Turn it Up! Confessions of a Radio Junkie came to me with the kind of pedigree I can’t ignore: blurb upon blurb by those who have worked in the radio industry for decades, and whose careers are themselves a stellar lineup of heavy-hitters. Rob Ellis, Bob Moody, and Nick Roberts all lend their voices to the mix, just to name three of those of whom I speak, and for a child of the silicon age it’s not necessarily an easy thing for me to recognize the big names in radio, but I certainly have heard of a fair few on Kevin Fodor’s list of blurbers.
As for the book itself, my expectations were high going in. With such high praise from the author’s radio compatriots, I felt justified in expecting the kind of content that only an “insider’s insider” can provide–the kind of content with real pith and texture (and let’s face it, the dirty laundry we all read industry-specific memoirs for) that such a person with such longevity within a field can provide.
And boy, does Fodor deliver. Not so much on the dirty laundry, to be fair; Fodor treats both his subject and those with whom he worked for so long with good humor and a real sensitivity which allows them all to shine. But when it comes to the meat and potatoes of radio, and all the spice and drama that has made it the enduring information (and entertainment) delivery format that it is, Fodor unleashes all of his many years of experience on the page.
When it comes to the radio bug, writes Fodor, “It’s been over 47 years since I was bitten. But it’s been one hell of a ride.” And that, my friends and dear readers, is the sum total of the preparation you need before diving into this memoir of a life spent on, and with, and behind the radio so many of us (yes, including me, a late night classical music radio fan) depend on for both delight and our daily operational information. Weather, news, pop culture commentary, new and old music, and daily traffic reports constitute the grease that keeps the machinery of our civilization humming, and radio is about the only portable source for all of the above.
… And Kevin? He was the voice behind that source. For fifty years.
My entire career is still but a fraction of fifty years. Ideally, by the end of it I’ll be able to claim such a legacy (and have such a long list of flattering blurbs for my memoirs), but no matter how long I end up writing about writing (or writing about publishing, or writing about my life’s great companion, the cat Sputnik), it’s doubtful I’ll come close to accruing the amazing compilation of stories that Kevin Fodor has in his fantastic memoirs–memoirs that pack a punch without wrecking the wrists while doing so. (I’m only throwing shade at the majority of modern memoirists and nonfiction writers here, all of whom seem to think it criminal to publish anything under 600 pages, not including appendices and references.) Turn it Up! clocks in at just over 240 pages, including everything but the cover.
The judicious use of discretion carries a lot of weight with me when it comes to reading memoirs. I love them, but I love them best when they know what they’re on about, and they know when and where they’re headed from the outset. A memoirist without a solid architecture to their recollections is a memoirist with a length problem, and is a memoirist who needs a lot of editing. To put it simply, I appreciate that Kevin Fodor can tell his stories and tell them in well under 250 pages. That’s an evening or two of good reading, and still enough time to put gas in the car, pick up dinner, and bring the pets in before dark.
Turn it Up! Confessions of a Radio Junkie serves up exactly the kind of delicacies that both radio wonks and those who simply love a good memoir crave: epic insider stories of the rise (and fall? I add with a question mark or two) of a mammoth industry, anecdotes from a man at the center of a spinning wheel of opportunities and constant happenings, wisecracks and humor tempered with the richness of a life well lived, and a whole lot of life-affirming storytelling.
WHERE TO BUY?
You can find Turn it Up! Confessions of a Radio Junkie by Kevin Fodor wherever good books are sold, including Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. You can also find out more about it on the book’s Outskirts Press listing.
My endless lineup of delightful books on my TBR pile includes James Ocansey’s health book, A New Lease on Life. I should probably confess that as I write this I’m finishing off a “sharing size” bag of peanut M&Ms, so we shall see just what kind of sins I have committed (or health opportunities I “have yet to seize”) in the days to come.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
* Courtesy of the author’s Outskirts Press biography.