Stuck for gift ideas? With the holidays upon us, here are a few for the radio person in your life (or for yourself).
I'm a big fan of "Riverwalk, Live From the Landing," a weekly show featuring The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, now in its 15th year. The program is produced by Pacific Vista Productions for Texas Public Radio and is heard on 140 or so stations via Public Radio International. Audio streaming allows Web listeners to hear the program online.
The producers write that "Riverwalk" is produced "with a passion and love for the music, and offers listeners a glimpse of the cultural context and historical setting in which jazz first reached out to a national audience." Yes. It's also damn good fun.
A super gift for your favorite jazz fan would be one of the radio broadcasts that have been released on CD and cassette. Themes include the spirit of gospel in jazz, American love songs and, most timely, "Hot Jazz for a Cool Yule." Its Web site also offers numerous studio CDs and soundtrack recordings featuring the band. Most of the CDs are in the $15-$17 range.
You can learn more at www.riverwalk.org. Tell them Paul McLane at Radio World sent you. And if you love the music as much as I do, let your local public radio station know.
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How about a subscription to Antique Radio Classified as a gift?
If your friend or family member knows what an Air King Skyscraper is, or thinks it would be fun to plan a trip to Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., for the GNYVWA Swap Meet, this one's for them (but make sure they don't already get it!). ARC calls itself the national publication for buyers and sellers of old radios and related items; it includes not just numerous classifieds but articles and lots of meeting information.
John V. Terrey is the editor. A subscription is $39.49 per year, or $57.95 if you choose first-class mail. Special rates are sometimes available for first-time trial subscriptions. Visit www.antiqueradio.com.
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"All Songs Considered" is the most popular of NPR's CD offerings. The series features music heard on the network's online music show by the same name.
The third compilation in the series was put together by the director of "All Things Considered," Bob Boilen, and includes cuts from classical accordionist Daniel Barski, guitarist Ry Cooder, Bob Brozman, Sigur Ros and Dirty Three. "All Songs Considered 3" costs $14.95 and can be purchased at http://shop.npr.org.
Also check out a separate, three-CD set called "I Heard It on NPR," a nice $30 gift for the flaming liberal on your musical shopping list.
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Radio World contributor and jingle archivist Ken R. -- the man with the mysterious initial -- has a new book coming out, his second, as we speak. (I had a small editing role in the book but am not commissioned on its sales.)
In "Up and Down the Dial," Ken relates funny and sad stories from his life and his career in radio and TV in a series of short sketches such as "Amok in Las Vegas" (Ken at the NAB show), "Here, Eat This" (Ken is almost poisoned live on the air by a national advertiser) and "Audio Restoration Gets Personal" (Ken listens to a real murder happening on tape). We also read about Ken's encounter with Cindy Crawford.
The book includes an audio CD with a send-up of top-40 radio circa 1962 and a montage of air checks from the early '60s, edited and compiled by Ken with help from Ed Brouder at Man from Mars Productions.
The price is $39.95 plus shipping. I have it on good authority that Ken will include a personal message to the recipient inside the front cover, if you ask nicely.
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And a tribute to broadcast facilities destroyed in a fire on Mount Washington, N.H., is part of a calendar for 2004, produced by another RW contributor, Scott Fybush.
The calendar, in its third year, is aimed at fans of broadcast transmitter sites. Fybush also operates the "Tower Site of the Week" and NorthEast Radio Watch.
"Even after more than tripling the press run from the inaugural 2002 edition, the 2003 edition sold out within months," he said.
Each month features an 8-by-11-inch color photo of a transmitter site taken by Fybush. Also featured in 2004 are facilities at WCBS/WFAN in New York; CKLW in Windsor, Ontario; WTEM (formerly WRC) in Washington; and the tower cluster at Cedar Hill, Texas.
Calendars cost $16 postpaid. Info and orders: www.fybush.com.