Legendary News Anchor Gary LaPierre, Who Began at WHAV in 1961, Dies at 76

At WHAV’s 2016 “Reunion of the Radio Stars,” Gary LaPierre, far right, chats with other WHAV honorees Mr. and Mrs. Joe Clementi, Pat Johnson and LaPierre’s wife Peg. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Legendary WBZ morning news anchor Gary LaPierre, whose broadcasting career began at WHAV in 1961, died Monday of leukemia at age 76. Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Famer LaPierre had been a supporter of WHAV’s new FM station, first appearing alongside Tom Bergeron for WHAV’s 60th anniversary in 2007; then for the station’s “Reunion of the Radio Stars” in 2016 in downtown Haverhill; and, more recently, lending his voice for membership appeals. At WHAV’s “Reunion of the Radio Stars,” LaPierre joked about how he lost his WHAV job after only two months. “This guy calls me one morning and gave me this man’s obituary and I’m writing notes feverishly, took down the information and I got my first lesson on checking your sources.

Radio Drama This Week: A Cold War Christmas from Outer Space

The original dog in space was Laika, as seen on this vintage postage stamp from the Emirate of Ajman. A Christmas story is not something one expects to hear in February and a Christmas story that starts in outer space is not expected even in season. Stranger still, Thursday night’s “Suspense” was Cold War-inspired and seemingly aimed at ridiculing the Soviet Union for sending a dog to its death Nov. 3, 1957. That’s when the Russians launched Laika, a husky-related mixed dog breed, aboard the second Sputnik.

Radio Drama This Week: Alan Ladd is Dan Holiday on ‘Box 13’

Alan Ladd stars in “Box 13,” one of two old-time radio series currently heard over WHAV that were also broadcast on the station shortly after WHAV’s 1947 founding. “Box 13” airs Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m. with an encore performance at 1:30 a.m. (Publicity photograph.)
Tonight, Saturday, Jan. 26
Gunsmoke: “Print Asper;” Haunting Hour: “A Corpse There Was,” Saturday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Man Who Waits Matter;” Box 13: “The Professor and the Puzzle,” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Suspense (new series): “'Jinx of the Jellicoe Jasper;” Suspense (classic): “The Country of the Blind,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Dimension X: “No Contact;” Suspense (classic): “Firing Run,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Great Gildersleeve: Rivals Leila and Grace Meet At Peavy’s; Suspense (classic): “The Pit and the Pendulum,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Our Miss Brooks: The Dinner Party; Suspense (classic): “The City That Was,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Couple Next Door: Aunt Martha to Arrive; Suspense (classic): “The Star of Thessaly,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2
Gunsmoke: “Fall Semester;” Haunting Hour: “If the Shoe Fits,” Saturday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Canned Canary Matter;” Box 13: “The Dowager and Dan Holiday,” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

This Week’s Radio Drama: ‘Sorry, Wrong Number,’ Among Genre’s Most Famous

Agnes Moorehead in the CBS radio studios with a sound effects artist. (Publicity photograph.)

One of radio’s most famous plays, Suspense’s “Sorry, Wrong Number,” comes to 97.9 WHAV FM next Friday night. The play, starring Agnes Moorehead, tells the story of an invalid woman who listens in on a telephone conversation and learns of a murder plot. The story first aired May 25, 1943. Always popular, it would be recreated six more times on radio between 1943 and 1960—each time starring Moorehead—and spawn a Hollywood movie and three television versions.

This Week’s Radio Drama: Leroy Receives a Great Dane on Great Gildersleeve

Williard Waterman is the “Great Gildersleeve,” Wednesday nights over 97.9 WHAV FM. Here he is with Walter Tetley who is heard as nephew Leroy, and Mary Lee Robb, who plays his niece Marjorie. (NBC publicity photograph.)
Tonight, Jan. 12
Gunsmoke: Buffalo Hunter; Haunting Hour: “Old, Old Man,” Saturday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Mystery Gal Matter;” Box 13: “Hot Box,” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Suspense (new series): “The Perfect Accessory;” Suspense (classic): “Murder on Mike” (postponed from an earlier date), 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Dimension X: “Dr. Grimshaw’s Sanitorium;” Suspense (classic): “Peanut Brittle,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Great Gildersleeve: Cousin Bert Sends Leroy a Great Dane; Suspense (classic): “Leiningen vs. the Ants,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Our Miss Brooks: Mr. Conklin’s Statue; Suspense (classic): “Man from Tomorrow,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Couple Next Door: Back from Banquet; Suspense (classic): “Old Army Buddy,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Saturday, Jan.

Radio Drama: Before He Was Dr. McCoy, DeForest Kelly was Radio’s ‘Flesh Peddler’

DeForest Kelly as Dr. McCoy in the original “Star Trek” television series. (Publicity photograph.)

You probably know him best as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the Star Trek television and movie universe, but the late DeForest Kelly made a short-lived impact on radio. Appearing on CBS’ “Suspense” in a play called “The Flesh Peddler” in 1957, he was introduced by producer William M. Robson. “DeForest Kelley, a bright new luminary in the Hollywood firmament, who is presently being seen as Morgan Earp in ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.’” DeForest starred opposite Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday. His rare radio appearance, heard over 97.9 WHAV FM this Thursday night, defies what was seemingly his destiny on the aural medium.

This Week’s Radio Drama: Looking Into the World of Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, as photographed in 1900. New England born and raised, author Charlotte Perkins Gilman was among the first to shatter myths about women’s health and raise awareness of postpartum psychosis. Her semi-autobiographical short story, “The Yellow Wall-paper,” is dramatized Thursday night on 97.9 WHAV FM’s broadcast of “Suspense.” Agnes Moorehead (later seen on the television series “Bewitched”), billed as “the first lady of Suspense,” tells the story in first person. An early feminist, Gilman (1860-1935) addressed serious topics including divorce, sexuality, voting rights and even the right to die. She committed suicide rather than endure an agonizing death from breast cancer.

WHAV’s Year-End Appeal: Don’t Drop the Ball!

It’s nearly New Year’s and 97.9 WHAV FM needs your help to keep local news and other vital community programs coming in 2019. With local elections coming up, closer scrutiny of education and spikes in crime, this is no time to drop the ball. Nonprofit WHAV needs listener support to continue its up-to-the-minute coverage. WHAV news reporters ask the tough questions, dig deep behind the scenes and report thoroughly. In 2018, WHAV added live City Council and School Committee broadcasts, live play-by-play coverage of all Haverhill Hillies football games, greater local talk and more vital community programming.