WATD(AM) now WBMS
Wed Mar 6 09:42:44 EST 2019
Oh, wow. I never knew there was a WHEE in Boston.
In the late 1980's and 1990's did some work for WILD, mostly as a stand-in
for Grady Moates when he was out of town, and mostly at the old Medford
transmitter site on Corporation Way (which road no longer exists).
There was an ancient FM antenna on the old tower tuned to 104.1, left over
from an abortive attempt at a WBMS-FM. This FM was, I was told, on the air
only briefly before it was shut down as unprofitable and the license
surrendered. It was not related to the future WBCN, even if the frequency
was the same.
Also present at the Medford site in the 1990's was the shell of an old
Western Electric (1 KW, I think) transmitter, used as a storage cabinet.
Somewhere at home I have a book with schematics of the same model
transmitter; unless I misremember it consisted of a low level exciter that
fed a fully modulated signal to a 1 KW linear RF amplifier. I have never
come across a design like that in any other transmitter; I can only assume
it was to eliminate the need for a big modulation transformer.
WILD used a Gates BC5P2 transmitter which Grady had hot-rodded to produce
both supermodulation and extraordinary fidelity; he fed it with an audio
processor of his own design, and the result was something that on one of
my wide band radios at home sounded louder than WBZ and almost
indistinguishable from FM.
The BC5P2 was eventually replaced after Grady walked into owner Ken Nash's
office one day to show him the lengths he had to go to get replacement
tubes. The tube he showed Mr. Nash was stamped "Made in USSR". I never saw
the replacement transmitter and don't remember what it was.
In its last years, the Medford tower was used for nighttime ham radio
experiments in the 160-meter (1800 KHz) band, Grady having built a custom
matching network for a friend of his, Michael J. Klein, who was a ham.
On Tue, 5 Mar 2019, Donna Halper wrote:
> On 3/5/2019 11:07 AM, Rob Landry wrote:
>> WBMS 1090 ran a classical music format and was programmed by Richard L.
>> Kaye, according to what I was told. When it dropped the format circa 1950,
>> Ted Jones at WCRB saw an opportunity and hired Richard to program classical
>> music on 1330. The transition to the classical format took a couple years,
>> according to what Dave MacNeill told me. WCRB-FM 102.5 signed on in 1954,
>> and the rest is history.
> So, WBMS went on the air in late November 1946, owned by Templetone Radio
> Manufacturing Co. The VP and GM of the station was Ivon B. Newman, who had
> formerly worked at corporate headquarters in New London CT. I don't know if
> Richard Kaye was involved. Anyway, WBMS came in over budget when it went on
> the air, according to an interview with Mr Newman, and evidently it continued
> to lose money, because it was sold by Templetone to the Friendly Group in
> early June 1948; that company already owned four other stations, all in small
> markets. They briefly changed the format to popular music in 1950, and in
> April 1951, they changed to the (unfortunate) call letters of WHEE. That was
> not a successful change-- the station returned to using WBMS in May 1952.
> Bartell Broadcasting acquired the station in September 1957 and that's when
> it became WILD.
> Donna L. Halper, PhD
> Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies
> Lesley University, Cambridge MA
More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest