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Shrinking Giant 

At this time of civic iconoclasm, monuments can depart at stunning rates of speed. Maybe that's why so little heed was paid to the whimpering departure of one-time AM radio giant WSMB this month.

WSMB dates its New Orleans presence to 1925, when its co-founders were the Saenger and Maison Blanche, hence its call letters. It was located at 1350 on the dial, and for much of its life, its studios were located in the Maison Blanche building (now the Ritz-Carlton) on Canal Street.

The station reached a success peak in the 1960s and '70s, when it pioneered the talk-radio format. On-air personalities from that era incuded names like Larry Reagan and his Rascals, Richard Fahey, Keith Rush, Jerry Valence and Nut & Jeff (aka Roy Roberts and Jeff Hugg).

By the 1990s, it had become a member of the Entercom radio syndicate and a sister station of WWL AM 870. In recent years, it tried an all-sports format and the liberal talk network Air America.

Henceforth, the frequency will mostly carry rebroadcasts of WWL radio shows such as Bob DelGiorno and Monica Pierre, The Spud Show with Spud McConnell, The Food Show with Tom Fitzmorris, SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert and Kenny Wilkerson, and The Think Tank with Garland Robinette. It will carry the name WWWL.

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards once told Keith Rush on air that the station's call letters stood for "We Shoot More Bull." The bull stops here.


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