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Radio Waves: Life and Revolution on the Fm Dial
An explosive, unforgettable look at the FM radio business through the eyes of one of its most colorful and idealistic personalities. Ladd follows the birth, blazing success, and tragic demise of FM free-form radio.
Paperback, 332 pages
Published May 15th 1992 by St. Martin's Griffin
(first published May 1991)
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This book explains why KMET was my radio station of choice, why I eventually drifted away from it, and why broadcast radio today is completely soulless. Jim Ladd, man, the number of times I listened to him talk and thought he was so right on with his observations. Loved his commentary so much, spoke directly to those of us who let our freak flag fly. Not to mention the music, oh, the music! I am so thankful I was able to experience FM radio at its absolute best in the late '70's. Jim Ladd: best ...more
Ah, the good old days of free-form FM rock and roll stations. Jim Ladd, who I used to listen to in my younger years in LA, spins a tale that saddens those of us who were able to experience radio when it was good, when a musically knowledgeable and adventurous DJ could take us on journeys that could change your mood, change your day or change your life. Long live rock and roll and may the spirit of free form rock and roll radio live on (though probably only on satellite radio these days).
I gobbled this book up in two days. Jim Ladd was Tom Petty's inspiration for the album, "The Last DJ," and this is the chronicle of Ladd's glory days during the formative years of the LA FM underground. I listened to that music a lot, so this book had a lot of personal resonance for me.
The book might also be subtitled: "The Decline and Fall of Free-Form FM Radio". Though Ladd gives a good summary of the beginning of Free-Form FM Radio, the second half of his memories from KMET are a roadmap for how to commodify something that defies commodification. It's a tragedy, yet a love story. Jim Ladd is now on SiriusXM satellite radio doing what he loves with seemingly no limits. Perhaps the day will come when he writes a sequel.
A great first-hand account of the days of free form FM radio from one of the masters of the art. It made me remember how much I wanted to be a DJ when I was a teenager. But by the time I was old enough to try, radio had become a soulless formula, with very few live DJs. I wish there had been a final chapter on what happened to the various DJs and characters in the book after KMET imploded.
When I first read this book...not only did I get a lot of laughs out of it, it also reminded me of the glory days of pirate radio....you won't find anything else like it. If you want to know what it was like working at a FM station back in the late 60s - early 70s......this is a must-read!