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Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (1991)

For 50 years, radio dominated the airwaves as the first mass medium. Ken Burns examines the lives of three men who shared the responsibility for its invention and early success.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Red Barber ...
Himself - Radio Announcer
Erik Barnouw ...
Himself - Historian
Ken Bilby ...
Himself - Biographer of David Sarnoff
...
Himself - Writer
Susan Douglas ...
Herself - Historian
Frank Günther ...
Himself (engineer)
Jeanne Hammond ...
Herself - Niece of Edwin H. Armstrong
Loren Jones ...
Himself - Engineer
...
Himself - Writer
Helen Kelley ...
Herself - Radio Broadcaster
Robert Morris ...
Himself - Engineer
Dana Raymond ...
Himself - Friend of Edwin H. Armstrong
Gertrude Tyne ...
Herself - Engineer
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For 50 years, radio dominated the airwaves as the first mass medium. Ken Burns examines the lives of three men who shared the responsibility for its invention and early success.

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October 1991 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the end of the credits, there is a message in Morse code that reads "Baseball next". Ken Burns' documentary on baseball did come after this one. See more »

Connections

Features This Is Your Life (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

The life of radio and some of the birth of television!
4 May 2000 | by (Floyd Montana) – See all my reviews

Ken Burns once again hits paydirt with a documentary on the birth of radio and it's ultimate demise at the hands of television. Granted, this film had more of a limited appeal than BASEBALL or CIVIL WAR did, however it is still a fine project. The film goes deep into how radio works and tells stories from the early days of broadcasting, before there was tv, radio had all sorts of radio shows, ranging from BURNS AND ALLEN, to musical shows, to THE SHADOW. Ultimately a new invention called television killed radio and forever transformed it. All of the entertainment shows put on radio ended up on tv. This film also goes into some of the technical aspects of how radio and tv work and how they were invented. Anyone in the business or interested in how it all began should check this one out. This is a great documentary! PBS does it again and so does Ken Burns.


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