Review: Playing in the FM Band: A Personal Account of Free Radio, by Steve Post
I picked up Steve Post’s Playing in the FM Band: A Personal Account of Free Radio with more than the usual mix of anticipation and trepidation. You see, I, too, am a Pacifica orphan — not at anywhere near the level Post and contemporaries were, but WBAI-FM was – from my sophomore year of high school until my mid-twenties – one of the places that shaped me. I volunteered at the station, doing everything from equipment setup for concerts to stuffing envelopes and answering phones during marathons. The two major relationships of those years were with men I met at the station. Heck, one of my cousins even became Operations Manager there (long after my time, but still…).
that said, the book is a fascinating look behind the scenes at what was a very exciting time for radio — at least here in NYC. Some of the items Post talks about I only knew bits and pieces of, others I was right there for. The men who shaped my life in those days, Steve Post, of course, Larry Josephson, and Bob Fass are all gone now. The last of NY’s great free-form radio announcers, Vin Scelsa, retired in 2015. Still, the memories I’ve on, and it was good to see them from someone else’s viewpoint.
As with much of my reading this year, this book is –in many ways — about stories and how we communicate them.
I do recommend this book (if you can find it – it’s kind of hard to find) if you are into radio, or into the changing music, environment, world, and political era Post reflects on. If you ever took part in college radio (announcer, news, engineer) or held an FCC 3rd Class (or better) license, you will also find much to remember here.