By LISA FYBUSH
Only one week until Christmas? And the last night of Chanukah is…already over? If you’re scrambling for last-minute gifts, the NERW Bookshelf has a lot of last-minute options for radio and TV fans, whether you’re a hardcore techie or a pop-culture aficionado:
*One of our favorite new books this year tells the fascinating story of one of New England’s pioneer UHF stations, WWLP-TV (Channel 22) in Springfield, and the remarkable couple who built that station and several more. How We Survived in UHF Television was co-written by William Lowell Putnam, WWLP’s longtime owner, and Kitty Broman Putnam, who began as Putnam’s assistant and eventually became his wife – as well as the station’s popular daytime host. Their intertwined stories include anecdotes from the station’s early struggles, the tales of defunct sister stations in Greenfield and Worcester, and their company’s expansion to WKEF-TV in Dayton, Ohio and KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah. Besides their reminiscences, Bill shares several original poems, and Kitty includes some of her favorite recipes from her local cooking show.
(And remarkably, both Putnams are still alive and well in their mid-90s, living in retirement in Flagstaff, Arizona, where William Putnam is the trustee of the Lowell Observatory, founded by one of his ancestors, famed astronomer Percival Lowell.)
*Arcadia Publishing continued to enrich its library of broadcast history books this year with Hartford Radio by John Ramsey, chief engineer of WCCC and webmaster of hartfordradiohistory.com. Highlights include WDRC’s role in early FM technology and how Hartford residents found out World War II was over from listening to the radio. Ramsey also shares stories about radio’s role during emergencies from two floods to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Music lovers can learn how Hartford was a gateway for the 1960s British Invasion.
*Fresh off the Arcadia presses is John Rooke’s Rhode Island Radio, covering the Ocean State’s broadcast history from its launch during the 1920s department store “wars” to today. Rooke, a Rhode Island broadcast veteran, shows how the smallest state became one of the biggest influences in the industry. Affiliate programming began with the Yankee Network, created by the Shepard brothers, and formats as diverse as Top 40 and talk have roots in Rhode Island. Famous names in the book include Salty Brine, Sherm Strickhouser, Jack Comley, Ed Pearson, Ernie Anderson and Don Pardo. Gary Berkowitz, whose career began at WPRO, wrote the foreword.
(Syracuse will have its day in the sun in March, when Arcadia releases Syracuse Television by Christie Casciano Burns, and there’s a New York City radio book coming from Alec Cumming and Peter Kanze, too.)
*The Dave Maynard Spin highlights the life of the WBZ radio legend from a new angle — a post-career friend and neighbor. Written by Suzan Franks, who lives in the same Florida retirement community that Maynard did, the book contains comprehensive anecdotes, career highlights, back stories and strange tales of the nearly 50 years that Maynard was on radio and TV. And it all started when Maynard was nice enough to switch seats at the pool of their complex.
*Yes, it was published three years ago, but Antenna Zoning: Professional Edition — Cellular, TV, Radio and Wireless Internet has been updated several times since then, and it’s still an invaluable source for anyone working with commercial antennas. Based in Massachusetts, author Fred Hopengarten is a communications lawyer specializing in antennas and towers, and he knows how to strike a tower deal. This book contains information on everything from important people to schmooze to safety and construction issues. It comes with a handy CD-ROM that contains sample legal forms and permit applications, case histories and lease clauses, among other information.
*McFarland has released previously published Broadcasting on the Short Waves, 1945 to Today, in softcover. The detailed history written by Boston-area attorney and shortwave enthusiast Jerome Berg, includes a year-by-year account of the active shortwave bands from 1945 to 2008. It also catalogs what American listeners could hear on the international and domestic bands, and the stations that came and went. There are extensive illustrations and notes. Any short-wave fans who didn’t buy this in 2008 have a prime opportunity to correct that now.
*Classical and jazz icon Ron Della Chiesa is doing his own reminiscing in his just-out memoir, Radio My Way, in which he shares stories about his childhood in Quincy, his career as the announcer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and his two radio shows on WPLM, “Strictly Sinatra” and “MusicAmerica.” He also reveals longtime friendships with such musical greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Luciano Pavarotti and Tony Bennett. The book reveals some personal stories, such as how Della Chiesa was told at age 10 that he couldn’t make it in radio due to his heavy South Shore accent, which he immediately worked to correct until he “officially welcomed the ‘R’ into my life.”
*Is a “youthful radio legend” an oxymoron? Not if that legend is WBZ veteran Dick Summer, who shares his personal wellness program in his new book Staying Happy, Healthy and Hot: We’re the Brand-New Louie Louie Generation. Summer (who’s now known for a voice-over career that lately has included the ubiquitous Binder & Binder ads) admits that the “New Louie Louie Generation folks don’t look like the people in the beer commercials anymore, with their fancy abs and perky breasts.” But, he says, “we have some surprises in store for the ‘Pimple People’ and the ‘Dreary Drones,’ who think we have any intention of letting ourselves turn into a bunch of lukewarm slabs of meat.”
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*And while you can order any of those books above (and millions of other items) through our link to Amazon and benefit NERW in the process, we also hope you’ll take a moment, should you be looking for a last-minute holiday gift, to check out what we have right here at our very own Fybush.com Store!
There’s the world-famous Tower Site Calendar, 2013 edition, back for another exciting year (its 12th!) with a new design, a slicker, sturdier binding and more than a dozen artistic full-color photos from Scott’s travels all over the country, as documented right here on Tower Site of the Week.
Place your order by Wednesday, December 19 and we’ll do our very best to make sure it’s shipped out to you in time for Christmas!
Check out our other offerings, too:
There’s the last remaining stock of the FM Atlas, 21st edition, the final update ever due to last year’s passing of editor Bruce Elving. This is a must-have guide for any FM radio lover, featuring 288 pages of maps, articles, engineering data and detailed listings, including details on LPFMs and HD Radio.
We now also carry the National Radio Club AM Log. Now in its 33rd edition, this book is the ultimate source for information on North American AM stations, with approximately 294 pages of data and cross references, and 18 pages of instructions. The log comes in a loose-leaf format, 8-1/2 x 11 inches and 3-hole punched, to fit nicely into a one-inch three-ring binder.
Thanks for your support, and happy holidays from all of us here at Fybush Media!