THE HOUSE TALKS Realtors take condo sales pitch to the (very local) airwaves

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To millions of New York City commuters, 1010 AM means WINS radio,
where they say, "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world."

But the slogan for 1010 AM on a tree-lined block in Brookline, if
they had one, would be more like, "You give us until the traffic signal
at Beacon Street changes, we'll tell you about this condominium for
sale."

The block is on Carlton Street, a popular cut-through used weekday
mornings by Cambridge-bound commuters from the Riverway and points
south. Traffic often backs up through the intersection with Monmouth
Street, and the wait can be a couple of light-cycles long.

That's why it's a perfect spot for a talking house. Realtors Ted
Duncan and Sylvia Contin of Re/Max Select in Allston have installed a
low-power radio transmitter there at 41 Carlton, hoping to entice
radio-equipped passersby with the virtues of Bud Thornton's condo.

"It's really simple," said Duncan. "Plug the box into the house and
run the antenna out the window. Sometimes [when you install it], you
can hear the ad running on the car radios before you can close the
window."

The box is about the size of a VCR and uses the same technology that
puts Boston's big stations on the air, although it is more similar to
the extremely local signals used to give highway traffic alerts or
parking information at airports. Even then, the signal is much weaker,
casting only about 300 feet. It can be set to any AM frequency; Duncan
said he chose 1010 because he figured it was an easy number for people
to dial into.

The only frequencies not available to him were those already in use.
"If I were to put it on, say, 680, it would get drowned out by WRKO,"
he said.

Duncan expresses great enthusiasm for the product, sold by a
Wisconsin company, saying it generally increases calls on a listing by
30 percent. The property - 1,725 square feet on two levels, with two
bedrooms, three fireplaces, and deeded parking - has been on the market
about five weeks. It is offered at $659,000.

Owner Bud Thornton, a proprietor of Thorton's Fenway Grill nearby,
said that even though no one he knows has picked up on his status as
Boston's newest broadcaster, he thinks the device is a good tool that
he's glad to have working for him.

"A lot of times you might see an ad, or a place in the area you want
to be in, but not know much about it. This way, you can find out a lot
about a property already, on the radio, and decide one way or the
other."