Radio: Out of the Bog

Fred Allen said that radio was "a bog of mediocrity"; John Dos Passes called it "the triumph of the illiterate." But radio is stronger than the kicks and the curses; not even television can kill it. TV, in fact, now rules the bog, while radio has resurged; thanks to the big beat and the news beat it has become a thriving, throbbing medium. Today there are over eight times more radio than TV stations (5,817 to 704), and more radio receivers in the U.S. (242 million) than people.

The virtual disappearance of oldtime network radio programming has effectively driven local...