Before deregulation, even small towns often had spirited radio competition, noted Walt Frank recently in the Altoona Mirror.

In a feature story for the Sunday paper, Frank looked back at the wild and wooly 1960s and ’70s days of that city’s WFBG and WVAM.

“It was a hate relationship,” remembered Dick Richards, former WFBG disc jockey. “They didn’t like us, and we didn’t like them. We were the top dog, and that stuck in their craw.”

Former competitors WFBG and WVAM are now both part of Forever Broadcasting’s Central Pennsylvania cluster.

Longtime local radio station owner Cary Simpson says the rivalry between Altoona broadcasters “was extremely flamboyant,” but not “cutthroat.”

“You want to win but you don’t want to kill the other team,” he said.