Monthly Archives: August 2010

At 90, Radio News Is Alive And Well

Published August 31, 2010

John F. Kennedy in a 1951 interview with WBUR (Boston University Photography)

That's what we call a "good get." (Boston University Photography)

In this, WBUR’s 60th year, Aug. 31 marks the 90th anniversary of what is believed to be the first radio newscast, Wired reports:

The exact headlines of that day are of no historical significance, but with this local newscast a nascent medium finally conveys a message so compelling that it would soon capture the world’s imagination as only television and the internet would, many, many years later.

It’s an interesting read about the slow ascendancy of the medium. Newspapers were terrified of broadcast news at that time; many decades later, the killer medium would turn out to be the Internet.

Meanwhile, large public radio stations like WBUR are thriving in the United States today.

Some people declare radio dead or dying. Northeastern media blogger Dan Kennedy recently argued:

The only reason radio is still hanging on is that the ubiquitous, wireless Internet hasn’t come to your car yet.

Terrestrial (AM/FM) radio might have its physical limits, but the medium of radio is going nowhere. Listening data show us that satellite radio and podcasts have barely cut into overall FM listening. And on the Web, online streaming remains WBUR’s single most valuable asset.

Radio is the ultimate multitasking medium. What else can you take cooking, running, driving? What medium is more intimate, more immediate?

Looking Back, Looking Out: The Boston Harbor Series

Published August 31, 2010

Bruce Berman, spokesman for Save The Harbor/Save The Bay, uses live seaworms to fish for striped bass on board his boat, The Shamrock, in Boston Harbor. (Lisa Tobin/WBUR)

Bruce Berman, spokesman for Save The Harbor/Save The Bay, uses live seaworms to fish for striped bass on board his boat, The Shamrock, in Boston Harbor. (Lisa Tobin/WBUR)

All summer long, WBUR brought you stories of Boston Harbor, once the commercial and cultural center of the city.

We walked along the Greenway, trapped lobsters before sunrise, sailed with pre-teen girls, camped in an artist’s colony, followed a record-breaking swim and unearthed Nazis in the harbor. We tried to explain where the Harbor has been and where it’s going, to tell stories that illustrate our special connection to the waterfront.

As a look back, we’ve put together an audio slideshow of the most memorable images and sounds from the summer. And we’ve compiled a list of all stories in the series, if you need to catch up.

What was your favorite story? What is your connection to Boston Harbor? Tell us in the comments.

Police: Another Driver Tries To Mow Down Cyclist

Published August 31, 2010

This is the second time this has happened in two weeks.

Cambridge police report (via Universal Hub):

On 08/30/10 at 11:04 PM, Ibrahim Zaoui, 34, of 449 Broadway in Everett was arrested after he used his motor vehicle as a weapon to strike a bicyclist on Mass Ave after an argument.

Zaoui is charged with attempted murder.

On Aug. 16, Brookline Patch reported:

A Boston man was arrested Saturday after police reportedly caught him speeding through Olmsted Park and trying to trying strike a bicyclist with his Lexus.

There is some serious tension developing between drivers and cyclists in this city, and it’s going to get ugly if we can’t figure out how to share the road.

Missing Soldier Makes For An Unlikely Connection

Published August 31, 2010

Curt wore this POW/MIA bracelet for years. (Curt Nicksich/WBUR)

Curt wore this POW/MIA bracelet for years. (Curt Nicksich/WBUR)

As a kid in Nebraska, WBUR’s Curt Nickisch wore an MIA/POW bracelet to honor a missing service member, Lt. Paul G. Magers, who was shot down over Vietnam in 1971. Curt never knew the man, but he wore the bracelet as a way to honor service and patriotism.

While vacationing in South Dakota this week, Curt made a startling discovery — as described in today’s Billings (Mont.) Gazette story, printed in the Boston Globe:

Nickisch said he always read every story he saw about MIAs. Two weeks ago, scanning headlines on the Web before work, he saw another MIA story and clicked on it.

“Seeing it was Lieutenant Magers — it was a shock,’’ he said.

The story said the remains of First Lieutenant Magers and his gunner from Oklahoma had been positively identified and were going to be returned to their families for burial.

He immediately called his sister in Idaho, even though it was 5 a.m. there. Speaking with her, he soon decided he would go to Billings to attend the funeral, and that he would present the MIA bracelet to members of Magers’s family.

Curt attended the funeral on Thursday and made a brief speech. Cool, huh?

Is It Over For The Sox?

Published August 31, 2010

Boston Red Sox batter Adrian Beltre reacts to a strike call during an away game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010. (Reinhold Matay/AP)

Strike. (AP)

Dan Shaugnessey is sure of it:

We can all stop now. We can stop scoreboard watching, and doing math tricks, and harboring silly hope that there’s a big surge ahead that will thrust the Red Sox into the 2010 playoffs.

Better to cease with the torment now and accept the obvious. The Sox are not going to be in the hunt in October. The Boston baseball season is going to end Sunday, Oct. 3, at Fenway Park.

The Sox, decimated by injuries, are seven games back from the tied-for-first New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.

The Herald, too, makes this slightly less dire assessment:

There is, however, an acceptance of this reality: The Red Sox are a longshot to make the playoffs.

The first Patriots game of the regular season is just two Sundays away. It’s practically winter already. Just sayin’…

Are you keeping the faith in Red Sox Nation? Or is football on your brain? Shout out in the comments. And if you’ve got our nifty iPhone app, you can respond in the “Assignments” section.

Tuesday Morning: Newton North Opens, More Blood Shed

Published August 31, 2010

It’s a slow news day in Boston, with the exception of news just in from the Supreme Judicial Court about the ever-controversial Cape Wind project.

  1. SJC Gives Cape Wind Go-Ahead To Start Construction
    A divided Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-2 this morning that the state has the power to overrule community opposition and grant the controversial Cape Wind project a suite of local permits it needs to start construction. (Globe)
  2. $197m Later, Newton North Opens
    It began as a simple renovation project. It ended up the most expensive public school ever built in Massachusetts. (Globe)
  3. Mass. Foreclosures Jump 80 Percent Over Year Before
    More than 1,200 foreclosures were recorded in Massachusetts in July, an increase of nearly 80 percent from July 2009, said the Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks local real estate activity. (Globe)
  4. Hurricane Earl Could Bring ‘Glancing Blow’ To Mass. Coast
    As Hurricane Earl makes its way toward the East Coast, the state emergency management agency is asking coastal communities to prepare… just in case. (WBUR)
  5. Man Accused Of Shooting Another In Dorchester
    A 27-year-old man is due in court today on charges he shot another man in the neck in Dorchester last night, police said. (Herald)

What stories are you tracking this morning?

Sound Bites, Monday: Hurricane Earl, Missing Cop

Published August 30, 2010

A National Weather Service image shows the projected path of Hurricane Earl.

A National Weather Service image shows the projected path of Hurricane Earl.

Afternoon news in brief from around the Hub:

  • Hurricane Earl is expected to brush the southern New England coast with rain and high winds. Kudos to Universal Hub for the best headline, graphic. (Universal Hub, Globe)
  • Former Red Sox great Roger Clemens pleaded not guilty of perjury in a steroids case. (New York Times)
  • Brookline police are looking for a missing officer. Thomas Shea has a gun and is “undergoing financial difficulties.” (WBUR)
  • A federal judge in Boston has begun hearing arguments for a new trial from Gary Lee Sampson, who faces the death penalty for a week-long crime spree in 2001. (NECN)
  • A Springfield has pleaded not guilty to charges of driving drunk and hitting and killing a 22-year-old man who was getting the mail at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. (AP)
  • A golfer in Canton hit two holes in one in the same round. (WCVB)
  • The time machine at MIT has moved from the little dome to the top of the Great Dome. (Universal Hub)
  • White tigers are new to the Spencer Fair this year. (Telegram & Gazette)

Found: Herald Column Called 'Hub-Bub' About WBUR

Published August 30, 2010

A newspaper clipping from the Boston Herald Traveler shows an edition of the "Hub-Bub" column from February 23, 1971.

I think my head just exploded. Apparently, the Boston Herald Traveler (a precursor to today’s Herald) used to run column titled “Hub-Bub.” And in this recently uncovered archive from Feb. 23, 1971, the hubbub is about a WBUR “radio soap opera” called Harvard Square. It sounded awesome:

WBUR, BU’s enterprising radio station, broadcasts “Harvard Square” Sundays through Thursdays at 11:15 p.m.–a program that centers around (sic) Harvard Square as seen through the eyes and experience of Scott Langer, a fictitious BU sophomore.

The first such show ever produced in the Hub! This was, of course, when WBUR was student-run radio (“Boston University Radio”).

For a fascinating historical detour, check the Wikipedia page of the Boston Herald, which has changed names or owners some 10 times since 1846. The American Traveler, eventually absorbed by the Herald, once served as a bulletin for stagecoach listings beginning in 1825, according to the source cited by the Wikipedia page.

Dear Brookline: Can We Still Be Friends?

Published August 30, 2010

This is a follow-up to my breakup letter to Brookline.


Green "C Line" train approaching St. Mary's Street (Night Owl City/Flickr)

You're not so bad, Brookline. (Night Owl City/Flickr)

Dear Brookline:

Can we still be friends? Look, I realize it wasn’t classy to break up with you via blog post. But I wouldn’t have gone to the effort if I didn’t care.

I’m two weeks older and wiser since I wrote you, and I’ve done a lot of thinking.

A lot of your people are making fun of me for moving to a neighborhood they consider equally snooty, with equally bad parking and equally ridiculous rules. Even my new demonym — Cantabrigian — is pretentious, they say. But I find life to be quite easy on the other side of the river. With a residential parking permit, parking is no problem at all.

Others called me out for complaining about you instead of being more involved — calling my representatives, attending town council meetings and the like.

But I’m in my 20s, Brookline. I don’t have family here or a mortgage or any lasting ties to where I live. I never wanted anything too serious.

And that’s where we went wrong. We met at the wrong time.

You’re a beautiful town, Brookline. You have great schools, safe neighborhoods and quiet streets after 10 p.m. And many people who own a home there probably have a driveway or a garage and don’t care about your overnight parking rules.

As you so elegantly said in your reply, I’m just too young for you. And maybe in a few years, when I’m ready to settle down, we can try again.

Yours truly,

Welcome Back, Students

Published August 30, 2010

The students are back.

Young man in a suit smoking a pipe (Dan Foy/Flickr)

Welcome to Boston, young man. (Dan Foy/Flickr)

Harvard kids (starting classes Wednesday) or MIT kids (starting next week) should check out the list of links and tips from the City of Cambridge, including bike maps, street-cleaning days, farmers markets and parking information.

Boston kids could follow the new blog for ONEIN3 Boston, which is named for the one-third of Boston’s population between age 20 and 34. The Massachusetts secretary of state has a complete guide for the new Bay Stater.

The Neave Online Publication has some grown-up advice for college freshmen on a topic that admissions officers won’t touch: sex. And for the adults, Benoit College’s annual Mindset List is out to help bridge the generation gap with the Class of 2014.

Meanwhile, some Twitterers submitted their own advice:

  • Sometimes the polite thing to do is to take the empty seat on the bus. No one can sit when you block it & you’re in the way. (@RachelCraves)
  • When on the #mbta, remember to take your backpacks off & put on the floor. The same goes for non-students as well! (@aliphin)
  • Pls don’t walk in mass groups off campus. It causes foot traffic. (@BaDaBingLany)
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; Pick challenging classes over GPA Boosters; Meet people and polish social skills (@bzheng)

What is your advice for incoming students?