Beep at top of the hour on WBZ disappeared

Gary's Ice Cream
Wed Sep 26 15:29:37 EDT 2018

And once we automated WCAP the tone (which was actually a 980kHz tone at that time) was recorded onto the ID at the end so it would fire just as we joined the ABC network at the top of the hour.

Gary F.
Gary’s Ice Cream – Chelmsford Creamery, Inc.  Chelmsford, MA
Ice Cream College – classes in Massachusetts and Florida

-----Original Message-----
From: Boston-Radio-Interest <> On Behalf Of
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 12:08 PM
To: Kevin Vahey <>
Cc: Boston Radio Group <>
Subject: Re: Beep at top of the hour on WBZ disappeared

WCAP (980 Lowell) had the TOH tone for years. The original config involved a constant tone generator (tube job) in the rack that dumped directly to the air chain. The switch was opened and closed by the tip of the second hand of the master control wall clock as it swept by contacts mounted a second or so either side of :00. 

The latter incarnation, the tone channel was triggered by the “00” cue tones fed by the ABC network satellite. I’m just talent so I have no clue how it all managed to work.

During the music days, we worked very hard to back time to the top of the hour as a matter of practice. The legal ID was a live jock-voiced liner, sounder, v.o. “This is WCAP Lowell [beep] It’s ____ o’clock” News: “And ___  degrees and [conditions], I’m ___ WCAP News...” Hitting the tone (without seeming to try) was an art form. <memory harp SFX out>

Bill O’Neill

> On Sep 26, 2018, at 3:43 AM, Kevin Vahey <> wrote:
> My recollection is WBZ, WHDH and WEEI all had tones in the 70's
> WEEI was tied into the CBS Net Alert system and was the most 
> distinctive but the tones originated in New York City.
> I can remember seeing the Net Alert boxes when WEEI was still in the 
> old Boston Edison Building on Tremont St.
>> On Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 1:03 AM A Joseph Ross <> wrote:
>> It goes back earlier than the 1970s.  I remember it in the late 1950s 
>> or early 1960s, when I was in high school.  I had an electric alarm 
>> clock which I would set to the exact top of the hour -- minute and 
>> second hand on the 12 -- and hold the plug in my hand near the outlet 
>> while listening to the leadup to the WBZ news on the hour. As soon as 
>> I heard the tone, I'd quickly plug in the clock.
>>> On 9/26/2018 12:19 AM, Ron Bello wrote:
>>> Beep at top of the hour was a creation of Norm Graham, 1970s CE at 
>>> BZ radio Was probably left behind at 1170 SFR
>>> There might also be an issue with timing between regular analog 
>>> signal and HD Which tone is correctly timed ?
>>> ---------------------------------------------------
>>> On Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 12:11 AM A Joseph Ross < 
>>> <>> wrote:
>>>    I think this may have been the last station to have that beep on the
>>>    hour.  I think BBC World Service still has it, but that can be a
>>>    second
>>>    or two delayed.  I guess I'll have to start setting my watch by
>>>    either
>>>    my cellphone or the Windows clock.  The beep on the hour has gone the
>>>    way of Jordan Marsh, WHDH radio, and the Red Sox talent for snatching
>>>    defeat from the jaws of victory.
>>>    On 9/25/2018 7:06 PM, Mario Gonzalez via Boston-Radio-Interest wrote:
>>>    I commute to work and we listen to WBZ on a car radio in the mornings
>>>    and afternoons.  We used to hear the beep at the top of the hour
>>>    but it
>>>    seems to have disappeared.  Even when we last heard it, it seemed
>>>    to be
>>>    late, maybe 30 seconds after our cell phones changed their time to
>>>    the
>>>    top of the hour.  I don't know which device was correct though.
>>>    I'm not sure if WINS in New York still does the beep at the top of
>>>    the
>>>    hour, but if they do, I only hear them online or on my Alexa devices.
>>>    I think it used to be traffic and weather on the 3's and I think it's
>>>    just traffic on the 3's and weather afterwards?
>>>    Mario
>>>    f
>>>    --
>>>    A. Joseph Ross, J.D. · 1340 Centre Street, Suite 103 · Newton, MA
>>>    02459
>>>    617.367.0468 · Fax:617.507.7856 ·
>> --
>> A. Joseph Ross, J.D. · 1340 Centre Street, Suite 103 · Newton, MA 
>> 02459
>> 617.367.0468 · Fax:617.507.7856 ·

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