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In the good old days, the music on the radio wasn't preselected by a computer program. Stations honored listener requests. In the case of the Coon Sanders Nighthawks Orchestra's weekly show on WDAF radio, in 1920s Kansas City, the music wasn't even prerecorded. The Nighthawks were a popular, local big band that broadcast live from the downtown Muehlebach Hotel. In the days before Twitter, fans submitted their desired musical selections via written letter, telephone or telegram. Eventually, the Nighthawks flew this coop for Chicago and earned coast-to-coast acclaim and continued success on the airwaves. Chuck Haddix, host of KCUR 89.3's Fish Fry, waxes nostalgic about the golden era of radio in a presentation at Shawnee Town Museum (11600 Johnson Drive, 913-248-2360). His talk is titled "Coon Sanders Nighthawks Orchestra: The Band That Made Radio Famous." The 7 p.m. lecture is free.— Crystal K. Wiebe
Tue., Oct. 12, 7 p.m., 2010

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