LISTEN: Classic WBLM Feature The ‘News Blimp’ From 1978
The Rock and Roll Blimp launched into the air and onto the air in March of 1973.
So if my often weak math brain serves me correctly, WBLM turns 48 this year. Whoa dude. WBLM's 50th anniversary is really starting to sneak up on us. Sounds as though we ought to start thinking about plans for a yearlong bash in 2023. We should be good to go for large gatherings by then, right? Anywho.
Thinking about WBLM being almost, 50 gets me all kinds of nostalgic. You see like many of the loyal Blimpsters who rock with us everyday, I also grew up listening to this legendary radio station. I have wicked fond memories of hearing WBLM on my little Panasonic radio in the kitchen at home on School Street in Augusta when I was a kid. When were on the road the FM converter in my mother's Oldsmobile was my conduit the rockin' world of Blimpville.
One of the many unique features I remember along with daily astrological reports from the Cosmic Muffin and the coolest hippie DJs playing the coolest hippie music, was something called the News Blimp.
The News Blimps were an alternative to the serious mainstream delivery found everywhere else. You got the stories of the day in a way more fun and freaky way. It was absolutely a perfect fit for the counterculture audience of WBLM.
They delivered the news with the mellow early FM style and edited in music and comedy drops that related to the story.
I had always thought that this was an exclusive from WBLM. According to the News Blimp website, the short programs were syndicated on many rock stations.
The laid back newsman in this recording is Ben Manilla.
Enjoy this gem of a WBLM flashback from 43 years ago. This News Blimp warns listeners of the "potential dangers of smoking marijuana sprayed with the herbicide, Paraquat." It's loaded with pot comedy audio snippets from Cheech and Chong, Steve Martin, George Carlin and more.
Here's a great drawing of trailblazing WBLM DJs done by renowned Maine humorist, Tim Sample form the Litchfield trailer era of News Blimps. It is tacked up just beyond the door to the Cockpit of Love, That way, we can see it every day as we head in for our air shifts, to remind us where we came from.