Ken Malden

Donna Halper
Fri May 15 03:21:56 EDT 2009

At 10:47 AM 5/14/2009, Dan.Strassberg wrote:
>I'm pretty sure that WBMS 1090 took--and then abandoned--the WHEE
>calls shortly before I arrived on Boston (May '56). WBMS was at one
>point a classical music station, but it could not always have been so
>because it was the legendary Boston home of Symphony Sid Torin, who
>definitely didn't play symphonic music (at least when he identified
>himself as Symphony Sid). I'm sure that Donna can answer this: Did
>WBMS have an ecelctic format in which they played classical music in
>some day parts and jazz in others? If so, did Sid Torin work both
>formats? If so, did he derive the Symphony Sid nickname from the fact
>that, in some parts of the same days in which he played jazz, he also
>announced symphonies?

Well, let's take this a few questions at a time.  First, I doubt that 
Symphony Sid Torin's nickname had anything to do with his work in 
Boston, since the newspapers in New York referrred to him as 
"Symphony Sid, the jiving kid" as far back as 1940 (!) when he was on 
the air in the Bronx, NY as a fast-talking d.j. who did rhyming slang 
and played lots of black music on WBNX.

Sid managed to work in Boston for WBMS (around 1955) and before that, 
for WCOP (circa 1952-53) and also for WMEX at some point in the 
mid-50s, if I recall.  WBMS had a variety of musical formats-- at one 
time, in early 1954, it was the Boston affiliate of the short-lived 
National Negro Network, and it had played some black programming 
prior to that affiliation, including a jazz show with bandleader and 
jazz pianist Sabby Lewis... At its inception, WBMS went on the air 
(in late November 1946) as a Beautiful Music station, but switched 
away from that in the spring of 1951. And speaking of the spring of 
1951, that was when WBMS gave up the beautiful music calls and picked 
up WHEE for their foray into popular music--  but by July of 1952, 
the station had resumed using the WBMS call letters.    

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