Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dead Radio

On this Halloween, it's only fitting that we take a look back at a long departed radio station.

As I remember it, WSCR AM 1320 was owned by the Rice family.  It had a long history.  WSCR was never a killer, but it appeared to have a more than decent following in the Scranton area.

Then, around 1980, maybe a little sooner, the station was sold to a small company called Command Broadcasting.  It had a handful of stations in upstate New York.  Someone thought it was a good idea to jettison the heritage call letters, in favor of WBQW, or 13 Q.  The reasoning was that a "Scranton" station would never get listeners downvalley.  It had to take a regional approach.  Hence, the non area specific call letters.  The jocks used to give the temperatures for a few NEPA cities, and reliable sources tell me it was a joke.  They knew the temperature outside their own studio.  The other regional temps were fiction.  Take what it read on the local thermometer.  Add a degree to the south, subtract one to the north.  Remember, this was long befire the internet provided the temperature for every town.

It was a tough road.  The signal strength and quality was severely lacking.  The company didn't have the money to knock WARM off its perch.  Failure.

On one hand, they should have been applauded for trying something bold.  On the other, was it wise to throw away so much history and a fairly solid base?

Tim Karlson worked there, in the mid 70's, before his time at WARM and his later move into television.

The station was sold a few times.  It eventually went off the air.  The studio building was bulldozed.  Its three tower array, off North Keyser Avenue in Scranton was taken down.  AM 1320 in Scranton is history.  there's a warehouse complex currently on the site.

If memory serves, the Scranton Times was interested in getting 1320 back on the air, but it never happened.  It's too bad.  Some of those little 1,000 watt stations did an excellent job of serving their communities, and they were what small town radio was all about.

The "WSCR" call letters now belong to an all sports station in Chicago.

I'll give 13 Q credit for one thing.  The stickers were amazing.  They were impossible to remove.  NASA should have built the space shuttle heat resistant tiles out of those things.

The actually design was iffy.  People weren't sure if the stickers read "BQ" or "13Q" or both.  Confusing.

The stickers were eventually modified, and you'll see those in a later Bumper Sticker Saturday.


Happy Halloween!