We Appreciate Your Enthusiasm: The Oral History of Q101

A package arrived in the mail over the weekend, and on opening it up I was delighted to find my copy of James VanOsdol’s book, We Appreciate Your Enthusiasm: The Oral History of Q101.

For those not familiar with the backstory, the book is all about WKQX – Q101 Chicago, a station that saw the rise of Alternative during the 90’s and early 2000’s. James has been planning this book for a long while, and launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2011, attracting over 350 backers who pledged nearly $15,000 to make the book happen.

My first thought on seeing the book was: it’s huge! I know that James put in a lot of time gathering and transcribing interviews, but the final product itself is massive! There us a tremendous amount of content, and it’s more than just a reprint of each person’s interview start to finish. The book is split into thematic chapters, with multiple people adding their commentary throughout.

The way the interviews are weaved together, this must have taken an incredible amount of time. I’ve only gotten started, but it feels very much like you’re listening in to a large group – like you’re eavesdropping on a conversation.

Just this morning, James’ book got a nice mention courtesy of Robert Feder’s column:

VanOsdol, a former Q101 personality, spent hundreds of hours over 16 months interviewing 75 fellow alums of the legendary modern rocker. The result is a riveting, you-are-there account of a Chicago radio treasure from its flip to alternative music in 1992 to its demise in July 2011. No one has ever captured the story of a local radio station with as much candor and insight.

Though I worked inside the same office as Q101 for a few years, I always felt a bit on the peripheral. We never really worked much, directly, with the on-air folks and were more or less a separate entity (just housed in the same location).

I do have a lot of fond memories of the place though, as a lot of really interesting and unexpected things happened with some degree of frequency there. I got to see a crocodile in the studio, happened to get my photo taken with Mr. T., and convinced all the members of Queensrÿche to autograph my jean jacket.

But for all my little notes and asides, the stories I have pale in comparison to the ones James (and the others he interviewed) have to share. For those who grew up listening to Q101, or for those wanting an insider’s view of the radio station… definitely pick up a copy of this book.

It’s currently availble on Amazon, with electronic versions for Kindle and Nook forthcoming. You can also pick up a copy yourself in person, in a week or so. The book release party will be at Challengers Comics – just a stone’s throw away from the Western Blue Line stop:

JVO Book Release Party
December 7, 2012 (7PM – 9PM)
Challengers Comics
1845 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Kudos to Meagan, who worked on formatting the book’s interior. It looks great!

Additional note: James has his own podcast, and is part of the Steve Dahl Network. If you’re interested in more of James’ interviews with musicians and celebrities, give it a whirl!

CHIRP Radio’s The First Time: First Car
James’ Kickstarter Project: Smells Like Rock Radio (An Oral History of Chicago’s Q101)

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This is so cool! Ordered. I remember sitting in the lobby at Q101, looking up at the giant Smashing Pumpkins poster, thinking about what amazing people have walked those halls. So when are you gonna write a book? Eh?

    mobiusbox Reply

    • I know the feeling you’re describing. Having been there for a few years, it was generally considered uncool to be gawking at the celebrities and bands that came through. Most of us tried to be respectful and treat everything like a normal work day… but sometimes it got hard not to stare (like seeing Hulk Hogan in the corridors).

      I flipped around a bit in the book, and there are some amazing tidbits and stories. Can’t wait to dig in more – glad you got a copy!

      Thanks too, for the kind words. I’m slowly putting some writing up here on the site. I’ve toyed around with the idea of putting together a book of poems, or maybe trying to do prints (pairing poems with illustrations). Been on the backburner for a while now.

      avoision Reply

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