In Conversation: On Jacksonville and the Roots of Southern Rock

In Jacksonville and the Roots of Southern Rock, journalist and media historian Michael Ray FitzGerald brings eyewitness detail to his in-depth story of how the River City became the breeding […]


In Conversation: On Jacksonville and the Roots of Southern Rock

Authors:Glenn Richards, Michael Ray FitzGerald


In Jacksonville and the Roots of Southern Rock, journalist and media historian Michael Ray FitzGerald brings eyewitness detail to his in-depth story of how the River City became the breeding ground for acts such as The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He’s joined by legendary Florida radio DJ Glenn Richards, known for giving airtime to a host of unknown musical artists who went on to make it big, including Marilyn Manson, Sister Hazel, and Matchbox 20.

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Glenn Richards

Glenn Richards is Operations Coordinator and local host for Morning Edition on the University of Florida’s NPR affiliate, WUFT-FM in Gainesville. He has been a professional radio broadcaster for over thirty years, working as an air personality, promotion director, and morning show producer at several South Florida stations including 94.9 Zeta, 97.3 The Coast, and 103.5 WSHE (She’s Only Rock & Roll). He was also general manager of the University of Miami’s WVUM (90.5 FM, The Voice). He relocated to Gainesville in 2006 to pursue a telecommunication master’s degree at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He also worked as an air personality at WRUF-FM and later oversaw the station’s transition to a student-run, online non-commercial college radio station (Rock104.com) serving as program director, music director, and mentor to the student staff. Throughout, one of Glenn’s passions is local music. He has produced and hosted local music programs playing demos and independent releases from a variety of artists, many of whom went on to national prominence including Marilyn Manson, Sister Hazel, For Squirrels, Matchbox 20, Saigon Kick, Mary Karlzen, and Nil Lara.

Michael Ray FitzGerald

Michael Ray FitzGerald is a freelance writer. He has written hundreds of articles for local, regional, national and international publications, including several scholarly journals as well as three books. His primary research area is media history, specializing in film and television.

The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, along bands such as Blackfoot, 38 Special, and Molly Hatchet, ushered in a new kind of southern rock from Jacksonville, Florida — an unlikely hotbed for a new musical movement. In Jacksonville and the Roots of Southern Rock (University Press of Florida) Michael FitzGerald brings eyewitness detail to his in-depth story of how the River City bred this generation of musicians. He profiles essential bands alongside forerunners like Gram Parsons and Cowboy, and reveals how the powerful local AM radio station worked with newspapers and television stations to nurture talent. This in turn created a public hungry for live performances by area bands. FitzGerald looks at the music as the diverse soundtrack to a neo-southern lifestyle that, in the late sixties and early seventies, reconciled different segments of society in Jacksonville, and across the nation. Publishers Weekly called it a ” fun and informative study. […] Fans of southern rock will appreciate Fitzgerald’s entertaining survey.”

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