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Home / Books / Spring 2017

9XM Talking
WHA Radio and the Wisconsin Idea

Winner, Award of Merit for best book on Wisconsin history, Wisconsin Historical Society

Randall Davidson provides a comprehensive history of the innovative work of Wisconsin’s educational radio stations. Beginning with the first broadcast by experimental station 9XM at the University of Wisconsin, followed by WHA, through the state-owned affiliate WLBL, to the network of stations that in the years following WWII formed the Wisconsin Public Radio network, Davidson describes how, with homemade equipment and ideas developed from scratch, public radio became a tangible example of the Wisconsin Idea, bringing the educational riches of the university to all the state’s residents. Marking the centennial year of Wisconsin Public Radio, this paperback edition includes a new foreword by Bill Siemering, National Public Radio’s founding director of programming.


Author. Photo credit, Name Randall Davidson worked for Wisconsin Public Radio as a news producer and news anchor for eighteen years, also serving as the network's chief announcer and unofficial historian. He is now director of radio services and a senior lecturer in Radio TV Film at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He lives in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.




“Rich detail about the landmark educational [radio] station, much of it previously untold.”
Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media

“Readers ... interested in the history of educational radio and the original distance learning will particularly enjoy it.”
Radio World

“Given the historical significance of WHA and the added insights about the station's early struggles for survival, this is an important work of broadcast history.”
—Alan G. Stavitsky, University of Oregon

“An engaging, even engrossing, narrative about the station's pioneering work in broadcasting. ... A reader witnesses ... the struggles that small and educational broadcasters faced in the early years in what was nearly a constant battle to maintain a foothold in the frequency spectrum.”
Journalism History

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9XM Talking: WHA Radio and the Wisconsin Idea

New in Paperback
June 2017

LC: 2006008875HE
270 pp.   6.5 x 10
38 b/w photos  
6 b/w illustrations  
22 maps  
2 tables

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Paper $24.95 a
ISBN 978-0-299-21874-4
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