There's a small reference publishing company nestled away in Jefferson, North
Carolina called McFarland & Co. that we are frequently drawn to for their
irresistible titles. Their books that are beautiful collectors items, and although
expensive, we return to them again and again because no one else is creating
books like this. Some that we have reviewed in the past on 21st Century Radio®
Fantastic Cinema Subject Guide: A Topical Index to 2500 Horror, Science Fiction,
and Fantasy Films, by Bryan Senn and John Johnson
Bob Dylan: A Description, Critical Discography and Filmography, 1961-1993, by
Radio Sound Effects: Who Did It and How, in the Era of Live Broadcasting by
Robert L. Mott
Radio Mystery and Adventure and Its Appearances in Film, Television and Other
Media, by Jim Harmon
The Early Days of Radio Broadcasting, by George H. Douglas
The Saint: A Complete History in Print, Radio, Film and Television, by Burl
Let's Pretend: A History of Radio's Best Love Children's Show by a Longtime
Cast member, by Arthur Anderson
Handbook of Old-Time Radio: A Comprehensive Guide to Golden Age Radio Listening
and Collecting, by Jon D. Swartz and Robert C. Reinehr
Gunsmoke: A Complete History: SuzAnne and Gabor Barabas
Lux Presents Hollywood: A Show-by-Show History of the Lux Radio Theatre and
the Lux Video Theatre, 1934-1957, by Connie Billips and Arthur Pierce
On January 7, 1996, Bob interviewed McFarland author, Hal Erickson who has written
among others: Religious Radio and TV in the United States from 1921-1991: The
Programs and Personalities; Baseball In The Movies: A Comprehensive Reference;
and Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years From 1947-1987.
A syndicated television program is one made exclusively for non-network play
or a program originally intended for network telecast but ultimately debuting
in syndication. The first syndicated television shows were also some of the
very FIRST television shows in the late 1940s such as Jay Wards "Crusader
Rabbit" (TVs first cartoon), "The Cisco Kid" and "Public
The 1980s brought about the biggest syndication boom in TV history as a result
of the growing number of UHF television stations. A lot of new stations were
sprouting up because many businessmen decided to get in on the ground floor
of the deregulated media business. Another factor contributing to the increasing
number of television shows debuting in syndication was the competition coming
from cable. The competition encouraged producers to create new shows rather
than just run the same old reruns. As a result, the quality of television programming
has improved in the opinion of Hal Erickson. Erickson says syndicated shows
are getting better every year, pointing to the fact that two of the most popular
shows right now, Hercules and Zena, are both non-network shows. Neither was
sold to networks, instead they are sold station by station, and they're doing
very well. And Erickson thinks they are also technically far superior to syndicated
programs of even just a few years ago. "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
really opened the flood gates for many new shows and for the level of technical
excellence expected on them.
In 1987 the FOX TV network became the first new network to rival the big three,
but at the beginning they advertised themselves as a syndication service so
they could skirt the rule prohibiting networks from selling their programs for
syndication. This gave them a foot-hold and caused people to notice they had
alternatives to the same old programming provided by the Big Three networks.
"For example, they put a prime time cartoon show on when there hadn't been
one since 'The Flintstones'. And 'The Simpsons' became their most popular program
even rivaling the ratings of the football games.
FOX was also the first network to emphasize programming on the paranormal and
unexplained, subjects that the other networks routinely avoided or ridiculed.
They argued that it didn't sell and instead kept grinding out the sitcoms. FOX's
adventurousness proved them wrong, however, and now paranormal programming is
all the rage.
To order Hall Erickson's Syndicated Television, contact McFarland Publishing
at Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640 or call 910-246-4460.