"It was all so honest, before the end of our collective innocence. Top Forty jocks screamed and yelled and sounded mightier than God on millions of transistor radios. But on FM radio it was all spun out for only you. On a golden web by a master weaver driven by fifty thousand magical watts of crystal clear power . . . before the days of trashy, hedonistic dumbspeak and disposable three-minute ditties . . . in the days where rock lived at many addresses in many cities." –from FM
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.
A Voice of Reason
By lb136 "lb136" - October 10, 2001
From the hours of 6:00-10:00 a.m. on Saturdays, the tumult and the shouting pauses on New York City's sports talk station WFAN. Host Richard Neer, known to his regular callers as "The Voice of Reason," is presiding, and sanity reigns, if only for a short while. Of course, New Yorkers have been getting up with Mr. Neer for a long time. Before his present gig as a sports talk host, the author was affiliated with the legendary aor FM station, WNEW, and it's that station's story he tells here, in his usual understated fashion.Neer was music director, program director, overnight jock, and did two stints as the morning man in his 28 years with the station (he stayed to turn out the lights) and in that time he knew and tells us about, such legendary jocks as Jonathan Schwartz, Bill (Rosko) Mercer, Scott Muni (who he seems to admire the most), and Alison Steele ("The Nightbird"). He also knows Bruce Springsteen and devotes a chapter to him, and another to the night... read more
FM: A Book For Progressive Rock Music and Radio Lovers
By Allan M. Sniffen - October 2, 2001
Richard Neer�s book �FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio� is a book I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in New York City's WNEW-FM and Progressive Rock Radio in general. It�s a big picture story, not a discussion of minutia. If you�re looking for a compendium of who worked when at WNEW-FM then this isn�t the place to find it. Instead, Neer�s purpose is to paint a picture of what he believes built WNEW-FM, what sustained it and what ultimately destroyed it. It is a book about the forest, not a book about the trees in it.It basically has three parts. In the first, Neer talks about getting his first job in commercial radio at WLIR on Long Island, how he became lifelong friends with Michael Harrison (now of Talkers Magazine) and how he fell in love with WNEW-FM just by listening to it. He describes the station�s genesis from the remains of WOR-FM�s foray into Progressive Radio and how people like Scott Muni,... read more
Good book for anyone interested in rock or FM radio
By Ronald Brown "rboffp" - December 28, 2001
I enjoyed this book about the history of FM rock radio. I live in the New York metro area and grew up listening to WNEW (Richard Neer's station) and WPLJ (the biggest competitor). So many of the characters (mostly the DJs) were familiar to me. Richard Neer does a good job of intertwining his story with the larger story of the FM radio and rock music industries. He does tell us about many of the people of the industry and sometimes it is a little much to keep track of all. All-in-all recommended for anyone with any interest in rock music or the NYC radio scene.
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