Hello, Dick? … Is Dick there? … Hello? …

The last days of Richard Nixon are popping up in the media nowadays, this week being the 40th anniversary of his resignation.

Nixon’s presidential diary from August 1974 makes interesting reading, especially the late-night and early-morning phone calls in the final few days. How incoherent must some of those calls have been?

My favorite part of the diary comes at the very end, on Aug. 9, when it presents the following order of events. (My summation is not word-for-word, but you can click the link above if you’d like that.)

9:32-9:57 a.m.: The President makes a farewell address to Congress and the nation.

10 a.m.: The President and his family go to the South Lawn of the White House.

10-10:09 a.m.: The President and his family travel by helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

10:17 a.m.-11:57 p.m.: The President (now former President, I suppose) and his family fly from Andrews Air Force Base to California.

10:20 a.m.: The President was telephoned long-distance by his former Assistant, H.R. Haldeman. The call was not completed.

(diary ends)

That seems like an arbitrary place to cut off the Nixon Presidency, doesn’t it?

I like to imagine the last Nixon staffers hanging around the White House when the phone rang, saying to each other: “It’s that freaking Haldeman again. Do we have to put this in the record? Can we just pretend he didn’t call? Really? Oh, all right. Then we’ll take the boxes out to the car.”

The idea of the Nixon Presidency ending with an unsuccessful phone call from a disgraced former aide — after the former President had been shown on national television leaving town — is somewhere between touching and pathetic.

Was Haldeman not watching? Was he unaware that his old boss had left the White House? Was he desperate or hoping against hope that Tricky Dick had gone back to his old office one last time after making his farewell speech?

The diary shows Haldeman making several other phone calls in the prior day or two, none of which were put through to Nixon.

Haldeman, who was facing conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges, had asked Nixon to pardon him at one point, which Nixon refused to do. Presumably the President’s handlers cut Haldeman off after that.

But by 10:20 a.m. on Aug. 9, there was no one left to be cut off from.

Interestingly, Gerald Ford’s presidential diary has him taking the oath of office at noon on Aug. 9.

I assume that means Nixon remained President during those first two hours that he was airborne; I wonder what would have happened if something had occurred that required a Presidential response.

Maybe Haldeman really did think Nixon would still be at the White House, if Nixon were still serving as commander-in-chief.

(On a related note, I imagine the White House continued to get letters urging Nixon not to resign for days after he left. I bet a few Americans — maybe even Lazlo Toth — put letters to Nixon in the mail on the morning of Aug. 8, urging him to stay the course. Whaddya suppose the Ford White House did with them?)

Ford’s presidential diary, by comparison, ends in a much more dignified and stirring (and appropriate) fashion: His last recorded act as President was to take part in the inaguration of his successor.


Still scraping for stuff to feed the beast … I feel like doing some more local music reviews but haven’t taken the time yet.

In the meantime, here’s something that interests me, and might also interest about a half-dozen other baseball trivia buffs who won’t read it.

Courtesy of Retrosheet, the last players to be ejected in the histories of Major League Baseball’s relocated teams:

Boston Braves: Manager Charlie Grimm; Aug. 30, 1952; by umpire Art Gore; for arguing balls and strikes.

St. Louis Browns: Manager Marty Marion; Sept. 20, 1953; by umpire Johnny Stevens; no reason recorded.

Philadelphia A’s: Pitcher Marion Fricano; Aug. 29, 1954; by umpire Eddie Hurley; for fighting.

Brooklyn Dodgers: Pitcher Don Newcombe; Aug. 22, 1957; by umpire Frank Secory; for bench jockeying.

New York Giants: Manager Bill Rigney; Sept. 21, 1957; by umpire Stan Landes; for protesting an interference non-call.

Washington Senators (1901-1960): Right fielder Bob Allison; Aug. 17, 1960; by umpire John Rice; for protesting a called third strike.

Milwaukee Braves: Manager Bobby Bragan; Oct. 2, 1965; by umpire Doug Harvey; for protesting ball and strike calls.

Kansas City A’s: Manager Al Dark; July 16, 1967; by umpire Jerry Neudecker; for arguing ball and strike calls.

Seattle Pilots: Manager Joe Schultz; Sept. 20, 1969; by Neudecker again; for arguing an automatic ball assessed to pitcher Diego Segui for taking too long to pitch.

Washington Senators (1961-1971): First baseman Don Mincher; Sept. 22, 1971; by umpire Dave Phillips; for protesting a called third strike.

Montreal Expos: Manager Frank Robinson; June 16, 2004; by umpire Phil Cuzzi; for arguing a fair/foul call.

And, a list of the first people to be ejected in the histories of relocated or expansion teams:

Milwaukee Braves: Catcher Ebba St. Claire; July 16, 1953; by Frank Dascoli; for disputing a called third strike; team’s only ejection of year.

Baltimore Orioles: Pitcher Joe Coleman, catcher Ray Murray and manager Jimmy Dykes; all April 25, 1954; by Eddie Hurley; for arguing balls and strikes.

Kansas City A’s: Manager Lou Boudreau; June 13, 1955; by Charlie Berry; for complaining about the condition of a rain-soaked field.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Newcombe again; May 23, 1958; by Secory again; for bench jockeying, again.

San Francisco Giants: First baseman Orlando Cepeda; April 24, 1958; by Augie Donatelli; for arguing a call at second base.

Los Angeles Angels: Third baseman Eddie Yost; April 15, 1961; by Jim Honochick; for arguing a called third strike.

Washington Senators (1961-71): Manager Mickey Vernon; June 28, 1961; by Sam Carrigan; for arguing a called third strike; team’s only ejection of year.

Minnesota Twins: Right fielder Lenny Green; June 5, 1961; by Joe Linsalata; for arguing a called third strike.

New York Mets: Third-base coach Solly Hemus; June 5, 1962; by Jocko Conlan; for objecting to Conlan’s interruption of a chat on the mound.

Houston Colt .45s: Manager Harry Craft and right fielder Roman Mejias; April 19, 1962; by Ken Burkhardt; for arguing a call at second base.

Atlanta Braves: Third baseman Eddie Mathews; May 5, 1966; by Ed Sudol; for arguing a called third strike.

Oakland A’s: Manager Bob Kennedy; May 26, 1968; by Ed Runge; for disputing a call at home plate; pitchers Lew Krausse and Blue Moon Odom also ejected later in the same inning following a bench-clearing brawl; team’s only ejections of year.

Seattle Pilots: Second baseman Tommy Harper; April 22, 1969; by Russ Goetz; for fighting with Kansas City’s Ellie Rodriguez.

Kansas City Royals: Manager Joe Gordon; April 9, 1969; by Marty Springstead; for arguing a call at first base; second game in team’s history.

San Diego Padres: Third baseman Roberto Pena; Aug. 13, 1969; by Chris Pelekoudas; for arguing a caught-stealing call; team’s only ejection of year.

Montreal Expos: Manager Gene Mauch; April 22, 1969; by Pelekoudas; for arguing an interference call.

Milwaukee Brewers: Coach Cal Ermer; April 26, 1970; by Bob Stewart; for arguing a called third strike.

Texas Rangers: Mincher again; May 29, 1972; by Jim Odom; for arguing a called third strike; team’s only ejection of year.

Seattle Mariners: Center fielder Ruppert Jones; April 28, 1977; by Neudecker; for disputing a checked-swing strike call.

Toronto Blue Jays: Manager Roy Hartsfield and coach Bob Miller; June 4, 1977; by Rich Garcia; for arguing a checked-swing call.

Florida Marlins: Batting coach Doug Rader; May 5, 1993; by Steve Rippley; for arguing balls and strikes.

Colorado Rockies: Third baseman Charlie Hayes; May 10, 1993; by Bob Davidson; for arguing a call at third base.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Manager Larry Rothschild; April 26, 1998; by Marty Foster; for arguing a call at second base.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Center fielder Devon White; April 3, 1998; by Angel Hernandez; argued a called third strike; leadoff batter of fourth game in team history.

Washington Nationals: Manager Frank Robinson; April 30, 2005; by Tom Hallion; regarding the condition of a rain-soaked field.

The summer game.

With the exception of a few Bach toccatas played by Glenn Gould, I haven’t barely listened to music at all for the past two weeks or so.

(I continue to download Grateful Dead shows as if they were gonna be illegal, but I haven’t listened to any of them yet. I conclude that a library of Dead shows soothes my proto-Asperger’s personality, the same way a library of baseball cards used to soothe it when I was a kid.)

I haven’t turned my ears off; I’ve just found something a little different to feed them.

I discovered the Old Time Radio Researchers’ Group Library a few weeks ago. It’s a library of old radio programs, available for listening and download.

I’m sure there are treasures scattered throughout the collection … but what hooked me is in the “B” part of the library.

Under the heading “Baseball Game Broadcasts, The” are two or three dozen old radio broadcasts of baseball games spanning 1934 to 1966. Most are World Series games or All-Star games, while some are just average regular-season contests.

I don’t know of any other site like this. Most historical sports broadcasts you find online are being offered for sale, usually at a healthy price.

But these, you can enjoy for free … and I have thrown myself into the library with a vengeance. I’ve shelved music entirely during my commutes, in favor of old baseball broadcasts I’ve burned to CD.

(I’ve stubbornly refused to look up the results of the games, preferring to let them unfold as they did in real life.)

The first game I listened to was a Phillies-Mets matchup from Sept. 4, 1966 — a rainy Camera Day at Shea Stadium.

I didn’t live-blog it (though I might yet do that for another game, if I get the time.)

I can’t resist sharing a couple of observations, though:

– It’s charming to hear Lindsey Nelson rattle off a list of bricks-and-mortar places where Mets fans could buy tickets, including Grand Central Station; Macy’s in Huntington, Long Island, at the Walt Whitman Shopping Center; and any Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. bank office.

I’m too lazy to check, but I wonder if the Mets still go to that length in the age of the Internet. I’m guessing probably not.

– The Mets’ long-running broadcast trio of Nelson, Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy is on the job, but we only hear one at a time. Presumably two of them were doing the TV call while the third handled radio.

– We hear very little color about the players.

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by today’s commentators, who seem to throw in all kinds of details — especially ones that support whatever narratives they’ve decided to load down the ballgame with.

But Nelson, Kiner and Murphy don’t really tell you much about the ballplayers, who are left in the listener’s mind as one-dimensional shadows wearing Mets uniforms.

They don’t mention that Bill Hepler and Billy Murphy were Rule 5 draft pickups from the Senators and Yankees … or that Hawk Taylor’s real full name was Robert Dale Taylor … or that Bob Friend, at various times, had led the National League in wins, losses, games started and innings pitched.

Maybe they were saving the details for the TV call.

Or, maybe by that point in the year, they figured Mets listeners already knew the team, and didn’t need to be told again that Jerry Grote was a hothead and Tug McGraw a prankster and Cleon Jones a native of Mobile, Alabama.

– One thing Murphy, Nelson and Kiner do well is to keep the audience up to date on out-of-town scores, especially those involving pennant races. It captures the bustle of the baseball world, even though it subtly reminds Mets fans that their team is nowhere near contention.

– I’m incapable of seeing, reading or hearing a nostalgic beer ad without trying to taste the beer in my mind.

This broadcast is brought to us by New York’s long-gone Rheingold Dry. I wonder if what Rheingold called “dry” was the same thing as the “dry beer” that was briefly the rage 15 years ago?

– It seems like every new Met who comes to the plate or is substituted into the ballgame is greeted by boos. Either the fans were sick of futility, or a handful of grumblebunnies were seated near the broadcast booth.

– This particular broadcast was taped off WGY-AM in Schenectady, N.Y., and local programming occasionally intrudes.

At one point, a local voice briefly cuts into the broadcast to announce that the phone lines are down to a local fire company, and that listeners will need to call elsewhere to report emergencies. (There is no subsequent notice that the problem was fixed.)

At another point, WGY spends a 30-second break extolling the size and reach of its news department. It sounds like bragging, until you realize how much smaller that news department probably is now — if it even still exists at all.

– The Phils’ Chris Short pitches a 10-hit shutout — something we would almost certainly not see today, now that managers have deeper bullpens and quicker hooks than they did in 1966.

I could go on but that’s more than enough. Since this game ended, I’ve moved on to Braves-Dodgers 1950 and Indians-Senators 1939, which might also get commented on in this space at some point.

Or maybe I’ll get back to music someday.

We are the Discotheque Preservation Society.

There’s a building coming down soon in the middle of Allentown.

It’s small, nondescript, dated in design and structurally unsound to boot. I’ve been inside it many times, and I can say this firsthand: If any reason exists to keep that building around, I’ve never seen it.

I’ll feel a brief pang of cultural-historical regret when the wrecking ball moves in, though. I’ve learned that the second floor of the building was home to a disco during the late 1970s.

It’s one thing to tear down an office building; those are boring.

But a former disco? Think of the cultural history. Think of the memories. Think of the ghosts.

And think of the buildings like it in downtowns and suburban strip malls across America — the places that once reveled in dappled mirror-ball light, and vibrated brainlessly for hours at a time to the pounding low-end of extended dance remixes.

I’d bet we lose a couple of those a month to either demolition or extreme renovation. (Nothing weakens the bones of a building quite like hundreds of people smoking, drinking and shakin’ their groove thangs. I think I heard Bob Vila say that once.)

If we don’t act now, none of America’s heritage discos will remain for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. How could we face them? (And if the average American lifespan keeps increasing, we may have to.)

I propose the creation of a nonprofit foundation to be called Discos United: Saving Important Culture, or DUSIC for short. The purpose of DUSIC shall be to preserve a vintage ’70s disco building in every major American city — and, better yet, maybe restore a few.

Just think about America’s tortured love affair with disco. As a nation, we fell madly in love with the music. Then we spat it out and rejected it with a vengeance. And over the course of years, we came to terms with it again, along with its descendant dance-music genres.

Surely that intense cultural history deserves to be preserved somewhere. There’s a Motown museum, and a shrine to Sun Records, and a Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Why not celebrate disco closer to the roots, with a whole series of smaller-scale, more accessible mini-temples?

Disco also ranks as perhaps the one type of music — nay, the one cultural force — devoted entirely to pleasure and relaxation. Wasn’t no heavy message to it; it was all about forgetting one’s troubles. Should we reward the men and women who worked so hard to bring us this escape by heedlessly discarding the places where they shone so brightly? I think not, me.

It’s too late to save this woebegone building in Allentown. But if we come together, we can get in front of this worrisome trend. We can save America’s heritage discos. We can preserve cultural history where it happened — all over the country, from coast to coast. We can make a difference.

Ain’t no stoppin’ us now.


I’ve enjoyed any number of Robert Christgau’s music commentaries over the years, even if I don’t always agree with him.

I was delighted, then, to find out that he and spouse Carola Dibbell once tackled my other favorite subject — beer.

In the May 1975 issue of Oui magazine, Christgau and Dibbell wrote a piece called “The Great Gulp,” including shorthand reviews of a whole bunch of American and imported beers.

I’ve long been interested in the American beer market before the craft-brew revolution. Those days are  frequently — though not entirely accurately — depicted as a bland sea of Old Milwaukee.

Christgau and Dibbell’s reviews probably aren’t representative of what the average American beer drinker could get in 1975.

It sounds like they combed New York City for everything they could find, then invited a couple out-of-town friends to fly in with their regional favorites as well. A more provincial city might not have had quite this much choice on hand.

Still, it’s an interesting firsthand look at what an earlier generation drank, and what they thought of it.

And you can read it here.

A few of my own thoughts:

Interesting to see a couple brews from Allentown’s late, generally unlamented Horlacher Brewery included in the roundup. Horlacher was already in its death throes in 1975, and would go under three years later.

Also cool to see Natick, Mass.-brewed Carling in the survey, even if it was lousy beer. I was in that brewery 25 years after the story ran; it had been converted to the headquarters of a high-tech company.

The mention of the old Coors cult makes me notice the absence of Yuengling on the list. Yuengling wasn’t a regional favorite in 1975; it was just an obscure family-run company hanging on in the middle of nowhere.

I love the line about first trying Pearl Beer in Big Bend National Park. Makes me want to stow a six-pack of something in a cooler and set out for the Great Outdoors.

Also love the reference to Stegmaier, the pride of Wilkes-Barre, as “a Pennsylvania cheapo.” It’s too bad Christgau and Dibbell didn’t try Stegmaier Porter, which for a number of years was the best beer you could find at less than $20 a case. (In their infinite wisdom, Steg’s corporate owners have since turned the porter into a seasonal release. I’ve not seen it in years.)

By my count, I have had 18 of the domestic beers mentioned in the article. Not too shabby. (Anyone got a can of Ortlieb I can try?)

Mundane Moments: Young men of the wedding.

My maternal grandpa was a well-meaning but mediocre photographer, skilled at bringing the shutter down a moment too early or late, or in taking pictures of things that were not as quirky or offbeat (or well-lit) as he thought.

I’m going to dredge some of his efforts out of the family scrapbooks where they sit unappreciated, and bring them out for contemplation.

Another installment, then.

Gather ’round, lads. (Click to see larger, at least slightly.)

Top 10 Things the Dude (At Least, I Think He Is) in the Long Blue Coat and Corsage Is Telling the Other Dudes (At Least, I Think They’re Dudes) Gathered Eagerly Around Him At What Appears to Be a Rehearsal Dinner, in Fairfield County, Connecticut, in 1971:

1. “If you play Tapestry backwards, she totally says, ‘I’m in heat for the love of Satan.’ “

2. “Put your hands together just so, hold them up to the light, and — voila! Shadow bunnies!”

3. “If we want to tunnel out of here, there’s no time to waste. You, in the red T-shirt, get busy on the pommel horse. The rest of you, come with me.”

4. “And I said, ‘We’re called The Aristocrats.’ “

5. “So then this chick who looks just like Susan Dey walks up to me and says, ‘You know this party is clothing-optional, don’t you?’ “

6. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.”

7. “We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.”

8. “Whose blouse should I slip this frog down?”

9. “I know you guys all well enough that I can make a confession: I really, really dig Donny Osmond.”

10. “Gee, your hair smells terrific.”

A modest proposal.

No, it’s not really purple.

The property: Martin Tower, 1170 8th Avenue, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The history: Former headquarters of Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Opened in 1972, just in time for the Steel’s prolonged and fatal tailspin. Famously designed in a cross shape to create more corner offices for mid- to upper-level managers.

The challenge: Vacant since sometime around 2004. No immediate viable options for reuse. Interior layouts said to be impractical. Asbestos also an issue. Currently being plundered for scrap metal.
But: Status as tallest building in the Lehigh Valley argues against demolition, as does close link to cherished industrial heritage.

The solution …

The American Museum of Corporate History, a cutting-edge historical destination summarizing Americans’ complicated relationships with their biggest employers — while also offering a unique, fastidiously detailed you-are-there recreation of the daily life of corporate fat cats, Seventies-style.

The rationale: Americans’ longstanding love-hate relationships with major corporations provide a rich trove of shared emotion and experience that deserves to be explored. And the potential pool of visitors is practically limitless: Who hasn’t spent time working for a corporation, or had a close friend or family member who has?

As for the historical recreation, “Mad Men” (just to name one example) proves Americans are fascinated by what happens at the junction of money, power, conspicuous consumption and pre-PC morality. At the recreation, visitors will step right into the pampered, hubris-cushioned world of an American corporate boardroom circa 1975.

The funding: Requiring every Fortune 500 company in America to ante up $50,000 would provide an instant kitty of $25 million for renovation and construction, with private donations adding to that total.

Funding for ongoing operations could be raised through modest admission fees, as well as levying a small surcharge on every personal sale of stock by a current or former Fortune 500 corporate officer.

The displays, floor by floor:

Floors 1-2: A sweeping two-floor entrance, highlighted by a massive abstract sculpture (titled “This Is An Exciting Time for the Company”) showing an engineer filling out a hard-copy vacation request. Visitors stop at the original, authentic Bethlehem Steel guard booths to get the lanyard granting them access to the museum. (The lanyard, of course, features an off-center, yellow-tinted, sickly-looking photo of the visitor.)

Floor 3: Interactive displays on the roots of the American corporation and the growth of regional, national and international mega-employers. Where did American corporate culture come from and who shaped its growth?

Floor 4: The little guy enters the picture. A floor full of displays on the average American corporate employee’s daily life and interaction with his or her employer, spotlighting the question: “Just what do we owe the company in return for health coverage, a dividend, and/or a roof over our heads?” (In an attempt to avoid cliche and cast a fresh eye, not a single Dilbert cartoon will be featured on this floor.)

Floor 5: A rotating series of up-close-and-personal displays on American corporate icons, from John D. Rockefeller to Jack Welch and beyond. Bethlehem’s own Lee Iacocca is a hands-down lock for one of the inaugural displays when the museum opens.

Floor 6: This being Bethlehem Steel’s old building, Floor 6 features extensive displays on the rise and fall of this most definitively American company.

Floor 7: The centerpiece of the whole museum — the executive suite/boardroom reconstruction. Think of it like Williamsburg, Jamestown or Olde Sturbridge Village, except set in 1975 corporate America.
Visitors move from office to office interacting with actors who portray fictional but realistic characters, including the chainsmoking, snappish CEO …
… the vice president of engineering whose racism only comes out when he drinks, which is often …
… the insecure, recently promoted youngest senior manager who knows the Japanese are about to eat the company’s lunch …
… and the thirtysomething secretary growing worried about her legs.

(To add verisimilitude, by the way, the parking spaces closest to the front door will be filled by lovingly restored ’74 Lincoln Continentals, while a scattering of Chevy Vegas will be seeded throughout the more distant spots in a silent tribute to America’s corporate foot soldiers.)

The cigarette smoke, the leather chairs, the office putting greens, the coarse jokes, the long lunches, the rotary phones, the newspapers open to the stock page — it’s all here, and it’s all real.

As an added bonus, one lucky crowd of visitors per day will get to see some unfortunate middle manager get dressed down, fired and escorted out of the building. Didn’t see it this visit? Better come back!

Floor 8: A good-sized theater that will host multi-day conferences featuring speeches by academics and corporate types, as well as dramatic readings from old annual reports. It can also be rented out for annual meetings.

Floor 9: The Memorial Roll. This floor will be stripped down to its outer walls, which will be covered by used computer punch cards — with each card bearing the name of a major American employer that has gone bankrupt or been bought out. Burly ex-shop foremen and fleece-clad retired human resources managers mingle together as they gently rub their fingertips over the list of hallowed names.

Floor 10: The gift shop. Popular items include stuffed mice wearing T-shirts that say “I WON THE RAT RACE” … a leather boardroom chair in which the visitor can have his or her picture taken … and gag notepaper pads that look like expense reports.

Floors 11-18: At first these will remain vacant; the elevators simply won’t stop there. As the museum gains popularity, these floors will be refurbished and rented to companies that understand the sheer meta/ironic/recursive awesomeness of having the American Museum of Corporate History as their office address.

Floor 19: See below.

Floors 20-21: The Golden Parachute Grill, a lavish steakhouse serving martinis and hand-cut Angus beef aged in a meat locker on the 19th floor. Those who prefer to nurse their girlish figures can choose the Secretary’s Special — cottage cheese and TAB.

The problem: Solved. You’re welcome.

Seconds from history.

I love when information on the Internet settles a question once and for all.

But on the flip side, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding info and not … quite … being able to believe or trust it.

I learned today that my grudgingly semi-sorta-adopted hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is supposedly the home of the broadcast profanity delay.

According to the Wiki piece, an engineer at local AM station WKAP developed a primitive five-second tape delay system in 1952 for use on a new call-in program called “Open Mic.”

The innovation allegedly spread to other radio stations owned by the same company, then throughout the radio industry, and eventually to the world of network television as well.

I know some of of the basic facts are true. There was a radio station called WKAP in Allentown for many years. (Casey Kasem mentioned it a good half-dozen times on American Top 40 countdowns between 1974 and 1977, according to Pete Battistini’s excellent AT40 book.)

But the Wiki page for “broadcast delay” is completely unattributed. No references are provided for any of the material. Not industry publications, not newspaper articles, not interviews with the principal players … nothing. That’s always a red flag.

I also note that there are two different paragraphs next to each other covering pretty much exactly the same ground on the WKAP story. When I see that in a Wiki entry, it always makes me wonder which one is right (or closer to right); where the contributors are getting their information; and why each section includes information the other one lacks.

While the first graf is more crisply and professionally written, it includes the phrase “it is believed that,” which should set off alarm bells for anyone even remotely skeptical about accuracy. (It was believed once that the earth was flat, too, until people started looking into it. What people believe and what is accurate are all too frequently not the same thing.)

I also find it interesting that the Wiki page for WKAP’s descendant station, WSAN, makes no mention of WKAP’s claim to broadcast history. One would think such a fact would be worthy of mention on the WSAN page … if it were verifiably true.

Finally, Googling some of the basic names and terms from the Wiki article turned up no substantial supporting information. All I seemed to find were articles on other sites that had copied Wiki’s text.

This little tidbit of local history — which marks its 60th anniversary this year, by the way — might well be true. If it is, it’s kinda cool, in a whaddya-know sort of way.

I just wish the greatest, most wide-ranging  information source in the history of the world gave me enough information to be completely sure about it.

(Coda: As I think more about this, I find it remarkable that in a boring burg like Allentown, in a supposedly polite era like the early ’50s, people were concerned about inappropriate comments on the air. Were they really worried that someone was gonna call in and say, “This is Stu from Lehighton, and I’m really f—king sick of Harry Truman”?)