Dick Summer reveals the REAL father of classic rock radio inBoston

Dan Strassberg dan.strassberg@att.net
Mon Jul 31 16:30:08 EDT 2006

I won't rehash the sorry history of WXKW 850 right now--it takes too long,
but I pegged BB's age correctly. If he was 15 in 1949, he's a year older
than I am. As for John Mounteer, he was a very, very good announcer. I
wouldn't call him a jock, though. I suppose that he spun records at times
but he mostly did news and commercials, as I recall. Great voice; great
on-air presence. And after WXKW left the air, he moved to Boston. He was on
WVDA 1260 when I arrived in 1956. Even though he came from a smaller market,
I always thought he sounded a little too professional for WVDA, which had
sort of a relaxed--maybe a bit quirky--image.

As I recall the story, Mounteer left Boston to go back to Albany. He and
another former WXKW announcer, Lyell Boseley, put a 500W daytimer on the air
on 1600--licensed, I think, to Troy, with studios and transmitter in
Watervliet, which is across the Hudson from Troy, a few miles north of
Albany. They got the WXKW calls for the 1600 station. I suppose the calls
were fitting because I'm almost positive that the 1600 incarnation of WXKW
lasted an even shorter time than the 850 incarnation. (Since then, the WXKW
calls have appeared in several other markets and lasted the longest, I
believe, on 1470 in Allentown PA.)

As I understand it, the 1600 incarnation of WXKW became possible when the 5
kW 1600 daytimer in E Longmeadow MA, which had been directional to protect
WUNR, got permission to go ND, thus reducing its signal to the east. The
soil conductivity in most of the Capital District is decent (although it has
some weird anomalies, which explains BB's reference to WPTR's lousy signal.
WPTR's signal was lousy in Albany and points south but OK in Troy and
Schenectady.) The little 500W 1600 peanut whistle got out OK for 500W on
1600 (which isn't saying much) but the signal really wasn't competitive. I
imagine the poor signal and the daytime-only license helped to do in this
second WXKW.

Dan Strassberg, dan.strassberg@att.net
eFax 707-215-6367

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick Kelly" <rickkelly@gmail.com>
To: "Dan Strassberg" <dan.strassberg@att.net>
Cc: "A. Joseph Ross" <joe@attorneyross.com>; "Donna Halper"
<dlh@donnahalper.com>; "boston Radio Interest"
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 3:09 PM
Subject: Re: Dick Summer reveals the REAL father of classic rock radio

> On 7/31/06, Dan Strassberg <dan.strassberg@att.net> wrote:
> > I'm guessing, but I think Bradley arrived at WROW in 1953 or 1954. I
> > remember whether he was still at WROW when I graduated from RPI in late
> > 1956, but he may have been.
> A buddy of mine communicates occasionally with BB.  i forwarded some
> comments peoplke were making on the list and he send these
> observations about his time in Albany:
> "Here's a quick summation of my experiences in New York State's fabled
> Capitol District, beginning with being a listener of a fellow named
> Earle Pudney (!) who played the piano and did mornings at WGY, which
> was the only station we could get in North Creek NY in the
> Adirondacks, where I spent my soph & junior HS years.  This was in
> 1948-49 when I was 14 and 15.  My mother thought Earle sucked, which
> indeed he did, and she said once that if he made any more than $50 a
> week,he was being grossly overpaid.  I told her that Martin Block at
> WNEW was making $75,000 a year (I read it in Parade Magazine) and she
> said whoever wrote that article must be a liar because that was far
> too much money for such a frivolous occupation.  Of course that firmed
> my resolve to go into radio as soon as I graduated from High School,
> which I did.
> In 1950 we moved to Troy for my Senior year and I graduated from
> Lansingburgh HS in June 1951.  I was 17.  In July, I got my first
> radio job at WKAL Rome NY at 75 cents and hour doing morning drive,
> making even less than my mom thought Earle Pudney made.  It was easy
> to get a radio job in 1951 because the Korean War was raging and a lot
> of the good jocks were in the service.  But I'm getting ahead of
> myself: In 1951, WTRY was the hottest radio station in the Tri-cities
> by far.  They had CBS radio, which meant Arthur Godfrey, who was as
> hot then as Oprah is now.  They had a first-class news operation,
> PLUS, the announcers came to work in business suits (there were no
> women on the air) and TWO count 'em TWO guys did the 30 sec break
> between net shows.  One did the station ID, the other guy read the
> spot.
> That's how I envisioned my future, 30 secs of work, then 30 minutes of
> buffing my nails.  The major personality in town by far was Paul
> Flanagan, who was a staffer during the week and did the Tri-City
> Ballroom from 10P-1A on Saturday night, a top 10 (or maybe 20)
> countdown show in which listeners called up and voted for their fave.
> It was a staggeringly popular show, listened to by most adults, and
> every kid in town.
> Paul Flanagan was a painfully shy guy, I tried unsuccessfully (by
> annoying the hell out of him with constant phone calls)to mentor me
> but he just wouldnt.  The only other jocks of note in 1951 were Dick
> Mills, morning drive at WPTR, a station with such a rotten signal that
> it didnt matter how good he was, and Howard Malcolm, also mornings, at
> WTRY for a while.
> Dick Mills had a Ford convertible with his name written in big letters
> on the sides, and Howard Malcolm was an easy-to-
> listen to guy who was always late for work.  Since that time, I've
> noticed that middle-market jocks who seem too talented for their
> venue, are usually gone in a few months, fired for whatever it was
> that got them canned from their previous gig.  I cant think of any
> other station or any other personality that made an impact on me or my
> friends during that time.  Radio (and everything else)
> was under the firm control of our parents in those years and we never
> had an inkling of what was on the horizon in just a very few short
> years.  So I'm going to stop now, and pick it up with a time more
> relevant to your life, my years at WROW 1955-59 in a later note.
> It may even be later today but right now I need to run a few errands
> before the sun melts me down to a senile nub.
> bb BTW you mentioned John Mounteer in your reminiscent email and I
> remember him vaguely as the only guy I ever heard of who worked at a
> radio station (WXKW) that simply disappeared one day, never to return,
> its frequency retired.  I assume it was some FCC quirk that did him in
> because in those days, every radio station made money.  c u later "
> Dan can tell the tale if he wishes - and has - about BB's mention of
> --
> -RK

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