Any old time WBCN listeners out there?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tinnitus Andronicus, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I mean in the early days of the station, particularly. Things were never the same in terms of really freeform underground radio after the studio moved to the Prudential Building in 1972, which began a long sad decline into commercialism (you can read the full story in THE BOOK... and I say this with no disrespect to listeners who came to know and love the station in its later years).

    For me, 'BCN was the gateway drug to the wonderful wide world of recorded music, and exposed me for the first time to Frank Zappa, Robert Johnson, Miles Davis, Steve Reich, Fleetwood Mac (before they became huge), Spirit, Love, Big Star, Pearls Before Swine, Joy Of Cooking, Peter Ivers, Firesign Theatre, Bonzo Dog Band, White Noise, Traffic, Velvet Underground, the list goes on...

    I had the good fortune of seeing the new documentary on the station's early days this year at its world premiere and I recommend it to anyone who loved music and the counterculture of that era from 1968-1972, regardless of whether you lived in or near Boston at the time, or not: WBCN & The American Revolution



    Please speak up if you were a listener back in that magical time and place!
     
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  2. Jack

    Jack It’s alright, in fact it’s a gas

    Location:
    Orange, MA
    I grew up in Lowell so used to listen to BCN all the time. They always had the musicians in studio or broadcasted live sets from local clubs like Paul’s Mall. Won tickets from them to see Nils Lofgren at Paul’s Mall when his first solo album came out (with Keith Don’t Go).
     
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  3. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Was that 'Cry Tough'? I remember that record though I didn't own it, nor did I go see him. But I saw so many great shows at Paul's Mall or the Jazz Workshop (Patti Smith, Herbie Hancock, Janis Ian, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Sun Ra, Sam Rivers, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and others).
     
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  4. Jack

    Jack It’s alright, in fact it’s a gas

    Location:
    Orange, MA
    This one, from 1973:
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Jack

    Jack It’s alright, in fact it’s a gas

    Location:
    Orange, MA
    Also saw Cheech and Chong at Paul’s Mall, and at another time, Aerosmith.
     
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  6. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Oh yeah, BCN was the one responsible for breaking Aerosmith (for better or worse, I was never a fan). I did see Proctor & Bergman (of Firesign Theatre) at Paul's Mall, though...
     
  7. I arrived in Boston to attend Berkelee College Of Music in the fall of 1971.
    Absolutely amazed by WBCN and the music they were playing.
    I got turned on to a large variety of music thanks to their open ended playlists.
     
  8. supersquonk

    supersquonk Forum Resident

    Wish I'd been around for the glory days, but was too young for that and didn't really start listening until the early 80s. There was still quite a bit of amazing radio going on, though.

    - Charles' morning show. Will never forget Carlos the Computer and Billy West.
    - Ken's mellifluous voice doing mid-day. He had great taste, deep knowledge, and was clearly picking some of the tunes he played.
    - Duane Glasscock doing an entire shift on Saturdays sometimes.
    - Joe Jackson's "Friday" every Friday.
    - Boston Sunday Review. This was a classy news/feature show that went well with the Sunday Globe. No stores were open on Sundays back then, no internet or phones....Sundays were so relaxed.
    - Actual news bulletins at the top of the hour.
    - Cosmic Muffin
    - The "Wicked High" chopper.
    - Tami Heide at night.
    - Fools Day Parade
    - Those great promos. "The rock of the 50s....the rock of the 60s...." Or "Faster than the speed of sound!..." Or the montage of songs mentioning Boston.
    - Back to the Future. Some of the old jocks did this show on Sundays where some of the older music got played.

    Up until the abrupt, regrettable format change in the 90s, BCN did a better job than most stations of going corporate while maintaining a bit of its original spirit.

    Carter Alan's book mentioned above is superb, by the way. Would love to see the movie if it's ever distributed nationally or appears online. (No longer live in Boston.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
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  9. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    And when WBCN started becoming more predictable and restrictive in their music programming, there were other great college stations at that time, like WBUR (Boston U), WBRU (Brown U in Providence) and the station for Brandeis U, can't think of the call letters at the moment...
     
  10. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    It's only playing the film festival circuit at this time because in order to give it a formal release with unlimited distribution they need to pay for the music licensing for the songs that are used in the film (Cream, Stones, Airplane, etc).
     
  11. Jack

    Jack It’s alright, in fact it’s a gas

    Location:
    Orange, MA
    True. BCN influenced college radio all over. WLTI in Lowell (Lowell Tech Inst before it became UMass Lowell) played Get Yer Ya Yas Out in its entirety on day of release in 1970. I was mesmerized. WLTI sponsored some shows on campus: Tull, Aerosmith.
     
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  12. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    I started listening around '75/'76 or so, and I went to the benefit concert at the Orpheum in '79 when they were bought by some big media company who fired most of the staff.
     
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  13. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    The influence went both ways. As the story goes, station manager (who first brought freeform rock to the formerly classical/easy listening station) Ray Riepen recruited all the original DJs by just walking into various college radio studios and asking them if they wanted to come work for a new commercial rock station. Then later they would get professional DJs to come on board, West Coast people like Steven Seagull I think was one...
     
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  14. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    Are you talking about Matt Siegel?
     
  15. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Nope, I mean This Guy
     
  16. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    Another mid-70s listener here. Great things were still happening on BCN in those days!
     
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  17. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I was among the few cognoscenti who were present at the Jazz Workshop the night Patti Smith played her first gig in Boston, the one where she started cussing live on the air during BCN's live broadcast of the show. My oh my, Patti was off the hook that night!

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    One thing I remember is that they played demo recordings of The Cars that I loved. I was actually disappointed in the LP that came out, because it was so polished and produced, compared to what I heard on the air!
     
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  19. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    You were there after I left for the West Coast in the Bicentennial summer 0f 76 so I missed out on the early punk and new wave rumblings and the Rat Club, etc. But I graduated from high school (same high school Charles Laquidara went to) and got accepted to college in San Diego and I never got to hear WBCN again.
     
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  20. porieux

    porieux plook me now you savage rascal

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Grew up with WBCN in the early 80s. I guess maybe it was past the heyday but it was still pretty awesome.
    Loved the comedy skits and songs they would do, among other ridiculousness and great tunes..,,
     
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  21. docwebb

    docwebb Forum Resident

    I moved to Boston from the Washington DC area in the summer of 1971. WBCN was so much better than anything available in DC area. One of the reasons I loved Boston. That and the Boston Phoenix and then Real Paper. With so many colleges in the area there really was a youthful vibe to the city as well as authentic ethnic neighborhoods like the North End. Perhaps I wasn't listening carefully enough but I didn't notice any major deterioration in WBCN in 1972. Charles Laquidara was the man!
     
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  22. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    No, the change was gradual and not sudden after the studio move. I began to notice things like car commercials on the air and the ads themselves became more mainstream and corporate. As DJs came and went, the music got less diverse and freeform. By '76 when I left town it had become more exclusively rock programming with less blues, jazz, folk and avant-garde and the sets weren't so eclectic. And as much as I loved Maxanne's on air presence she was playing Aerosmith and Queen way too much. But it was good to hear Fleetwood Mac and Big Star at a time when it was rare to hear those records on the radio because they weren't making hit records in the early 70s.
     
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  23. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    Well WBUR has always been a corporate NPR affiliate, and students, of which I was one, didn't get to work there. Music on there is a thing of the distant past, and it was late night classical or Jazz when it was on.

    In Boston you had WTBS, later called WMBR, from MIT, still going strong; WCAS in Cambridge was very cool. BC, Emerson, Harvard, all have or have had stations that featured student broadcasting.
     
  24. Tinnitus Andronicus

    Tinnitus Andronicus Living Too Late Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    WTBS = With The Best Soul! I remember that station ID when I would tune in from time to time...
     
  25. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    There are live tapes of Mississippi John Hurt from the TBS studios from 1963. They were freeform way way back.
     
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