Friday, January 14, 2005

Wolfman Mac

From the Wolfman Jack Museum website:

For millions, Wolfman Jack--indisputably the world's most famous DJ--was the master of ceremonies for the rock 'n' roll generation of the '60s on radio, and later on television during the '70s. In the early 1960s, when much of the airwaves were segregated, Bob Smith created his shadowy wild man alter ego so that he could DJ on the radio the "rhythm and blues" race records n he loved so much. As the enigmatic Wolfman Jack, the young white man from one of Brooklyn, one of New York's toughest neighborhoods, could easily hide behind a voice that masked his true ethnic roots. Many teens first discovered The Wolfman while scanning the AM radio band as they cruised Main Street U.S.A. Out of the night came a howling, guttural, ethereal voice amid a collection of rock 'n' roll, inner-city ethnic rhythm, and deep south blues records that wouldn't be found on any "legal" radio station.

Indeed, Wolfman Jack held Court over his young audience from XERF-AM, just south of Cuidad Acuna, Mexico, where the 250,000 watt signal -- five times more powerful than any U.S. radio station -- blanketed most of North America. Without the benefit of traditional advertising, it was word of mouth that spread the news about the provocative Wolfman and his nonconformist style -- the kind of style that horrified parents, making it all the more appealing to a growing legion of young followers.
Wolfman Jack was Advanced and fascinating, but that's not why I'm writing this. I've always been fascinated by the Mexican-radio phenomenom, and, like many others I'm sure, have wondered if maybe satellite radio or streaming radio stations would be the next Mexcican Radio. I'm strating to think now that maybe it will be audio blogs or maybe even Podcasts. (Pirate radio stations are nice, but no one can hear them.) The key I guess would be getting the music to cars. Unfortunately, I don't know much about the technology involved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The first Mexican station designed to serve the American market was XET, Monterey.

Dr. John Brinkley started the most powerful one, XER, in Villa Acuna, Coah. MX, in the early 30s after the Federal Radio Commission refused to renew his license for KFKB, Milford, Kansas.

Brinkley ultimately pumped out a half a million watts on his station, then called XERA. The same station, later, became XERF and moved to 1570 khz when the U.S. decided it really was in our best interest to agree that Mexico could have some clear channels too, in exchange for their signing a treaty to respect the U.S. clears.

When the number of licensed stations, especially at night, was relatively few, an imported signal especially if it was radically different could garner a sizable audience.

Podcasting and alternative delivery methods can take a lot away from existing media. But this time it will be thousands of niche alternatives ganging up on the many more stations that are today licensed on AM, FM and satellite.

Radio's been in deep trouble for a long time. The recent change is that they know it and so does everybody else.