Boring DJs who never shut up, and who don't even pick their own records. The same hits, over and over. A constant stream of annoying commercials. How did radio get so dull?
Not by accident, contends journalist and historian Jesse Walker. For decades, government and big business have colluded to monopolize the airwaves, stamping out competition, reducing variety, and silencing dissident voices. And yet, in the face of such pressure, an alternative radio tradition has tenaciously survived.
Rebels on the Air explores these overlooked chapters in American radio, revealing the legal barriers established broadcasters have erected to ensure their dominance. Using lively anecdotes drawn from firsthand interviews, Walker chronicles the story of the unsung heroes of American radio who, despite those barriers, carved out spaces for themselves in the spectrum, sometimes legally and sometimes not. Walker's engaging, meticulous account is the first comprehensive history of alternative radio in the United States.