A great triple play. The first aircheck continues the WBCN FM series and is from 1971. Another fantastic set of music. The version of Anna by the Beatles seems to be a lot more echo laden than the regular release. Also noteworthy is a group called Demon Fuzz played at the very end of the clip and sounding very modern and ahead of their time. Not sure who the DJ is.
The second clip comes from WVBF FM, a station out of a suburb of Boston called Framingham. The station as WKOX FM had switched to a top 40 format in 1969 and was one of the earliest top 40 FM stations. In 1971 they changed their call letters to WVBF with the tagline ” Electronic Mama.” The station could be characterized as a AOR/Top 40 hybrid. The first DJ on the clip is Bud Ballou and he hands things off to Ron Robbin at the end of the clip. The presentation is high energy Top 40 and the music is a mix of FM rock and Top 40.
I have more from WBCN, WVBF and a few other Boston area stations that I will be uploading in the future. Plus I will continue to upload clips from Southern Ontario and Western New York.
The third clip comes from a radio program hosted by Ed Baer called Guard Scene (sponsored by The National Guard). Enjoy these rare interviews with John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful and Alex Chilton and The Box Tops from 1967.
Another superb aircheck from WBCN FM. Featuring an exceptional set of music including a not so typical track by Bo Diddley, Chicago channeling Crosby, Stills and Nash. Also music by The Byrds, Swampwater, Exhuma, Miles Davis and more. The Beatles Revolution Number 9 is interspersed with some BCN ID’s. You will also hear the comedy of The Firesign Theater and some great period piece commercials.
All of the elements that made the progressive free form format so intriguing and exciting are present. The clip is from Jan. 1971 and the DJ is Andy Beaubien.
A stellar playlist featuring Blind Faith, Fairport Convention, The Bonzo Dog Band, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beatles and a lot more. You will also hear the Cat and Dog Report which was a regular feature on the station at this time. I’m not sure who the DJ is.
The source tape has survived incredibly well but a few of the original records suffered from scratches.
This quote, from a June 1970 Boston Magazine article about the station, sums up the music policy of the station at the time:
Generally, musical selections revolve around related sets of material. After the first few months, practically every variation on drug and anti-war sets had been explored. Soon after, Steve Segal, a former WBCN announcer now with KPPC-FM, Los Angeles, refined the approach and formulated the current station concept of programming as a train of thought via music. In this approach, two to four related records are connected by a sometimes fragile relationship which can be musical, thematic, or consist simply of several different cuts which presumably evoke a uniform feeling. Each of the station’s six full-time announcers, all of whom are in their twenties, follows the formula.
This is an amazing encapsulation of the entire counter culture vibe which permeated the best free form radio stations in the US. You will hear a announcement for an anti war demonstration. A newscast covering the anti war movement by “news dissector” Danny Schechter. A song lampooning Spiro Agnew.
A wonderfully diverse set of music is played including a few hits and some obscurities. Blues, Folk, Jugband and psychedelic rock are all in the mix. WBCN was known to play alternate and early versions of songs ( remember the never released Get Back album by the Beatles) and on this clip they play an early unreleased version of Dead Flowers by the Stones. Some fascinating commercials are featured as well. The clip dates from April, 1971 and the DJ is Jim Parry I believe. Corrections welcome.
The thing I miss about commercial free form is the fact that you were exposed to such a great variety of music and it was often presented by people who had extensive musical knowledge and that’s certainly the case with this BCN clip.
Much more to come from WBCN FM so watch this space. In the meantime enjoy this clip and the others that have been uploaded.
The clip below is not the Stones but it is a great version of Dead Flowers and was played on FM radio.
I have unearthed seven hours plus of airchecks from Boston’s WBCN FM The station was one of the best original free form stations in North America. This air check features Charles Laquidara who is one of four DJ’s profiled in the new film about free form radio called I Am What I Play. The film has it’s Toronto Premiere on May 8th and also features local free form legend David Marsden.
Laquidara began at BCN in 1969 when he replaced Peter Wolf who was an early DJ at the station and who would go on to sing lead in the J Geils Band. Charles was doing the nigh time 10 to 2 shift at the time of this aircheck from April 1971. In 1972 he took over the morning shift with his, legendary in Boston, Big Mattress show which was on the station for 25 years until it was replaced by the Howard Stern Show in the 1990’s.
A very eclectic playlist is featured and includes artist as diverse as Ronnie Spector, Freddie King and T Rex. Also some interesting ads for albums and concerts.
The BCN airchecks are a radio treasure and they provide a great window into the wonderful genre bending world of underground free form FM radio. Stay tuned for future editions.
This is the second and final installment of the Listener’s Choice show hosted by John Morris. I was the listener and played records from my collection and my playlist hearkens back to the CHUM FM free form days.
You will also hear a tiny bit of the program which followed called The Eclectic Spirit and also hosted by John Morris. That show continued with different hosts after Morris.
*I used new audio for the Beach Boys track. Only the second time that I have done that as I like to preserve the integrity of the original airchecks.