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Bill Drake, Spartanburg’s veteran radio host, has just published “Awake With Drake – Conversations with a Radio Institution,” a collection of stories and highlights from his many interviews and interactions with the people and events of Spartanburg.

It is also the first book in South Carolina to be published by a public library. The Kennedy Free Press, an addition to the Spartanburg County Public Libraries History Center Project, was created to publish works that tell the story of Spartanburg and its citizens.

“This (book publishing) was all new to me,” said Drake. “But Perry (Wood) and I met for nearly two years on Sunday afternoons running tapes, him asking me questions, and then he put everything together.”

Those hours of listening to tapes and question and answer sessions produced a 400-500 page manuscript that was expertly edited by Susan Thoms from the library’s Kennedy Free Press.

“I think Susan did a good job keeping the book focused on the objective,” said Drake.

Quite a feat since Drake’s career spans 53 years, 26 in Spartanburg alone. The end result is as much a testament to that career as it is to the relationship he has developed with the community.

“I started in radio almost 53 years ago when it was still a family time type of event,” noted Drake. “It was a time of promoting community, and I still do because I truly believe in ‘relationship’ radio where we are able to keep these kinds of stories alive.”

“Awake With Drake” is currently available at the Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters bookstore. A book signing is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 19, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Headquarters Library, 151 S. Church St., Spartanburg.

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