Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Clear Signal Returns

Occasionally, this weblog brings the viewer a slice of Cincinnati life from this place of exile, including the unique local radio stations. One of them has played a significant role in American broadcasting history.

WLW was a powerful voice in the American midsection, and homes across the nation were tuned in to 700 kilohertz. With an output of one hundred thousand watts (down to fifty thousand before mid-century due to revised FCC regulations), and the distinction of being a "clear channel" station, everything from the big band sounds, to "hillbilly music," to news and farm reports, could be heard. From its downtown Cincinnati studios, local talent such as Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, and the Williams Brothers (one of whom was Andy, who later went on to recording and television), were enjoyed by millions, along with the guitar sounds of a boy from Tennessee named Chet Atkins.

Then along came television and FM radio, and the station evolved with the times. In recent years, WLW has gained prominence for its news and talk format, and as the voice of the Cincinnati Reds. Eventually, other stations emerged on the 700 kHz band, albeit in far-reaching parts of the USA.

But now, it gets its clear signal back. XM Radio has just announced that WLW is joining its lineup of talk channels later this month. "The Nation's station" is once again available coast to coast via satellite. Among the on-air personalities I remember from my youth are Jim Scott, a popular rock-and-roll deejay from the old WSAI station in the 60s and 70s. Not only that, but I can fall asleep listening to America's Truckin' Network with Steve Sommers.

Just like goin' on a road trip while fallin' asleep. It can happen.

No comments: