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Book Review: "Something in the Air" by Marc Fisher

"Radio, Rock, and the Revolution That Shaped a Generation"


"Something in the Air" by Marc Fisher (Random House/2007)

Photo Credit: © Random House
Updated March 02, 2007
Marc Fisher’s book about Radio's evolution in America is so good, I’m only on page 209 and I just had to start writing about it. Actually, I wanted to begin this article 100 pages ago but, I restrained myself. Yet, even though I have more than another 100 pages to read, I don’t care: the review commences now.

Fisher’s work is so well-crafted, it wouldn’t matter if I ever finished reading it because I’ve already gotten so much out of what I have read, it’s as though I've already completed a full book.

But, "book" is too plain a term for "Something in the Air".

Fisher has put together the story of Radio’s growth in the United States in a highly entertaining tome that is extremely well documented with sources. If it wasn’t so easy to read, it might be mistaken for the best research project every done on the subject.

But, it is more than just all that; it is an awakening.

I have been in Radio all my adult life and I thought I knew a lot about the industry and its place in America. But, Fisher’s work has given me new insight into the importance of Radio in the second half of the 20th Century.

Fisher carefully weaves together the story of how the medium of Radio and the American culture has intertwined during the past 60 or so years to make both what they were - and what they have become. This is no easy task and the result of this union is not a simple story.

It is a saga of not only ideas and technology, but of music, formats, transistors, race, teenagers, politics, war, and an entire culture which came together to form a "perfect storm" of lifestyle. And when our culture changed, Radio continued to change - or was it when Radio changed, our culture continued to change?

That is a big part of the dichotomy of this story because in the end, there is no separating Radio and the culture that has embraced it.

"Something in the Air" also pays tribute to Radio’s most pivotal DJs, personalities, movers, shakers, and visionaries. The important leaps, changes, and morphing Radio has undergone in its development are accentuated by the stories of individuals who made this all possible. Some names you will recognize, many you won’t. Yet, it is all fascinating.

This book is a testament to the fact that Radio has been - and continues to be - so much more than just a process or method of content distribution. Radio has always beat as part of the American pulse.

"Something in the Air" will grip and entertain the typical listener but especially those who have ever spent any amount of time working in the industry.

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