Antique finds of the day: 1980 Mal Leary (of MPBN) and an old drug box

While perusing antique stores on Route 1, I stumbled upon a few choice finds in Ogunquit. The first was a wooden box formerly designated to drug storage by a now-retired teacher and the second was a 1980 issue of Down East Magazine, which contained a profile on MPBN‘s Mal Leary.

While I didn’t buy the box, I very much appreciated the story written on the tag tied to it, which expanded upon its lurid history:




The note read:

“Early 20th Century wooden trunk, handmade. This trunk has an interesting history. Originally made for a granddaughter’s dolls. Then handed down to her daughter for her dolls. Then handed down to her daughter who used it in the 1960s — not for dolls but for her drug stash. I purchased it from the drug user who is now a retired teacher.”

While I didn’t buy the retired teacher / drug user’s old box, I did buy a September 1980 issue of Down East Magazine. It features a short profile on MPBN’s Mal Leary (left) and the late radio commentator Frank Gibbs (right) and highlights their then brand new venture, Maine Information Radio Network, “Maine’s first home-grown radio news network.”


Some highlights from the piece:

Recently installed in new offices in a remodeled house on Pike Street in the capital, the fledgling network broadcasts a 5 1/2 minute newscast thirteen times a day to thirty-four AM and FM stations scattered the length and breadth of Maine.


With a team of nine reporters, MIRN claims the largest radio news staff in the state and provides its client stations with a breadth of coverage that no single station could possibly afford, according to the two partners.


Mal Leary grew up in Veazie and cut his teeth on news broadcasting in Bangor while still in high school. From there he went on to a number of broadcast jobs before founding his own Augusta-based radio news service in 1976.


“The goal of our network is to provide information and stimulation,” says Leary who serves as the managing editor of the news staff. “On slow news days, we can always count on  Frank Gibbs to stir things up a bit.”

All in all a nice bunch of finds.

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.