Joe Smith

Donna Halper
Mon Jul 10 12:55:57 EDT 2006

>Shaun wrote--
>Why isn't there a Boston Museum of Broadcasting to collect research into
>Boston radio history and its historical artifacts?  Determining where a major
>figure like Joe Smith was at a given time just shouldn't be this hard.

There have been plans off and on for such a museum, but funding is the 
issue.  Scott, Dan, Garrett, Peter, myself and others do this research as a 
labour of love.  I pay large sums out of my own pocket for databases and to 
buy up memorabilia, and I am not the only one who does.  But what makes it 
difficult to find dates of major figures is that (a) due media 
consolidation, few stations are owned by the same people anymore,and the 
new people often have no respect for the heritage of their station, and (b) 
even those folks who do have respect did not always think to preserve some 
of the now-rare memorabilia.  What I have found at flea markets amazes me-- 
forget looking for stuff on ebay (where you can find people charging 
outrageous sums of cash for old magazines and photos); I mean I've found 
old photos just lying around in the sun about to be thrown away because the 
people getting rid of them had no clue who these folks were or why they 
were important.

But that's the problem in a nutshell.  There is no one central repository 
of top 40 information in most cities, and Boston is no exception.  The 
museums that do exist (like the Museum of Broadcasting) are much more 
interested in video than in audio, and many exhibits are about the great TV 
shows of the 50s and 60s.  The history of top 40 radio and the great 
d.j.'s?  Well, not so much.  So we are restricted to what we can find, as 
well as to what the newspapers and magazines wrote about.  That is made 
more complicated by the fact that the print media of the 50s hated rock 
music.  I am friends with, and dearly love, Bill Buchanan-- one of the 
nicest human beings who ever lived.  He was the radio columnist for the old 
Boston Daily Record and later the Globe.  But back then he was among the 
many Boston critics who despised the new pop music-- they all came from the 
Big Band era, and thought rock was noise.  Bill wrote endless columns about 
how awful rock music and rock d.j.'s were.  Most newspapers, however, just 
ignored rock stations entirely.  And reclusive owners like Mac Richmond 
didn't even send the daily listings of shows and d.j.'s to the newspapers-- 
perhaps because he fired so many of the d.j.'s so frequently, but also 
because the rock stations and the local newspapers were such adversaries.

I'd love to compile an accurate listing of who was where and when they were 
there.  I'm trying  my best to do that, as are the others who maintain the 
Boston Radio Archives.  But it's not an easy task, given how scarce the 
information and the artifacts are. 

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