Beware the Ides of March; Local News May Be at Stake

The Ides of March was a date on the Roman calendar—about March 15—a relatively happy day signifying the new year. Then William Shakespeare changed everything with his play, “Julius Caesar,” more than 1,600 years after the assassination of the Roman statesman and general. Shakespeare depicts a soothsayer giving advance warning to Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March.”

What do we have to fear on this Ides of March? Perhaps, among other things, the loss of local news and the role it plays in giving residents the upper hand in government decisions. Whether you simply listen to 97.9 WHAV FM, read local news at or in this newsletter or tell your friends about this service, thank you very much!

This Week’s Radio Drama: Before It Was on Television

Tonight, Saturday, March 2
Gunsmoke: “Jesse,” Saturday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Collector’s Matter,” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Suspense (classic): “Nineteen Deacon Street,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Dimension X: “The Green Hills of Earth,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Great Gildersleeve: Rummage Sale, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Our Miss Brooks: Magazine Articles, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Couple Next Door: Dinner Party Mix-Up, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Saturday, March 9
Gunsmoke: “The Sutler,” Saturday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Back to the Back Matter,” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Radio Drama This Week: The ‘Universe’ is Inside a Giant Spaceship

Tonight, Sunday, Feb. 24
Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Wholly Unexpected Matter;” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Suspense (classic): “The Crowded Void,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Dimension X: “Universe,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Great Gildersleeve: Jam Session, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Our Miss Brooks: “Tears for Mr. Boynton,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Couple Next Door: Allowance for Betsy, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Gunsmoke: “Jesse;” Saturday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Sunday, March 3
Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Collector’s Matter;” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Damon Launches WHAV Morning Show, ‘Win for Breakfast’

Win Damon, the dean of Merrimack Valley radio, now delivers a live morning show over Haverhill-based 97.9 WHAV FM. The live 6-9 a.m., weekday, program provides listeners with everything they need to know to start their days—local news, weather, sports, traffic, prizes and more. Getting up early and informing Merrimack Valley listeners is nothing new for Damon. He’s been doing it for nearly 30 years. Damon, of Newburyport, and his father Henry bought Newburyport’s WNBP in 1989.

Radio Drama This Week: Johnny Dollar and the Private Space Industry of 1960

During the 1960s and 1970s, every U.S. rocket watch was must watching on television. Anyone old enough certainly remembers CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite using models to show rockets and capsules and what to expect after launch. So too on radio. The only regularly scheduled dramatic shows on radio by 1960 were on CBS. Without models to display, characters like Johnny Dollar acted on adventures around the emerging space race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Veterans’ Secretary Urena Visiting Haverhill Friday in Support of Mill Brook Park

Haverhill’s Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Ad Hoc Commission is gearing up for a big visitor to Mill Brook Park this Friday: State secretary Francisco A. Urena. The secretary of the Department of Veterans' Services, Urena is in town to meet with the commission and evaluate the city’s plans to update Mill Brook Park, the new home of Haverhill’s Vietnam War Memorial. According to Commission Chair Ralph Basiliere—who guest hosted this week’s WHAV Open Mic Show with Bill Macek—Urena will stop by Friday morning in an effort to drum up state support for the project, currently in the fundraising phase. “It’s in a really good spot. You’ve got a lot of traffic and it’s at the entrance to Plug Pond.

Radio Drama This Week: Before TV Selling, Betty Furness Went Uncredited on Radio

This weekend brings to a close two dramatic programs first heard over WHAV during the late 1940s. The “Haunting Hour” and “Box 13” were brought out of the sound vault in time for the 70th anniversary of WHAV in Haverhill and the dedication of the new 97.9 WHAV FM. When WHAV AM signed on in 1947, it was too small and too late to attract a major national broadcasting network like NBC, CBS, ABC or Mutual. WHAV, however, did the next best thing—buying pre-recorded radio shows on the syndicated market. “Haunting Hour” was produced by NBC and heard in 1945 before going into syndication.

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.