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Radio Waves: Life and Revolution on the Fm Dial Paperback – May 15, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (May 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312077866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312077860
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Not ony is Ladd, a L.A. disc jockey for more than 20 years, trapped in a 1960s-1970s time warp, the golden age of rock, but he seems to be unaware of his own hype. He views pre-rock tunes as bubblegum music and those written after 1980 as corporate music for yuppiedom. He ascribes a nobility of motive, a power of intellect and virtually limitless talent to the top rockers, arguing that John Lennon, for one, "created some of the most enduring music of all time." If Ladd's uncritical enthusiasm for the era and its stars does not prove off-putting to discerning readers, the lyrics he quotes in abundance will. Stripped of the music, the messages and sentiments expressed by the lyrics sound anything but profound. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This account of Ladd's career as a Los Angeles FM radio disc jockey spans the late 1960s to the late 1980s. Ladd begins with a summary of the rise of free-form FM radio as an alternative to top-40 programming under Tom Donahue at KMPX and later KSAN in San Francisco. He masks many names and stations' call letters in pseudonyms, diminishing his book's value as a historical account. However, his story is by turns inspiring and infuriating, as we read of the creative new medium being gradually co-opted by its corporate ownership and forced into a strict programming format adhering to market research. Ladd offers appealing reading for those with an interest in 1960s culture, rock music, and broadcast media. His anecdotal insider's view of the radio industry fills a subject gap, and, therefore, most public libraries should have it.
-David Dodd, Benicia P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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He writes about the good times and the bad times.
Michelle A. Cope
This is a book I ended up reading cover to cover in a couple of days and I enjoyed it.
Pam
As a professional disk jockey for a rock radio station, I absolutely LOVED this book.
"rockdjchick"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "rockdjchick" on August 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a professional disk jockey for a rock radio station, I absolutely LOVED this book. It's the Bible to some DJ's I know, myself included! Jim Ladd, the author, pretty much spews his autobiography here while telling an enchanting true tale of the rise and fall of free-form radio. If you've ever wondered why when you call a radio station, they won't play your request, this is where to find the answers...and you will be shocked to find out how things really operate in this, the age of the major corporation. He takes you thru the very beginning of rock radio in the California of the 60's and its emergence as the alternative to the scream-at-you style of the pop-music format. With quotes from his actual radio broadcasts and detailed interviews with such legends as the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, and, especially, the elusive John Lennon, Ladd relives the era in an easy-to-read page-turner spiked with radio antidotes, including a tale I found particularly amusing in one of the first chapters, where he rewards himself for being able to pull 2 shifts in a 12 hour period of time by smoking marijuana on the fire escape only to lock himself out! I also enjoyed his tales on getting his listeners to flood the White House phone lines with complaints about an herbicide being sprayed on marijuana, his experience hosting one of the few live performances of Pink Floyd "The Wall", and his revolt against corporate radio policies that eventually gets him fired. This book is an absolutely increadable read--it is a must for anyone who works or has worked in radio, and makes for good insight into this industry for the average radio listener. Pick yourself up a copy...you'll be delightfully surprised at its content!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
For those wondering what FM rock was like before the intervention of the omnipresent conglomerates, I recommend picking up a copy of Jim Ladd's "Radio Waves". In this book, Ladd relates his version of the dawning of FM rock in a narrative interspersed with names of actual radio personalities and rock performers as well as pseudonyms that are noted in a lengthy disclaimer.
Portions of the story mirror the rise and ultimate demise of the late great Los Angeles radio station KMET where Ladd once ruled the airwaves. ( Back before "the Wave", KMET was the preeminent rock station!) Ladd, the self-proclaimed "Lonesome L. A. Cowboy" takes the reader on a magical trip that begins in the late 60s with the emergence of free-form radio play at FM radio station KAOS. The tale ends with an onslaught of corporate greed at the radio station fittingly named KASH.
Being someone who grew up with Ladd providing (as he so eloquently describes it) "the soundtrack" of my youth, I appreciated the opportunity to relive that era. As a longtime deejay in the Los Angeles market, Ladd is known as much for his irreverence to authority as his dedication to providing the listener with a true musical experience. This book does not lack his attention on either count.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
As Jim Ladd relates in this important and always-
entertaining book, radio waves in their purest form
are light. And they've been falling on his lucky listeners,
unstrained, for a time that selective radio fans hope will never end.
What's more important than this legendary
L.A. deejay soldiering on through those Monday nights
when it might seem as though few are listening is that,
in this age of corporate mergers and conformity, the man
dares to take a stand.
God always favors the principled man, especially the artist!
During an era when Bruce Springsteen can be the opening act for
a commercial venue like Staples Center, one of the ubiquitous stadiums to now baldly bear a corporate logo (this one's visible from the skies of L.A. in gargantuan red neon letters; let's not miss an advertising opportunity!) Ladd hasn't lost his integrity. He has, during his entire radio career, eschewed "the list," or the playlists that plague all of Los Angeles' and other major markets' airwaves. His genuine fondness and respect for the medium radiate from the pages
of "Radio Waves."
He's referred to radio as an "electronic campfire" by which those faithful to concepts such as freedom and brotherly love gather and warm themselves.
Ladd was lucky enough to preside over a time in F.M. radio when it truly influenced and saturated every aspect of popular culture. His view--that the radio dial still possesses the power to unify and inspire us--is refreshing, and lamentably lacking in active supporters. While cynical survivors of the '90s might doubt that we can "get back to the garden" or visit that "mansion on the hill," isn't it nice that SOMEONE out there is telling us we can?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By radioguy@stones.com on September 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
This title is great! As a broadcaster who's too young to remember the first days of FM...I've read this book twice and have even given copies as gifts. This may be the most enjoyable book I've ever read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pam on June 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Radio Waves from the contest of a listener. This book brought me back to the time when I used to listen to the radio. I grew up with the Mighty MET and reading about those days was a journey into what used to be. This is a book I ended up reading cover to cover in a couple of days and I enjoyed it. In late 70's and early 80's, KMET was THE station. Everyone had KMET drawn on every Peechee folder in high school...right next to the tennis player with a joint drawn in, and very close to all the Zeppelin doodlings. KMET blasted from every ghetto blaster on the beach and was the bane of every OCTA bus driver to and from Newport Beach going down Harbor as the kids blasted it from the back of the busses. I was one of those kids. I was lucky to have heard FM radio the way it used to be.

If you were a KMET listener you'll enjoy this book.
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