Back in the day, late 60’s and the early 70’s just across the border in Rosarito Beach, Baja California the big “X” XERB was one of the flamethrower am radio stations of its day. The big “X” was the brainchild of Robert Weston Smith. Bob Smith? So who is Bob Smith? If you don’t recognize the name you just might remember the voice.
It’s the “Wolfman.” He was one of the most successful disk jockeys of his day. You might remember him in the movie “American Graffiti” done by George Lucas in 1973. The Wolfman made a considerable amount of money on the big “X” and most of it came from the late night programs that came to be known as the prayer shawl preachers or PSP’s as I call them.
At one point Wolfman Jack was said to be making over $50,000.00 a month from the revenue generated by these programs. A considerable amount of cash back then which did NOT go unnoticed by the Mexican authorities. Kind of like when Han Solo said to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movie, “ancient weapons and hokey religions are no match for a good blaster at your side kid.” The blaster of the PSP’s made the bucks. I’m not sure how the radio station changed hands but the Wolfman got pushed out and things changed.
Running at 250,000 watts XERB could be heard from border to border. American stations could only broadcast at 50,000 watts of power due to FCC regulations so the big “X” was quite an adventure for am radio.
If we go back further in time the most powerful commercial radio station in the ever in the USA was WLW in the (700KHz AM) in Cincinnati Ohio, which during certain times in the 1930’s broadcast 500,000 watts of radiated power. At night, it covered half the globe. Neighbors within the vicinity of the transmitter heard the audio in their pots, pans and mattresses, literally. I’m providing a link in the show notes for those who may be interested in the history of WLW. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/wlw
Today we have the new and improved border blasters and you’re listening to one of them now. The internet podcast. Just about anyone with a computer and microphone can produce and air podcasts. For that matter you can effectively have your own TV station. It’s called YouTube. All without the need for mass quantities of money.
Bob Dylan sang the lyrics of our day thinking he was just talking about the days in which he lived. That was in 1964. Over fifty years ago. Truly the times are a changing and I would suspect that in another fifty years our todays might seem as foolish to those who look upon us from their enlightened era with mild if not outright amusement.
Some things don’t change and for good reason. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is one of those things that doesn’t change. The way we show our discipleship does and should change to adapt to the environment and culture in which we live. What may be welcomed in Mormon Central aka Salt Lake City Utah may not be well received in another part of the world but our intent should always be the same. To represent our Lord and Savior and his loving and kindness by using our hands as His hands and the tone of our voice as He would talk to those in need of His care.
In October of 2006 brother James A. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered this view of discipleship.
Our responsibility is clear for those who have received the testimony of Jesus Christ. To become His disciples.
In doing so I try hard not to denigrate another’s testimony or their faith tradition. In the opening of this podcast I referred to the “prayer shawl preachers” in a manner that some may see or in this case hear as unacceptable . Truth is often in the ear of the beholder because our intent is interpreted by the distance from our heads to our hearts and that takes time. Oh, I know what you think I meant but I’m not sure what you heard is what was in my heart.