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Most Helpful Favorable Review
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
Fascinating View of NY Progressive Radio
posted by Anonymous on September 5, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.
A fitting tribute to a formerly great radio station
posted by Anonymous on February 6, 2002Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 25, 2001
For devotees only
If you are of a certain age and grew up in America, there's a good chance that you spent many hours listening to FM radio. If like me you lived in the NY area you would have listened to WNEW-FM and developed an intense (one-sided) bond with the announcers -- people like Rosko, Scott Muni, and Jonathan Schwartz -- and felt that you were the acme of cool for doing so. You would listen every chance you could -- while relaxing, studying, driving, eating -- and even made time to listen if a certain DJ was broadcasting on a given night. Free-form FM radio seemed great. To live through its gradual erosion an ultimate disappearance over the last 20 years was painful, and a lesson in how the free market can create something of rare beauty but then turn and destroy it. Richard Neer was a slight latecomer to the rise of WNEW-FM but was an integral part of its glory years (and a superb DJ) who was there for the inexorable fall of that station and the whole notion of free-form radio. FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio tells that story, centering on WNEW-FM but giving some space to 'sister stations' around the country. Neer provides many details and anecdotes that devoted, nostalgic fans will devour -- such as the all-nighter he pulled to show up an arrogant and condescending Jonathan Schwartz. Early on he briefly conveys the special feeling of the FM radio of 25 to 30 years ago -- the intimacy, the sense that that voice coming out of the box was especially for you. And then the gradual closing in of market forces that have left us with pre-programmed music radio or insufferable shock jocks. Unfortunately Neer is overly preoccupied with personalities and rarely steps back to convey a sense of the larger picture. I think that anyone not already fascinated by the topic will wonder what all the fuss was about. Changes in the country as a whole and popular culture specifically are discussed in passing, if at all. Some more explication of why WNEW-FM and free-form radio in general seemed so great at the time would have been preferable. And how about an accompanying CD to hear Rosko welcome you, one last time, to 'the hippest of all trips'? Stylistically, FM is often awkward. To give other geographical areas their due, and to weave a story of different people and career paths, the chronology can become confusing. Neer's phrasing can be clumsy, such as his description of an early 1960's radio management technique as being 'time-honored'. Yeah, maybe by now, but surely not back then when it was invented. On the other hand, if you've been a fan of his as a music jock and/or a sports announcer (on WFAN), you may enjoy hearing Neer's voice in the book. Which is the main limitation of FM -- if you're an old radio fan like me chances are you'll love it. If not you may not get past the first chapter. Shortly before its ultimate demise as a music station, WNEW-FM broadcast a tape of its from a day in 1972 (25 years earlier), complete with commercials, DJ raps, and music. Listening to it I thought, hey, it wasn't just nostalgia. That really *was* great.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.