Looking for a suitable gift for the radio geek in your life? Scott Fybush is out with his annual tower calendar for 2003.
Fybush is an über-writer. He contributes to Radio World. He created the "Tower Site of the Week" and "NorthEast Radio Watch." He's editor of the radio directory 100000watts.com. He travels the country visiting broadcast facilities. And he sold out his first tower calendar last year.
Each month of the 2003 calendar has an 8-by-11-inch color picture of a broadcast transmitter site taken by Fybush during his travels.
Sites include Mount Mansfield, at the highest spot in Vermont; WHJJ(AM) in Providence, R.I.; WTIC(AM/FM) in Hartford, Conn.; WBEN(AM) in Buffalo; WIBC(AM) in Indianapolis; Brookmans Park in England, home to a BBC AM facility; WGN(AM) Chicago; and WPAT(AM) in Paterson, N.J., just off the Garden State Parkway, up near where I grew up.
In addition to tower photos, the pages include dates in radio and television history, holidays and major industry trade shows and events.
The calendar costs $16 including delivery, slightly more in New York. You can use a credit card to order.
For info, visit www.fybush.com or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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While we're on the subject of holiday gifts, how about a Holliday book?
"Johnny Holliday: From Rock to Jock" tells the story of a man whose voice we know from his sports work at ABC Radio Networks, his coverage of the Olympics and, locally, his play-by-play of University of Maryland Terrapins football and basketball. (Fear the Turtle!)
Holliday was a rock and top-40 jock before he was a sports voice, earning national recognition at Cleveland's WHK. He also worked in Miami, New York, Washington, San Francisco and Rochester. He has done public address and voice work for pro sports teams like the Browns, Warriors, Raiders, Redskins and Orioles. I've personally seen him perform in yet another role, that of stage actor.
Radio, acting, sports. A man after my own damn heart.
Holliday's pleasure at what he does is apparent on the opening page:
"Who wouldn't get excited to hop a plane, travel to Anaheim, and get paid to cover Maryland playing the NCAA tournament against the number-one seed in the West, and the second-ranked team in the nation, the Stanford Cardinals? ... How about pocketing a paycheck to help introduce the Beatles to a hysterical Candlestick Park, or chat with Janis Joplin, the Jefferson Airplane and other rock stars?"
Written with Stephen Moore, this is an anecdotal, name-dropping, first-person look at one broadcaster's life, produced by Sports Publishing LLC. If you love radio, sports or both, you'll find it hard to stop flipping through it. Hard-cover, $22.95, at (877) 424-2665 or www.SportsPublishingLLC.com.
Also check out the company's books about Jack Buck, Lou Boudreau, Harry Caray and George Kell.
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And if the idea of curling up in the dark and listening to the sounds of a distant radio station appeals to you, try Michael C. Keith's "Sounds in the Dark: All-Night Radio in American Life," published by Iowa State University Press.
For me, nighttime radio meant listening to Mets games from the West Coast in the 1970s as I lay in bed; driving around southern Delaware with friends and bopping to the oldies of Dick Bartley on Saturday nights in the 1980s; and turning on WETA(FM) when I can't sleep, in search of comforting classical music, in 2002.
Some of my nighttime listening is really evening listening. Michael Keith focuses on the real overnights - midnight to sunrise - by talking to more than 100 radio people, including scholars, reporters, programmers and late-night hosts. They discuss the history of nighttime radio, the evolution of its music formats, DXing, border blasters, automation, Jean Shepherd, Larry King, Art Bell, conservative talk trends and much more.
Hardcover, $34.95. Call (800) 862-6657 or visit www.isupress.com.
Let me know about your own recent book discoveries.