Frank Lyman Jr.

Harvey Radio Labs was sold in 1941 to Mr. Frank Lyman Jr. The company did continue to manufacture radio equipment and made UHF transponders for the US Gov. to keep friendly and enemy aircraft’s apart. The page is here: 1944. Some advertising cartoons I recently found made by the compay is here.

Mr. Lyman also started a new company called Harvey of Cambridge (HarCam) with the same address as Harvey Radio Labs, and they did make radios between 1944-48. A HarCam catalogue from 1948 with FM two-way radios found here.

Mr. Lyman also invested in broadcast stations in the Boston area via Middlesex Broadcasting Company during the 50-60’ies. Some nice articles are below. The company existed until 1968.

Anyone having info about these companies with Mr. Lyman or pictures, please write me and help to complete this part of the history...

WJIB(AM) at 443 Concord Ave, Cambridge, Mass.

Picture copyright (C) Garret A. Wollman

WJIB(AM) history at the Boston Radio Archives by Garret A. Wollman

The long and colorful history of the 740 frequency in Cambridge started in 1948, when radio station WTAO made its debut, with 250 Watts daytime only, from studio and transmitter at 443 Concord Avenue, a factory building near the Fresh Pond rotary.

The original WTAO calls derived from the station's frequency, 740. Tip the `T' on its side, remove the lower left hand corner of the `A', and change the O into a `0' and you'll see. WTAO was a general-interest radio station providing music and entertainment for Cambridge and vicinity.

By the 1950s, WTAO had passed into the hands of Harvey Radio Labs, which was also experimenting with television. WTAO-TV 56 made a brief debut in 1953, then returned to oblivion. Harvey also had an FM station, WXHR-FM, which could trace its roots back to 1945. WXHR broadcast classical music from studios on Zion Hill, on the Woburn-Winchester town line. (The channel 56 transmitter was there also, albeit dormant.) By the early 1960s, WTAO had become WXHR(AM) and was simulcasting the FM. The studios would not return to Concord Ave. until 1991, although the transmitter never left.

In the early 1960s, WXHR-TV also returned to the airwaves from Zion Hill; the rest of its history is given under WLVI. On the FM side, WXHR became easy-listening WJIB in 1967. Rumors that the AM station also had the WJIB calls for a brief period appear to be false, based on Archives research. Kaiser-Globe moved the station away from its FM and TV sisters, to 620 Massachusetts Ave, in Central Square, Cambridge. 740 received new calls: WCAS, for the communities of Watertown, Cambridge, Arlington, and Somerville, which almost touch near the transmitter site. The station experimented with a music-and-local-news format, and then with an oldies format. In 1976, 740 was sold to the Wickus Island Broadcasting Corp., and the station took on the famous ``Wickus Island'' format, an eclectic blend of folk music broadcast from studios at 380 Green Street, Cambridge. The folk format lasted into the early 1980s, but management problems brought it crashing down.

WCAS was sold again, and went through a succession of short-lived formats, including an urban format circa 1982-83. By late 1983, the station was in bankruptcy, where it would remain for 8 years. The bankruptcy trustees allowed the station to be run by the Rev Earl Jackson, who changed the calls to WLVG, the format to black gospel, and moved the studios to 1972 Massachusetts Ave., in Porter Square, Cambridge.

On July 1, 1991, WLVG was put up for auction in federal bankruptcy court. Broadcaster Bob Bittner, whose career in Boston included stints at WNTN, WXKS(AM), and WBET/WCAV, bid $277,115, and by a $115 margin, he won the station.

After three days of darkness in the summer of 1991, 740 reappeared in the fall as WWEA, ``Earth Radio 740'', having moved back to the original studio location, and transmitter location all along, at 443 Concord Ave. WWEA played an eclectic blend of AC, oldies, R&B, and environmental messages.

In the summer of 1992, Bittner won the right to use the WJIB call letters, which had been abandoned by 96.9 FM a few years earlier. At 7:05 AM on August 4, 1992, Bittner declared, ``Easy as the breeze, this is 740 AM, WJIB Cambridge-Boston'', and beautiful music was back on the air in Boston.

The subsequent months brought AM stereo during the daytime, and a new 5-watt nighttime authorization, sufficient to cover much of the immediate area around Boston. By the end of 1993, WJIB was operating 24 hours a day. In the summer of 1994, Bittner expanded his chain by returning WKBR 1250 in Manchester, N.H. to the air. Bittner sold WKBR in 1996, but added WNEB in Worcester to his roster of stations, returning it to the air on October 24, 1996, mostly simulcasting WJIB. On March 12, 1997, WJTO in Bath, Maine, was added to the group; soon after, WNEB was sold.

During the nineties, Bittner made some subtle shifts to WJIB's format, moving from the instrumental beautiful music that characterized the old WJIB-FM to a mix of instrumentals and light pop vocals, programmed largely from six-hour VHS hi-fi tapes played from a stack of VCRs in the WJIB studio.

While WJIB runs no commercial spots during the week, its evening and weekend programming is made up in part by paid leased-time shows. In addition to the usual religious broadcasts on weekends, WJIB has carried college sports, Chinese-language programming, student-produced shows from the Massachusetts College of Communications, Radio France International's morning show, and (as a community service) rebroadcasts of the low-power Radio Free Allston. Perhaps WJIB's most interesting show, the unique ``Let's Talk About Radio'', is broadcast every Sunday morning at 11:00. On the show, which began in 1995, Bittner and his guests chat about radio, television, license plates, phone books, and other common interests for half an hour.

WJIB(FM) history by Bob Nelson

WJIB (FM) was given a nautical call because its studios, at the time, were located on Commercial Wharf, on the waterfront. It is no longer WCDJ and hasn't been for several years.

 The station began life in the 1940s as W1XHR, and then WXHR, which stood for Harvey Radio Laboratories, its owner. In the mid-1960s, it became WXHR-FM, when its then co-owned AM became WXHR(AM) and began simulcasting its classical music format. After the stations were sold, it became WJIB. The WCDJ calls went with a change to a smooth jazz format and apparently stood for CD-Jazz. It then became WBCS "We're Boston's Country Station."

 A couple of years ago, when its owners bought out the competing country station, WKLB-FM ("The Country Club"), WBCS became WKLB-FM. Not long after, the WKLB calls and format moved to 99.5 in Lowell, where they are now (formerly WOAZ, "The Oasis") and this station became WSJZ "Smooth Jazz" again. Just a week or two ago, the station changed to a talk format, and the new call letters are WTKK.

WTAO-TV history by Joseph Gallant

WTAO-TV, Channel 56 (ABC/DuMont), 1953-1956, Cambridge, MA.

 Owned by Middlesex Broadcasting Company

 (a wholly owned subsidiary of Harvey Radio Laboratories)

WTAO-TV was owned and operated by Harvey Radio Labs through a 100%-owned subsidiary, Middlesex Broadcasting (Frank Lyman was Harvey's main owner) Company, owner of WTAO-AM and WXHR-FM.

Studios and transmitter were at the WXHR-FM transmitter site in Woburn. WTAO-TV was scheduled to begin regular programming on September 28, 1953, but went on a day early to carry an ABC network (more about that later) presentation of football.

 Harvey must have kept the license for WTAO re-appeared briefly in 1962-63 for FCC-sponsored UHF tests; and then was sold to Kaiser/Globe in 1965 which re-named it WKBG, converted it to color, and then resumed broadcasting on December 19th, 1966 (one day behind schedule--transmitter problems on the 18th precluded WKBG from signing-on as scheduled. While WKBG had scheduled a live inaugural program, fortunately, it was also videotaped and was finally broadcast the next day).

Today, this station is WLVI-TV ("WB56"). It is the same license, dating back to 1953. For present-day profile of WLVI-TV, please visit the "Boston Radio Archives".