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February 06, 2006


Kip W

You're bringing back my childhood. Those happy hours before falling asleep, slo-o-owly prowling up and down the dial, writing down the call letters (or my mistaken hearing of them) and cities. KMOX, KRLD, WHO, WLS... I was in Colorado, but we have some overlap. WHO used to play Lum & Abner every night at 9 -- this was around 1970, clearly not first-run! Dallas's KRLD had their Midnight Radio Theater, a hip DJ named Dylan ("Montage with Dylan"), and... Garner Ted Armstrong! Laugh THAT off, Mister Scientist!

Once in a while, there were special treats. One day, sick in bed, I checked the dial and found I was getting FM stations from all over the country, for some reason. Another time, I got a Canadian station in daylight hours. The best was one night when I watched TV until the local channels had turned off their transmitters, and I flipped the dial a bit, unwilling to call it a night yet, and discovered that I was getting the picture (no sound) from a mystery station, which turned out to be from New Jersey -- I figured it out from the car ads; the station never showed a card. After a few minutes of watching some dumb movie in silence (their movie bumpers were just like the ones Denver's KWGN used), the picture suddenly went away, never to return.

There were other thrills along the way, but I'll cut this short while the possibility still exists that everybody's not bored yet.


Tune til it Hertz, that’s my motto. There are very few of us left. For a teen today, radio may be more frequently associated with the two satellite services.
I discovered AM “propagation” when I was in high school, sometime not long after Adam and Eve were scooted out of their primo digs. I had a tendency to stay up all night on school nights, listening to the AM band, amazed by how stations from diverse areas would fade in and out. This followed me through to college, where the occasional binge would put me in the all night mode..
It’s always struck me, as these threads of audio faded in and out, as the kind of thoughts I’d have before falling asleep. Stretching this to more absurd lengths, I tended to think of these “random” (a deceptively un-simple concept) transpositions of meanings as having an odd dreamlike feel. I felt as though I was listening to a collective unconscious. Luckily, no one yet has the ability to insert adverts in our dreams, but wouldn’t they love it if they could.
To finish the path, today I love African and other world-source music. That’s where shortwave can be interesting. I appear to have unconscious processes that weed out the noise and static bursts, because I still enjoy listening to the music.
Thanks for making it possible to re-appreciate this phenomena, which also may be fading into the noise.



Never saw this post way back when, but yes, WBZ has an excellent nighttime talk thing going. Used to start with professorial and politely cantakerous David Brudnoy, who has since shuffled off the antenna coil, and now consists of buddy-at-the-bar gadfly Paul Sullivan followed by the folksier Steve Leveille (and the old ladies inexplicably up to call in at 3 in the morning), as you said, covering 12 to 5.

I've met a few people from WBZ, and they're hardcore radio people. They seem to love that they're at this odd oasis -- a WCBS 880-type station during the day that never loses sight of its smaller-market quality.

A perfect illustration is every Christmas Eve, when all the news broadcasters and talk show hosts get together and do a full-cast reading of "A Christmas Carol." On a news station that's actually at the top of the local radio ratings. I couldn't see Bloomberg 1130 or even your NY Disney outpost at 770 ever doing anything of the kind.

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