The importance of local talk radio

Doug Drown
Fri Nov 21 18:03:25 EST 2008

In my home area (Gardner-Fitchburg), WBZ has always had, by far, the 
dominant AM signal from Boston.
When I was a kid growing up in the '60s, WNAC came in reasonably well during 
the day, but no one listened to it.  Then came 1967 and the big call 
letter-and-format switch.  It was as though 680 had never before existed and 
suddenly everyone discovered it.  WRKO blew 'BZ out of the water in a matter 
of weeks.

. . . But, forty years later, you still can't get it after dark in 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Laurence Glavin" <>
To: "Scott Fybush" <>; "Don A" <>
Cc: "Boston Radio Group" <>
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 3:56 PM
Subject: Re: The importance of local talk radio

>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Scott Fybush"
>To: "Don A"
>Cc: "Boston Radio Group"
>Subject: Re: The importance of local talk radio
>Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2008 15:36:26 -0500

> Old timers like me rememver when WNAC and WRKO were touted at one
> time for their great signal.
> 50 Big Cookies! Jerry Williams would say.
> In my opinion, it is the 2nd best signal on the AM dial.
> Now, it seems, all I hear are people (not only us radio geeks,
> but hosts as well!) complain about the holes in WRKO's signal.

>It's still the same signal it was in 1953 - but the market it's
>trying to cover has changed rather dramatically.
>I'm pretty sure the advertisers in 1960 or even 1970 didn't care
>much about reaching Westborough or Ashland.

On one occasion when I was a guest on "Let's Talk About Radio", Bob
Bitner mentioned (before we started taping) that he once owned a
map of Metro Boston showing the population density of the landscape.
The color code showed that an OVERWHELMING percentage of the denizens
of Greater Boston lived close to the coast.  Boston's population at the
time was just over 800,000, and Cambridge and Somerville had 100,000 +
residents each.  That why WEEI 590, WNAC 680, WHDH 850, WCOP 1150,
WVDA 1260 and WMEX 1510 (the major full-time signals at the time)
seemingly cared only about hitting this area.  I often wondered about
what  the owners and managers of businesses that advertised on Boston 
thought, when, if they lived in the western suburbs, a reasonable
assumption since such people would have been affluent enough to live in 
Dover, Westwood and so forth, after they realized these signals were hard to 
get where
they lived!  The sales reps must have used maps like the one described above
to assure these people that their messages were reaching the intended 

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