James VanOsdol, Former Q101 Radio Host, Aims To Kickstart New Book

Chicago's only home for alternative rock radio is about to be gone, and one long-time personality is asking listeners to help him preserve Q101's history.

Earlier this week, TimeOut Chicago's Robert Feder reported that former Tribune radio executive Randy Michaels was buying the station through his new venture, Merlin Media. The station will reportedly turn into a news/talk format.

James VanOsdol, who started at the station in 1993, launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign with the hopes of publishing a book titled "Smells Like Rock Radio: an Oral History of Chicago’s Q101 (1992-2011)."

According to the campaign's page, the book, which will be published as an on-demand paperback and in multiple e-book formats, "will chronicle the complex, hilarious, and culture-influencing history of the soon-to-be-gone station. The story will be told by the most qualified people to tell it: the DJs, programmers, support staff, and friends of Q101."

VanOsdol is offering a bevy of prizes for those who pitch in to help offset his expected $9,750 cost of getting the book project off the ground, including the grand prize (presumably to the first person who pledges $1,000 or more) of VanOsdol's "personal RIAA-certified 'gold record' plaque for Radiohead's 'OK Computer' album." As thanks for a pledge of $150 or more, contributors can submit a brief essay containing a memory, thought or opinion on the station to be included in the book, plus a signed copy for good measure.

The former radio host's first book, "Off the Record Collection: Riffs, Rants and Writings About Rock," was published this year. In explaining his decision to leave the station earlier this month, VanOsdol said: "After working two jobs for the past two years, frequently on a seven-day schedule, something had to give … This move leaves me gone, but hopefully not forgotten."