Relive the Golden Age of Radio in Cambridge

Before 3-D, 4G, IMAX and iPods, Americans from coast to coast tuned into one medium. People used its news programs to find out about Black Tuesday and the Great Depression, the Hindenburg disaster and World War II, and when they wanted to forget those things for a while they flipped to the soap operas and comedies.

While the radio may not enjoy the same reverence today, there was a time when the country pulsed to its frequencies. On Saturday, April 30, vocalist Prudence Johnson and pianist Dan Chouinard will invite audiences in Cambridge to revisit “The Golden Age of Radio,” in a free performance at 3 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Cambridge-Isanti High School.

The “Golden Age,” is an interactive show featuring classic songs and sounds of radio highlighted by iconic photos of the eras. The show is sponsored by Minnesota Regional Public Libraries and the Minnesota Historical Society as a companion to the “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation” program.

“We try to make the show as conversational as possible,” said Prudence Johnson.

Johnson has her own history with radio. Originally from Moose Lake, she became a professional musician in her early 20s and joined the cast of “A Prairie Home Companion” in 1976.

Johnson and Chouinard researched and wrote “Golden Age” together, although Johnson said there is a fair amount of improvisation in each performance.

The show takes audiences from the infancy of in-home radio in the 1920s up through the tumultuous 30s and 40s.

Johnson said for many audience members, the songs bring back warm memories, and she has received several letters from Baby Boomers saying their parents opened up with untold stories after experiencing the show and singling along to the music.

For those too young to remember the period, Johnson said there is benefit in the substantial historical education

“We like this aspect of sharing this information that we really think is interesting,” Johnson explained.

For more information on the “The Golden Age of Radio,” call the Cambridge Library at 763-689-7390 extension 15. To find out more on the Greatest Generation program, visit