Ted Larson, WBZ 1030 Boston | March, 1974
The Evening News, presented by Ted Larson at the top of the hour, was an institution. For almost three decades prior to becoming an All-News (by day) station, WBZ was known as the place to turn to for comprehensive radio news.
One very nice thing about a news aircheck is, while a tape may have no date on it and someone may feel the need to guess, a closer inspection of the news items can identify almost to the day what the exact date of a recording is. In this case, while we can’t pin down the EXACT date, we can take a good stab at it. WBZ reports that an ‘unidentified’ government source says OPEC is going to end the oil embargo the following week. The Oil Embargo of 1973-74 ended on March 17, 1974, with an announcement from OPEC (1). We can, therefore, deduce that this was recorded on or about Monday, March 11, 1974. Other clues in the aircheck lead to this conclusion. Gerry Williams’ show aired weekday evenings but not weekends. Golda Meir changed her mind about resigning as Israeli Premier that particular week, as well. A week away from a decision to end the embargo essentially would be headline news (as it was here) on Monday. So, the 11th. And I’m sticking to it.
Just a couple of other hints as to what’s in this aircheck. 1. WBZ, at this stage in its evolution as a music station, still refers to itself as “Radio 103”. Which worked, since FM radio had not yet taken off… although the following year it would reflect the correct frequency of 1030, likely to avoid confusion with WEEI-FM 103.3. 2. Bostonians who remember listening to WBZ at this particular time will note the telephone number. 254=5678. That was ALWAYS the correct call-in line. Even for contests during the day in their music format. We hear that in the Gerry Williams bumper music at the 7:10 mark in this aircheck. 3. Miscellaneous Voices – Longtime Newsman Gary LaPierre can be heard speaking one of the instances of “254-5678” in the bumper music. Lapierre would go on to be the news director, then retire in the early Y2K’s.
Overall, this is an historical piece of audio, which was recorded during a time many young people are only vaguely familiar with.
(1) Wikipedia article on the Oil Embargo of 1973-74 – //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis
(2) Article regarding the OPEC Oil Embargo from //history.state.gov. “Though a finalized peace deal failed to materialize, the prospect of a negotiated end to hostilities between Israel and Syria proved sufficient to convince the relevant parties to lift the embargo in March 1974. Available at this link => //history.state.gov/milestones/1969-1976/oil-embargo
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