The year was 1968 - 50 years ago. A gallon of gas was 34 cents. A gallon of milk was $1.06, a stamp was a nickel.
Also, on April 15, Ray Hershel was settling in for his first day at WHYN Radio.
Ray had graduated from Emerson College in 1967. That’s where he began to develop his broadcasting skills by working at WERS, the college’s radio and TV station.
His first job in the real world of broadcasting started on April 15, 1968 - a Monday - on WHYN Radio. Back then were Channel 40, WHYN 560 AM and 93.1 FM.
The realities of the job set in with tragedies that would unfold both before and after Ray’s first day.
The nation was still reeling from the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr in Memphis 11 days earlier, on April 4.
Fifteen days before Ray started, President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek re-election after a disappointing finish in the New Hampshire primary.
That set the stage for Robert F. Kennedy’s entry into the presidential race.
In less than two months, western Massachusetts and the nation were dealing with yet another tragedy. On June 5, Robert Kennedy was shot after his victory in the California primary. He died a day later.
The turmoil continued in late August at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It was marked by anti-war demonstrations and the use of force by the Chicago police department to break up those protests.
Hubert Humphrey won his party’s nomination only to lose in November to Richard Nixon.
In fact, later that year, the President-elect came to Northampton to visit his daughter, Julie, and her husband, David Eisenhower. They lived in an apartment on State Street while she attended Smith College and he attended Amherst College.
Protests against the Vietnam War raged on here at home and across the country..an unpopular war that was growing more unpopular, as young Americans continued to die. And locally, the Defense Department decided to close the Springfield Armory, a huge blow to the local economy.
All events reported by Ray Hershel in his first year at 13 hundred Liberty Street.
A side note, Ray wasn't the only now broadcasting legend to make his debut in 1968. The first episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood aired on PBS.
Tuesday night, we sit down with Ray to look back on one story that really was a defining moment in his broadcasting career.
You can also look back at Ray's 50 years through pictures and video. CLICK HERE for a complete look at Ray through the years.
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