The man nicknamed the poet laureate of radio has died. Norman Corwin was 101, according to an Associated Press report.
Corwin in 2010 was named a Giant of Broadcasting by the Library of American Broadcasting, which said he is “considered one of the greatest writers in the English language” and saluted him as being “among the first producers to regularly use entertainment to address serious social issues.”
According to a January 2011 profile in Radio World written by Vic Cox, Corwin’s career work as a writer, director and producer earned him honors including two Peabody Awards and a place in the Radio Hall of Fame.
According to the Washington Post, Corwin was seen as a visionary in an era when radio was a dominant news and entertainment medium. In addition to radio, he authored books, plays and scripts including a screenplay for the Kirk Douglas movie “Lust for Life.”
His work included the 1938 program “The Plot to Overthrow Christmas,” 1941’s “We Hold These Truths” and 1945’s “On a Note of Triumph,” which aired on the day the Allies declared victory in Europe in World War II and was heard by an estimated 60 million people, the Post reported.
According to Cox’s recent profile in RW, Corwin had limited radio experience at the time he joined CBS, namely a series of 15-minute experimental dramatizations of poetry over a Long Island station.
“A Boston-born journalist, he had come to radio by writing critiques as radio editor of the Springfield Republican in Massachusetts. Later he did radio publicity for 20th Century-Fox in New York.”
Norman Corwin Dies at 101 (Wash. Post)
Corwin Found the Music in Words (Radio World profile Jan. 2011)