GOAT GLANDS TO RANCH HANDS:

BOOK-GOAT-GLANDSGOAT GLANDS TO RANCH HANDS:
THE KFDI STORY
—BY ORIN FRIESEN WITH BUD NORMA
Rowfant Press 978-1-929731-24-4. Paperback, 225 pp., $19.95. (www.watermarkbooks.com)

   Many readers of this magazine will know Orin Friesen from his years in bluegrass and with the IBMA, as a DJ, and a tireless and humble supporter of bluegrass and country music. I can happily say that this book on the history of KFDI, an influential and long-running Kansas radio station, is worth the read. Bluegrass is just one aspect of the story, but it’s a reminder that bluegrass has never been separate from the greater world of commercial radio.

Just how important KFDI was, though, I didn’t realize until reading this book. Any radio station that can claim Charlie Parker and Jim & Jesse in its history, as well as the colorful “Dr.” John R. Brinkley (that’s where the “goat glands” comes in), is a station worth reading about.

Friesen is first of all a historian and he’s done his homework. The book contains listings of interviewees, station workers, and a timeline that covers the development of radio and the many permutations KFDI went through. But it’s the way Friesen has built his story that is the most satisfying, adding just enough personal recollections to make this an intimate history, but always putting the spotlight on the important personalities in the KFDI story, especially Mike Oatman, without whom the KFDI story would not have happened. Well-written and highly recommended for anyone interested in the early days of radio and country music.CVS

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