Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 31, 2009


Sam Smith, Progressive Review - Larry Glick, who passed recently, was the antithesis of what alk radio has become. Instead of confrontational, he was engaging. Instead of absorbed in politics, he ignored it. Instead of seeking out the important he reveled in talking with the ordinary. The result was good enough that he had late night fans, including this one, listening to the 50,000 watt station WBZ, in parts of America far removed from his Boston.

Once approached about doing a talk show by a local public radio station in Washington, I suggested something along the lines of Larry Glick's show, in order to provide some relief from the local obsession with great public affairs. The program director reacted as though I had thrown up and I never heard from him again.

But Glick was extremely popular by providing listeners with a connection to the world in which they actually lived.

Wikipedia - Larry Glick (1922-2009) was a Boston radio talk show host, whose long-running show on WBZ and later WHDH became a New England institution in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. . .

WBZ Radio was a powerful 50,000-watt station that blanketed the six New England states and reached well beyond, from the Maritime provinces of Canada down through the Carolinas in the South and as far west as the Rockies. Third-shift workers and insomniacs throughout much of the eastern seaboard and Midwest took comfort when Larry's unique brand of talk radio came on at midnight. For six hours, Larry's affable and charismatic voice enfolded a mix of lighthearted chat, sassy sound effects, obscure and funny musical numbers, and lots of generally wacky calls from listeners.

A typical show might feature a sometimes serious guest, an exchange of repartee with his hapless (and usually less witty) engineer at the station, and free-ranging free associations on current events and life. Some callers became institutions like Larry: Arnold Tarbox, the dry and droll Maine fisherman; Charlie DiGiovanni, a wisecracking Boston cabdriver; the Champagne Lady; Boston newspaper legend, Kenny "The Night" Mayer; and a number of others. A call from some of these regulars could seem like a visit from an old friend. . .

Those who've never heard Larry will have difficulty understanding his magic, since his bighearted, zany persona does not translate into print. But those who've heard Click and Clack on Car Talk would readily recognize the amiable, boisterous and somewhat anarchic style he pioneered.

Likewise, anyone would understand the appeal of a talk-show host who loved all his listeners. Larry gave everyone a shot (sometimes several), and did his best to draw out even the most plodding callers. Every one of them was given a chance to shine and to make a contribution to the "family".







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