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680 AM WRKO / Al Gates / Boston

Al Gates, Morning Drive, WRKO AM/FM Boston | June 19, 1967

Al Gates is featured in this excellent copy of then-new Bill Drake WRKO. Interesting items on this recording are reverb, which sounds fantastic and not overdone and a simulcast with its FM sister station on 98.5. Historic mentions (Bostonians will especially remember) Curt Gowdy doing sports… although he’s not heard, just announced during news. Gates announces song positions in the Now 30.

WRKO is a HOT station at this point in it’s history, having launched earlier that year and you can feel the excitement in the air.

68 WRKO

98.5 WRKO FM Boston circa 1967

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9 Comments


  1. Clean ‘verb, for sure… Oldies radio lost it’s ‘fun’ with overplay of the top 100 to 200 hits packaged in a ‘cardboard cereal box’.. Put these elements and formatics into classic hits/oldies radio, and the ‘fun’ and loyalty returns…. Kemosabe Joe still puts his ‘shtick’ into it on the Maryland Atlantic Coast…

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  2. This jock had so many voices, and was syndicated when he was in Cleveland, at WIXY.
    Later I heard he went to New York, starting a new career in voice-over spots, films and TV. Heard him nationally on Ford, AT&T, and was Delta’s voice for 10 years.
    Nexr, he shows up as the lead voice on Bill Clinton’s run for President.

    We heard that he returned to Providence, where he was afternoon jock at WPRO in the early 60’s

    In New York, he picked up 33 Clios for his national work.

    They broke the mold with guys like him. That was real radio back then!

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  3. AL GATES… “THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN VOICE”…. DID HE REALLY FLUNK RUSSIAN AT
    THE NAVAL ACADEMY ?????

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  4. Drake ???

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  5. Steve, just pre-Drake. WRKO went Top 40 with a Drake-style format under Bob Henabery (who did an analysis of KHJ in 1966 and brought it back to WRKO to implement). Not long after this aircheck, Drake got the consulting gig for all of RKO’s Top 40 stations and put his format into place with Johnny Mann jingles.

    These are PAMS specials, and really are pretty good, like CKLW’s PAMS jingles during their pre-Drake 1967 format under Paul Drew.

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  6. the main reasons WRKO was such an instant success in Boston were: its 50kw signal. great promotions thanks to Promotion genius Harvey Mednick. 24-hour music format. (WMEX was talk from l0 pm to 6 am, WBZ talked in the evening, WORL was a daytimer and played pop music from l0 am to sunset signoff)

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  7. Much like WCAO Baltimore.

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    • Rich, if they were still using reverb and the “Now 6-8-0” jingle package, technically it was a month or two before Drake was consulting it and PD Bob Henabery was still calling the shots. nevertheless, WRKO revolutionized music radio in Boston since longtime top 40 WMEX stopped the music at 10 pm for talk shows and WBZ had a talk block from 6-8 pm. one of WRKO’s slogans was “24 hours of music in a row on the NOW 6-8-0!”

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  8. Even though this aircheck of WRKO was pre Bill Drake, they called the survey the now 30 and I think they began to refer to themselves as now radio.

    Drake didn’t believe in reverb. I don’t think he ever used it when he consulted WRKO, WOR-FM, CKLW and the other RKO General properties.

    I read somewhere that he said WABC’s jocks sounded like they were in a tunnel.

    Thanks for an interesting example of what WRKO sounded like before it became the big 68.

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