The Colonial screens the ‘BCN doc this Thursday. I thought I’d get in a few lines about my favorite DJ before the presentation. Her name is Maxanne Sartori and she was definitely a pioneer for women on American radio.
She was working for KLOL-FM in Seattle, and then was spirited away to ‘BCN to do the afternoon two to six time-slot, at twenty years old. This was in 1970. She immediately started to shake up even the on-the-edge, lunatic-fringe denizens of that Boston institution. She wanted to rock, and she did. She’d turn the sound in the studio up to eleven, and let the paint chips on the ceiling fall where they may.
Her voice was smooth and sexy and with a slight sarcastic edge swirling around the background. She was incredibly magical and charismatic. There was no denying her fierce intelligence and her passion for dynamic, slightly dangerous modern music.
Maxanne pretty much broke the Cars and Aerosmith, (where the band gave her a thank you name-check on the back of their first album-cover.) She also championed early punk Beantown personalities and bands: Willie ‘Loco’ Alexander, the Nervous Eaters and Ready Teddy—where she had a hand in the production of RT’s debut album. She was seen everywhere around Boston—especially at some macrobiotic eateries like Sanae and the Root One, wearing J. Geils t-shirts.
I loved her on-air presence at two o’clock every afternoon, and her great and goofy sense of humor. She was once reading a ski-shop commercial, and said something like: “If you’re a ski buff—you must visit this store. Actually, if you’re a ski buff, put some clothes on! Skiing in the buff can be bad for your health.” (I guess you had to be there.) She’d play Queen and Aerosmith, Rod Stewart and Steely Dan, the Cars and Roxy Music for four hours, and it never seemed enough. One of the great radio-listening experiences of my teens was when she played Brian Eno’s “The Great Pretender”, down to the last electronic cricket chirping menace at the finale. I remember thinking, Is anyone else in America playing this on commercial radio?
Speaking of Roxy Music and Eno, she did an interview with lead singer Bryan Ferry in December ‘75. One of my all-time favorite musical artists and my number one DJ together in the same studio. Total entertainment nirvana! She asked Bryan if he would read a commercial for some stereo store on Newbury Street—and he actually did. She wanted him to play some of his most cherished songs, and so he gave us Jimi Hendrix at Monterrey Pop doing Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” and later, Albert King singing “Born Under a Bad Sign”. Max commented that he was known for suave and elegant music and images, and here he was picking down-and-dirty bluesy lead guitar histrionics.
The next year she had a Giveaway Swap with the listeners. She said, send me a picture of you and I’ll send one back. I mailed in a photo of myself at three years old, hanging off the edge of the couch, laughing with those hard white baby-shoes on. I wrote that I never missed her show, I loved her Bryan Ferry interview and that I found it charming when she made mistakes on air introducing the next song. She sent me back a great picture of herself, writing: “To Brooks. Thanks for listening. Mistakenly Yours, Maxanne.
She left ‘BCN in the Spring of 1977. She went to work for Island Records and later, Elektra-Asylum. Boston radio was never the same after that. Last year she was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall Of Fame.
Thanks Maxanne, for all the great teenage memories.