WKBW's Hallowe'en Show - 1968

[Note: This is an automatic cross-post from my site at Multiply.com (more on that elsewhere).]

The first time I heard WKBW they were playing the Doors' album Weird scenes Inside The Goldmine. That was in the mid-'70s, when AM radio still had rock stations, and on rainy nights, with the atmospherics just right, you could pick up a station 900 miles away. Mind you, KBW was an exception with a 50,000-watt transmitter. I didn't know what I was listening - band or station - until the album ended, the call sign played "w k b w buffalo new york", and the DJ came on to introduce me to the Doors.

KBW ended as a top 40 rock station in 1988, when it adopted an all talk format. By that time - at least, in my perception - the ether was getting to crowded with ambient signals and white noise to allow my to enjoy far off stations.

One Hallowe'en night, 39 years ago, KB aired it’s own version of Orson Wells' Mercury Theatre radio play based on H. G. Wells' novel War of the Worlds. The play was updated and set in Buffalo. Like Wells' production, this radio play made the news: many people joining in mid-broadcast, including a small neighbouring police force, believed what they were hearing - at least until the producer broke in to remind everyone that it was just a play.

A tribute site exists to recall WKBW's rock and roll days. You can still hear the Hallowe'en War of the Worlds broadcast. Unfortunately, most of the original music is cropped: just the intro and fade out of most songs remains. I assume that has to do with licensing and copyright, etc. Still, listening to the play takes me right back to those late nights in the '70s, when a kid out in the sticks could listen to big city rock and roll across almost a 1000 miles of crackling air.

(To listen, click on the link, then use the scroll index on the left side of their page.)

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