At its core, Radioland is a contemporary political novel. It is the story of an old man's pursuit for justice after the murder of his son and his son's wife by a white nationalist. Harry Chalberg blamed the Cal Brown Radio Show for inciting vulnerable people to commit violence against others. After a long successful career as a prosecuting attorney for the State of Maryland, Harry Chalberg began working pro bono for the National Tolerance Law Center. He and his career long assistant Mariam Katz only devoted their senior years to make the conservative advocacy media accountable for the rhetoric broadcasted on the network.
It is also a story of how money influences the definition of acceptable and unacceptable, right and wrong, and decency. How special interest and large multi-national business concerns use politicians and the courts to ensure their longevity. Austin Securities and Investments is an influential multifaceted international corporation with hundreds of billions in revenues worldwide. Hailey Austin, the co-chairman of the board has used his money / influence to create New Signal News (NSN) a conservative media conglomerate with radio and television stations from coast to coast. Worden McAllister, a think tank owned by Austin Securities, developed an idea in the mid-1980s. They used Joseph Goebbels’ 1930s media influence in Germany as their model for their new programming. The intent behind the creation of NSN was to control the narrative and redirect attention when necessary, not to promote a master Arian race theory.
It is the story of how Calvin Brown, a naïve country young man from a small town in Breckenridge County, Kentucky, became the voice of conservative talk radio. He and his wife Mary had ambitions of somehow becoming rich. They moved to Chicago where Cal took a job at a small radio station who played nothing but smooth jazz. His deep voice with a soft Southern drawl was exactly what Andy Cole was looking for when her heard Calvin in the radio. The serendipitous encounter between Calvin Brown and Andy Cole was the first step in Calvin's extraordinarily lucrative career. It was the opportunity of a lifetime the price of which was too much to pay. Everything in Calvin's life changed even his name.
Jack Austin Jr. was Hailey Austin's older brother. The Austin brothers were raised in Fresno, California, the sons of Jack Austin Sr, who owned a successful farm implement dealer. The brother couldn't have been more different. The brothers were cochairmen of the board of directors of Austin Securities. Hailey was the super successful enigmatic businessman who grew his father's small farm implement business into an enormous international success. Jack Jr. had little to say about the day-to-day operations of the business. He managed, The Austin Brothers Charitable Foundation. Although they were very different people, they split the profits fifty-fifty making the brothers two of the wealthiest men on Earth. By hunch, Jack hired Carlos Solis, a small-town young lawyer, to investigate various aspects of the business.
The story follows Harry Chalberg and Mariam Katz in their pursuit to bring justice for the collateral damage caused by the Cal Brown Show. As Cal Brown's career is ending, the aspirations of LaVerta Stoneberger, a troubled young woman from Sheridan, Montana are just beginning.