Though we live in a culture dominated by television, some ten million people listen weekly to a quite different medium - a medium not of sight but of sound, a medium not of flashy visuals but of literate words. Over the past decade, National Public Radio has become a major source of news and inspiration for listeners all across the country: from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Hawaii, eighty-five percent of Americans can now tune in to one of more than four hundred public radio stations. NPR has single-handedly reinvented the art of radio journalism, which pioneers like Edward R. Murrow first created in the forties and which the commercial radio networks all but killed off in the sixties. NPR has become for many listeners the most beloved and important medium in their lives. Unlike network celebrities, the National Public Radio staff labors in relative anonymity. But now Thomas Looker takes us inside NPR to witness their work, the grueling and dramatic business of attempting to evoke with sound a world of fast-breaking news stories and more reflective features. The Sound and the Story invites us backstage at NPR's most popular daily and weekend shows as they get ready, often with seconds to spare, to go on the air. We meet the all-night staff of Morning Edition and the producers and hosts of All Things Considered. We watch the muted frenzy of last-minute tape editing and the nervous finesse of the live interview. We also spend a more leisurely week watching Weekend Edition craft its uniquely engaging programs. Deftly and casually, Looker provides revealing portraits of people such as Bob Edwards and Linda Wertheimer, Nina Totenberg and Susan Stamberg, whose voices have become an intimate part of our lives. Thomas Looker, a radio veteran, believes passionately in the medium of sound and agrees with many at NPR who turn the cliche on its head and insist that a few well-chosen words are worth a thousand pictures. In The Sound and the Story, Looker puts his case thoughtfully and with great force, helping us to understand the peculiar power of radio to inspire as well as to inform. Public radio in particular, he asserts, prompts its listeners to see and to respond to the world around them with greater insight, depth, and compassion. After reading this provocative and entertaining book, you will never listen to, or "watch," the radio in quite the same way again.