Carl DeSuze had a career in broadcasting that spanned six decades. He began his broadcasting career at WGAN in Portland ME in 1937. Four years later he landed a job that would last for 45 years: hosting the morning show on WBZ in Boston. He was #1 in the morning from 1941 until 1980, which is probably a national record. The station’s frequency went from 990 to 1030, the format went from full-service MOR (middle-of-the-road) to Top 40 (W-Beatle-Z, the Boss Sound of Boss-Town) to Adult Contemporary during his tenure. A grandmother once referred to him as “that fresh young kid who’s the announcer on the Majorie Mills Show,” a reference that dates to the 40’s. (Marjorie Mills is a 2009 Inductee in the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame). In the early days of Boston TV he also did a children’s show on WBZ-TV called “Surprize Package.”
In the 40s and 50’s he was known for breaking records on the air. Breaking a record usually means you’re the first to play a song that eventually becomes a big hit. Not in Carl’s case. If he played a song he felt wasn’t that good he’d actually break the disc on the air. Listeners would hear him say, “My dear, we won’t be hearing that one again” followed by the sound of cracking vinyl. He referred to his show as “The Carl DeSuze Swingin’ Sashay” and punctuate the top of the hour ID with “Aaaare you theeeere??”
In the 1960s and 70s there was a billboard on the Central Artery near Boston Garden that said, “As Carl DeSuze Riseth, so Doth Bothton.” It was true.
Carl DeSuze would come to work at WBZ radio dressed in an ascot and cape. Much more than just a morning drive DJ, Carl lived an interesting life and had a million stories to tell. He could talk about his memories of the Cocoanut Grove fire, the many celebrities and newsmakers he knew or all the places he had been during his travels. After returning from a trip to Australia he would announce thew station’s call letters as “W-B-Zed.” He spoke beautifully, and with his dry wit and his love for the arts, he was always in demand as a guest lecturer. He hosted travelogue events for school PTA meetings, such as “Southeast Asia…the Tiger We Ride” (prior to the US involvement in Vietnam). He spoke several languages and also wrote articles for Atlantic Monthly and Yankee Magazine.
After nearly 40 years doing the morning show on WBZ he handed the reins to long-time midday host Dave Maynard in 1980. Carl moved to a shorter midday shift and did a daily feature called “Carl’s Calendar” until his retirement in 1985.
Carl DeSuze was a gifted announcer and a legendary broadcaster. He died in 1998 at the age of 83.