Subject: Re: demise of WHDH (AM)

Bill Smith
Mon Jan 5 03:57:11 EST 2009

Joe is correct that  the Hearst PM paper was the Evening American, the name
having been changed from the  Evening Record in 1921.

The Traveler suspended publication in the spring of 1967 following a
newspaper strike.  The Record-American was an "all day" paper with its first
dated edition issued for street sales the evening before the publication
date.  It published a full morning editions and replated through the day.
Hearst absolutely had a PM paper; if for no other reason than for the
circulation boost derived from getting the   'street number' into

I concede that merger is a tricky -- and perhaps ultimately incorrect --
word to use in the Herald/Record combination. I'm not sure that the  concept
of sale of intellectual property was around in 1972, but I do know that
Hearst bought the Herald-Traveler newspaper assets (such as they were)
including not just the plant and some kind of vague "intellectual property,"
 but the circulation lists and obligations as well.  If you got a Herald on
your doorstep one Saturday morning in June, 1972, you got a H-T-R-A the
following Monday and you were expected to honor your contract and pay for
it. But then H-T Corp did formally pull the plug on the H-T before the sale
closed, because Hearst didn't want to inherit obligations for severance and
guaranteed employment under the H-T collective bargaining agreements  with
the typos and guild. And wh ile a  number of H-T writers and craftspeople
stayed with the new paper, many were fired, and several Herald staffers,
most prominent  being Muriel Cohen, David Farrell and Frank Dahl, went to
the Globe.

I appreciate Mark Laurence confirming my memory of 36 years ago that there
was indeed an afternoon version of the combined paper with the nameplate

The Herald-Traveler reportedly lost $5m in 1971 while  WHDH-TV made $6m.
Shareholders, who were willing to endure the red ink while the prospect of
Boston losing the newspaper was one of its few remaining arguments for
keeping the profitable TV station, started demanding liquidation after the
TV battle was lost.  Not a chain in the country would touch the Boston
Herald Traveler because newspapers and publishers  were consolidating
rapidly at the time.   Boston had lost a  paper only four years previous and
New York had seen the failure of Hearst's own DailyMirror eight years before
and the merger and subsequent failure of E. W. Scripps  Co.'s World-Telegram
and Sun, Jock Whitney's Herald-Tribune, and Hearst's Journal-American in the
same year that the Traveler died. There was no appetite for turn-arounds in
the Northeast.

As for the Kennedys being major players in the tv license battle , the
 Globe had ample reason of its own to take aim at the Herald:  "Allegedly,
Herald-Traveler's representative Choate, during 1955 and 1956, had urged a
merger of the Traveler publications with the Globe papers, and had sought to
upset the Globe's financing of its projected new plant. In an affidavit by
the Globe's treasurer, one John I. Taylor, it was further charged that on
January 31, 1956, Choate had threatened 'Of course if I get Channel 5 I may
drive you out of business.' An affidavit by one Reid charged Choate with
saying on March 10, 1956, 'Wait until we get our TV station and see what
happens.'"  *Massachusetts Bay Telecasters v. FCC et. al.* 261 F.2d 55
(1958).  Incidentally, two of the three judges on that DC Circuit  panel
were Eisenhower appointees and the decision was not entirely favorable to
WHDH; by the time the final appeals court decision came down in 1971, the
panel had evolved to two LBJ appointees, and one  named by Nixon.  Note also
that FCC appointments overlap elections; they are for five year terms, with
party-balancing required.

Whatever happened to Rose Marie Van Camp? And Andy MacMillan makes two.

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