I’m kind of a radio nerd. Not only for doing radio, but I’m a geek about the history of the medium. Sometimes I think I should have been born in about 1900, so I could have been there at the birth of radio, which was in its own way every bit as exciting as the birth of the Internet.
And every bit as fraught with the capacity to be exploited by tyrants and demigogues, and flooded with dubious news in service of dubious narratives which are intended to become dubious history…
…but I digress.
I’m especially a nerd over the history of the use of radio as propaganda – especially the supremely fascinating story of the British and American “parody” broadcasts into German-held territory during WW2 – think “Babylon Bee”, but in service of a wartime objective.
Another story that’s always fascinating is “Tokyo Rose”. An American-born woman of Japanese descent who was marooned in Japan at the beginning of the war, Iva Toguri was the most prominent of several women associated with the radio name. A popular show among GIs and sailors – my ex-father-in-law recounted listening to her on board his destroyer off the Philippines and Okinawa – her story has always been portrayed as a bit of petty treason, at least to my generation.
But as Mark Fel.on, the world’s greatest history teacher, explains, the story was a lot more interesting than that.
And with all respect to H-Bomb, Consigliere, Megan Fatale, Duane Patterson, the Living Martyr and the rest, it’s the story of three of the world’s most fiendishly clever producers..