With a voice as smooth as a Charlie Parker alto saxophone solo, Boston broadcasting icon Ron Della Chiesa has brought music and musical legends alive for over thirty-five years. These are the inside stories of Della Chiesa’s career in radio. Discover Boston's vibrant music scene as only Ron can tell it: through his interviews with everyone from opera greats Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, to jazz artists Dizzy Gillespie and Dave McKenna, beloved song legends Rosemary Clooney and Bobby Short, composers David Raksin and Andre Previn, the brilliant raconteur Jean Shepherd, to his close friend, musical legend Tony Bennett.
By Donna L. Halper
Boston’s radio history begins with pioneering station 1XE/WGI, one of America’s first radio stations, and includes the first station to receive a commercial license, WBZ; the first FM radio network, W1XOJ and W1XER; and one of the first news networks, the Yankee News Service. Nationally known bandleaders like Joe Rines and Jacques Renard were first heard on Boston radio, as was one of the first weathercasters, E. B. Rideout. The city has been home to a number of legendary announcers, such as Bob and Ray, Arnie Ginsburg, Dick Summer, Dale Dorman and Charles Laquidara; talk show giants like Jerry Williams and David Brudnoy; and sports talkers like Eddie Andelman and Glenn Ordway. Many Boston radio personalities, such as Curt Gowdy, “Big Brother” Bob Emery, Don Kent and Louise Morgan, found fame on television but first established themselves on Boston’s airwaves. Since 1920, Boston radio has remained vibrant, proving that live and local stations are as important as ever.
Burning Up the Air: Jerry Williams, Talk Radio and the Life in Between
By Steve Elman and Alan Tolz
At the peak of his influence on WRKO Radio in Boston in the mid-1980s, when he helped repeal a seatbelt law and ran a one man wrecking crew against Michael Dukakis’s presidential campaign, Jerry Williams was dubbed “The Dean of Talk Radio.” What few knew was that Jerry wasn’t merely the Dean, he was also arguably the Inventor. It was in 1957 that the Brooklyn-born talk show host first put listeners on the air at the old WMEX in Boston-after primitive time-delay technology made it possible to bleep callers’ naughty words. From then on, while guys named King and Limbaugh were cutting their teeth at the microphone, Williams set standards for the form. He stood up for civil rights when such talk could get you killed, questioned Vietnam long before Walter Cronkite, savaged Richard Nixon while forty-nine states were reelecting him and put frank talk about sex on the air when Howard Stern was still a DJ.
Rex Trailer's Boomtown: Pablo's Used Cars
Rex Trailer, inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007, passed away Jan. 9. He was 84. He was best known for “Rex Trailer's Boomtown,” which premiered April 28, 1956, on WBZ-TV in Boston. More than 250,000 children would appear on “Boomtown” over the years and more than 4 million watched from home. The show offered entertainment, educational games, films, cartoons and outdoor adventure. It remained on the air until 1974. Click here to read more about Rex Trailer.