WDGY-AM 1130 Minneapolis MN Boom Boom Bailey 1973

Back in January, 1973, WDGY was the station I listened to the most.  During the daytime, they had the strongest signal by far at my location in Apple Valley.  Those 50,000 watts from south Bloomington could be heard on a crystal radio with a paper clip antenna!  At night, however, it was a different story.

In order to prevent interference with several other 1130 stations, WDGY was required to reduce power to 25,000 watts and use an extremely directional NINE tower pattern at night.  This pattern shot most of their signal NNE with very little signal in other directions.  The tightest restriction was to the south, in order to protect KWKH in Shreveport, LA.  Being in Apple Valley, I was right in that null.  Although I was less than 8 miles away from the towers, it was impossible for me to get a clean signal from WDGY at night!  You can hear me fine tuning the radio during the newscast, trying to bring it in clear.  KMOX/St.Louis is the loud station on 1120. WRVA/Richmond is on the other side at 1140.  At the time, I was only 8 years old and didn’t yet comprehend AM directional arrays.  It frustrated the hell out of me, having them bleed all over my dial during the day, but barely receivable at night.

Dave Hellerman, aka “Boom Boom Bailey” did nights on “Weegee.”  Since the FCC still required news and public service content in those days, he read newscasts and played segments of “WDGY Listens to You”, in addition to playing the hits.  All 3 elements can be heard in this aircheck from January, 1973.  Note the forecast and current temperature, all of which are far below zero.  Now I remember why I moved away from Minnesota!


6 thoughts on “WDGY-AM 1130 Minneapolis MN Boom Boom Bailey 1973

  1. Yah Shure

    That’s got to be Lenny Smith on the “WDGY Listens To You” opening. I’d forgotten that he landed at WDGY following his stint at KRSI.

  2. Drew

    I’ll take your word for it. If anyone knows, YOU do! 🙂

  3. Siri

    Nope, I’m pretty sure that’s Boom Boom Bailey all the way through. I know his voice pretty well…he’s my dad. I sent him the link to confirm. 🙂

  4. Drew

    Hi Siri,

    That’s great! Glad you found my site. Tell your dad there’s a 37 year old tape of him on the Internet, recorded by an 8 year old kid from Apple Valley who used to listen to him on WeeGee!

  5. Steve Green

    As a teen, DXing from Queens NYC, I found one of the most stubborn stay-on-the-air local stations to be WNEW 1130 …. But one heralded night, they were OFF! A very faint WDGY came in. So I guess WCAR Detroit also was off that night….. Never logged WISN from Milwaukee, though, nor KWKH, despite all that collective wattage ….. WCAR often was a car-radio catch (no pun intended) around sunrise — way east of WNEW, which was weird.

  6. Drew Post author

    That’s quite a catch, Steve! As you probably know, WDGY (now KTLK) has a tight nighttime null to the east which protects Milwaukee and New York. Must have been some strange atmospherics. As a kid, I never understood how WDGY could be heard far into Canada at night, yet I could barely receive them 8 miles away from their towers!

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