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UPDATE:
In late 2013, there were news reports regarding the arrest of Dave Herman in St. Croix by officials of Homeland Security in connection with charges relating to allegedly luring an underage girl to St. Croix for sexual purposes. This was, to say the least, shocking and disturbing. After being extradicted to New Jersey to stand trial, Dave died while in federal custody in May 2014, at the age of 78. (You can find further details of the case online).

I find it necessary to stress that the current Marconi Experiment podcast is an attempt to recapture the adventurous spirit of the original.I had no contact with Dave Herman for well over 25 years at the time of his death, and he was (as far as I know) unaware of this podcast and site. It's always painful when your heroes let you down. History is history, and what follows is just that -- past history. Dave Herman did not live to see his day in court, so a full determination of the facts of the case and his guilt or innocence will never be known.

David W.


Where The Name
The Marconi Experiment

Comes From

Dave Herman is one of my great radio heros and mentors. Those of you who may have lived in the NY area probably remember him mostly from his tenure as the "morning man" on WNEW-FM during most of its 33-year history as one of the first of the progressive, free-form, underground stations — and one of those that transitioned into "Album-Oriented Rock" (before finally self-destructing a few years ago). Dave coined "The Marconi Experiment" as the name for his late-night show on WMMR in Philadelphia, beginning somewhere around 1967-68.

Prior to 1967, companies that owned both an AM and FM station in major markets (over 100,000 population) were permitted to simulcast. That is, they aired the same programming on both AM and FM. In 1967, the FCC instituted the "50/50" rule, mandating that those stations air separate programming at least 50% of the time. (This was when the FCC still regulated radio, unlike now, where they seem more concerned with Howard's mouth and Janet's breast than and real control over the "airwaves that belong to the people."
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Stations in major markets started to experiment with their FM stations, which weren't really making any money anyway. One of the major groups (meaning owning the maximum 7 AM, 7 FM, 7 TV stations), Metromedia, began to convert most of the FM stations to "progressive" or "underground" rock formats. They were not the first, but they were nearly always the second in each market. And so Dave Herman left WHTG in Asbury Park, NJ (a station where I would work much later!) for Philadelphia, giving birth to The Marconi Experiment.

One of the things that Dave mentioned to me was, because of the late hour (10pm-2am), people would tell him they were climbing into bed, putting on headphones, and falling asleep listing to him. As Dave put, "Scared the shit out of me! I realized that everything I was saying was going right into their sub-conscious, unfiltered." One of the many things I learned from Dave (most of them by listening to him to do radio over the years; some by talking during the times we've worked together in various settings) was to think about what you're doing and what influence it might be having on those listening to you. I try to always keep that in mind.

I've lost touch with Dave, so I hope he won't mind my borrowing the name for this show. So thanks, Dave, for everything and I hope you're doing well somewhere in NYC.barbar




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