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I made a comment to this diary, Rick Santorum flat-out lies about California universities, and it got me reminiscing about listening to AM radio over 50 years ago, especially to the evangelical AM radio preachers.

I grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa. On one of my birthdays (around the mid-1960's) I got a portable 5-transistor(Wow!!) AM-FM radio. There weren't many radio stations one could get during the daytime from our farm (mainly one from the neighboring town which had the weather forecasts and reports on hog, beef, soybean, and corn futures that my father listened to). But at night, especially if the ionosphere was really active, then I could pull in distant and interesting AM stations. I'd regularly get places like Little Rock, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, sometimes Chicago—and very occasionally on a really active night, could even pull in Las Vegas. That little transistor radio was my nightly window to the "world".

Many was the night I'd lie in the dark with my AM radio discovering what I could find out there. I could usually pull in an AM station from Little Rock, Arkansas, with a nightly progressive rock program called "Bleecker Street" (only later did I learn it referred to that famous street in Greenwich Village—no Google back then). I remember being thrilled listening to "The Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson and The Doors and Led Zeppelin for the first time. It was like a whole new world being opened to a kid in corn-field Iowa.

But the thing that was just as interesting and entertaining to me was the late night evangelists doing their thing. I remember listening to some of the black radio preachers and being blown away by the deep emotion and honesty I was hearing from them and their congregations. For those Garrison Keillor fans, being raised a Lutheran in corn country was a totally different (and for me totally boring) experience. But listening to those black preachers, it was discovering a different world that would eventually lead me down the road to the blues, which I love to this very day.

But for sheer entertainment (and education), I loved listening to the religious charlatans, particularly Garner Ted Armstrong and his "The World Tomorrow" religious show. Pure entertainment for this kid, and also pure bullshit. But it was fascinating to listen to a slick and charismatic speaker say the most outrageous and unbelievable things and realize that there are people out there who actually believe this stuff (even as a kid, I was highly skeptical of religious and supernatural claims). What I learned is that some people could be convinced of almost anything if the messenger sounded slick and sincere enough (especially for the "you can fool some of the people all of the time" crowd). I wasn't interested in the message of these guys at all (except for maybe how more outrageous they could get each new night), but in the technique they were using. How if you say something often enough and sincerely enough, it actually starts to sound true enough. I loved those radio evangelists to discover what they're going to come up with next. There was nothing better for a skeptical kid, to hear his skepticism reinforced magnificently every night. I still think back to those full-moon nights in the summer with a breeze blowing through my bedroom window, hearing the hogs, cows, and chickens moving around, and turning on my "window to the world" to my regular Little Rock station, or scanning the dial to see where else was making it through the ether, and if that distinctive righteous shout or that snake-oil-slick voice came on, to lie back, smile, and enjoy the lesson.

Well that's it. For those old farts, like me, out there (and even the not-so-old farts), I'd love to hear if you had nighttime AM radio adventures like I did (or similar adventures of any kind). Peace and Love.

Originally posted to dewtx on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  When I was a child (22+ / 0-)

    my mother would set up her ironing board and my dad would sit in a chair and I would sit on the bed...and we would listen to  The Green Hornet, Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Jack Benny, The Shadow...and all those old time shows.

    I'm sure I've forgotten some...but they seemed real to me and we loved listening...and the sound effects were amazing.

    About the closest thing now is the Garrison Keillar (sp) show on Sundays at noon...NPR.

    One can still listen to the "preachers" spout their bullshit and ask for money.'s not even entertaining to me anymore.


    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:24:33 PM PDT

    •  You can still hear them on Sunday nights (23+ / 0-)

      - or at least some of them.  WAMU (American University in Washington) has a show from 7 to 11 that consists solely of replaying the old time radio theater shows.  From their website:

      Ed Walker is the host of WAMU 88.5's longest-running program, The Big Broadcast. The show features a collection of vintage radio programs from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s.
      The next couple weeks include Fibber Magee and Molly, Johnny Dollar, Gunsmoke and others.  Sometimes he even plays the old commercials as well.  You can stream it live and I believe it's available as a podcast, but I'm not sure about that.

      It's a regular at our house - we only miss it when we're out of town.

      A little bit about the host, Ed Walker, who's been a fixture in Washington radio all my life:

      Walker, who has been totally blind since birth, said that growing up "radio was my comic books, movies, everything".[1] After graduating from Maryland School for the Blind, he was the first blind student at American University in Washington where, in 1950, he helped launch the campus radio station, WAMU-AM — the predecessor of WAMU-FM. Willard Scott joined the radio station the following year, forming a professional and personal bond with Walker that continues to this day. Scott said in his book, The Joy of Living, that they are "closer than most brothers".[2]

      From 1955 to 1974, Walker teamed with Scott as co-hosts of the nightly Joy Boys program, an improvised comedy radio show in Washington.[1] On Joy Boys, Scott sketched a list of characters and a few lead lines setting up the situation, which Walker would commit to memory or note on his Braille typewriter. The program began on WRC-AM, an NBC owned-and-operated station, moving in 1972 to WWDC-AM. In a 1999 article recalling the Joy Boys at the height of their popularity in the mid-1960s, the Washington Post said they "dominated Washington, providing entertainment, companionship, and community to a city on the verge of powerful change".[3]

      Since the Joy Boys left the air in October 1974, Walker has worked on other Washington-area radio and television stations, including WJLA-TV from 1975 until 1980, News Channel 8 in the early 1990s[4] and WRC, hosting radio programs.

    •  Get satellite radio (7+ / 0-)

      There's a whole channel of that.

      Or check online. has old show you can buy, or you can listen to some things online.

    •  There's plenty of internet old-time radio (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx, Senor Unoball

      Abacus is one example.

      Even Brit, so you can hear the old Goon Show with Peter Sellers and other names of the time.

      There's some stations, or there were, on iTunes which featured old-time shows too.

      Today, if you exist... that's already suspicious.

      by Jim P on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:48:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wolfman Jack, baby (21+ / 0-)

    True American Graffiti in real time.

    We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned to believe that this is as good as it gets.

    by Richard Cranium on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:25:45 PM PDT

  •  AM in the late 70s... (18+ / 0-)

    I used to listen to Wolfman Jack, Dr. Demento and CBS Radio's Mystery Theater with E.G. Marshal.

    Radio kicked ass back then!

    •  The CBS Radio Mystery Theater! (8+ / 0-)

      Thank you for bringing that up.  No station around here ever carried it, so at night I'd try to take advantage of the "clear channel" (back when the term didn't have the baggage the brand does now) stations that I could hear in Alabama.  I specifically remember WCKY Cincinnati, WBBM Chicago and KMOX in St. Louis, all carrying that show.  I remember one in which an actor playing Mark Twain narrated one of his darker, creepier tales.

      Anyone catch CBSRMT when it was heard briefly in last year's film "Super 8"?

      When you celebrate ignorance and boo education you don't get to cry when I call you a moron.--MinistryofTruth

      by dwayne on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:07:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Welcome. Come in..... (7+ / 0-)

        I got my first transistor radio around 72 and every night I would go to bed, tune into CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

        Most nights I would fall asleep during the commercial break between the second and third act.

        Some nights I would turn it off before the second act because it was too scary.

        And on a really good night I would be able to stay awake and listen to all three acts.

        Yeah, those were the days.

        Measure twice, cut three times, repeat as necessary.

        by SpiffPeters on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:56:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for identifying Dr. Demento. (5+ / 0-)

      It's my pet name for Jim DeMint and I'm never quite sure which part of the card file of my brain I've pulled that name from. Just knew it was probably 70's rock radio.

  •  At least on the East Coast golden times was WOR (14+ / 0-)

    in the '60s and 70s, Bob and Ray, Barry Farber, Jean Shepherd, etc. Came in all day and night in the Phila. area and at least half the country at night.

    Then they went to talk radio. :(

    Btw, you always knew when summer began. They began reunning Palisades Amusement Park ads.

    "Palisades has the rides, palisades has the fun.
    Come on over.

    Palisades Amusement Park, swings all day and after dark.
    So come on over."

  •  In the Midwest, CKLW (16+ / 0-)

    In the Great Plains, KOA

    (we moved around a fair amount)

    While I didn't listen to radio preachers, what I liked in those pre-album-oriented FM days was the extended music one could hear at night.  I think the first time I heard all the way through The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys was at about 2AM on a weeknight. Longer songs like that and the album-length version of the Moody Blues' Nights in White Satin were staples late night/early morning AM that one would never hear during the day.

  •  No need to think back (18+ / 0-)

    As a lifelong Balto. Orioles fan, who has been living in southern Vermont for the last 8 years, I depend on late night radio "skip" to let me hear their games.
    WBAL, once again the O's flagship station, is about 400 miles from here, but once the sun sets, I can listen in.
    That means I hear most of the games near the beginning of the season, but less and less as the days get longer. By late June and the solstice, I can usually hear only the last couple of innings.
    I know, there are other ways I can listen in online, and I do sometimes, but to me there's still nothing like sitting on the back porch with a ball game on the radio.

  •  Had a cheap hamfest shortwave (21+ / 0-)

    A few tubes, cost a couple of hard won bucks.  There was something magical about those voices in the night.  Voices from halfway around the world.  

    Memories are fading, but I loved Alistair Cooke.on the BBC with his letter from America.  Radio Moscow always had the latest on the exploitation of the proletariat and the triumph of soviet socialism.  And then there was Radio Albania with, well, weirdness.  Stalinist weirdness.  Funny how all those old Albanian folk-songs celebrated tractor factory number 37 making their 5 year plan.

    Even in the internet age, I think I still prefer the human voice.

    •  I have a radio with shortwave bands too (12+ / 0-)

      that I got at Restoration Hardware. I use it to regularly listen to the BBC at night. I can also get shortwave stations from Cuba, Russia, and Germany that I listen to with some regularity. I know that you can now listen to some of these same stations over the Internet, but I still like using my radio and pulling it in from the ether. I'll also sometimes hear the dot-dash signal from someone using Morse code (even though I don't know Morse code), and can only imagine what is being said.

      Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

      by dewtx on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 02:18:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I had a shortwave too (10+ / 0-)

      used to listen to Radio Moscow and the Eastern Bloc countries (which all had stations).  Also heard Cuba and West Germany.  

      Who can ever forget Radio Albania?

      Now those stations and governments are long gone - so sometimes good things happen.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:40:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I remember also listening to VOA (8+ / 0-)

      Voice of America. Of course, young as I was, I believed everything they said. And I didn't get to listen very often, only when I spend the night and Grandma wanted to listen to radio on her old tube set that was as big as a jukebox. I was amazed at that radio, with its rows of buttons and mysterious orange glowing bits behind the front grille. And it had police and taxi channels. Who knew taxis had their own channel! Impressed the hell out of an eight year old kid.

  •  Could hear (10+ / 0-)

    WLS, Chicago, WHO, Des Moines, and WWL New Orleans at night in Huntsville, Alabama....1960s.  Mostly music.  My folks were from Iowa and on trips there, listened to WHO during the day, 50,000 watts got most of the state.  It was mainly talk radio but not the radical reports, local shows and ads. Maybe a preacher here and there.

    American Radio History dot com has this if anyone cares to browse (from 1945, PDF).

  •  Cousin Brucie! (12+ / 0-)

    ....listening to WABC NY (770 AM) every night, with my transistor radio under my pillow.

    •  I specifically remember (6+ / 0-)

      Cousin Brucie on WABC and Larry Lujack on WLS Chicago, right here in Alabama.  The last really cool AM Top 40 stations I ever heard before I finally broke down (at age 16) and bought the el cheapo Radio Shack FM "adapter" for my car.

      When you celebrate ignorance and boo education you don't get to cry when I call you a moron.--MinistryofTruth

      by dwayne on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:11:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cousin Brucie is still on ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... satellite radio.

      Time warpage -- even played the McGuire Sisters' Sugar In The Morning with a wicked chuckle.

      "I love this kinda stuff!" (HE said -- I groaned.)

      Yeah, that was AM Radio too -- very square corners here and there.

      The economy didn't just crash under a Republican president, it crashed under Republican policies. It crashed with low taxes.

      by MT Spaces on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:58:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  DXing with a clock radio (15+ / 0-)

    Out here in the SF Bay Area we always had variety on the radio dial.  And yet I do remember DXing on a cheap GE clock radio in bed at 11 pm on a Sunday night; and if the skip was right you could get Chicago.  Salt Lake City? Piece of cake. Pre-internet, it was really something.

    When I was a little older I bought a multi-band portable radio with shortwave from the Monky Ward catalog and pulled in the BBC, South Africa, Radio Moscow, Radio Holland, and more.  

  •  Back in the 69s ... (8+ / 0-)

    I loved the Magnolia Thunderpussy radio commercials on late night SF Bay area radio.

    Thanks for the memories,


    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 02:51:41 PM PDT

  •  Art Bell (15+ / 0-)

    Yes, that Art Bell.

    Before he became a darling of the late-night-conspiratory-theory wackjobs, way back in my teenage years he played absolutely great nighttime rock and roll at an Anchorage radio station.

    One very stoned night a couple of my friends and I decided we just HAD to go say "hi" to Art.

    We drove over to the station and somehow talked somebody into opening the front door. Or hell, maybe it was open anyway.

    In either case, we walked to the control room/DJ booth and looked through the window, and there was Art. He looked up, kind of glared at us, and all we could do was wave and quickly leave the building!

    Help Santa Clara Valley Audubon; please donate to my Birdathon! Send me a message for details!

    by Senor Unoball on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:09:20 PM PDT

  •  Late 60s in Central Nebraska (15+ / 0-)

    It was all about KOMA in Oklahoma City. Top 40 mostly but the DJs sounded radical compared to the local daytime duds. Everybody you met driving around was listening to the same radio station. I learned to use it as a good opening line. Well, that and "we've got a 12 pack".

    Thanks for the diary. Old memories of good times.

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - My Dad's favorite bible verse. We should love everyone. Even Republicans. - My late father

    by Bob the old soldier on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:11:48 PM PDT

  •  Oh heck yeah (14+ / 0-)

    My clock radio and earphones were my window to the world!  From my bed in rural pre-Internet PA, I got several NY stations, WBZ in Boston, a station in Chicago, even one in Windsor, Canada (that seemed very exotic.  It was another country, and they had cool accents.)

    But my favorite was Larry King.  At the time (1980ish) he did an all-night radio talk show that just fascinated me.  I never called in but still remember the number: 703-685-2177 ;)

    I was raised very conservative Christian, so I avoided any kind of preaching or religious content -- enough of that during the day!  It took years for me to realize how important that small link to the "outside world" was before the world became so "connected."

    Still love talk radio, and now find preachers highly entertaining!

    "as long as there last name is not obozo, i am voting for them." -- some wingnut blogger

    by SteelerGrrl on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:12:43 PM PDT

    •  Paul Harvey used to be interesting also. (6+ / 0-)

      I'll never forget his lead-in every show. He would tell some wild tale and then announce, "And now, ... the rest of the story", or something like that.

      Larry King must be old as dirt. Is he still alive? Great voice, and a face made for radio, heh.

      I even used to listen to (shh, don't tell anyone here) the dreaded Limpbaugh radio show in the late 80s, early 90s. I thought the guy was just playing it for laughs, and I can't ever remember agreeing with anything he said. I do remember giving up on his nasty talk just before he got his famously short television show.

    •  WBZ had an announcer - maybe it was (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx, Senor Unoball

      Jefferson Kaye, who would say at the end of his show, "Put on the coffee, honey, I'm comin' home."  As for nightime preacher radio, didn't hear much of it until mid-70's when I drove from Newport RI to Laramie Wyoming to play a gig with band I sang with. (I know, hell of a ride for a gig - it's a long story.)  I was kind of stunned by all the fire and brimstone raging as we drove in the darkness through the Midwest. When we got to Nebraska, we heard something on the CB about not picking up any hitchhikers, because somebody had just killed a family at their isolated farm in Sunderland and he was "on the loose and armed". I had been looking out the window at flat fields in the moonlight with a farmhouse every 5 miles or so, thinking  "Man, if I ever went crazy, it would be here."
      In my memory of this I am pretty sure I had recently read "In Cold Blood" and the whole scene was reminding me of that book when the CB gave out that warning. Spooky.

  •  Aaaahhh... KAAY, 1090! (10+ / 0-)

    Clyde Clifford, with Hendrix's If Six Was Nine as background, listening until 2AM on my little Philco radio.

    Kept a permanent painful ear from the single earplug. There weren't nice, soft earbuds back then...

    And listening to Harry C. and Cardinals broadcasts.

    "In other words, if we bust our butts, there's an even chance things will get better; and if we sit on our butts, there's a major chance things will go completely to hell". --- G2geek

    by Lorinda Pike on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:38:05 PM PDT

  •  Mine was a GE with a leather cover, (10+ / 0-)

    about 5" by 8", large for a transistor. Loved DXing after dark. In the later on in the 60s I got a "stereo" and "underground" FM from L.A. KMET programmed 12 hrs. each day and replayed it at night so the time checks would match. Later they went to 24 hrs. I heard the Last Days of the Fillmore LIVE. Reverend Ike, from L.A. was my favorite religious guy.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:49:58 PM PDT

    •  The Mighty Met (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Azazello, dewtx, Senor Unoball, blueoasis

      The first "Underground" station I got out of LA was KABC, later to be KLOS but before that happened I'd bailed for the ultra cool KMET.

      KMET, tadweedledee, tadweedledee!

      I wonder whatever happened to "Mounds" Turner? My ghawd I didn't know it was possible to fall in love with a voice.

      "Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system." - Dorothy Day

      by Dave925 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:05:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WLAC from Nashville Tennesee (11+ / 0-)

    When I was driving at night I could pick them up all over the country. They played Rhythm and Blues all night long.

  •  Out West (12+ / 0-)

    I loved listening to baseball games as I drove the deserts of the West. The AAA Albuquerque Dukes, Dodgers, Giants, A's... I think KFI in LA was a monster as was KGO in SF. KSL in Salt Lake was the baseline, the further away I got the more unusual stations I'd find.

    I always liked the local color - regional restaurants, car dealers, plays and concerts. Try it now and it can take quite a while before you can puzzle out where you are hearing. Even weather and traffic is pretty generic. "Mild and cooler tonight downtown, the suburbs will be slightly wet." I am pretty good with interstates so if I get more than one I have a pretty good guess as to the city.

    A couple years back I was driving into work here in Wisconsin at about 0300 every day and I could get some real beauties. Denver, New Orleans, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, and even New York and Boston at times. Denver was clear enough that I actually called into a talk show once or twice. is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 04:57:01 PM PDT

  •  Chicken Man! (8+ / 0-)

    Wasn't that WKBW in Buffalo?

  •  KOMA as Bob the old soldier notes was big (8+ / 0-)

    I was in southeast South Dakota. Little Rock was No. 2 for me after KOMA. Did you get a preacher named Rev. Springer? I pulled in baseball from all over the country, from Pittsburgh to Houston to Los Angeles.

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:02:12 PM PDT

    •  I listened to a number of AM preachers. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Senor Unoball, blueoasis

      But the only name that I can still recall after 50+ years is Garner Ted Armstrong--he was one slick dude. But there were a lot of others out there I listened to. I remember one (or could even be several) that would mail you a gen-u-ine prayer cloth that had been personally blessed by the preacher for a $10 donation. After a while they started to all sound the same so it had to be the voices themselves and the spiels that would get me to pay attention--it was certainly different than anything happening on the farm.

      I also listened to KOMA from Oklahoma City as it usually came in pretty clear at night. But as you can tell, I personally was more taken with the Little Rock station and its Bleecker Street program--King Crimson stole my soul!! (Interesting since King Crimson was another term for Beelzebub or the Prince of Demons--if my parents only knew.)

      Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

      by dewtx on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:29:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  First time I heard Earl Scruggs (6+ / 0-)

    little earbud transistor radio, DXing from upstate NY, late night, Wheeling West VA, I think - Maiden On The Shore. What was that sound? Had to go out & buy some Flatt & Scruggs LPs - Carnegie Hall Concert, with the Martha White theme song. Maybe 61, 62? And Cousin Brucie, of course.

    "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

    by greenotron on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:11:15 PM PDT

  •  Crystal radio from Radio Shack growing up (8+ / 0-)

    One earplug, seeing what i could pick up, though generally I just enjoyed the progressive country on goat roper radio. I did pick up Alaska once, in Texas.

    Had a great car in the early 80's - a majestic Ford Fiesta - that had amazing reception for some reason. Soon as the sun went down, I could pick up clear channel stations from Oklahoma and Shreveport as strong as the local stations. Good classic country.

  •  In the early '60s lived in Ozarks. After dark got (7+ / 0-)

    FM including a bunch of "radio evangelists" located in Del Rio Texas (I guessed Del Rio was near enough the border to slip across when need be.)  One sold "authentic autographed pictures of Jesus."

    The AM stations went off the air at sundown. Most ended the broadcasting day with the Star Spangled Banner. But one Memphis station ended the broadcasting day with "Stomp Yo' Feet in the Mississippi Mud." It was a catchy tune.

    "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

    by Mayfly on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:19:02 PM PDT

  •  I have fond memories of when music ruled AM (8+ / 0-)

    And you're right, this is pretty much the greatest song of all times.

    "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

    by emperor nobody on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:22:17 PM PDT

  •  Yes, I remember (10+ / 0-)

    and all similar experiences to mine.

    This is a recap from the 70's but still pretty close.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:26:42 PM PDT

    •  Most memorable AM experience... (6+ / 0-)

      My good friend/neighbor and I had just smoked a fatty and were on our way into 'town' (little more than a crossroads) to get into trouble, when we heard the Edgar Winter Group song Frankenstein. We were blown away to hear something that we had heard something so radical on AM, that we otherwise would have had to  buy an album to hear (not much $ for that) or wait for one of the FM stations to play (and we had very limited recording capabilities back then.)

      Great song {{{{{blueoasis}}}}}, hadn't heard that one before :)

  •  Thanks for the memories. (8+ / 0-)

    When the sun went down and the local clear channel radio went off the air I could pull in WLS-Chicago and Little Rocks Bleeker Street. When the Cardinals were not playing I would often fall asleep with my hand on the tuner dial because am radio had a tendency to drift. Surprised I dont have carpal tunnel from it.

    Blathering grimaceing idiots abound

    by spunhard on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:29:18 PM PDT

  •  For me it was Cousin Brucie, Dan Ingram and (8+ / 0-)

    Harry Harrison. AM was almost all music back then. FM was in it's infancy. My transistor radios didn't even have FM.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin

    by hotdamn on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:29:31 PM PDT

  •  And a CW version (6+ / 0-)

    covering approximately the same time.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:31:21 PM PDT

  •  Franklyn MacCormack (5+ / 0-)

    and the All Night Meister Brau Showcase, on WGN. Spent many a trip listening in the back of the nine-seater Bel-Air wagon, coming home from wherever the folks had dragged us off to.
    And, of course, Harry Carey (with Jack Buck) out of St. Louis, Bob Elston with the Sox, Brickhouse and the Cubs, Ernie Harwell and the Tigers, and the Milwaukee Braves. Parents had a console RCA that must have been about five feet tall in the kitchen, and I remember listening to London on some band or other.

    and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

    by le sequoit on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:47:42 PM PDT

    •  Harrey Carey and IMHO, Bob Ueker (sp) (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MT Spaces, dewtx, Senor Unoball, blueoasis

      were two of the best baseball announcers I have ever heard. They made you feel like you were there. Soothing and exciting at the same time.

      One of the fondest memories I have of my Uncle Eddie, is of him sitting on the sofa on a Saturday afternoon, at home or at ours, watching one game, listening to another, and reading the sports page about a third. And then he would be switching channels on the tv to pick up a fourth and FSM only knows how many he had on his radio. He actually was once picked up to play minor league ball somewhere, but gave it up because his parents had shit for luck health, and you all know about our US of A medical plan. He had a good heart, and I sure miss him. And, AFAIK, he always voted D.

      p.s. The very first car I ever drove was my uncle's 1964 Bel Aire wagon.

      p.p.s. MKE still has a hardon for ATL for stealing the Braves. It almost made us Cubs fans, heh.

  •  Yes, fond memories (7+ / 0-)

    My parents got me a simple shortwave kit radio about 1963 that I spent countless winter nights building (winding the coils for the different bands) and then listening to both domestic medium wave and far-off shortwave. From Lancaster, Pa., WOWO in Fort Wayne Ind., was a blaster. Then my next door neighbor who moved from New York got me into Jean Shepherd on WOR, which became a regular Saturday night event until girls dragged me away.
    Today I collect and restore old tube AM radios and shortwave sets, but there's relatively little to listen to except raving fanatics. Radio Tirana, the crazy commie station, was at least amusing. Bible thumpers are not.

    •  "...restore old tube AM..." (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx, BusyinCA, Senor Unoball

      Any suggestions for how to tell if an 83 tube (it's a mercury rectifier) is good? Trying to help get a Western Electric (by Hickok) tube tester up and running, but how to test the likely suspect when the tester can't test itself? There's probably a workaround, but darned if I know what it is.



      Strange that a harp of (a) thousand strings should keep in tune so long

      by jabney on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:58:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish I could help you (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewtx, Senor Unoball, jabney

        My brother in law used to collect old radios, some even as old as yours. You might try some interest groups on Usenet (yes, it is still there). There are still some vacuum tube aficionados out there. Best to ya :)

      •  If you have a multimeter, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewtx, Senor Unoball, jabney

        fire the tube up and see if you get dc at the output... that is, across the filter capacitor.  If you get dc, the tube is good.

        If the tube is bad, or if you don't want to worry about it one way or the other, you might want to replace it with silicon diodes.  See here:

        Peter W.    
         Post subject: Re: Hickok Testers and Balanced 83 Rectifier
        PostPosted: Nov Thu 18, 2010 8:56 pm
        New Member

        Joined: Nov Thu 11, 2010 7:25 pm
        Posts: 15
        Location: Melrose Park, PA    
        After reading the technical manuals for the Hickok testers, I understand why the 83 rectifier tube in the tester needs to have good plate balance.

        I have long-since replaced my 83 with two 1N4007 diodes and two 10-ohm 2-watt resistors. I used my calibration tubes (6L6s) after the fact to make sure that the replacement was correct.

        I found a dud 4-pin tube, pulled the bottle and installed the diodes and resistors in the base. A true plug-in replacement and no further worries.

        Funny thing, read the literature on the 83 - it is not supposed to run other than in the vertical position.

        Peter Wieck
        Melrose Park, PA

        See also here.
        •  If you want to test the tube outside the radio, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          lash up a simple power supply, similar to the upper two-thirds of the one depicted here.

          You do not need to use the chokes, or more than one filter capacitor.

          See whether you get dc across the capacitor.  If the rectifier is functioning properly, and if the capacitor is in good shape, and if your voltmeter has a high input impedance, the dc voltage across the filter capacitor will be the peak voltage that appears between one end of the secondary winding and the center tap.  The peak voltage is 1.414 times the rms voltage assuming that you are feeding sinusoidal current to the transformer.  The rated secondary voltage is typically the rms voltage.

          Use a bleeder resistor across the capacitor.... 470 kilohms, 1 megohm, the value is not too critical.

          But do not even attempt this if you are unfamiliar with working with mains-level and higher voltages.  Even if you use a transformer with a fairly low output voltage, the primary circuit will be at mains potential, and mains-level voltages can be lethal.

  •  I think it was Beaker Street on KAAY (6+ / 0-)

    We used to listen to that at night, as well.  They sure played a lot of King Crimson. Trippy.

    In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

    by Betty Pinson on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:00:57 PM PDT

  •  CKLW and my first time! (6+ / 0-)

    Won an essay contest and bought my first (huge) transistor radio. CKLW at night! You could hear them clear down to Cincinnati! Maybe farther when the ceiling lowered at night.

  •  yes, fond memories (7+ / 0-)

    late at night i used to be able to get a New York City station that played a lot of Beatles records

    I lived in DC at the time, and thought that was amazingly cool that radio waves could travel so far

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    Real journalists know that lies do not bring "balance" to truth! (h/t elwior)

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:07:00 PM PDT

  •  My favorite AM/FM DX radio remains the trusty and (10+ / 0-)

    venerable GE SuperRadio III.  Great local and DX reception, great sound, and not at all expensive.

    Not exactly lightweight either - especially loaded with 6 D cells - but it's really a remarkable set and has been for eons.

    My other old-school favorite is the Ross "World Master" rig.  It's a real beast, but it let me explore the entire world as a young pup.

    For all the "convenience" of commercial radio's widespread availability on the internet these days, it's only about 1/1000th as rewarding as actual air surfing :)

    "Fear is the path to The Dark Side." - Yoda (or possibly Rove)

    by here4tehbeer on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:17:54 PM PDT

  •  1020, la radio que habla! (5+ / 0-)

    Stations from northern Mexico pwn all!

    But my favorite was the local boys from 1020 AM.  They had a sports show that mostly talked about soccer.

  •  Kash D. Amburgey (10+ / 0-)

    Received a Hitachi salmon-colored transistor radio for my birthday in 1961. It was my window to popular music and was always under my pillow as I drifted off to sleep to 1410 WING in Dayton. Occasionally,  it would pull in 1360 WSAI in Cincinnati, 1230 WCOL in Columbus and 1340 WIZE in Springfield.

    When my grandmother made her annual trip out west, I was able to use her bedroom to escape my younger brother and listen to her more powerful Motorola radio. That Motorola radio opened up the whole eastern half of the USA and adjacent Canada to me. As I scanned the dial, however, the voice of Kash D. Amburgey and his Bible Church of God program on 910 WPFB in Middletown, OH would send a shiver down my spine. Hell-fire and damnation at its best.

    What memories that Motorola radio bring to mind! Being a big baseball fan, especially of the Reds, that radio allowed me to hear the game from the other side as well as from Joe McIntire and Joe Nuxhall on 700 WLW. Some of the stations it would pull in were:

    830 WCCO Minneapolis - Herb Carneal & Merle Harmon calling Catfish Hunter's perfect game in 1968

    760 WJR Detroit - Ernie Harwell and the Tigers' 1968 season

    750 WSB Atlanta - Milo Hamilton and that pesky Hammerin' Hank Aaron's game-winning HRs against the Reds

    1120 KMOX St. Louis - Harry Cary, Jack Buck and two Cardinal World Series

    1020 KDKA Pittsburgh - Bob Prince and the Pirates' amazing Roberto Clemente

    1210 WCAU Philadelphia - Byrum Saam, Richie Ashburn & the Phillies on rare occasions

    1190 WOWO Fort Wayne - Bob Chase and Komets hockey

    770 WABC New York - rarely missed Cousin Brucie and his top 40 countdowns with new songs before they hit the Midwest

    800 CKLW Windsor/Detroit - Great Top 40 radio

    890 WLS Chicago - More Top 40

    850 KOA Denver - the atmosphere was perfect one night for the most distant station received

    740 CBL Toronto and another station I cannot recall that broadcast Montreal Canadien games in French

    Listening to these stations was always an adventure. Summer thunderstorms interruped the broadcasts with static. As the older Kossacks remember, the stations also faded in and out, sometimes into each other if they were close on the dial. Sorry about the length of this post, but what memories!

    There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

    by OHeyeO on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:50:30 PM PDT

  •  "The Court of the Crimson King" ... (7+ / 0-)

    rocked my world.  Still love it.

  •  And Larry King and his... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BusyinCA, Dave925, Senor Unoball

    UFO nights...and then he went nuts.

  •  Growing up between LA and San Diego (9+ / 0-)

    I could pull in a lot of AM stations but they'd all became sort of stale, top 40 was passe in the long ago "Summer of Love" I am thinking back to.

    But I did hear the Doors and the Airplane on AM, and unbeknownst to me, FM Stereo was gearing up that summer.

    By the first half of '68, I had spliced another 50' of wiring into a headset to run from the FM Stereo in the living room back into my bedroom- no FM radio yet in there. I lay in bed and would listen to what to me was the definitive sound of the break from that top 40 past- Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love".

    Ta da da da da, da da da Ta-Dahhhhh Dah!

    By the time King Crimson rolled around a year and change later, I had it all, an FM, A 4 Track RECORDER, a turntable, headphones (without the spliced wires) and man I was set.

    It was in those long gone nights back in my bedroom when I first smoked reefer, headphones on listening to artists all our age know well and revere. My folks never caught me and in a couple more years I was moved out for good, begun that trip into adulthood but for me and millions more like me, that wonderful music has never stopped- and nor have the memories of where we were and what we did when we first heard it.

    Lives changed forever by the music that has never really ended. If only it could go on and on and on and well, maybe in whatever awaits us across the great divide, it does.

    "Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system." - Dorothy Day

    by Dave925 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:30:39 PM PDT

  •  Reminds me of a trip to the Philippines... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, dewtx, Senor Unoball, Rashaverak wife and I stayed in the barrio with relatives for a month or so.  No electricity other than batteries.  At night we listened to AM radio dramas.  I still remember the tenorous voice of Ed Legaspi intoning a program titled:

    "Dahil may Buhay!"
    (Because there is Life)
    Good times.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:28:16 PM PDT

  •  KOMA, in Oklahoma! (5+ / 0-)

    And Wolfman Jack from Mexico!  I grew up in NM, so KOMA was the best channel to get as well as that crazy radio station from Mexico with the Wolfman that everyone seemed to get all over the U.S.  I don't remember what it was "on the dial."  Oh and KQEO rock n' roll in Alb. was strong, too, but I preferred KOMA.

    I didn't listen to Christian radio, though.  

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 08:53:03 PM PDT

  •  Jean Shepherd (7+ / 0-)

    I grew up in the NYC area and can remember my parents talking about Jean Shepherd----the genius monologist who invented talk radio and performed nightly alone (no sidekick, no callers) sometimes for three hours straight on WOR-New York.  

    Shepherd, of course, is the author and voice of the film "A Christmas Story."  It's a masterful story---classic americana---but few of its fans realize that Shepherd had literally tens of thousands of such great stories and told them off the cuff night after night for decades.

    A couple of years ago I purchased the complete archives of Shepherd's work on three DVD-ROMs from this distributor

    Best investment ever!  Here's a couple of samples

    Dulce bellum inexpertis [War is sweet only to those who have no experience of it].

    by Fatherflot on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:04:48 PM PDT

  •  I grew up in Minneapolis in the 70's (5+ / 0-)

    So I'm mostly excluded, however I did get to listen to A childhood's worth of Gopher sports on WCCO ( my dad was an alum so it was allowed) and of course the  MN Twins. ( He would get peeved though when he heard me listening to the North Stars hockey and/or Hockey Night on KTSP. Said it sounded like a bunch of drunks from Thunder Bay arguing who had to pay the bar tab).  

    But if you lived in the twin cities, yeah it was pretty much WCCO because it drowned out the rest real good. And Lawrence Welk, Hee Haw, and Grand Old Opry on Saturday nights on TV if your momma was from a farm family like mine was.

    •  My brother lives in Glencoe near Minneapolis. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, Senor Unoball, blueoasis

      On the farm in Iowa we also grew up with our parents' love of Lawrence Welk and Hee Haw on TV. Did any of the people on Minnesota (or even Canadian) radio that you listened to in the 70s have that "Minnesota" accent that was exaggerated in "Fargo" or that Sarah Palin (even though she was born in Idaho) can drive some people up the wall with. On most midwestern radio I listened to, I heard only that flat Walter Cronkite midwestern style of speaking that so dominates on radio and TV even today and that I grew up speaking myself. Now stations from the South--that's where I heard some fabulous accents, especially from the radio preachers. In Iowa I couldn't pick up any Eastern AM stations, so couldn't hear the various New England accents that I later heard when I went to graduate school in upstate New York and when I visited various towns and sights in the New England area (like Brooklyn, Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine). But then to them I probably sounded like someone from the middle of nowhere. I love hearing different ways of talking and expressing yourself. And since my wife is Colombian, I've now even learned to distinguish some of the differences in how various regions speak Spanish.

      Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

      by dewtx on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:20:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah alot of people have an Iron Range accent (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewtx, Dave925, Senor Unoball

        who hail from the northern third of MN.

        Used to be alot of commerce going out of Duluth MN/Superior WI by ship in those good old AM Radio days. I think that is the accent they were shooting for, and that you are thinking of.

        If you really want to hear a great AM radio spoof of the iron range accent, search the following on youtube:

        "Jacques Lemaire and Lou Nanne interview on KFAN"

        its a great radio bit, of that there is no doubt!
        (and I suck at linking and embedding).

        •  Thanks so much, I found it. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Senor Unoball

          It's here: Jacques Lemaire and Lou Nanne interview on KFAN. When I heard Lou Nanne's first "Hey, how's it goin'" I knew you nailed it. And then Jacques Lemaire comes on and blows it away 2-for-2. What wonderful distinctive accents--and so much fun to listen to. That's what makes radio so great and interesting--if I heard this on my car radio at night I wouldn't be able to turn it off. Thanks again.

          Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

          by dewtx on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 05:52:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I should have added, no doubt there is no doubt. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Senor Unoball

            I know regional hockey has some characters, but Nanne and Lemaire (oh that Lemaire) are the icing on the cake, no doubt.

            Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

            by dewtx on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 06:16:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  in '55 and '56 south Mpls (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cka, dewtx, Senor Unoball, blueoasis

      I used to listen at night waiting for Elvis and Carl Perkins on WLS and the supstation in Juarez  (see commenters above) on a crystal radio set ...  looked like a toy rocketship .. u changed channel by sliding the nose of the rocket in or out  ... could only get those stations by attaching to a radiator and using the whole house radiator system as an antenna....   lot of neighborhood kids did that  

      did you do what you said you'd do?

      by blue71340 on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 05:49:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was in a Long Range Surveillance Detachment (7+ / 0-)

    in the military, and before satellite radios we used HF radios for long range communications. (They also had UHF capability)

    We were a very small team (6 soldiers) that would set up a hide site and hang out for days, reporting back "intelligence" to the HQ.

    When I got watches late at night, I would mess with the radio looking for other people out there.

    One time I listened to crazy Ham radio operators spouting out some serious CT--I mean alien crazy. Another time I got a discussion between a boat captain and some port authority in England. We could get radio stations from Cuba and such if the atmospheric conditions were right. It was really cool. There were a lot of HF stations that have all kinds of weird codes being broadcast from intelligence communities all over the world. I had no idea what I was listening to at times, but it was interesting and kept me awake.  

    In Afghanistan, my interpreter and I used an ICOM to scan channels. Every now and then we would come across the enemy communicating with one another. My interpreter would shout insults into the radio, and they would respond in kind. It was very cool for me to listen to Afghans playing the dozens over a tiny radio in the middle of a dark night in the northern Kunar province. It wasn't angry, they would actually make each other laugh.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:40:51 PM PDT

  •  I never realized (6+ / 0-)

    so many people were listening like I was to those far away stations that brought a connection to the bigger world than I usually had growing up on a farm in SD.  I didn't have earphones so I could only listen until one of my parents heard the radio and made me turn it off. Thanks for the memories.

    Never separate the life you live from the words you speak - Paul Wellstone

    by meralda on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:03:43 PM PDT

    •  It sure was fun discovering all that new stuff (5+ / 0-)

      from that great big world out there through that little AM radio at night, wasn't it! I look at my grandson and know he wouldn't have a clue about what we all are reminiscing about. Maybe he's gained some good things we never had, but I also think he's lost something too that made life interesting. I know one of this grandfather's jobs is to tell him as interestingly as possible what a child's life was like back when--and surprisingly much of the time he's actually interested. I take that as a good sign.

      Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

      by dewtx on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:40:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "The Secret Life of Radio" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, BusyinCA, Dave925

    Cool documentary here:

    Also check out "Empire of the Air" by Ken Burns

    Dulce bellum inexpertis [War is sweet only to those who have no experience of it].

    by Fatherflot on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:13:53 PM PDT

  •  Great Radio Poem (5+ / 0-)

    by my friend Maj Ragain.  I teach this in my Media Ecology class

    Lament for Stella Gibson
    Maj Ragain

    The seventies in southeastern Illinois
    were recession times.  The oil fields had dried up.
    The Road master bicycle factory had broken
    the union, gone bottom dollar.
    The Wal-Mart cathedral of tomorrow was on the drawing board,
    its gridded parking acres still soybeans.
    Lots of folks in Olney, my hometown, signed up down
    on Boone street, the unemployment office.
    The only work I could find was at the local
    radio station, two dollars an hour,
    newsman, music man, trashman, third class
    radio engineer, on the air from six til eleven every night.
    Just me and the three blinking red lights on the tower.

    The music play list was soft contemporary
    middle of the road bonehead oatmeal for the ear.
    Sundown come and the phone would begin to ring.
    Requests, complaints, questions, rants, offers of love.
    Calls from pissed off, hormone humped
    teenagers who demanded Black Sabbath heavy metal or else,
    from warehouse fork lift truck drivers craving Elvis,
    from Joe Smith, the coin collecting barber who
    never told me the same gorilla joke twice,
    from a waitress at the Red Rooster truck stop
    who couldn’t make it through the night
    without a Kenny Rogers love song.
    I’d hear from half-in-the-bag housewives
    who wanted their hearts jumpstarted by Barry Manilow.
    Every night I’d get a phone call or two
    from Stella, Stella Gibson.
    Hello, this is WVLN WSEI fm.
    Hello, honey, I couldn’t live without you
    playing this music, keeping me company,
    talking to me in the dark.

    Stella was in her late seventies,
    long time blind, living alone
    in a poor neighborhood dubbed Goosenibble,
    down by the Baltimore and Ohio tracks.
    One night after the sign off news,
    and I’d shut down the transmitter,
    the phone rang.  It was stella again.
    Honey, I am lonesome tonight.
    I sure wish I had me a cold beer
    and some company.
    What kind of beer you like, Stella?
    I like them tall boys, nice and cold.
    An hour later, I knocked on her screen door.
    Stella appeared, flowered housecoat,
    hair tied back with a scarf, small shoulder.
    I want to see what you look like, she said
    and took my face in her hands,
    thumbs along cheekbones and brow,
    down the nose, lips, chin, dimple.
    When she had me in her head,
    she led me to her kitchen table.
    We split the six pack
    as she told me stories about her cats,
    her dead husbands, her no good hillbilly neighbors,
    her rag rug business.
    She made jumble colored rag rugs
    and sold them on the radio station’s call in
    morning show Quiz n’ Tell.
    After her third beer, she loaded me down
    with five rugs and kissed me a midnight goodbye,
    a quick, squeegee smack at the side of the mouth.
    Honey, she said, Don’t you be expecting
    to come around here every night.
    One foot out the door, an armful of rugs,
    I turned back to her.
    Your name, Stella, means star.

    I never saw her again,
    though a couple of times, I did leave
    a six pack of Pabst blue ribbon on her doorstep.
    I quit the ghost voice business
    that November, packed my Impala
    oil burner and wandered east,
    following rivers, sleeping in truck stop lots.
    A few years later, a hometown fella
    told me Stella Gibson had passed on.
    You know she didn’t make those rugs.
    They come from Guatemala.
    She had them shipped down from Chicago.
    I know that guy.  He doesn’t believe in much.

    She is in her dark kitchen tonight,
    sipping the foam of a tall boy,
    singing along with the radio.
    Her sure finger weave the thin rag strips,
    pulling the colors through.

    I was the nightman
    She was a star.

    Dulce bellum inexpertis [War is sweet only to those who have no experience of it].

    by Fatherflot on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:16:17 PM PDT

  •  In Brooklyn, when the air was right, (5+ / 0-)

    I'd get variously, Cleveland, DC, and Buffalo radio. I realize now, all R&B and Soul stations (lucky me!)

    In those days there were national playlists, but most big cities had their own music scene, featuring local musicians. So the R&B you could hear in NY was of a different flavor than the small towns (sorry, NYC boy here), and they differed in themselves.

    Sometimes you'd pick up something one night in DC, and two months later it would be a NY, or national, hit. I'm pretty sure "Boy From New York City" hit DC first, for example.

    It was really sweet, curling up with the homework (who could do homework without music?) or just curling up late at night, moving that dial and radio by increments to catch that signal again as it faded.

    Today, if you exist... that's already suspicious.

    by Jim P on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:45:40 PM PDT

  •  AM Nighttime-Magical, Mysterious, Wonderful (6+ / 0-)

    I used to lie in bed at night with just the glow of the tubes from the radio and listen as the world faded in and out.  For a country boy growing up the Appalachians it was wonderful.   Yes I listened to Garner Ted and his father Herbert W Armstrong before him.  Their whole stick was about Revelations and the coming apocalypse which in the era of duck and cover didn't seem so far off the mark.  Remember that we really did come close during the Cuban missile crisis.  

    I finally learned code and got a ham radio and still hold the license although for me Ham is dead, killed by cell phones and the Internet.  I gave my last rig away in January to a friend who is still in it but ironically we communicate by e-mail.  Just sent one to him in fact.    

    In the summers of 04-06 I cruised in the remote waters British Columbia CA on my sailboat and revisited the same thing.  Up there I could get stations as far south as San Francisco actually more clearly than here in Olympia and I would listen to a country music station gently fade in and out from Alberta.  I felt right at home.  No tubes though to light the night though.  AM radio as we knew it was killed by consolidation.  Thank you not so much Bill Clinton.  

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:19:07 PM PDT

  •  Got my 1937 RCA 15K console radio (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, Senor Unoball, Rashaverak

    and have spent many a great night listening to old radio programs on "When Radio Was", plus 50s hits on a little AM station, plus ballgames sometimes.  Since it's also a powerful shortwave set I've spent fun evenings pulling in shortwave stations from around the world, including broadcasts from NHK from my wife's native Japan.  Also had my little 1940s bakelite table sets on in whatever room I'm in.  Since I'm overseas they all sit silent in my home back in Michigan, waiting for me...

    •  My parents had an RCA console (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, dewtx

      I don't know the vintage, but the guts have been removed and it lives on as a linen cabinet in the old farmhouse in Mich.  It has pocket doors that concealed the radio when not in use and is a beautiful cabinet.

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 08:53:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For those who like dxing, here are some good sites (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, Senor Unoball, Rashaverak

    you can visit, and these contain links to others:

    These contain information about stations and equipment.

    Great diary and comments.

    "If you love your Uncle Sam, bring them home, bring them home." - Pete Seeger

    by brae70 on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 06:31:15 AM PDT

  •  New York.. WOR am710 Jean Shepherd!! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, cka, Fatherflot, Senor Unoball, brae70

    Late 60's, early 70's

    I think his show started at 8 pm. Usually I would end up asleep with the little mono earplug still attached to my head, but most nights I would be electrified during the whole show and couldn't wait to discuss it with my fellow Shepherd listeners the next day!!

    Flick Lives!!

  •  Love this Recollection (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, Senor Unoball, Rashaverak

    Yes indeedy...   Living  near San  Francisco I loved  nightime AM Radio including  Johnny Cash from Fort Worth, Dodger  games  from LA, Wolfman Jack from Chula Vista , Salt  Lake, Oklahoma City  and searching the dial for new experiences.  Somehow  fiddling around the static and the fading in and out of the reception made it all the  more memorable, exciting  and exotic.

  •  the faded yellow bakelite tube Philco (4+ / 0-)

    yeah, we had 9 volt battery transistors, but why, when you could listen at twilight on a Sunday in February and be hypnotized by the dial light and the patterns the glowing tubes shot on the wall.

    It belonged to my Ma, and was slightly smaller than a breadbox, and sad to say, I have no idea what happened to it.

  •  What an awesome thread! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, blueoasis, Rashaverak

    I want to just toss a few things in.

    As a kid, I had an old Hammurlund AM HF radio.  (short wave)  Once, a friend and I made a really long wire antenna.  I mean, e-ffing long, like several hundred feet.

    Connected it to that radio, and oh man!  There wasn't a blank spot on the dial!  Spent many a long night on that thing, not just on commercial AM, but short wave too.  Used to really enjoy the multi-lingual talk shows, spoken round robin for each language.  

    Another was my "avoid the parents" trick.  I got hooked on a station here in the Portland, OR area that used to read the best books at night.  Problem was, bedtime landed right in the middle of the program.  Then there was this big stuffed dog I used for a pillow...

    The answer was a speaker mounted in the stuffed dog!  I cut it open, and stuffed a speaker inside of a small box with holes, then put that into the stuffed dog!  A short wire later, I could set the clock radio to go off after an hour or so, tune my program, and go to bed like a "good kid", listening to the rest of the story, or top 40, whichever I was in the mood for.  Worked until I didn't need to do it anymore.

    Finally, this thread triggered a distant memory for me:

    Was 1973 or 4, can't remember which anymore, Denver Colorado.  I was a little kid staying over at Grandparents house.  They put me in a side room, and in that room was a tall, tower style Zenith radio.  I knew what radios were, and had seen a few, but none like that one!  It was high tech, with filters, multiple bands, a big, round tuning dial indicator, fine tune trimmer, and all manner of lights and things!  

    That radio still exists today, and it still works at Grannie's house, BTW.  (I've fixed it twice over time)

    I asked about it, and they moved the bed where I could reach the controls, set the volume to "low" and said, "keep it that way the best you can", and cut me loose!

    Didn't sleep for hours!  

    That night made a big impression on me as a little kid, about 5 years old at the time.  It was my first time "DX'ing" on such a great old radio!  In my minds eye, I suddenly saw points of light and color, some dim, some flickering, some white hot bright, with the AM radio connecting me to each far away place, able to listen and come to know something about that place and those people...


    Still is.  I have an older GE Super Radio III, which is fantastic for sitting out late at night to catch distant stations.  Here I am over 40, and I'll still do it.  Lots of talk and ugly programming on now, but every once in a while, I'll score Canada and get a great program, or one of the few stations not just blasting hate talk at night.

    AM radio was the first technology that was connecting in the way Internet is now.  To me, it's simply magic in a box, and always will be.  AM radio has one other quality I seriously appreciate and that is how one can hear the world breathe, shift, move and such.

    Crackles in the air, lightning, that old fence down the road going, "click, click, click..." all mixed in with the sounds of people, places, things.  It's like having a 7th sense when the AM radio is on.

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***

    by potatohead on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 08:35:22 AM PDT

    •  It was a great time. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      potatohead, Rashaverak, blueoasis

      I can still remember the pops and sharp crackles in the transmission at night and know that someone somewhere was having a thunderstorm. Somehow that crackly fuzzy quality added to the experience rather than detracted. I do enjoy the clear pristine quality of the sound provided by CDs, MP3s, and FM radio today, but I also miss that extra-worldly almost 3-dimensional texture in that old transistor AM radio in the dark with the station fading in and out and hoping it will last until the song is over while the lightning crackles off in the distance. It sure helped a kid's imagination grow.

      Liberals think the glass is half-full. Conservatives think the glass is theirs.

      by dewtx on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 08:47:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, when listening to AM Stereo, the sound (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, dewtx

        was two dimensional!

        Loved the wall of natural sound beneath the program material.

        There is still one station here in PDX broadcasting AMS.  It's a nice treat when I drive to that part of town.

        What I liked most about AM radio, was the music had to be good, because the format limitations more or less forced it.

        ***Be Excellent To One Another***

        by potatohead on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:58:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When the night shows, the signals grow on radios (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, blueoasis

  •  WNBC in the 60s (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Brad Crandall, Long John Nebel...

    And great preachers on WWRL, 1600:

    Brother Al; A.A. Allen and the Miracle Revival Hour....

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