Maybe 'BZ needs to expand the roads it covers on traffic on the threes

Fumiaki Minematsu reports how he and a friend picked up WBZ 1030 from two different points in Japan this past November. With recordings of their catches.

The 50-kW station has its active transmitter in Hull, where it offers unique local reception as well:

Mike Carter reports:

WBZ puts out a great signal. I’ve listened to it from Europe when I was in the Navy. People in Hull where the transmission towers are hear it without a radio. I once heard it coming from an oil tank in a basement there.

SouthShoreTwit adds:

Used to dispatch at PD in Hull. Had a woman who used to call because she could hear ‘BZ coming from her dental work.

Via the Boston Radio Interest mailing list.

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Comments

WINS

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It usually comes in pretty clearly all over the area at night in the winter. Love listening to the traffic reports (on the 1s, though) for the GWB and the BQE (and, of course, their classic teletype "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world" ID).

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Voting closed 9

Clear Channel Radio

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I was once stuck in traffic on Lake Shore Drive along Lake Michigan and passed the time by listening to WBZ.

I'd love to play with clear channel radio stations more. Japan does seem a bit out of range, though.

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all the way to Canada

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In the 70s I was a disc jockey on WCAS – AM 740 in Cambridge. I had collected a number of fans from Nova Scotia, with certain weather conditions. It was a daylight only station, but I bet if it broadcast at night it could really crank out a fat signal.

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The Magic of Radio

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The internet is great and all. But it really killed off a lot of the world of wonder and imagination and chance. Like things like this. Distant broadcast signals from 'exotic lands' used to have some cache. But if I tell someone under the age of 30 how I used to be able to pick up the Grand Ole Opry on Friday nights out of WSM Nashville from a particular rooftop in Somerville - if the weather and the moon were just right that night, they're perplexed by the whole premise.

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Voting closed 30

You bet

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Recovering shortwave DXer here. My favorites were the little stations in the remotest parts of places like Colombia and Brazil.

When I first came up to school here, in Waltham, I was randomly fiddling around on the AM band one night and picked up a station called WKOX in some exotic place called Framingham. I wrote the station to see if they had a QSL card (basically, many stations will, or used to, send you a postcard if you sent them a report of what you'd heard). I got one - and a note from the station engineer explaining how the station was roughly 10 miles away from where I'd heard them. I like to think I've learned a bit more about the local geography since then (heck, even spent much of my working life at places in Framingham, sometimes at local hearings and meetings with the 'KOX reporter).

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Voting closed 22

Clear channels are still useful!

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I was in a cabin in NH last Sunday when there was a minor sportsball event taking place. No television, basically no Internet (occasionally able to send a text), but an AM receiver. I couldn't pick up much, but had no problem getting 660 (Sports Radio 66, WFAN, and, yes, only in NYC do they seem to drop the trailing 0 from the signal, at least for 660, 770 and 880).

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not just NY

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I recall WEEI using "News Radio 59" when they had an all-news format and were broadcasting at 590 AM. When I lived near Toledo, WOHO's (1470 AM) identity was a sing-song "One forty-seven, W-O-H-O". I'm sure there have to be more.

My father was in the Coast Guard, so we moved a lot. Our family were Baltimore sports fans on account of living there for 6 years. I remember we could pick up WBAL (I think) on summer nights from near Toledo, New London, CT and near Boston to listen to Chuck Thompson broadcast Orioles games.

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WBAL Still Usually Good in Boston

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After dark. If Sox fans get Castglione Fatigue, the O's have a good broadast team for those BAL road games. (Cleveland WTAM and the above mentioned WFAN out of NY are also good Summer evening bets for Sox road games.)

I pay $20 a year for a MLB subscription to stream all of this, but it's nowhere near as cool as with an analog dial, the wavering static, and that classic AM tinniness.

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77 WABC

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OMG - the IngramProgram!

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Chicago used to...

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When I lived in Chicago in the 80's, WBBM ID'ed themselves as "News radio 78", with a jingle and everything. WMAQ was 67.

Nowadays in Boston I can get WBBM on the car radio when the ionosphere is just right. But they call themselves 780, which sounds wrong (and doesn't fit the old jingle).

A lot of the old radios, with small analog dials or sliders cut down the frequencies to two digits, so the stations would ID themselves that way. Now that people are mostly using digital displays that show all three digits, the radio stations followed suit, except for some that kept what people were used to hearing.

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Skip

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Radio stations like WBZ are on the AM band, which stands for "amplitude modulation." Such stations at high output wattage can easily send their ground wave signal great distances when there is little or no interference. They are also known for bouncing their signals off a layer of the upper atmosphere which can then come down in some interesting locations. Modern AM radios are scarce these days and may not have the same ability as the old ones, but with the correct antenna you can sometimes get some interesting results.

Many such stations are required by the FCC to cut their power at night so that they do not interfere with other radio stations in other far-away states operating at the same radio frequency. If a station doesn't have such competition in the radio spectrum, then they are not required to do that, hence the far-reaching broadcasts.

Not that long ago we were able to easily pick up NYC and even Chicago late at night on an older AM unit right here in Boston.

The phenomena is well-known to amateur/ham operators and sometimes referred-to as "skip" because the signals, outgoing and incoming will skip like a rock that is tossed across a pond's surface and create favorable reception in far-away areas. It was well-established with CB radio operators as well.

Had the owner of this web site lived in his neighborhood back in the 1960s and 70s, he might have seen numerous mobile CB operators parked quietly at the top talking "skip." The extra height above the ground clutter was a popular place for said radio hobbyists. There were also numerous home-bases in the area (a friend of mine lived up there), and there were even some home-based entrepreneurs that rented out their rooftops for antennas serving early pocket-pager services.

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Voting closed 12

One of my favorite stories

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One of my favorite stories about licensing, broadcast ranges, limits, the 50000-watt stations and when top-40 was on AM radio 45 or 50 years ago has to be about WolfMan Jack.

If I recall correctly, he tried (and succeeded, at least for a little while) to get around the FCC by buying a small station in northern Mexico, installing a 250000-watt transmitter, and reaching some insane percentage of the US.

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Long ago and far away

1973. Small town on the Oregon/Idaho border. My brother used to keep a log of the stations that we could get on an am radio. One very cold clear night he very excitedly woke me up to hear WBZ coming in clearly. Before that the furthest station he picked up was from Chicago.

My mom was scanning for a station on the car radio a few years later, very late at night in the middle of the great basin, and pulled in a very clear broadcast from Buffalo.

AM radio is really cool like that. The last time that I drove across the continent I was a little disappointed that i didn't have an AM radio.

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Voting closed 7

I have a little am/fm battery

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I have a little am/fm battery operated radio I got at the PX at Hanscom Base many, many years ago. I carry it around with me in the yard. I've noticed WJIB goes static at dusk. I'm assuming you refer to that in your second paragraph? I listen on Sunday afternoons and notice at dusk I lose the station.

Very interesting. Scanning AM stations, you will still find little gems.

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We get pretty good WBZ

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We get pretty good WBZ reception after sunset here in Virginia Beach.

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'BZ has alway had a wide audience

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Their AM transmission reaches something line 35 states. People from all over the country call in to chat with the evening/overnight programs. Not that they are on iHeart Radio; everyone around the world can stream the broadcast.

Course Japan is a bit beyond the usual audience.

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If I may, Adam

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My contact's on twitter, you can yell at me and tell me what I'm missing.

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38 states, the Canadian Maritimes and 3 fishing villages in Mex

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The late, great Larry Glick used to say that his WBZ show reached "38 states, the Canadian Maritimes and 3 fishing villages in Mexico." Other than Dan Rea, the WBZ talk line-up is a shadow of its former self. As for dropping the zero, at one time WBZ 1030 was advertised as 103.

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Hullonians hear it on their radiators

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The transmit towers are right in Hull. More than one old timer has told me they've heard the station thru their hot water radiators.

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Good old AM

When I'm driving on summer nights I still get a kick out of working the upper part of the AM dial and picking up minor league baseball games from western New York and the upper Midwest.

BZ's location in Hull gives it a nice take-off angle over the salt water and easily reaches across the Atlantic. For the same reason, the Marconi Company set up its WCC transmitters for communicating with ships at sea in Marion, later Chatham.

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Wow

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I work at WBZ, and love to hear where it's picked up.

Japan is a first, I think.

Thanks, guys.

--Karyn

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I listened to WBZ as a teenager in Ohio

Usually the Jerry Williams show, sometimes Larry Glick afterwards. In Columbus, at night I could also intermittently get WABC and WCBS from New York City, KYW from Philly, KDKA from PIttsburgh, WLS and WCFL from Chicago, WJR from Detroit, WOWO from Fort Wayne, WGY from Schenectedy, WWL from New Orleans, CKLW from Windsor, Ontario, and others I can't remember anymore. WLW, the voice of the Cincinnati Reds, came in loud and clear day and night.

Back then, in the 1970s, each station had its own unique voice and personality, whether it was local talk radio or a Top 40 rock station. Local news, local talk, local commercials. I miss this.

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Voting closed 4

Bruce Stevens

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While we are on the subject of WBZ, does anyone know what happened to Bruce Stevens?
Did they let him go?

I liked him, and was disappointed when he was no longer on that every 3rd weekend rotation.

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I was on a boat off of Key

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I was on a boat off of Key West and we had the radio on a local station and then Gary LaPierre's voice starts talking about Sorrow Drive. Talk a bout a powerful station!

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DENNIS, CAPE COD

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During the day it is difficult to listen to WBZ while driving in the area of Route 134.

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Stereo Hybridized Digital-analog HD Radio AM-FM-HD1-HD2-HD3-HD4

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Voting closed 1

WBZ's signal is so powerful,

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WBZ's signal is so powerful, I could pick up their signal here in Dorchester - 1200 miles away from their news anchor in Florida!!!

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When 'BZ carried them, I

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When 'BZ carried them, I loved being able to hear the Bruins anywhere in New England, i.e., when leaving Alfond Arena up in Orono.

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GO BLUE

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You must go way back to when Orono teams were bad, then became VERY good. ( now mediocre )

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