Radio Activity Hardcover – Mar 18 2004
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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
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I loved all the classic rock references and the info about how a radio station is run and how a dj's work is done. Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by dchristine
I'm an avid reader and I got addicted to this author back when I first read Pest Control. However, I never even finished this book I was so bored with it. Read morePublished on May 29 2004
WITH RADIO ACTIVITY,I HAVE NOW READ ALL OF MR.FITZHUGH'S NOVELS.THIS ONE IS THE MOST DISAPPOINTING.I'M USED TO A GREAT READ AND A THOUSAND LAUGHS.NARY A ONE IN THIS BOOK. Read morePublished on May 19 2004
Fitzhugh scores bigtime with his new book...great music history, a keen understanding of radio's future, superb characterizations (the station manager is to be found everywhere), a... Read morePublished on April 26 2004