominated for the National Association of Broadcasters and Broadcast Education Association “Electronic Media Book Award.”

> Buy on Amazon


production in format radio

Production In Format Radio

Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984.

This handbook is the first to examine the influence of station formats on the production process.  Each radio format has its own distinct personality requiring that producers understand and employ the unique characteristics of a station’s given playlist and signature sound in the mixdown of its commercials and other recorded announcements.  Production in Format Radio shows how every format brings to bear its own special set of criteria on the recording process.

> Buy on Amazon


 

Foreign Editions

production in format radio

Selling Radio Direct - CHINESE

Boston: Focal/Broadcasting Publishing, 1992.

Selling Radio is designed to aid station account executives prepare, present, and close sales with local retailers.  It gives the station salesperson nuts and bolts information on how to approach non-agency represented businesses in a manner that enhances the success ration on this level of station sales.  Comprehensive and real world based, the book provides station account executives a valuable tool for increasing the number of active accounts on their client lists.


production in format radio

The Radio Station - INDONESIAN

6th ed. Boston: Focal Press 2004. 1st ed. 1986, 2nd ed. 1989, and 3rd ed. 1993, 4th ed. 1996, 5th ed. 2000. (Cited by Freedom Forum's Media Studies Journal as one of seven "key" works published on topic. Most widely adopted book on subject in US.)

 


production in format radio

The Radio Station - RUSSIAN

6th ed. Boston: Focal Press 2004. 1st ed. 1986, 2nd ed. 1989, and 3rd ed. 1993, 4th ed. 1996, 5th ed. 2000. (Cited by Freedom Forum's Media Studies Journal as one of seven "key" works published on topic. Most widely adopted book on subject in US.)

 


production in format radio

Radio Production: Art and Science - SPANISH

Boston: Butterworth/Focal, 1990.
Spanish edition: Instituto Oficial de RadioTelevision Espanola, 1993.

Provides aspiring radio producers, and those already applying their craft in the station studio, invaluable perspectives and information on the aesthetics of audio mixing and the effective operation of studio equipment.  Industry experts provide unique advice and strategies for the successful preparation of sound elements in commercials, promos, public service announcements, and features.

 

 

 

A LEADING SCHOLAR IN ELECTRONIC MEDIA