Tuesday, February 04, 2003

All the stories in the media about the famous blizzard which paralyzed the area 25 years ago bring to mind a rather humorous episode which occurred at the now-derfunct Boston Herald Traveler newspapers during another major snowstorm in the 1960's. While not as big as the '78 blizzard, this one shut down the city for a day as huge drifts brought vehicular traffic to a standstill.

The Herald Traveler was in an intense struggle with the Globe for circulation and, like the Globe, doing everything it could to add to its numbers. Both papers, like Hearst's Record-American, published afternoon editions to go with their morning editions. At the height of the big storm when little traffic was moving in the metropolitan Boston area, Asst. Publisher George Akerson had what he thought was a great idea for selling more Travelers that afternoon. He thought the Herald Traveler should go on its WHDH-AM radio station with repeated announcements that listeners who wanted the Traveler could get one merely by putting on their front porch lights.

Ben Moltman, the H-T's circulation manager who couldn't get a truck out of the Harrison Avenue garage, asked Akerson how we (I was managing editor of the Herald at the time) were going to get the Travelers to these people. An embarrassed Akerson retreated from Moltman's office.

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