Little Walter’s Time Machine, WODS Oldies 103.3 Boston | January 31, 1999
**LISTENING OPTIONS FOLLOW DESCRIPTION BELOW**
Walter DeVenne (January 16, 1948 – January 16, 2021), better known on the radio as “Little Walter” was a fixture of Sunday nights on the old OLDIES 103.3 in Boston. From some time in the 1990s until his retirement from radio in 2006 after being diagnosed with cancer, Little Walter brought to Boston Listeners a taste of the early days of Rock and Roll with this “Little Walter’s Time Machine” show. This mainly featured black R&B, Do-wop, and soul sounds of the 1950s and very early 1960s and was a very popular show on WODS.
I suppose popular is an understatement. The early years of his program were a huge success and much of it likely rode on the coattails of movies featuring 1950s-era themes which were huge smash successes in the 1980s and early 90s. Walter was on the radio in Boston for a long time. His career began in 1968 at then-progressive Rock formatted WBCN and a few years later moved to 98.5 WROR during it’s (mostly) automated Oldies format from 1972-1979. DeVenne was also heard on WFNX 101.9, 1510 WMEX, and WXKS (AM) when it was doing nostalgia on its old 1430 frequency. In later years, Little Walter was syndicated, and among the stations he was heard on was 1530 WSAI Cincinnati, during its short-lived resurrection (much like WWKB tried around the same time period).
As with most descriptions, I’m probably leaving out a few important details. Visitors can certainly fill in the blanks. One thing is certain, Little Walter brought a level of excitement and enthusiasm for the music unmatched and un-equaled among radio programs, especially as his career moved into the 2000s as corporate radio made substantial cutbacks in on-air talent. One listen to this aircheck will certainly prove that.
Bobby Jay (WCBS-FM, WLNG) posted that he was best friends with Little Walter and that the two of them shared a kinship. Bobby Jay, who until very recently was still producing his “Great Soul Performances, lamented the loss of his friend in a heartfelt post on Facebook.
This aircheck was recorded on two sides of a C-30 cassette. The quality from side A is greatly different from side B. The A-side suffered from a bit of tape wear, as the play heads obviously were not making constant contact with the tape, resulting in a somewhat muffled sound. It’s still listenable, but the quality isn’t as good as I’d like. I performed a bit of manual restoration processing to enhance the audio frequency response, mainly on the high and midrange frequencies, but this has resulted in a bit of reduced dynamic range, and the recording is averaged out to about -3 db. Side B was in much better condition, but I also did a bit of processing here, too. It is also mastered to -3 db. I did that to enhance the web listening experience. If you listen in your car you may want to reduce your system volume as this begins.
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Magic Matt Craig is the Owner/Founder of BIG APPLE AIRCHECKS
He has been recording and collecting radio airchecks from around North America (and even the U.K.) since the 1970s.
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