The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio
Villard Books, Paperback, 9780812992656, 384pp.
Publication Date: October 28, 1998
As a young man, Richard Neer dreamed of landing a job at WNEW in New York-one of the revolutionary FM stations across the country that were changing the face of radio by rejecting strict formatting and letting disc jockeys play whatever they wanted. He felt that when he got there, he'd have made the big time. Little did he know he'd have shaped rock history as well.
FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio chronicles the birth, growth, and death of free-form rock-and-roll radio through the stories of the movement's flagship stations. In the late sixties and early seventies-at stations like KSAN in San Francisco, WBCN in Boston, WMMR in Philadelphia, KMET in Los Angeles, WNEW, and others-disc jockeys became the gatekeepers, critics, and gurus of new music. Jocks like Scott Muni, Vin Scelsa, Jonathan Schwartz, and Neer developed loyal followings and had incredible influence on their listeners and on the early careers of artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Genesis, the Cars, and many others.
Full of fascinating firsthand stories, FM documents the commodification of an iconoclastic phenomenon, revealing how counterculture was coopted and consumed by the mainstream. Richard Neer was an eyewitness to, and participant in, this history. FM is the tale of his exhilarating ride.
"From the Hardcover edition.
"Rock music had become my religion. Radio my church. And these DJs my priests, rabbis, and gurus. They would preach from the gospel of Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, the Book of Townshend, the Song of the Byrds, and the Acts of Davies. The New Testament would include Procol Harum, Them, Traffic, Cream, the Jeff Beck Group, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin. After Sgt. Pepper it was the Exodus of singles and the Revelations of albums. And we listened and listened and listened and learned.
WNEW, 102.7, was our local Temple of Solomon and somehow these stations were popping up in every major city simultaneously like a planned invasion from outer space. And with them a new generation of DJs, our generation, speaking to us. Personally. Understanding as only we understood. Inspiring us, motivating us, conjuring up images and stimulating the senses as only radio can do when it is in the hands of the righteous.
And then it was over."
--from the Foreword by Steven Van Zandt