• Years at WGBH: 1951-52
  • Contact: songbook24@gmail.com

From Russ Butler — 6/11/2009

I was one of the original volunteers when WGBH-FM first went on the air from the Symphony Hall studios. Hartford Gunn, Bill Cavness, Louis M. Lyons, Bill Busick, announcers Alden Stevens and William Pierce were some of the people with whom I’ve worked in 1951-52.

I retired from a 40+ year career in broadcasting, including Vermont Public Radio and Vermont ETV. My career started with those wonderful and exciting early experiences at WGBH when it first went on the air.

My enthusiasm for radio continues with an Internet radio program, SONGBOOK AMERICA at www.bostonpete.com/russ with music from my personal collection of American standards, jazz and legendary songbook composers and performers that I record in my home studio (Bill Busiek would be proud!). Listeners email me worldwide and when they read my bio on my web page, a few have identified hearing the original WGBH-FM in Boston.

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Russ Butler

Hi Denny – Yes, thise streaming Internet shows on BPete we both
hosted and produced were fun to do and receive worldwide listener
comments and requests. Continued success with your Big Band
Showcase and voice-over career. Keep in touch. =Russ

Jane Watson

OMG, Russ, Silvana and I have been looking for you for a long, long time. I actually haven’t corresponded with her in about a year. So much has happened! Please send me an email with your email at the address above. You come into my thoughts very frequently — I even found a college student on a Poultney Student site while looking for your daughter — to find you . . . . wondering if that might be Russ’ granddaughter. Today, you are headed for BIG snow if you are still up yonder . . . guess there won’t be… Read more »

Hi Russ remember our times with B -Pete ?
All the best,
Big Band Hall of Fame Inductee,
Denny Farrell

Russ Butler

Hello Mike – Thanks for your post and your kind compliment about my program. There is now a streaming radio station that has inherited the WNEW 1130 format of American standards and songbooks with their library and legendary jingles. This is essentially the same music selections that I played on SONGBOOK AMERICA. It’s a free 24/7 website to listen on your computer with some of the familiar 1130 hosts: http://www.live365.com/stations/wnewradio1130 You may also be interested in the tribute website with all the information about WNEW1130 in NYC – gone, but not forgotten! http://www.wnew1130.com/ I appreciate hearing from you and, I’d… Read more »

Russ Butler

Hello again, Lainie – Thanks for your post. There is now a streaming radio station that has inherited the WNEW 1130 format of American standards and songbooks with their library and legendary jingles. It’s a free 24/7 website to listen on your computer with some of the familiar 1130 hosts: http://www.live365.com/stations/wnewradio1130 You may also be interested in the tribute website with all the information about WNEW1130 in NYC – gone, but not forgotten! http://www.wnew1130.com/ I appreciate hearing from you and, I’d like to know what you think of these websites that re-create our favorite radio station. Here’s my personal email… Read more »

lainie ross

I sure miss Russ online! Also having a local radio station here in NYC. Do you know of any I can tune in to listen to Make Believe Ballroom-type DJ’s? I would love to put anything on my speed dial. No more Danny Stiles, William B. Not even Camping on Christian Radio WFME. Thank you and give yourself a good day. God bless Russ and fans everywhere! Music adds years to your life and life to your years.

Mike Rankin

Russ how can we obtain music that you introduced. I think most of the listeners really enjoyed your warm introductions of the music artist.

Lainie Ross

Thanks, Ross. Life is meant to be good, enjoy. I am sure you miss the contact. You reminded me of Wm Be Williams – I’m not that old yet but my Dad used to listen to him. That velvet voice. I now went to Pandora but I miss the human contact and your personal intimate discussions were so charming. Be blessed in all you do. If you want to send me a mix of happy surprises (Sinatra, Day, Como genre etc.) that would be fun. But I liked hearing your voice! Do you need an address to mail it?
Lainie

Russ Butler

Hi again – I appreciate your compliment with the William B. Williams comparison. He was my inspiration when I first heard his nighttime program on WNEW when I was living in Boston, as was the station’s “Milkman’s Matinee” all night show. That was “real radio” in the 1950’s! By the way, Bernice Judis, the WNEW General Manager back then auditioned announcers and she selected them on the “voice” that they had which would give the station an identity with listeners anytime. Deejays like William B., Art Ford, Bob Jones, Al “Jazzbeau” Coillins, Ted Brown, Klavan and Finch in the morning… Read more »

Russ Butler

No need to have your address, apologies Lainie. I can’t send any of my programs because of royalty rights of the music I recorded. If I do join another web broadcaster to do more shows, I’ll post the
information on this blog. Thanks for your understanding, I misspoke in my last post here. =Russ

Russ Butler

Hi Lainie – Thanks for your email and for listening to my program, SONGBOOK AMERICA. The BostonPete.com website went off-line in January, sad to say, and unexpectedly. Seems that the performance rights people and recording labels were hot after the small business Internet broadcasters like Pete Kenney (yes, there really was a Boston “Pete”). Pete found their compensation fees per play for the music tracks he had on 19 streaming stations, mine included, were exorbitant and he could not continue business with the new, negotiated “legal” fees. If you’re interested, there is continuing information on the performance rights fees issues… Read more »

lainie ross

where do i go now to hear boston pete, russ, you and maria new age? thanks.

Mike Petersen

Hi Russ
We miss you and your great music. Where did you go ?
And where may we find your program?

Russ Butler

Hi Mike – Thanks for the compliment for SONGBOOK AMERICA. Apologies, I don’t check the ‘GBH Alumni site as often as I could, so I’m tardy in replying now to your March post. The BostonPete.com website went off-line in January, sad to say, and unexpectedly. Seems that the performance rights people and recording labels were hot after the webmaster Pete Kenney (yes, there really was a Boston “Pete”), and other small webcaster. Pete found their compensation fees per play for the music tracks he had on 19 streaming stations, mine included, were exorbitant and he could not continue business with… Read more »