WWL New Orleans was Widely Heard

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WWL New Orleans was Widely Heard

Postby jon » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:10 pm

Just started watching the original Route 66 series, viewing the episodes in the order in which they were originally aired. I only saw a few on KVOS-TV where they were originally aired for Greater Vancouver viewers like me.

Within the first 3-4 episodes, the guys (Martin Milner and George Maharis) turn on their car radio and I get to hear a clear WWL ID as they drive towards New Orleans. For a time, they were the most distant radio station I heard from East Burnaby, and remain, to this day, the most distant station I was able to pick up on my little 8 transistor radio that I bought at the Seattle World's Fair.

Unlike most of the 1-A Clear Channels of their day, WWL, and WBZ Boston, had directional patterns that favoured my direction. You'll see the WWL pattern below.

For good reason. With transmitters located right on the Coast, a single tower non-directional pattern would see half their power "dumped into the ocean".

I really miss the days when, at night, there was only one station on a frequency in North America: the 1-A Clear Channels. I don't know any scientific way to say it, but WWL always seemed to have the strongest signal for their distance. KGO in San Francisco and KFBK in Sacramento were also serious contenders for that title.

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Re: WWL New Orleans was Widely Heard

Postby Tom Jeffries » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:18 pm

KGO - Ira Blue.....wow.....the memories.

In Ottawa and Toronto, we got great skips from WLS and WCFL and WIBG, plus Brucie on WABC. WNBC, not so much.
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Re: WWL New Orleans was Widely Heard

Postby Howaboutthat » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:24 pm

You DO know that they really didn't happen to 'tune' into the station on their TV series car, right.

Don't worry - my lips are sealed about Santa. ;-)
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Re: WWL New Orleans was Widely Heard

Postby jon » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:53 pm

What surprised me was that they would use an actual radio station, especially such a well known one. Yeah, yeah, I know that it was custom produced on tape for them by the station, and added to the audio track of the film.

I'm hard pressed to recall any other TV series of the '50s, '60s or '70s that used real stations, other than the occasional "on the streets of L.A." filming that just happened to pass a station's studios. I've even seen situation comedies that claim to be based in L.A. that refer to their fictitious stations with W call letters, even though California is all K's.
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Re: WWL New Orleans was Widely Heard

Postby Toomas Losin » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:17 pm

Local colour? When making a TV episode located near New Orleans it's obvious to include a well-known local station like WWL to subtly point out the location, especially in a car.

DX-wise, WWL was the furthest station I heard on the cheapo radio that I first used for DX (cheap, but it had a good AM section). I use WWL as an example of one of the "easiest furthest" stations to hear: It's great for making a novice west coast DXer who has most-distant-station ambitions work all that much harder.

The only other US station with such an inward-pointing pattern is WBZ but WWL's 870 frequency doesn't have as much competition, as heard here in the Lower Mainland, as WBZ on 1030 does.

I still get that thrill when conditions are right and I can hear WWL. I hope I never lose that.
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