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Comment: clean, tight, has a remainder mark,() Rick Shannon is an unemployed FM rock DJ considering a change in career. But just as he begins selling off his record collection, a job offer comes from a small station in Mississippi, where a DJ recently stopped showing up for work. After discovering an audiotape that might explain the fate of the missing DJ, Rick decides to look into the matter. Sensing a new career path, he assumes another identity: Buddy Miles, PI, naming himself after the one-time drummer for Jimi Hendrix. The result is classic Fitzhugh. A wickedly funny amateur investigation that turns up blackmail, murder, arson, and a major FCC violation. The suspects literally come out of the woods, ranging from a divorcé who rents construction equipment to a former local beauty pageant queen (Miss Tire & Auto Parts) to the station's general manager and the president of a local personal finance company (who has peculiar ideas about collateral). This smart, satiric, southern romp of a Or
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Radio Activity Hardcover – Mar 18 2004

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 306 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (March 18 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380977591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380977598
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.9 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,714,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Booklist

Fitzhugh takes things down a few notches in his latest, which has more radio than activity. Disc-jockey Rick Shannon, rendered a hapless nomad by the heartless homogenization of corporate mass media, is at the point of selling blood or--worse--vinyl when a lil' ol' rock station run by a big ol' jackass hires him on as their new program director, replacing a man whose sudden disappearance and untimely incorporation into the red earth of Mississippi sparks an ambling amateur investigation, stirring up less than the usual quota of quirky characters and plot twists. The result is a kinder, gentler, more laid-back and consequently much less funny version of Carl Hiaasen. There are glimmers of down-home charm here and there, but the author's real enthusiasm is reserved for loving and lengthy descriptions of classic-rock trivia, play lists, song sets, and segues. Lacking the wit or heart of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, Fitzhugh's story is upstaged by its own killer soundtrack, but that is in itself a recommendation of sorts for a select audience. David Wright
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Bill Fitzhugh worked at several FM rock radio stations in the 1970s and 1980s. Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, he prefers The Band, Little Feat, and Van Morrison to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Iron Butterfly. The author of numerous screenplays and five comic novels, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and his record collection.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
In his previous novels mystery author Bill Fitzhugh has used various industries as backdrops for his stories, including pest control, biotechnology, organ transplantation (both human-to-human and animal-to-human), country music, and advertising. In RADIO ACTIVITY, his latest effort, Fitzhugh sets his sites on the radio industry.
Rock and roll deejay Rick Shannon has seen better days. Media giant Clean Signal Corporation (a jab at real-life media monster Clear Channel) has gobbled up the radio station that had provided him with gainful if less than glamorous and far less than artistically satisfying employment. His vast and precious record collection turns out to be worth far less where he is, in Bismarck, North Dakota, than it would be elsewhere, which is exactly where Rick would like to be. So when he is offered the seven-to-midnight shift on classic rock station WAOR in McRae, Mississippi, he packs his stuff into his pick-up and heads for yet another radio gig, his fifteenth in twenty years.
What Rick finds in McRae is ultra-smarmy WAOR station manager Clay Stubblefield. Clay informs Rick on his arrival that he has already been promoted to program director, the position having been vacated thanks to the disappearance of notorious cokehead Jack Carter. Rick accepts the news with something less than full enthusiasm. But a man without a paycheck is easily swayed.
At Clay's invitation Rick moves into Carter's abandoned mobile home. After settling in Rick finds a reel-to-reel tape, apparently hidden by Carter, of a telephone conversation between Stubblefield and an unidentified man.
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Format: Hardcover
Rick Shannon is a dinosaur. In the every changing face of mass pleasing corporate radio Rick is a classic rock DJ who cares about both the quality of music and staying true to your listeners. Of course, this makes him nearly unemployable. So when shady station general manager Clay Stubblefield calls with an offer, Rick has no choice but to travel down to good ole' McRae, Mississippi to take the job. But with that job comes a mystery. What happened to Captain Jack the former program director, and what's with the mysterious recording that Captain Jack had hidden in an old Chicago boxset? Thus Rick adopts the persona of Buddy Miles, private investigator and with the help of the alluring and properly made up station receptionist, Rick is definitely going to get to the bottom of it.

In Radio Activity, Bill Fitzhugh has stepped away from the slapstick goofiness of such fun novels as Pest Control, The Organ Grinders and Heart Seizure and has created a down to earth and surprisingly low keyed tale of corruption and intrigue in a local radio station. Like Kellerman's Alex Delaware or James W, Hall's Thorn, Rick Shannon is Bill Fitzhugh's voice. A character destined for the multi-novel series treatment and one with lots of potential. Yet, there is another character here, and that is the music. Fitzhugh let's us in on the discussion of what "classic rock" really is. Is it the everyday hits we here played over and over on out radio's or is it more than that. Fitzhugh tackles a topic that he really knows and loves and makes us start to love it. Now, I'm a little young for that particular genre, but it made me want to run down to my parent's basement and sort through all their old vinyl's looking for hidden treasures.

For fans of Fitzhugh this novel is more along the lines of Fender Benders, which was one of my favorites in this writer's collection. I for one cannot wait to see what advertures Rick Shannon gets into next.
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Format: Hardcover
Bill Fitzhugh is one of those authors whose books always go to the top of my to-be-read pile. However, this one is disappointing in every way. While the characters are likeable enough, the plot is almost nonexistant. It meanders. In fact, the book doesn't really end. It just slows until the paper runs out. It is as if Mr. Fitzhugh had to write something, anything, to fulfill a contract. Perhaps it was just an excuse for him to let us all know that he is well versed in the radio business and that he can easily remember obscure music trivia.
This book is so unlike his others, I am going to assume it's a one-off mistake and his next book will be back up to speed.
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Format: Hardcover
Great stuff as ever from Bill Fitzhugh. As well as the usual endearing characters, a fun plot that breezes along, and plenty of smiles, there's also tons of interesting stuff about classic rock and radio stations which had me reaching for my CD wish list. Bill Fitzhugh has a real knack for making even his not so nice characters likeable, and sometimes even loveable. Left me with a good feeling for days after I finished it. Can't wait for the follow up.
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Format: Hardcover
Who is Tommy Bolin and is "Teaser" any good? That is just one of many questions I'm asking myself after reading Radio Activity. Anyone into classic rock will enjoy the great references, the trivia, the professional selection of music to be played on a classic rock station.
The music and the radio business intrigue is blended with a fine mystery. Bill Fitzhugh has honed his writing skills while maintaining his great sense of humor.
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