Read an Excerpt

Order Online

About Local DJ:

Although the surface thread is autobiographical, "Local DJ" is much more an interwoven narrative on Rock "n" Roll culture from the late 50s through the present times.

Perspective is subjectively recounted by Peter C., who was both involved with and influential upon the music over an extended period. The presentation is structurally arranged as a mosaic of interrelated stories with substantial personal overview or, as more commonly referenced, "attitude."

From the earliest days of Elvis through Z-Rock in the 90s, Local DJ travels through time and space with instinctive grace. Sacramental with sin. A lifeweb spin.

What Rock 'N' Roll Movers and Shakers said:

"Best wishes to you, Peter, and I hope you continue to produce more of the history of our generation of broadcasters.

RALPH GUILD--Founder/Chairman/CEO--McGavren Guild Radio--INTEREP

"5.0 out of 5 stars. Peter Cavanaugh's autobiography, "Local D.J.," vibrates with the rockin' rhythms of radio's Golden Era. This must-read, nostalgia-filled account of how Peter became a major part of the most dynamic period in popular music history. Not only a D.J., Peter booked concerts for the biggest rock and roll acts of the day. So he has plenty of fascinating insider tales about his encounters with many of those top-of-the-charts artists. Peter is also a fun, fun, funny guy--a raconteur reminiscent of both gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and Jean Shepherd, radio's greatest monologist. So even if you don't dig rock and roll, buy this book--if only for its frequent laugh-out-loud moments."

DON FULSOM -- White House correspondent during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton presidencies—and a UPI bureau chief in Washington for seven years.

"An unflinching, fascinating, behind the scenes accounting of a time never to be seen again. I'm getting copies for all my friends."
RANDY MICHAELS----Executive Vice President/CEO--The Tribune Company--Chicago.

"What a concept! It may be hard to believe, but there actually was a time when radio, artists, and the record companies shared a vision, embraced the creative process, and assisted each other in a unified goal of getting the music to the people. This was in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s when the Top 40 was the Top 40 of something. With hit singles like "Sunshine of Your Love", "Purple Haze", Hush", "Born to Be Wild", and "Journey to the Center of Your Mind", touring and performing as part of the "eye of the storm" was very motivational and inspirational to achieve excellence, and a heart and soul music dynamic by us young artists. Peter C. Cavanaugh was one of the warriors who lived and breathed these original elements. We all truly believed in the Spirit of the Wild."
---TED NUGENT--"United Sportsmen of America"

"Of all who had a major influence on me while growing up in the Midwest, none matched the audaciousness, tenacity and gonzo-like behavior of Peter Cavanaugh. He was more than just the rock ‘n roll guru who gave America its first encounters with The Who, Bob Seger and all the great Detroit bands (Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, MC5, etc.) He was the one who taught me how to go up against the powers-that-be and live to tell all. Thank you, Peter Cavanaugh, for saving a generation of Flint kids from the likes of Pat Boone"
---- MICHAEL MOORE -- "Stupid White Men"/"Bowling for Columbine"/"Fahrenheit 9/11"

"I can never say "thank you" enough when it comes to who really broke Bob Seger locally and nationally. It was and still is Peter Cavanaugh and Rosalie Trombly. Rosalie had CKLW that went into 36 states. She would ask who else was playing the record and, of course, I would say Peter C. at WTAC in Flint. You had to have WTAC and Peter if you were going to have a hit in Michigan. If he wasn’t playing our record, I would immediately jump in my car and drive to Flint. As long as the record was good, he never let us down. We always got a fair run and real air play. Pete, Bob and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We read your manuscript for "Local Dee-Jay" and think it’s great. It reads like a movie!"

"Pete Cavanaugh is one of the true offspring of Alan Freed--he played rock’ n roll records because he loved them and felt them in his heart and guts. Long before there was FM underground radio--and for a good time after it started--he made WTAC, a small but mighty AM station in grungy Flint, Michigan, into must listening for every electrified longhair in the region. We couldn’t have done "Creem" magazine without our regular doses of ‘TAC and Cavanaugh’s shows in particular. Who else could have turned us all on to both The Who and AC/DC and all manner of stuff in-between?"
----DAVE MARSH--Former Associate Editor--Rolling Stone Magazine

"Peter C. Cavanaugh! What can I say about a guy who believed in me and my group, "Question Mark and The Mysterians" when no one else did? We always rock ‘n rolled and partied before "96 Tears" became #1 in the world on October 29, 1966. Peter, you were there before we happened, you were there when we happened, and you still and always will be there!"
---QUESTION MARK--Mysterian Music Ltd.

"Local DJ" "What a great read! The memories it brought back! Walking to my friend's pirate radio station, carrying my box of 45s, listening to Peter C. to get psyched to "go on the air". And no ghostwriter. Very impressive!"

"Peter Cavanaugh is magical with his ribald recollections and praiseworthy prose. "Local DJ" brings back a single point in time and space. Not for little children, old ladies or small domestic pets."
----SHOTGUN TOM KELLY---KRTH---Los Angeles

"Love the Book!!"
---Lee Abrams, Vice-President/Chief Innovations Officer--The Tribune Company.

"I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your book."

---John Parikhal, President, Joint Communications

"Peter Cavanaugh was here in Killarney this summer. He presented me with a copy of his book: "Local DJ: A Rock 'n Roll History.". This is a quite fascinating read, especially for the rock n roll fan. Peter has met them all from The Beatles down and has been right in the thick of the fray since the beginning. A few odds and ends in the book fascinated me. I was really taken by the account he gave of his early Catholic education which coincided very much with my own experience on the subject."

---Finbarr Slattery, Killarney Kingdom, Killarney, Ireland

What readers have said:

"Peter C. has done a marvelous job. I just love this book. It is a fantastic story of Rock and R&B Radio from 1950's AM through the development of FM music formats. Doctor Bob Thompson, my colleague here at Syracuse University (The "Pop Television Genius") is now truly a Radio Man since he handed me a copy of "Local DJ". Keep the modulation up to 125% on positive peaks!"
--- Dr. Roosevelt "Rick" Wright, Jr., Ph. D Professor of Radio ---- S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

"I was hooked after the first 40 pages and couldn't put it down. Congratulations!"
----Dr. Robert J. Thompson, Director, Center for the Study of Popular Television ---- S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

" Keep it going, Buddy!"
----Cormac MacConnell---Featured Columnist--"The Irish Voice."

"Local DJ" is excellent reading and filled with Irish references and personal family history. I couldn't put it down."
John Connolly---"Echoes of Ireland"--WCWA--Toledo, Ohio.

"I knew the book would be good, but I had no idea how good it was! It is unbelievably entertaining. I recommend it to one and all."
Dave Barber---WPRO--Providence

"Peter Cavanaugh is certainly a rogue, but a fine one with an excellent memory. "Local DJ" is a must for anyone looking for the roots of rock 'n roll from an American-Irish perspective."
Sean Buckley--Radio One FM--Limerick, Ireland.

"Peter Cavanaugh is a living radio legend in Michigan. His "Local DJ" tells it all."
Jeff Wade---WRSR Classic Rock FM--Flint, Michigan.

"Peter C. was a great boss. Now he's an even better writer!"
Paul W. Smith--WJR--Detroit.

"Local DJ" is a remarkable achievement. Peter has captured an era and brought it back in no uncertain terms."
Dick Kernan-Vice President--Specs Howard School of Broadcast--Detroit.

"'Local DJ' is funny! Peter Cavanaugh's memoir is a highly entertaining and revealing look behind the scenes at radio and rock concert promotion. I only put it down to stop laughing. Somebody ought to base a TV series on it."

Berl Schwartz
Editor & Publisher
City Pulse/Lansing, Michigan

"Local DJ" is simply great!!!!! From the moment I opened the chaise lounge Monday on the beach to the waning moments of my stay on Friday, I was glued to it. Assisting me on the journey through time was a local oldies station. And as if by design, as I was on the last page of the book, the Local DJ chose to play Bob Seger “Old Time Rock & Roll.” No lie!"

Bill Harris/Anchor/WJRT-TV/Channel Twelve/Flint

"Peter - I heard your voice on many trips...I assume it was the radio...Perhaps not. You set the standard."

Pun Plamondon/Minister of Defense/White Panther Party/FBI's 10 Most Wanted List (1970)

"What a great time I had reading your book on a recent trip to LA. It was like winning first prize on the Dating Game, "a fabulous trip to Flint, Michigan!" There I was - crawling through Conto's, the Stardust, the Mikatam and then topping it off with breakfast at Walli's. I must have drawn a few stares while laughing out loud during passages such as included in the "Filth Locker." You did a fine job Peter!"

Dave Carson/Author "Grit, Noise and Revolution"-- The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n Roll

"Congrats on the book!"

Jerry Del Colliano
Advisor to New Media & Broadcasting
Consultant to Higher Education
Clinical Professor Music Industry
University of Southern California

"Peter C. is my absolute professional idol! He was Rock 'n Roll in Flint, Michigan!"

New York Times Best-Selling Author--Ben Hamper -- Alias -- "Rivet Head"

"While interviewing someone like Peter Cavanaugh, I could not help thinking back to find something I did that was remotely rock 'n' roll and remembered a lesson that should be applied before reading his book "Local DJ."

My first semester, in what some would call a fit of identity crisis or a terrible way to impress the college girls, I grew a beard.

Now I know, the old-timers out there are probably thinking, "He was just 18. How big could that beard be?" Well, it was long, thick and ungroomed. At times in history class, I would place my pen in the beard until it was needed for notetaking. When reaching for it, my hand never got within five inches of my chin. Needless to say, I shaved the thing over Christmas break after about four hundred "Grizzly Adams" comments from frat boys who had the originality of oxen. (Note: when you see someone with a big beard, you can rest assured they've heard: "Hey Grizzly Adams" before).

The other reason for shaving the beard was I sleep on my stomach and the thing pushed my head so far back my neck hurt. I needed a good neck, as an eighteen-year-old there was a lot to see at MSU.

What is my connection between Cavanaugh's book "Local DJ, A Rock "N" Roll History" and my beard, besides it representing one of my feeble attempts at rebellion? When I had my beard, I drew constant looks from people who judged me before I opened my mouth.

Police officers watched me assuming I was about to dash behind a corner and light something up. People in stores stepped away in quite obvious fashion like I was Pigpen from Peanuts. Teachers, who chose to hand out papers by calling names from lowest grade to highest, looked confused when I walked up to get my paper last.

So the connection here is, if you read Cavanaugh's book don't be turned off by some of the content and vulgar language; there's a lot of commentary there. The book lives up to the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll attitude that made nuns squirm in the sixties. If you set the book down, you're missing an insight to a generation in our country where people were divided.

We're heading in a somewhat similar direction facilitated by different circumstances. I'm not sure the great cultural changes socially will be there, but the mistrust of government, growing discontent among youth and a perceived global threat sure are. (You know the saying by Mark Twain which goes something like this: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it sure rhymes a lot.")

THE BOOK IS PROBABLY NOT A GOOD IDEA FOR KIDS. I know that's not rock 'n' roll to say, but that's my disclaimer. I don't think it's going to warp anyone, but parents should be warned.

I'd apply the Marilyn Manson/Guns N Roses test (depending on your age) before deciding to read it. If you thought Guns 'N Roses were taking us to hell in a handbasket, don't pick up the book. If you thought Marilyn Manson was the final sign of the apocalypse, than run. You won't be able to appreciate this book for what it is.

"Local DJ" discusses the evolution or rock music from a front row seat and shows Michigan's role in the whole 60's scene. Many chapters end with little paragraphs putting things into a historical perspective. The plight of early radio being so influential and coming from Flint is also an interesting side-bar as you consider the current state of the city and the medium now. For more info visit"

James Martinez
The Clarkston News