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KDNA Sold!

KDNA, "free speech radio," the only place in St. Louis where you could hear decent jazz, live local musicians, unreleased tapes of Firesign Theatre, and one of the few, struggling listener-supported-no-commercials stations in the country, has been sold to a commercial business interest. Free radio, for many the only radio, is in perilous straights (sic) in St. Louis.
To put it bluntly, the two legal owners of KDNA's frequency (102.5 FM) have sold the station in order to pay off debts incurred by the station's original good angel, Lorenzo Milam. The sale price? The latest figure mentioned is a cool 1.1 million dollars.
But the money from the sale of the frequency to Cecil Heftel (owner of several "successful" commercial stations) will not be going to KDNA, nor to the dozens of people who have worked at starvation levels to help the station grow. It will be divided between Lorenzo Milam and Jeremy Lansman. The sale was made necessary by a series of events stemming from the beginning of KDNA.
In the beginning, there was an open frequency at 102.5 FM which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was about to allot. As has been the usual practice, hearings were held, and petitions submitted by those who were interested in owning the frequency. The main contenders for 102.5 were a church and Jeremy Lansman. Jeremy spent five years trying to get the frequency and, with a little help from his friends, he finally succeeded. Lorenzo Milam fits into the picture here. At various points in KDNA's youth, as it was on its way to becoming "listener-supported," he donated about $250,000.
Thus, KDNA was begin as a partnership: Jeremy's work and Lorenzo's money. As it grew, Lorenzo faded out of the picture. He criss-crossed the country helping to establish other listener-supported stations, and KDNA came to be run by a substantial number of "volunteers."
Then one stormy night, Lorenzo appeared at the door of KDNA's gaslight square studio-cum-office-cum-living quarters and told the sad tale of economic demise. It seems that he had spent rather recklessly, squandering his entire fortune on various ventures and had in fact, racked up about $400,000 in debts. The station was Lorenzo's only major liquid asset.
A plan was formulated optimistically allowing for the greatest benefit to both Lorenzo and the station staff. It involved the formulation of The Double Helix Corporation, a non-profit corporation which, when the money was raised, would buy out Lorenzo's share of the station and insure local ownership of the station forevermore. Lorenzo would get out of debt and the people of St. Louis would have free access to a radio station. As an incentive, Jeremy offered to donate his half-ownership to Double Helix if the money could be raised to buy out Milam.
However, raising $400,000 turned out to be very difficult. At the same time the station had to continue to run, and the $100 a day just to make ends meet had to keep coming in. By August 16, Double Helix had raised only $20,000 over and above the station's minimal operating expenses.
Lorenzo's creditors were knocking louder. During a recent conference of "free" radio stations in Seattle in mid-August, Jeremy and Lorenze decided to sell the station to the highest bidder.
Lorenzo's share will in part go to paying off his debts. The rest he intends apparently for developing listener-supported stations in other cities; he is disenchanted with St. Louis.
Lansman says that he intends to invest his half of the proceeds in a national non-profit foundation, as yet unformed, with the intention of building , as quickly as possible, listener-supported stations across the country. He and Milam have what they refer to as "the national perspective."
There is something to be said for this "national perspective." There are not an unlimited number of radio frequencies left in the U.S. Every so often the FCC opens up one of the remaining frequencies for grabs, and there is usually a frenzied scramble for it. According to Lansman, it is likely that all the available frequencies will be taken within a few years. His intention is to begin as many groups building free radio as possible before the medium falls into the hands of large entrepreneurs.
The lack of new frequencies is a major drawback in KDNA's fight to survive. After the final contract is drawn up (a process involving several months) and the station is sold where will KDNA go? There are no more frequencies in the area. None. At first glance the prospects appear to be bleak.
The staff of KDNA has not stayed alive this long by taking a defeatist attitude, however. They are now pursuing a plan to share airtime with another station which only broadcasts short hours on weekdays. If they are successful they may be able to buy that frequency. At worst, they hope to be able to share the station's air time in exchange for certain services.
In addition, the Federal government has recently changed its regulations to allow the office of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to allot grants to non-profit, locally owned stations like KDNA. The Seattle "free" station has obtained a $20,000 grant, and a Pacifica network station has received some money. If Double Helix can raise some more money, they may be able to get a HEW grant. Lansman says aid will also be available through the national fund he intends to establish.
At any rate, the deal will take several months to close, and the station will be broadcasting all that time. They need donations to stay alive and to build for the future, and they need other kinds of help to pull it off.
So all is not lost. The survival of KDNA is basically a matter of the dedication of local people to maintaining the concept. The staff of KDNA is dedicated. Many are even optimistic about its survival on another frequency.

(Originally published in St. Louis Outlaw 8/25/1972, bylined "D.N.D.")

Municipal Opera on Frequency Modulation

Municipal Opera on Frequency Modulation!!
For the third consecutive year, WEW, the oldest station West of the Mississippi, is presenting “Your Municipal Opera of the Air,” with Louise Munsch as program interviewer and commentator. The station is now proud to add the service of its new Frequency Modulation Station, WEW-FM, Channel 231, 94.1 on your FM dial, and radiating 46,000 watts power.
Attending the show on opening night enables Miss Munsch to familiarize herself with the stars and the production itself. Through a personal visit with the prospective interviewee, she gleans the interesting information about them and their background. 11:30 A.M. on Wednesdays is the perfect time for women and men (if they’re free) to listen to “Just For Women,” as it highlights the stars and the production itself of the Municipal Open-Air Theatre on both AM and FM.
Starting with the chorus of the hit song, then a brief dramatic speech from the show, you are invited to meet intimately – through the medium of radio – the people who entertain and thrill you each week from the tree-encircled stage. In a heart-to-heart chat, Louise Munsch brings out the personality and background of the star, as well as the outstanding portions of the current opera…You are invited to tune in.
(Originally published in Municipal Opera Program 1947)

New Studios For WIL

WIL Artists Enjoy Broadcasting in New, Well-Arranged Studio in Star Building But Miss Applause
To the thousands of listeners-in who, last night and Saturday, heard the two opening programs of station WIL, operated by the St. Louis Star and the Benson Company, the inside story of broadcasting should prove interesting.
While the radio fan is glancing at his clock, as the hands near 10 p.m., all is activity at the studio in The Star Building, a pretty gray room with softened walls and muting draperies. Within it voices sound echoless. There are stenciled decorations on the walls, a new grand piano in the center, overstuffed lounges, and on the wall over the microphone a gilded horseshoe.
Bud Fox, the studio pianist, throws down his cigarette and enters the room, glancing at the red light on the wall with its warning that absolute silence must be maintained.
Billy Knight, the Little Old Professor, flits from studio to reception room, where the evening’s entertainers leave their coats and clear their throats. One of the earlier arrivals asks that the horseshoe, sent by a fair admirer and which hangs on the wall for luck be turned prongs up according to tradition, and Billy fixes that, with many other things.
Operator’s Room
Two stories higher sits “Dink” Garrison, the operator, in a little room reminiscent of the radio operator’s quarters aboard ship. Around him are switchboards, receiving sets, batteries and telephones. A direct line connected him with the studio below, and with a telephone circuit operator stationed at the Arcadia Ballroom, where two orchestras are already playing.
It is ten, lacking a minute. The Professor has finished a telephone conversation with Dink. Bud Fox has smoothed out his long black hair, and Miss Toots Thurman, a good looking girl with auburn hair and a dress the color of burnt ochre, is standing before the microphone, the bronze ear of all those listeners out in the cold distant world.
“Now everybody quiet,” says the Professor. The piano starts, followed a few seconds later by the words of “Roses of Picardy.” Up in the operator’s room, the needles on the dials are swinging, measuring the voice modulations, and sending them on their far flung circuit.
Performers “Doll Up”
In the studio, the most striking thing is the interest of the performers in their appearance. No shirt sleeves here, but pearl necklaces, satin slippers, careful marcels. Each singer has his or her set habit. One digs the heel of her shoe into the thick carpet, another fingers his watch fob, while Bonita Frede, a child blues singer, is assured by her mother that it will be quite all right for her to bend her knee in time to the music and roll her eyes, too, if she wants to.
The microphone provides something to sing to, as it stands unemotionally on its glass stand, but there is nothing in particular to look at and the glance of the singers roves over the wall before them.
But even before the program began, the two telephones in the reception room started to ring, to continue during the whole evening. Some called to say “It’s coming in fine,” and turned away from the phone so that the voice of their loud speaker returned over the telephone wire to the place whence it started on the ether. There were telegrams, too, and requests for favorite numbers.
The majority called to comment on the remarkable clarity with which station WIL is heard on receiving sets. This clarity, according to WIL fans, is in marked contrast to the indistinct reception of some other stations on which they have been accustomed to tune in.
One thing is lacking, though, when midnight comes and signing off time. Half the fun in good singing or acting is the applause. All radio singers get is the silent approbation of the half a dozen persons in the studio, who smile and clap in pantomime at an extra good note.
(Originally published in the St. Louis Star Feb. 3, 1925.)

Ed Bonner

Down Missouri way, there’s a fellow who’s certainly in the spotlight to stay, as far as record spinning is concerned. He’s Ed Bonner, top-rated music personality in the KXOK, St. Louis, Mo., broadcast area. Born in Roxbury, Mass., Bonner migrated to California, where he began to mold a career that was to include a fling at being a city fireman, a stint in the U. S. Navy and a season or two of professional baseball with the Idaho Russets. In his spare moments, Eddie attended radio school, haunted the West Coast stations and came up with a working knowledge of “this thing called radio.” Heading back East the hard way, Eddie went to work as a staffer with stations WVNJ and WNJR at Newark, New Jersey.
Eddie’s appealing and earthy approach to the disc jockey business brought him an offer from radio station KXOK, St. Louis, Missouri. On April 30, 1951, he moved into the Midwest market with a record show that was to blossom into the top afternoon radio attraction of the Midwest. The Ed Bonner Show is heard over KXOK, Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with a special Saturday stanza from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
In addition to his air shows, Ed has worked like a real trooper, appearing at benefits, coronations, football games and charity drives all over the KXOK area. These appearances have endeared him to the hearts of thousands of young people who have since grown up and become an important part of their communities. Unlike the average disc jockey show, the Ed Bonner Show has a definite adult appeal, because Ed plays a lot of music with a minimum of chatter. Current surveys proved that, aside from being the top man in the area, his fast-moving shows have a lion’s share of the adult audience.
This past season, Ed replaced vacationing Martin Block during the week of July 15. He also participated in two music movies: one called “Jamboree,” which was filmed in New York, and the other titled “Once Upon A Horse,” which was filmed in Hollywood. When his radio show and public permit, Ed Bonner spends what spare moments are allotted him with his lovely wife, Jean, and their two youngsters, Debbie and Rick, at their home on 145 Horseshoe Drive in Kirkwood, Mo.
So, gang, whenever you have the opportunity, be sure to tune in to the terrific “St. Louis Spotlight Spinner”---Ed Bonner.
(Originally published in Hit Parader 12/1958).

KFUO In 1932

Among the various mission activities of the Lutheran Church, Radio Station KFUO has a prominent place. KFUO broadcasts the precious gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing the glad tidings of salvation to places inaccessible to our missionaries, to people not affiliated with any church, to persons not familiar with the doctrines and principles of our church, as well as to the members of our own congregations, especially to those who cannot attend church on account of external circumstances, such as sickness, lack of means of transportation, and bad roads.
A few remarks concerning the history of Station KFUO, its work and success, will be of interest to everyone. On February 19th, 1922, under the guidance of Dr. R. Kretzschmar, enthusiastically supported by Dr. W.A. Maier, the first definite move towards the purchase, installation and maintenance of a radio station got under way. Space will not permit to give a detailed account of the various meetings, of the labor of the committees, of the installation of the initial radio apparatus, and subsequent larger development of the station, of the zeal and love of those interested and associated with the problem of bringing KFUO into existence. Among those who took an active part in the founding and development of KFUO, we must mention the Walther League, the Lutheran Layman’s League and the St. Louis Publicity Organization. The latter two still support KFUO with an annual subsidy.
In the course of years, thousands of individuals and many Lutheran congregations, organizations, and societies have contributed toward the maintenance of KFUO, the great missionary of the air.
Formal dedication of Station KFUO occurred on Sunday, December 24th, 1924, at the old Concordia Seminary on South Jefferson Avenue. With the completion of the new Seminary, west of Forest Park, a new and larger plant was erected and dedicated to the service of the Triune God on May 29th, 1927. Since that time the equipment of Station KFUO has been kept up to date and all of the apparatus required by the Federal Radio Commission has been installed from time to time, thus assuring the listeners 100 percent efficiency in the transmission of our programs.
When KFUO began to broadcast, only two programs per week came over the air. Later, however, more programs were added. At the present time KFUO may be heard several times a day. Most of the broadcasting is done in the English language. Programs in German, Slovak, Polish, Norwegian and Spanish language are also given. This is done in compliance with the great commission which Christ gave to the Church, “To Preach the Gospel to Every Creature.”
KFUO is heard in homes, in barber shops, at filling stations and garages, also on the highways by persons who have radios installed in their automobiles. Its broadcasts come to the shut-ins, to the bedside of the sick, to the mansions of the rich, and to the humble living room of the poor. It is heard early in the morning and at midnight. Those who tune in on KFUO may begin their daily task with the morning devotion, and close it with the midnight meditation on certain evenings of the week. Truly its work is to bring the Word of God into the lives of the people. Through the broadcasts of KFUO, the world is daily informed about the way to salvation. Every day of the week our Station answers the question of perplexed and troubled sinners who ask, “What must I do to be saved?” What then is the work of KFUO? We reply, to proclaim the Word of God in truth and purity, to lead sinners to repentance, to direct their hearts and minds in true faith to the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
Frequently listeners ask: How do you maintain your Station? Do you not broadcast any commercial programs? The answer is, no business man or commercial firm could buy one minute of our time for advertising purposes. Our Station is altogether dependent on the free-will gifts from Lutheran organizations and congregations, and from the vast host of listeners-in. God blesses our work through the willing hearts and hands of people.
For religious, educational, cultural and up-lifting programs – tune in on Station KFUO.
(Originally published in RAE Annual Radio Personality Book 1933.)

KSD's First Eleven Years

It is eight o’clock p.m. on the evening of March 9th, 1922. In a room in the Post-Dispatch Building, a group of artists are patiently waiting. In another room close by, the engineer is making final adjustments to the 20-watt Composite Transmitter. With the adjustments completed, the ready signal is given!
A newspaper woman steps up to the microphone--- (V.A.L. Jones - pictured)
The Woman - V.A.L. Jones“This is Station KSD, the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. We are about to present our first musical program for your enjoyment.”
Out in the city a mere handful of listeners sat with their headphones clamped to their ears, nervously adjusting the cat whisker of their crystal sets for a more sensitive spot on the crystal – such was the atmosphere of the time when KSD was launched upon its career. The listener response to KSD programs was instantaneous and gratifying.
On March 21st, 1922, Station KSD inaugurated a regular schedule of Market and News broadcasts in addition to its entertainment service.
It soon became apparent to the Officials of the Post-Dispatch that Radio presented an opportunity for the newspaper, through its Radio Station, to give its readers an additional public service, such as was presented by no other local newspaper. To accomplish this, plans were made for the erection of a more powerful radio transmitter, incorporating all the refinements then known to effect good quality transmission of speech and music.
On the evening of June 26th, 1922, with appropriate musical setting, and addresses by the radio editor, Mayor Kiel and F.W.A Vesper, KSD’s Modern 500 Watt Western Electric Transmitter was dedicated. With this new transmitter, KSD soon became a national by-word.
KSD decided early in 1926 to enlarge its schedule of Network programs as it was felt that this type of service offered greater opportunities to secure programs of the highest type.
The popularity of KSD in this territory bears out the fact that the radio audience is not satisfied with any talent but the best.
With a record as a broadcasting pioneer that in many respects is outstanding in the Middle West KSD recently commenced its twelfth year, having presented over 26,000 hours of programs since its inception.
The record of KSD during the past eleven years in broadcasting virtually every event that has interested the entire country, is truly an enviable one.
(Originally published in the Radio and Entertainment Annual Personality Book, 1933)

KMOX Studios Were Once In A Brewery

It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when KMOX was forced to relocate in temporary studios after the station’s landlord, the Federal government, forced them out of their large, well-appointed quarters.
In 1956, Mart Building owner the U.S. Government, told KMOX management that they had to vacate because the U.S. Army Support Center needed more space. CBS owned KMOX, and what happened next (which is reconstructed here from memoranda) was based in part on the plans CBS had to acquire a television station in St. Louis. KMOX found a vacant building at 9th and Sidney in Soulard, just south of downtown St. Louis that had originally been built in 1904 as the Anthony & Kuhn's Brewery. A floor plan was sketched out by engineer Harry Harvey that had KMOX radio and television working side-by-side. The move was made in March of 1957.
Ollie Raymand was a popular KMOX radio personality from 1950 - 1960. As he remembers it, everyone on the staff knew the Soulard location was temporary, but that was never mentioned in press releases. The old brewery was owned by Bank Building Company, and Raymand says CBS became a tenant in Soulard until design and construction of brand new studios could be completed. Bank Building was a shared tenant at Soulard. That company's woodworking shop, with its noisy power equipment, wasn't exactly the kind of neighbor a radio station would want.
The network's plans to acquire the Channel 11 frequency in St. Louis fell through and they ended up buying KWK-TV, which already had its own studio. This meant CBS wouldn’t need a building to house radio and television here, and they began planning and construction of a new building with about 15,000 square feet on Hampton Avenue. Until that was finished, KMOX remained in the old, cavernous brick building in Soulard. "The building was 'Scrubby Dutch' brick," says Raymand. "The entrance opened into what would have been the basement level. Then you’d walk up a few steps to the studios and offices. We had a fairly large studio - one that would accommodate the 26-piece studio orchestra that would do feeds to the network."
Engineer Clarence Nieder says that big studio "was kind of sunken," and orchestra members were select members of the St. Louis Symphony. Chorus members came from the Municipal Opera, and the lavish musical productions were summer staples heard nationwide on CBS. There was also a large parking lot, which meant staffers no longer had to pay to park, as they had downtown. Nieder says employees entered the building from the rear. There was no staff lounge as there had been in the Mart Building, but Ollie Raymand says the bar just up the street sold shots of red-eye for a quarter. That, combined with the strong scent of hops from the Anheuser-Busch complex a couple blocks south helped make the two years in Soulard memorable for KMOX staffers.
There were still turntable operators at KMOX in the late ‘50s, but tape cartridges for pre-recorded commercials hadn’t surfaced yet, so all pre-recorded commercials were on discs, keeping those turntable guys very busy. Nieder says there were only two turntables in the master control room.
Station manager Robert Hyland had negotiated the play-by-play broadcast rights for the Cardinals, whose games usually pre-empted the afternoon soap operas. The soaps were transcribed on large discs by engineers and played back at night. Almost all of the office furnishings and technical equipment in the Soulard studios had been moved from the Mart Building and should have been replaced.
Even though the new Hampton Avenue facility was significantly smaller than their previous digs, the KMOX employees were said to be extremely happy to leave Soulard after two years and move to a place where everything, including the equipment and furnishings, was brand new.
(Reprinted with permission of the St.Louis Journalism Review. Originally published 02/04. )

KMOX Radio Log 1928

KMOX, The Voice of St. Louis, Inc.
Members of: Columbia Broadcasting System and National Association of Broadcasters

One of the recognized leading broadcasting stations in the United States from the standpoint of power, programs, dependability, coverage and established good will, broadcast for the first time on Christmas Eve, 1925, and represents the vision and the cooperative effort of an imposing group of civic and industrial interests in the Middle west.
In order that transmission of the Voice of St. Louis might approach the maximum of efficiency without, however, effecting a monopoly of the air, in this vicinity, the giant 5,000 watt station is situated 14 miles from the heart of St. Louis.
The broadcasting is accomplished through remote control through studios located in the heart of the downtown district.
KMOX attracts letters in just about any number, letters reflecting a degree of loyalty and gratitude which is constantly a surprise to our unit holders.
The Station itself averages well over one thousand pieces of unsolicited mail per week, with a distribution as follows:
Central States  50%
Metropolitan Area 28%
East Coast  10%
Southern States  6%
West Coast   3%
Canadian Prov.  2%
Rocky Mt. Reg.  1%
The underwriters of KMOX receive their mail direct, bringing the total station mail up to easily 10,000 per week.
The underwriters of the Voice of St. Louis, fortunately, realized from the inception of the station, that their returns from radio would be dependent upon what they put into it. In usefulness, in friendliness, and in sincerity.
This attitude has resulted in a consistent policy of giving to the public the type of entertainment when, where and how they want it, carrying the best of music to thousands in cities, as well as in remote communities and creating real personality so that thousands feel that they know us intimately.
KMOX, because of station popularity and public service, has use of a clear wave channel, meaning more thorough coverage for the advertiser, as the only other stations using the same frequency at any time are of limited range and are located close to the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards.
The Voice of St. Louis claims a circulation and territory served of within 150 miles of St. Louis, in which area there are –
1,000,000 homes
4,818,654 people
1,180,000 radio listeners
381,810 telephones
738,400 passenger automobiles
$22,257,500,000.00 purchasing power
KMOX, “The Voice of St. Louis,” is underwritten as a Civic Enterprise by the following St. Louis business houses: Funston-Fouke Fur Company; St. Louis Globe-Democrat; Hamilton-Brown Shoe Company; International Heating Company; Kilgen Organ Company; Mayfair Hotel; St. Louis Merchants Exchange; Pevely Dairy Company; Pierce Petroleum Corporation; St. Louis Radio Trades Association; Skouras Bros. Enterprises; St. Louis Southwestern Railway; Stark Brothers Nurseries and Orchards, Co.; F.C. Taylor Fur Company; Wagner Electric Corporation.
(Beginning November 11, 1928, KMOX will greet you regularly, without interruption in its service, about five points lower on your dial. The new order by the Federal Radio Commission assigns 1090 kilocycles, or 275.1 meters exclusively to KMOX, with the same 5000 watts power.)

KMOX Rewarded Its Initial Investors

When a group of local businessmen got together to build St. Louis' "superstation" in 1925, their agreement included a chance for some corporate self-promotion.
That superstation went on the air December 24, 1925 with the call letters KMOX, but this wasn't the set of call letters the organizers had wanted. Their group was called "The Voice of St. Louis, Incorporated," so they sought KVSL. This request was turned down by the federal government. The group responded with a second request, this for KMO. The government had already assigned those letters to a West Coast maritime station. Finally, on the third attempt, the local group got what they sought, and KMOX was assigned to St. Louis in early December.
This group of men realized the promotional power of radio in that era. There were already several stations operating in St. Louis: KSD, KFUO, WEW, WSBF, WIL, KFQA, WMAY, KFVE and KFWF. Of these, WEW was owned by St. Louis University, KFWF by the St. Louis Truth Center, KFUO by the Lutheran Church, WMAY by the Kingshighway Presbyterian Church and KFQA by The Principia, all of which were non-profit institutions. Although some people felt the use of the public radio waves for advertising was not appropriate, many stations had been doing it since 1922 when WEAF in New York set the precedent.
So the new radio station, KMOX, would have the power to reach large audiences throughout the Midwest during the day and across the nation at night. While the investors were portrayed as civic-minded folks who wanted to put St. Louis on the map with the new station, a second motivation became obvious early in 1926. It was then that the regular program schedule of KMOX was announced.
Beginning January 4, entire program blocks were allocated to the companies that had invested in the Voice of St. Louis. The Merchants Exchange provided live reports throughout the broadcast day, with live coverage of the closing. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat provided news updates from the Associated Press. Brown Shoe Company had a program for children Monday and Friday nights at 7:00, featuring Buster Brown and his dog Tige. This was followed by F.C. Taylor Fur Company's program of "interesting features."
A Globe-Democrat article also told of an afternoon show "of particular interest to women" presented by the C.F. Blanke Tea and Coffee and Candy companies. "There will be short talks on problems peculiar to the housewife and the care of the household. These talks will be interspersed with musical numbers."
Another investing corporation, Stark Brothers Nurseries and Orchards, tried to apply a weekly program revolving around a schoolhouse theme to their business. "The schoolmaster will discuss with his 'class' problems that relate to the planting of fruit trees, the planting of gardens, the care of the lawn and landscaping of yards and estates. Messages from Luther Burbank and other nationally known figures will be incorporated into the work of the 'school.' Many interesting romances of the fruit world will be discussed."
The concept of sponsored hours proved successful. A year later, program listings indicated many of the same shows were still running. The early investors in KMOX really got their money's worth, with their advertising messages broadcast to the masses.
(Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Journalism Review. Originally published 12/00)

A Great Country Music Station

WIL-AM will be remembered for many things. It was the second station on the air in St. Louis (ed. note: Not true), going on the air in 1922. It was the first station west of the Mississippi River to air commercials for businesses. It had the first “man on the street” broadcasts with someone with a microphone outside, talking to people on the sidewalk about events of the day. They were the first station to carry the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball games (ed. note: Not true).And at one time they were the number one rock ‘n’ roll station. WIL-AM also has a rich history in St. Louis country music. In the early days they presented shows by many of the best bands and singers in the area on regular programs. Then came the time that they changed the face of country music in St. Louis.
In early 1968 WIL-AM was broadcasting an all-news format competing with KMOX. Tom Perryman, the manager at the time, convinced the owners to switch to a full-time country music format. He hired the most prominent program director in the nation, Chris Lane of WJJD in Chicago. Chris was also a great DJ, now a member of the Country DJ Hall of Fame. Perryman gave Chris a free rein to assemble the best DJs in the business to staff the station. It was a search that started in January of 1968 and took until June of that year. Chris was quoted as saying, “I took my time finding just the right guys until I felt I had the cream of the crop in DJs to really make an impact on the market!” All the DJs but one were rated number one in their respective markets.
The first was Davie Lee from Dallas, who was also named music director. That meant he was responsible for all the music to be played on the station. For about a year, Davie did the overnight show before moving to the 10 to 2 slot for the next 20 years. Next was Dick Byrd from San Diego, the morning man from 5 – 9 a.m. Chris did the 9 to 11 a.m. slot.
Then there was Dan Daily from Charlotte, N.C., to handle 11 to 3 p.m. Walter Vaughn from Dallas was a late addition to do the 3 to 7 p.m. show. Mike Haines from Knoxville, TN. was chosen to do the 7 p.m. to midnight shift. Today these guys are still close friends and admit it was the most fun they’ve ever had in radio.
WIL-AM immediately became the number one country music station in St. Louis and was named the number one country music station in America in 1969. After leaving WIL to buy into a radio station in San Jose, CA., Chris Lane was replaced by Larry Scott  from WLAC in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame. After him the following men were program directors at WIL: Tom Allen, Walt Turner and Mike Carta. Under their leadership the station continued to prosper.
There came a time that FM radio became more and more popular, and WIL-FM also became a full-time country music station. After some time, the ownership decided to go with only WIL-FM and bought out the AM DJs, changed the call letters to WRTH and became the “middle of the road” format station that it is today. WIL-FM was a huge success and became the number one rated station in St. Louis, which it still is today (ed note: Not true).
Although it no longer is playing country music, the “old” WIL-AM with its dream team line up of DJs with their great visibility in the area, the Shower of Stars at Kiel Auditorium with all the great stars from Nashville, is still fondly remembered as the best thing to have ever happened for country music in St. Louis.
(From Gateway Country Music Association Who’s Who).

KDNA-FM - Listener Supported Radio

If you're tired of hearing the same old thing on the radio, even if it is your favorite tunes, or if you would like to take a breather from commercials, you might want to check out radio station KDNA-FM at 102.5 on the FM dial.
KDNA is a non-commercial, listener supported station that plays just about every kind of music imaginable, mixed with talk about a variety of topics.
On KDNA you will hear country and bluegrass music mixed with Beethoven, the Beatles, jazz and folk singers from foreign countries. Of special interest might be Jeff Cook's Bluegrass Show where you often will catch local groups playing live in the KDNA studios.
KDNA is supported entirely by its listeners, one of only eight stations in the country that operate that way. They are also interested in listeners' ideas for programs. So tune them in, give a listen, and give them a call about what you think. It will certainly be radio like you have never heard before.
(Originally published in C&W Music 7/5/1972).

Ed Wilson Had the Franchise On Folksy

Ed Wilson was big in St. Louis radio for a number of years. And he was very big in person too, tipping 300 pounds at several points in his life.
When he joined KWK radio May 25, 1942, the country was involved in a far-away war. He had been heard previously over one of the NBC networks broadcasting from WLS in Chicago. His friendly, folksy patter kept his listeners in the St. Louis area company as he broadcast from the KWK studios in the Chase Hotel. Spinning records was always an integral part of his radio shows, but Wilson’s signature trait was his ability to talk with his listeners, just as though they were sitting across the kitchen table from him. Under the ownership of the Convey family, KWK had long been a radio staple in the market, providing a variety of entertainment. Wilson’s personal approach was a perfect fit.
And in the pre-rock-and-roll days, his popular music had its share of young listeners, as well as housewives. In 1957, that appeal to youth was instrumental in his being hired as the first host of KSD-TV’s “St. Louis Hop.” His TV career was short-lived, but it was a stepping stone to his next radio gig, KSD, which he joined in August of 1958.
And then something happened. Ed Wilson was bitten by the wandering bug. It’s not known why he came to the conclusion he did, but Wilson decided it was time to make his move in 1960 to head for Hollywood. He and KSD reached an agreement whereby Ed would record his program in California and put the tapes on a plane, assuring St. Louis delivery in time to be aired the following day. It was an arrangement that was bound to fail, and when it did, Ed Wilson’s voice left the St. Louis airwaves.
As Globe-Democrat TV-Radio editor Pete Rahn wrote, “Personally, I’m sorry to hear that the familiar voice of Ed Wilson will no longer be coming into our homes and autos…Like him or not, you must agree that Wilson’s shows were always high class. Pleasant music and chatter. Maybe a bit old hat at times, but always clean.”
Within a couple years the Wilson family was back in St. Louis, the California effort having failed. He joined WIL in 1962, quitting two years later when management changed, making a move to WEW. After six years there he returned to WIL, a job he held until his death from a heart attack in February of 1975.
In his nearly 30 years in St. Louis radio, Ed Wilson wisely cultivated a lucrative side income stream doing voiceover work for commercials. He also tried his hand at early syndication of radio features, but the reality was that Ed was appreciated for what he did in St. Louis radio and never caught on outside of the market.
At one point while at KWK, he received over 16,000 listener letters in one week. His local programs produced direct results for his advertisers, and in the business of radio, that is what really mattered.

Noted Foreign Correspondent Joins KMOX News Staff

Newsman by heritage as well as training and experience is John McCutcheon, author, foreign correspondent, and new KMOX news reporter and analyst. Raleigh is heard on KMOX’s “Headline Highlights” broadcast Monday through Saturday, 7:45-8:00 a.m., and Sunday through Friday at 12 noon. The former is sponsored by the Griffin Manufacturing Company and Bond Clothing Company while the noon commentary is presented in behalf of Planter’s Peanuts and Peter Paul, Inc.
Born in Helena, Montana, Raleigh attended Purdue and Columbia Universities, after which he did free-lance magazine articles, short stories and radio scripts, later joining the foreign staff of several prominent newspapers.
When the war broke out, Raleigh went to the front with the German armies, presenting international broadcasts as well as continuing his newspaper reporting. He made a careful study of the German army, its organization, its guarded military secrets, and its weaknesses. One of the reports he later made regarding this military machine was used as a supplementary textbook in military courses in this country.
Raleigh also delved deep into the home life of the German people, learning their problems, the truth about the food stored away, the graft and cruelty, the deeds of the SS, its creed and code in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and in Germany itself. This intensive study resulted in the keen insight into Germany revealed in his book, “Behind the Nazi Front,” and in such magazine articles as the Saturday Evening Post’s “Your Son Will Not Return! Heil Hitler!” and Readers Digest’s “Eye Witness Brutality.” A similar study of events in the Pacific led to another book about that area, “Pacific Blackout,” when Raleigh later went to that theater of operations.
Raleigh was CBS correspondent in Bavaria, Java, as well as head of the United Press Bureau in the Netherlands East Indies. Early in January, 1942, he was assigned to Darwin, Australia, and as the war progressed, his reports emanated regularly from Sidney, Melbourne, and from General MacArthur’s headquarters, to which he was attached.
Raleigh’s news career has carried him to the exciting, event-packed areas of the world. In Europe, he watched the ebb and flow of the battle for Gydnia, entered Warsaw where he met and talked with Hitler, was one of two American correspondents detained by the Gestapo in Munich the day after the Burger Kraukeller (beer hall) explosion there. In Shanghai, he served as a member of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps when the Japanese were starting their pre-war “bombing incidents,” was in Hongkong and Amoy, China; in Manila; in Tarakan, Borneo; Palembang, Sumatra; Singapore, Surabaya, and countless other centers of news activity.
Raleigh’s postwar career centers around an intense study of world developments, built upon the intimate knowledge he has of countries. He is a man who lives his work and consequently is in great demand as a public speaker. In 1945, he spoke before 23 groups ranging from 25,000 people gathered at Wold Chamberlain Field for Army ATC ceremonies, to Rotary Clubs and school graduation exercises.
(Originally published in KMOX Mike 12/1946)

Former Vocalist, Actor, Announcer, Now Ace KMOX Newsman

One of KMOX’ newest and most versatile personalities is Rex Davis, news reporter and analyst on the regular evening edition of “KMOX World News,” Monday through Saturday, 5:00 – 5:15 p.m., and the late evening commentary, “Rex Davis Views the News,” 10:05 – 10:20 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday versions of the former are sponsored by Studebaker Corp. while the nighttime commentary is presented in behalf of Standard Oil Dealers.
A veteran of fifteen years in radio, 35-year-old Rex Davis began his career as a singer and eventually his vocal talents were heard on the Columbia Network. Prior to his entry into radio in 1931, he had studied at both the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Cincinnati College of Music, occasionally appearing on musical programs over Cincinnati stations.
During one of these engagements a friend suggested that he take up announcing, which he did, starting on Station WCPO where his duties included everything from spinning records, to news shows.
It was during the great flood of 1937 that Rex Davis’ career as a newsman really began. During this emergency, WCPO, because of its good fortune in being on an emergency power loop, was for quite a time the only station in Cincinnati on the air. For two weeks he lived in the editorial rooms of the Cincinnati Post, broadcasting flood bulletins of every nature. This work won for him a position on the news staff of WCKY, where he remained from January, 1937, until joining KMOX in February, 1946. During his stay at WCKY, he was Chief Announcer and Program Director for two years – and News Editor for the remaining six. For eight straight years, in addition to other news shows, Rex Davis broadcast a daily quarter-hour news program at 8 a.m.
(Originally published in KMOX Mike 3/1946).

Blandwagon Artist True Showman

One of radio's busiest and most successful entertainers is Al Bland, veteran KMOX comedian, dialectician, philosopher and creator of the highly amusing "Blandwagon." Patterned after the highly successful show of the same name which Bland created and broadcast for seven years in Cincinnati, The Blandwagon is heard each afternoon, Monday through Saturday at 3:45 p.m. over KMOX.
This daily quarter-hour program of recorded hit songs of the day is interspersed with the homey wit and philosophy of Al Bland and the fun-provoking figment of his own imagination, "Mose," the mythical studio janitor.

That it's entertaining to a large and loyal audience is evidenced by Al's daily mail which has been one of the largest ever pulled by a KMOX artist.That the show provides an ideal vehicle for several sponsor's products was shown when it became virtually "sold out" one month after going on the air. Those which have participated on The Bandwagon include Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Co. for Supersuds, Colgate Dental Cream, and Colgate Liquid Hand Cream, Rit Products Co., Standard Brands, and United Fruit Co.
A versatile emcee, comedian, actor and accomplished dialectician, Al Bland is a veteran of 18 years in radio, the last three spent on station KMOX. Formerly he appeared on Stations WCMI, WPAY, WKRC, WMAL and WCKY, where he was program director for more than two years. Since joining KMOX, he has been featured on such programs as "The Old-Fashioned Barn Dance," "Al Bland and the Ranchers," and "Open House" (formerly "Breakfast at the Park Plaza"). Prior to the creation of "The Blandwagon," he broadcast the popular "KMOX Victory Panel," a popular late night-time feature.
(Originally published in KMOX Mike 1/1946).


KMOX Feeds CBS Western Network

Beginning Thursday, February 1, [1934] KMOX began feeding the western portions of CBS sustaining network four hours weekly of all-star programs from Monday to Saturday between 5:15 and 7:30 p.m. These features will include some of the best programs at the station and will go to the West and Southwest network.
Some of the new programs to be heard during these hours will be "And the Crown Roared," a sport feature with France Laux at the helm; Russell Brown with the Harmonettes - a girl trio; Eddie Dunstedter and his band; "Songs at Eventide" with Pearl Boyer; "The Three of Us" and orchestra; Tom Baker, Tenor; and Diane Craddock with her orchestra.
Most of these programs will not be heard through KMOX because of commercial broadcasts at the time they are scheduled, but they will go to CBS outlets in Colorado, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and South Dakota, with the list varying from week to week.
(From KMOX, the Voice of St. Louis newsletter, 2/13/1934).

Mr. Benson's Station Or the Star's?

It was a Saturday night, January 31, 1925. Radio, though becoming more common, was still in its infancy. In St. Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch owned a station. So did St. Louis University, Stix, Baer & Fuller and Concordia Seminary. It was only natural that another newspaper might want to generate some publicity.
So the St. Louis Star reached an agreement with the owners of WIL, Benson Broadcasting. While no details of the agreement have been found, copies of the Star from that time refer to WIL as "The St. Louis Star Station." Its center of operations was the Star Building at 12th and Olive. The call letters had just been changed from the original WEB, and the Bensons used their relationship with the Star to gain a lot of promotional print.
Two days before the big event of January 31, the Star's front page carried the headline "Tune In on The Star, WIL, Saturday Night." A huge photo spread the next day trumpeted, "Here Are the Entertainers on the First Regular Program to Be Broadcast By WIL, The St. Louis Star." Those pictured included announcer Billy Knight "The Little Ole Professor," guitar duo Wolgast and Girlie, The Arcadia Peacock Orchestra, Okeh recording artists the Arcadian Serenaders, Johnny Maher "The Smiling Songster," monologist Chester Gruber, and four men who called their group The Missouri Belle Quartette. The show was broadcast at 10 p.m., and the station flexed its technical muscles by taking listeners to the city's Arcadia Ballroom for the performances of the Peacock Orchestra and Arcadian Serenaders.
The newspaper did its best to promote all aspects of the broadcast, even running an article the day before titled "Latest Equipment Used in WIL, The Star's New Station." The accompanying article said "…observers of the skyline looking eastward from the great traffic thoroughfare at 14th and Locust Streets Wednesday received a distinct shock on observing that a huge antenna had risen from a lofty mast upon the roof of the Star Building, 300 feet in the air."
The station's studio and office were on the eighth floor of the building. "The walls and ceiling of the studio are lined with acousticelotex to shield the microphone from harmful vibration and improve the tonal qualities of the chamber. This feature is further enhanced by a heavy felt under the carpet, on top of additional layers of Celotex."
There was no Sunday edition of the newspaper, so the reporters had a full day to come up with the follow-up story to the event: "Radio Fans in 16 States Laud Concert by WIL." There were three sub-heads: "First Formal Program Broadcast by the Star Saturday Night Was Enjoyed in All Parts of the Country." "Clarity of Tone Makes Favorable Impression." "Quality of Offerings Also Pleases, According to Hundreds of Messages Received." The article described a flood of "hundreds of telegrams" from states as far away as New Jersey, Louisiana and Wyoming.
It wasn't easy listening to radio in early 1925, as evidenced in the article's final paragraph, which attested to the sporadic nature of broadcasts: "Tomorrow evening the station will be silent, but on Wednesday night another attractive program will be given. Thursday night is also a silent night."
(Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Journalism Review. Originally published 7/1999)

Radio Park Cast Its Spell on Employees Too

In early July 1961, I approached 1600 North Kingshighway in St. Louis. After my nine year career in modest radio facilities crammed into small buildings or tucked away in corners of high rises and hotels, I was greeted by a massive all-weather sign announcing the famous call-letters, KXOK. Each big green letter, more than five feet tall and a foot thick, was mounted on a heavy, imposing, twelve-foot frame that appeared to have permanently grown from the block-long grounds known as Radio Park. I drove part way around the circular driveway through stately old oaks and elms, passed by the curved station entrance and parked in front of an old home that was attached to the modern offices and studios. The black asphalt driveway was well-kept and freshly topped.
As I walked up three steps of the expansive front portal and into the lobby, I sensed that I had entered a famous place, a station with a rich history, a station that had hosted many famous people, well-known newscasters, and fabled sports teams. KXOK, 630 on the AM dial, had cast a long and celebrated shadow in radio history. Now, I was taking over the programming for the new owner, Todd Storz, with the intention of making the station the dominant Top 40 operation in the Midwest.
The lobby, about thirty-five feet long and fifteen feet wide, proffered sofas and chairs, unobtrusive doors to men's and women's rooms for the comfort of newly arriving visitors, and a large rectangular receptionist station featuring a tall black telephone switchboard left over from the 1940s. A tangle of cords patched the outsiders to the insiders, and the switchboard operator took one call after another as I waited for a break. A few moments later, a small young woman with short dark hair asked, "May I help you?" I gave her my name and announced that I was there to meet the general manager. The young receptionist nodded and patched a black cord into the switchboard and passed along the information through the mouthpiece on her old-fashioned headset.
I took a seat and looked around. The lobby could have used a little touch up, a few new tiles, and new sofa and chairs... but it all felt right; Comfortable, lived in. A stairway by the front door led up to a second floor, which would eventually become an office suite for me and my programming staff. Next, I noticed the door on the far wall behind the receptionist desk. I surmised that it led into the old house, and I wondered what the old house held inside. The old house was nothing more than a museum of all discarded equipment, furniture, recordings, and files, no longer needed or  wanted in day-to-day operations.
A few minutes passed and a smiling, gray-haired gentleman with a well-smoked pipe clinched between his teeth, broke my thoughts as he approached with hand outstretched. "Welcome, Bud Connell. Welcome to Radio Park!" Chet Thomas certainly knew hospitality and I immediately felt at home.
After introducing me to the receptionist, he took me on a tour and pointed out every nuance of the famous old station while peppering the conversation with names of famous people who had graced the studios and halls. I learned that KXOK was the Midwest switcher station for one of the major networks in the 1930s and 40s. The obvious fact loomed that the station once held many more station employees than it presently had. A cavernous hallway echoed our footsteps as we passed by a row of abandoned desks with empty offices along one side. I asked, "How many people worked here when KXOK was a network affiliate", and Chet Thomas answered proudly, "A hundred and ten."
Exiting the hallway, we entered an enormous room that would have easily held thirty desks. There were only four desks, three occupied----the controller, the traffic manager, and the traffic manager's assistant. The controller and traffic manager worked with pencil and paper. The only typewriter was hard at work as the assistant typed the next day's programming log. The sales promotion manager occupied a small office in the corner and a stairway led up to the general manager's office three-room office suite and conference room.
The next room on the right, about 20 by 20, initially functioned as the newsroom; however, I had the news department moved closer to the front of the station, and we turned the old newsroom into a break room with coffee and drink machines, and places to sit.
After the break room, we entered another massive room after a slope step down. This became the DJ's lounge, a place filled with desks, files, and personal items belonging to the entertainment staff. During the Cold War, this windowless room became the Fall Out Shelter, and the flat roof was more than three feet of sand and other supposedly radioactivity absorbing materials.
Off the break room and next to the DJ Lounge, we exited to the Don Carlos Patio, complete with a fountain and sitting areas, a place where station executives could entertain visitors with outdoor cocktail parties and buffet lunches.
Moving back toward the front, we exited the Break Room into a sound lock and then into the main on-air studio, a large rectangular soundproof room of more than 1000 square feet. At one time, this studio held a live audience of one-hundred, although the theatre chairs were long since removed. At this time, the studio accommodated the DJ's desk, the newsman's desk, and the platter turner. The platter turner was the last vestige of the American Federation of Musicians, and the half-dozen or so on the KXOK staff were the last remaining members of the former studio orchestra. In 1961, I negotiated an end to the A F of M contract, and the records (platters) were transferred to self-cuing cartridges and jurisdiction was given to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, our studio engineers.
In front of the big on-air studio was a long glass window, and the studio engineer looked down into the studio as he handled tapes of the music and commercials as called for by the DJ and station programming log. Behind the on-air control room, we walked into the production area, which housed the massive Ampex 300 reel-to-reel machines. To the right, another control room looked down on an even larger studio, formerly known as Studio A, which could accommodate at least a hundred-strong studio audience. A few of the original theater chairs remained along with a black concert grand piano and myriad microphone setups.
Between the production area and the aforementioned cavernous hall, the enormous and famous control board that once connected network affiliated stations all over the USA to their favorite network shows still glowed brightly as the sound of KXOK pumped through it on the way to the station transmitter.
In April 1964, Chet Thomas left us as General Manager and was replaced by Jack Sampson.
This old facility promoted creativity, even prompted it from us as long as we were there. Radio Park was an image, indelible in our minds and hearts, and in our loyal listeners----and it will never again be repeated. Most of all, it will be missed by all of us for the rest of our lives----sadly missed by those of us who were fortunate enough to work there.

KSD - The First Year

By William A. Kelsoe – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
When Mr. Joseph Pulitzer decided last March (1922) to install radio equipment in the building, it became necessary to temporarily use a third-floor room (No. 301B), occupied then by Cartoonist Donald R. Fitzpatrick and myself. Several days were required for preparing the room and installing the wireless apparatus. Finding the disturbance there not conclusive to clear thinking in his line of business, Mr. Fitzpatrick moved out, whereupon Miss [Mabel] Denison moved in. That is how the young lady , then starting her annual [Post-Dispatch] campaign for ice for the poor and milk for babies, came to assist H.S. Trask, KSD’s manager, in booking singers, readers, speakers, pianists, violinists, etc., for our radio concerts  and other entertainments until Miss Virginia A.L. Jones could take charge of the work three weeks later (April 11). KSD’s radio operators for the first two or three weeks, until relieved by W.B. Goodwin of Jefferson City, were Lester A. Benson and William E. Woods, of the Benwood Co., the gentlemen who built our first apparatus.
The first concert broadcast from Room 301-B was given the evening of Tuesday, March 21, 1922, by the St. Louis University Glee Club, and that room continued to be the home of Station KSD up to and including June 20. The next day, June 21, Station KSD had two homes – a suite of rooms on the second floor, front, for concerts and other public entertainments, as also for making public announcements and broadcasting news on special occasions, and a “radio house” on the roof of the building, where one of the most powerful broadcasting outfits in the entire country had been installed with Willis B. Corwin as operator, and which is used several times daily. One of Miss Jones’s assistants in Room 301-B was young Mr. Louis Lacks. The first entertainment under the new arrangement was given Monday evening, June 26, Miss Loretto McBride making her debut in public service with Miss Jones on that occasion.
Not having, like Cartoonist Fitzpatrick, a place to go, I stayed when he moved out, and in consequence I now have some very pleasant recollections of the service rendered in Room 301-B (third floor) by KSD when I was one of the self-appointed assistants of Miss Jones and Mr. Trask. It was here that I first met former Vice President Marshall, Labor Secretary Davis of President Harding’s cabinet, and other national celebrities. The only souvenir of my radio services saved from the waste basket is the original of KSD’s report of the Major League’s baseball games June 14, 1922, and believing it should be preserved as a part of the early history of our radio service, I give the report here in full:
Baseball – June 14.
American League
“The St. Louis Browns won today’s game at home from the Washingtons by 7 to 6. All but one of the St. Louis runs were made in the sixth inning. After a single by McManus, two St. Louis batters were walked and then McManus scored on an out at first. One of the walkers was forced home to score the second run. This left the bases full of walkers and all three scored ahead of Sisler when he hit it to the left field pavilion – six runs in one inning with only two hits and no fielding error. In the first inning Sisler scored on his own single and a double by McManus. For Washington, Rice hit to center for a home run after the first two batters had been fanned. The only error in the game was a wild throw, which let in two runs for Washington. St. Louis made only six hits, in all, and Washington, 8, each side using three pitchers. The Yankees were beaten at Detroit today 6 to 2, reducing their lead over the Browns to a game and a half. The Boston Reds were shut out at Cleveland , the Indians making three runs. The Athletics were defeated at Chicago 6 to 5 by the White Sox.
National League
“The St. Louis Cardinals were shut out again today, this time at Brooklyn, the Robins making 4 runs. Vance, the Brooklyn pitcher, held St. Louis to five hits and struck out six men. One of the four runs made resulted from a single and a triple, and the other two were scored on a wild throw from the outfield. Pittsburg was shut out at New York by the Giants, who made 13 runs. At Boston the Chicago Cubs made 15 runs to 2 for the Boston Braves. The Cincinnati-Philadelphia game was prevented by rain.”
The Cardinals got even with Vance, the strikeout king of the National League, when the Brooklyns came to St. Louis the next month, not only winning the game here July 7, but batting him for fourteen hits, including doubles by Frasier and Hornsby and home runs by Ainsmith and Hornsby. The Cardinals had beaten Brooklyn the day before by 14 to 2 runs, and their third victory July 8 came after Pitcher Vance had been sent in to save the Dodgers from another defeat. Two more games were played and won by St. Louis in that series, making five straight victories for the Cardinals over the club that had shut them out at Brooklyn on June 14.
A fire in KSD’s new quarters on the second floor early in July made a temporary change necessary, and so, for a few days, Room 301-B was again used for our radio service.
Many of the addresses broadcast from KSD during the three months of my connection with the station were extemporaneous. When manuscripts were used, they were, with few exceptions, retained by the speakers or sent to them later. One I kept, myself, and am able to reproduce it here. It was an address by Editor George S. Johns of the Post-Dispatch to the journalists and others present at the Radio banquet given by the School of Journalism at Columbia, Mo., on the evening of May 26, 1922. Mr. Johns spoke as follows:
Mr. Chairman and Fellow Journalists:
I use the customary form to begin an after-dinner talk because, while I am absent from your banquet in body, I am present in voice. That I, sitting here in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch radio room can talk in my own voice to you gathered around the banquet table in Columbia is a marvel of modern science and invention. It marks the greatest advance of any invention in the shortest period of time recorded in history. It increases the terrors of the banquet table. Not only do the banqueters have to endure the speeches of those present, but speeches by those absent. They have to submit to absent oratorical treatment and have no recourse against the offender. The absent speaker is not checked by yawns or hisses, nor rebuked with glassware. He is beyond the reach of that poignant pain inflicted by the silent vanishing of his hearers. You will not offend me if this magnifier reaches through an empty room.
Naturally we ask what are the possibilities of radio? What will it mean to mankind and to civilization? In particular, what will it mean to those nations in the progress of which the means of rapid communication play so much a part? We may as well frankly admit that we do not know precisely what it will mean. As no one dreamed of the present development of radio before the pressure of the late war speeded up its development and use so no one would dare predict to what perfection it will be brought and to what use it will be put within five years. We do know that an agency of rapid, cheap, convenient inter-communication of indefinite possibilities has been discovered and put into the service of mankind. We know that through the intangible ether sound is conveyed accurately in its original tones and modulations, that the finest and most delicate tones and nuances of the speaking and singing voice and the musical instrument can be conveyed accurately to great distances. We know that messages can be sent and received with wonderful rapidity through telegraphic, phonographic and photographic radio methods. The recording speed of messages ranges from 100 to 500 words per minute. Five hundred words a minute have been recorded in dots and dashes on the photographic film by means of radio waves.
I do not believe for a moment that radio will take the place of the press, but I am sure it will become an invaluable agency of the press for the sending of news and the dissemination of information and as a means of bringing individuals and peoples into closer relationships and better knowledge of each other, a powerful agency for peace and progress. Let us not overemphasize the material inventions, devices and agencies of civilization. They may be used for or against higher civilization, that true culture which makes for justice and liberty and the happiness of all mankind. The development and application of radio to human uses was greatly accelerated by the necessity of finding new means of destruction and of defense against destruction in the war. Science and invention are the handmaids of war as well as of civilization and culture. The imponderables, the intangibles – the moral forces that make for just and amicable and profitable human relationships – far exceed in value material forces and devices.
The press wields the power of publicity, the greatest moral force in the world. The telegraph, the telephone, the radio equipment, the linotype, the perfected press and our other devices are merely agencies of publicity, the modes by which it works. If these agencies are not directed by mind and heart and soul, devoted to the public welfare, they are useless, they may be destructive. What shall it profit the press to gain a world of facilities and lose its soul? An able, honest and conscientious newspaper man working in a shack with a hand press is more useful to mankind than the best equipped newspaper plant in existence under the control of journalistic flip-flappers.
Newspaper men today are beset with temptations to debase and misuse the power of the press in the interest of wealth, power, privilege. They are assaulted by subtle and pervasive and deftly camouflaged propaganda. The freedom of the press is under constant attack by government and by special interests with spacious pleas of public welfare. Our rights have been invaded. It never had a greater task than that of guarding its own rights, the rights of the states, and the rights and liberties of citizens against governmental encroachments and bureaucratic tyranny. Never was there a greater opportunity for the press to promote peace and prosperity through good understanding and amicable cooperation among civilized nations. If we yield to temptation and fail in the tasks and opportunities before us, our wonderful equipment is futile and our work is in vain. Good night, I thank you.
A second address to the Columbia banqueters was delivered by Mr. Clark McAdams of the Post-Dispatch. He spoke without manuscript and I am able to give only KSD’s report of the speech as printed in the Post-Dispatch the next day: “McAdams, who followed Johns, addressed the journalists in Columbia in a more facetious vein, following out, in large measure, the trend of his writings in the ‘Just a Minute’ column. Discussing literature, Mr. McAdams declared that there was no literature today, but only writing. The writing of the present is to literature what jazz is to music, he asserted, and then defended the newspaper against the accusation that it is responsible for the failing of literature by showing that some of the best modern literature came from the newspaper office and was written in the midst of the noise of the presses.”
The only other speaker that evening was a former judge of the St. Louis Circuit Court, Thomas I. Anderson, chairman of the Anti-Centralization League of America. He spoke of the growing centralization of government.
Because of the unavoidable absence, one evening, of Miss Denison, our lady manager then, I experienced the delightful thrill of having a great and unexpected honor thrust upon me. It was the evening of April 6, 1922. For the first time in my life I had charge of KSD, even the office boy, kept away by another engagement, not being there to dispute my authority. Well do I remember how busy I was kept from first to last putting the finishing touches on the daily baseball report, bringing in extra chairs, answering telephone calls, receiving the guests, distributing our home-made programs cut from the day’s edition of the Post-Dispatch, bringing water for the singers and speakers, bossing the radio operator (can’t remember whether it was Mr. Benson or Mr. Woods), and, at the close, personally escorting some of the guests to the elevator. The speakers were Mr. Henry Hoeffer, an attorney, and Capt. Robert E. Lee, a newspaper man who was then the secretary and manager of the St. Louis Auto Dealers’ Association. The music broadcast from KSD that evening was by a glee club, a mandolin club, a lady pianist and a lady vocalist named on our program but not recalled now, and also a gentleman pianist, Mr. Rudolph Schmidt, whose name was not given on the program, the gentleman playing a medley of tunes by request. The only other opportunity given me to enjoy the high honor of managing a KSD entertainment was during the interregnum between the administrations of Miss Denison and Miss Jones, the evening of Monday, April 10, and I regret to have to report that my assistant, the office boy, was again absent, having another engagement elsewhere and one reported to be even more important than the one of April 6. KSD’s star attraction in broadcasting that evening was Mrs. Donald McDonald, the lady giving a recitation from Charles Haddon Chambers’ “The Passers By.” A piano and saxophone program of popular music followed under the management of Prof. Charles Hohengarten, with Prof. Charles Dienel at the piano.
Capt. Lee’s stunt at the first of these two entertainments, that of April 6, entitles him to the distinction of having been the first newspaper man to speak as a guest of the Post-Dispatch from KSD. He entertained the “listeners-in” with one of his serio-comic monologues reported by the paper the next day as conspicuous for “stories of the kind that made Lincoln famous.” Mr. Trask, at his home in the West End, was one of the “listeners-in”. He did not miss many of our “entertainments.”
A few evenings later, April 18, another newspaper man, Edw. J. Troy, who was then with the St. Louis Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association, broadcast an address intended specially for an audience of business men, and I have not forgotten that he spoke in praise of me, when referring to our World’s Fair newspaper work together – the only time my name has even been used in a radio address. At other radio entertainments the “listeners-in” heard Humorist Lee as a speaker in a serious vein and Mr. Troy as a singer in Italian Opera. The credit of being the first newspaper man to sing as a guest of KSD was Mr. Troy’s. Miss Jones had personal charge of this and all the other many splendid entertainments broadcast after April 10 from Room 301-B.
Soon after the return to the permanent radio rooms on the second floor, KSD’s staff was enlarged, another operator being needed, another assistant for the program director and another for the general manager. The staff at this writing (November 1922) consists of H.A. Trask, editor and general manager; Miss V.A.L. Jones, program director, also in charge of KSD rooms on the second floor and the entertainments and all broadcasting there; The Misses Amy Creveling and Dorothy Dowell, and Jack Stewart with Miss Jones; Stuart C. Mahaney, assisting Mr. Trask; Willis P. Corwin and W.F. Ludgate, wireless experts and operators in the radio house, on the roof of the building, where the big broadcasting plant is installed and where all the regular broadcasting is done, except that of the evening entertainments on the second floor; and Louis Lacks, office boy and general assistance to all of his superiors, the “higher-ups.”
Many of the entertainments broadcast by KSD are heard by listening-in stations in every state of the Union, also in Canada, Mexico, Ventral America, and Alaska, several thousand stations, in all. The Post-Dispatch makes daily announcement of the program for the day.
Later, 1927: This report of KSD was written several years ago. Miss Jones in time became Mrs. Archibald T. Campbell and still later she gave up her radio service and W.H. James had charge of the paper’s radio station until his health gave way and Operators Corwin and Ludgate are still running things “on the second floor and roof” now, with James E. Spencer editing the Sunday edition’s radio pages with the aid of his assistant, R.H. Hall. Young Lacks was with the radio station two or three years and among his successors have been Jack Stewart, Dan Hanlon, Elmer Sievers and Bart McNealy. Miss Dowell was the longest in service, except Mrs. Campbell, and in the absence of Mr. Corwin and Mr. Ludgate, Miss Alice Vogel now has charge of the second floor rooms. In room 301-B, Prof. Edw. Belin’s telestereograph was first tested in this country by the professor himself and later by others, the last manager being Major Dinwiddie, now with the Manufacturers’ Railway Company. See Post-Dispatch November 16, 1920 for reproduction of the face of an Indian chief sent by wire to the New York World.
(Originally published in the St. Louis Reference Record, 1927)

"Aunt Elizabeth" Comes to KSD

Development of musical programs at KSD really began to pick up momentum in 1936 when a young St. Louisan who had been conducting the Ambassador Theatre orchestra joined the station. His name was Russ David.
His first job at KSD was on a children’s amateur program. He was the mysterious “Aunt Elizabeth,” a non-speaking pianist whom listeners tried to stump with difficult song requests.
Today as an accomplished concert pianist, jazz pianist, organist, composer, dance band leader and master of ceremonies of one of KSD’s most successful programs, “Playhouse Party,” Russ David is virtually synonymous with St. Louis music.
In between “Aunt Elizabeth” and “Playhouse Party,” there has been a wealth of outstanding KSD musical programs, all bearing the Russ David stamp. He provided the musical backgrounds, for example, on the “Highway Patrol” and “Land We Live In” dramatic programs. In strictly musical offerings, Russ has probably forgotten more of them than he can remember. But these are some of the notable ones: “Ebony In Ivory,” a piano duet program with another well-known pianist, Lee Sanguinette; “Music For Your Mood”; “Allen Clark And The Office Girls,” with Russ, singer Clark and ‘office girls’ Esther Witt, Jean Lane and Jean Chassels (now Mrs. David); “Tic Toc Time” with Kay Thompson and Don McNeill, who came to St. Louis each week for this program; “Telletunes” with announcer Clair Callihan; “St. Louis Serenade,” a network program of the World War II years which brought Russ an immense amount of congratulatory mail from servicemen; the “National Federation Of Music Clubs” show; the “Griesedieck Brothers Show” and “It’s Alpen Brau Time!” “Alpen Brau Time” was originally titled “Papa Yodel’s Alpine Inn.” “That title lasted only a week,” Russ comments.
Among the memorable singers who joined with Russ on these programs were, in addition to Allen Clark, Julie O’Neil, Cheri McKay (who later had her own program – “Cheri McKay and Company”), Dottye Bennett, Joe Karnes and, in the early days, Helen O’Connell and Bob Hannon. The last two went on to national stardom, Miss O’Connell with Jimmy Dorsey’s orchestra and Hannon with the “American Album of Familiar Music” program.
They were not the only ones to use KSD as a springboard to national acclaim. Harry Babbitt, the handsome balladeer with the old Kay Kyser orchestra, was once a KSD staff vocalist. Helen Traubel , who went on to star at the Metropolitan Opera, sang on KSD several times early in her career and Ron Rawsen, who has been a successful network announcer for many years, was once on the announcing staff of KSD.
(Excerpted from a KSD promotional brochure, 1960. Authored by Don Burnes.)

New Radio Broadcasting Station Opened in Hotel Chase

A new radio broadcasting station with headquarters in the Hotel Chase took the air recently over a wave length of 239.9 meters. The station, organized under the laws of Missouri, is being operated by the Greater St. Louis Broadcasting Corporation, which has acquired the good will, assets, apparatus, call letters and wave length of station KFVE.
The new corporation is headed by Thomas P. Convey, president; David W. Hill, vice-president of the International Life Insurance Company, holds similar office in the new body, and George T. Thompson, vice-president of the Hotel Chase, is secretary.
One wing of the ninth floor has been reconstructed and converted into a transmitting studio, offices and reception room.
The station is not operated on the unit basis, Convey states, but toll rights are being allotted to individual concerns and organizations on a contract basis. Only professional talent is to be used, quality rather than quantity being the policy of the station. In order to insure good programs, all contracts provide that a stipulated budget must be set aside by the contracting companies for talent.
“In organizing this station, we proceeded on the theory that rather than ask for a new wave length and further congest the air, we would take an existing wave length and utilize it,” Convey said. “As our corporation name implies, we intend to use the station to further any plan looking to a better and greater St. Louis. In this connection we have invited the Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Publicity Bureau, Better Business Bureau, the Advertising Club, the American Retailers’ Association, Salesmanagers’ Bureau and other civic bodies to join.”
“It is our aim to give a short program each evening.”
The Chamber of Commerce has appointed a committee composed of W. Palmer Clarkson, Charles A Pearson and J. Will Finlay, to inquire into the feasibility of broadcasting programs over the new station.
Convey, who came to St. Louis in January, 1925, has been intimately identified with radio for a long time. He organized and developed the St. Louis Radio Trades Association, the Southwest National Radio Show and Station KMOX. He had a leading part in the Hoover radio conference in Washington in October, 1925, and served on a special publicity committee of three. During the latter part of last year he was identified with the Chamber of Commerce on special work.
The new station will be flexible and capable of operating on from 500 to 2,500 watts, but it is the intention to increase this by fall to 5,000 watts.
(Originally published in Greater St. Louis April, 1927).

Mangner In Charge of KMOX Farm Programs

Ted Mangner, 38-year-old assistant profressor radio extension in the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois, has been appointed director of farm programs of KMOX, replacing Charles Stookey.
Mangner had written and broadcast 2,275 consecutive farm programs on the University of Illinois station WILL. He also has syndicated a farm column which was used by 38 radio stations.
(From the St. Louis Advertising Club Weekly 9/11/1944).

Early Program Gets Wide Praise From Listeners

Nearly 7200 letters and post cards have been received by Charley Stookey, announcer and advisor on the Early Morning Farm Folks Hour, since the program went on the air on October 3rd.
Replies have come from all but six states of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Panama and New Zealand, and the program establishes a record not only with volume of mail but listener coverage. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and Utah are the only states who have not either sent in a reply or some gift characteristic of their sections of the country.
Illinois leads all the states with 1010 replies, Texas is second with 410 and Missouri third with 386. More than 100 letters have come from Canadian listeners.
This early program heard from 5:30 to 7 a.m. each morning features Wyoming Jack, the lovable cowboy; Len Johnson and his Ozark Mountaineers; Sunny Joe and his banjo; Sad Sam and his accordion and Ken Wright at the organ. Scarcely a day goes by without a gift of some sort coming to the group in the form of food for immediate consumption or some oddity of the section from which it comes. A curious counter has been set up outside the KMOX studios where the presents are displayed. They include everything from bottles of water and sand from the Gulf of Mexico to cocoanuts and fruit from Florida.
A sample letter:
       Deering, Alaska
Dear Mr. Stookey:
Just a note to say your program is coming in fine. It’s just 5:45 a.m. your time and 1:30 a.m. by ours.
Please have “Jack” sing “Strawberry Roon” over again sometime if this letter reaches you, as he sure comes in clear.
I am at a trading post just south of the Arctic Circle, and the store is full, all sitting around taking in every word you send out.
Your weather report stated 38 above, light snow for St. Louis. Ours is clear with 20 degrees below zero.
Warren Ferguson
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 1/21/1933).

Radio Broadcasts...Before St. Louis Had Radio Stations

Even before St. Louis had radio stations, it had radio broadcasts.
A group of enthusiasts calling itself the St. Louis Radio Association would get together to share information about building transmitters and receiving sets. By 1922, they had gone beyond technical talk and had begun producing programs as well. But the problem of how to let other interested people know about their broadcasts loomed.
This was a time when many people were building crystal sets in an effort to be a part of the very small audience that was hearing a very limited number of radio broadcasts. A couple stations had been licensed in the country, but there were several others broadcasting without a government license.
Word of the St. Louis broadcasts was spread by the St. Louis Star, which claimed to be working with the local association to further “the development of the wireless telephone in this district. Of the 1,200 owners of wireless receiving sets in St. Louis and the adjacent territory, more than 350 belong to the association, which has been a pioneer in the field.”
The Star, in a bit of shameless self-promotion, referenced the working relationship with the association as “one of the most important steps forward in the history of newspapers and wireless telephony in this section of the United States.”
Robert Coe, who was selling radio reception equipment at the time, mentioned in his memoirs that he would often arrange in advance for an amateur broadcast to be held at a specific time so he could conduct a successful reception demonstration. At times, his arrangements involved a small monetary payment to the broadcasters of $5.00.
What made these few early local broadcasts even more interesting is the fact that some were concerts produced in private homes and sent out over transmitting equipment housed within the homes. For example, on Feb. 16, 1922, the broadcast originated from 3148 Halliday, the home of Dr. Charles Klenk. He and his son Carl had built a transmitter capable of being heard 1,000 miles away under favorable nighttime conditions.
The amateur station, designated 9AAU, had received confirmed reception correspondence from Denver, New Orleans, Buffalo and Savannah. The good doctor and his son produced a musical program for broadcast that would rival many later network efforts. Acts included the Vessellas Italian Band, Rega Dance Orchestra, Hawaiian Guitars, soloists Fredric Persson, Mario Chamlee, John McCormack, B. Hubermann and Paul Frankel and the Esplanade Hotel Orchestra. While there is no knowledge of how this could have been done, it does appear that many musical performances were “live” rather than simply playing records.
Dr. Klenk, a medical pathologist, was the president of the radio association. In an earlier broadcast from a member’s home in Webster Groves, Klenk had been a featured speaker, along with author Harlan Eugene Read. Entertainment that evening included Max Steindel, a cellist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, along with an act that was currently performing at the Orpheum Theater.
The Klenk broadcast was heard throughout the metro area, with phone calls coming in from listeners who had requests for specific songs to be played. A subsequent report in the Star indicated Dr. Klenk had burned out “two vacuum tubes and had to work with three tubes. However, this did not interfere with the transmission.”
A week later the broadcast came from the Benwood Company at 1110 Olive downtown, which had constructed its own broadcast studio. That studio had made its first local broadcast two weeks before. Company owners Lester Arthur “Eddie” Benson and William Wood were actively involved in building radio transmitters. Less than a month later KSD was conducting experimental broadcasts from studios a half-block away from the Benwood Company, using a transmitter the two men built.

Susie Sang Her Way Through St. Louis Radio

 She was known as Susie, The Gal from the Hills, but the simplicity of the name was misleading. This was a woman who knew music!
Born in 1919 and named Mary Louise Wesnitzer, the Casey, Ill., native was playing classical piano by age 9. Three years later, she developed a fondness for what she called “simple home folk songs,” and that was the basis for her long career as a radio performer.
In 1937, fresh from graduation at East St. Louis High School, she began hosting a regular program over WTMV called “Can You Stump Susie?” The premise was that this teenage girl knew over 5,000 songs, so it was unlikely her listeners could come up with one she didn’t know. A gifted musician on piano, harmonica, mandolin, Gibson guitar, banjo and bass, Susie kept the listeners of WTMV entertained for six years.
Those years at WTMV had sown the seeds for Susie’s national prominence. She was named the National Hillbilly Association’s female champion vocalist in 1938. A year later she was asked to be a part of the Hillbilly Stars’ Championship Jamboree. She’d formed a band, The Sons of the Ozarks, in 1939. It consisted of five men and Susie, but World War II forced a breakup when most of the men were called to the service.
Susie moved her radio show across the river in 1942, appearing on WEW. By 1943, she was a regular on KWK’s Shady Valley Gang program, which also meant national exposure over the Mutual Network. An unexplained wanderlust took hold in 1944 when she left the St. Louis area for a radio job in Baton Rouge, but she returned to the Shady Valley gig by the fall of 1945.
That affiliation was officially terminated by the end of the year. By this time she had written over 30 songs. This was an era when songwriting could lead to a substantial income stream, with writers getting fees from sheet music publishers as well as record sales. It appears she also did a lot of club appearances while actively seeking another job on the radio.
That job came at WTMV in 1948, where Susie landed a Sunday afternoon request show. That exposure led to a job offer from WIL in 1949, which was apparently patterned after the WTMV program.
It was at WTMV that Suzie displayed a sort of copycat creativity in which she took a cue from Les Paul (a former St. Louis radio personality on KMOX.)
As described by writer Chuck Acree: “Suzie, the ‘Girl of the Hills’ on station WTMV in East St. Louis, has added to her program the trick of singing a duet with herself. The trick is accomplished by means of a recording. Suzie sings the melody of a song and it is recorded. Then the recording is played on the air and Suzie sings harmony.
“Suzie planned on building herself up to a quartet by this method but the station management squelched the idea on the basis that she might demand a quartette’s pay.”

The Fatha Looks Back

“The more I did it, the more I liked it.”
That’s how Lou “Fatha” Thimes describes his entry into radio.
The beginning was inauspicious. Thimes was sitting in the barracks at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa when the captain came in looking for a volunteer disc jockey to play black music on the base radio station. Things went well on the air, and the experience paid off when he returned to civilian life in St. Louis.
He started out playing gospel music on Saturdays at KATZ in 1958. “I guess I had a good enough voice,” he says, “because soon they took me off the gospel show and had me playing rhythm and blues.”
The setup of the studios back then was very different from what most people may have envisioned. The announcer sat at a table with a microphone on it. In another room, behind soundproof glass, an engineer took care of the technical work, playing the records and commercials and keeping audio at the proper level.
And it was up to each disc jockey to pick his own music. “That was before owners decided they could choose music.”
During the week, the other jocks on the air were Dave Dixon, Robert BQ and Doug Eason. They also played R&B and gospel.
Soon another local owner came calling. Richard Miller offered Fatha more money to jump to KXLW, the market’s other R&B station.
The KXLW studios, located on Bomparte Avenue at the station’s tower site, were smaller and the studio operation was different. The DJs had to operate their own control boards and the only engineer Thimes remembers was Jimmy Mitchell, whom he says was always tinkering with transmitter.
At first, working for a local owner was no different than working at a station whose owner lived in another city. “We were trying to beat KATZ, so Richard left us alone at that time. Later, he decided he knew music.”
Like most of his fellow deejays, Thimes had gigs on the side to make money. He pursued his comedy career with partner John Smith in a team known as “Lou and Blue,” in various clubs around town. This sideline gave him a perfect opportunity to cross paths with some well-known musicians, who would later end up as guests on his radio program - people like Dinah Washington, Louis Jordan and Otis Redding.
Other disc jockeys were also moonlighting. Dave Dixon and Roscoe McCrary would produce talent shows at the YMCA at Sarah and Page. They’d bring in people like Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight.
KXLW also opened the door for announcers to pick up lucrative contracts.
“I remember when Anheuser Busch bought shows on KXLW to sell their beer.
“There was a gentleman at the brewery, Mr. Porter, who didn’t like blues. He almost killed some of those contracts. When he asked me what kind of music I played, I’d tell him it was requested music.
“A-B had salesmen on the street, and the disc jockeys would travel with the salesmen to different taverns and buy beer for people in the taverns. I couldn’t go anywhere without somebody yelling ‘Hey, Lou. Let’s have a beer!’”
Thimes says he was surprised when he found out white kids were listening to his show “A white kid called me one day and asked what I was doing working at that black radio station. They thought I was white!”
When the music changed and management began telling the announcers what they had to play, Thimes knew it was time to hang it up. “I only knew blues and that’s all I wanted to do.
“I would like to do another blues show on the radio but nobody’s playing that music on the air. How can you not play the blues?”

In 1938, Radio Management Was Looking Toward the Future

 In 1938, radio was soaring in popularity. But when St. Louis radio station managers were asked to predict radio’s future in 1938, they got it all wrong.
The nation was on the tail end of the Depression, and 82 percent of households had radios. Television was still being developed. Radio’s programming was part of what is now called its “Golden Age.”
Here in St. Louis in September of 1938, KMOX put local station owners and managers on the air in a roundtable discussion to talk about the business.
Merle Jones of KMOX was quick to note just how much radio contributed to the local economy. Just ten years prior, he noted, the city’s largest station employed 20 people. Ten years later the situation had changed dramatically. The smallest station employed 35 full-time workers and the largest had 120 full-timers and another 50-75 air staff members on call. That station, KMOX, had an annual payroll then of over $400,000.
Local stations were also making a mark nationally. Hundreds of local programs were being run over the four major radio networks, which was seen as a way of promoting St. Louis as a progressive city.
So things were going well. But when they were asked about radio’s future, none could foresee the coming world war and the part Edward R. Murrow and his peers would play in making radio a necessity in every home in the nation. Instead, they focused on a new technical development, radio facsimile.
George Burbach of KSD said his station was ready to begin testing the new system of news delivery within the next 30 days. The system involved using radio waves to sent special facsimile versions of the Post-Dispatch into the homes of subscribers.
Initially, Burbach said, testing would be limited to a few receivers in the city and county. The special radio receiver contained a clock but no frequency dial. Owners would set the clock to turn on the machine at a certain time in the very early morning hours, and the news would begin printing out. It was a slow process, requiring several minutes per page, but radio people and Post management were excited about the possibilities.
For the paper, it meant readers would receive their copy in the morning, which would compete with the Globe-Democrat. For radio stations, it meant respectability that up to that point had been called into question.
That’s because the so-called “Press-Radio War,” which pitted newspapers against radio stations, had shut radio out of many aspects of the news delivery business. Newspaper owners had successfully banned broadcasters from the Congressional press galleries and had forbidden the Associated Press from selling its service to radio stations.
If radio could provide a printed news summary, it could get around many restrictions.
William West, then-manager of WTMV, said his station had already applied for a facsimile license and was planning to apply for a license for television as soon as possible.
Facsimile news officially began in St. Louis December 7, 1938. It that world premier, 15 homes received a special, abbreviated edition of the day’s Post-Dispatch, with the transmission beginning at 2:00 a.m. and usually taking around two hours to complete.
But the “wow factor” of facsimile was limited, and the system never really caught on. The “experiment” died after two years. By that time, all ears were focused on the live reports from Europe, describing a developing war. The U.S. didn’t want to be a part of it, but many citizens still had relatives living in Europe, and live reports on radio trumped newspaper reports. In 1941, 13 million radio receivers were sold in the U.S.
After Pearl Harbor, all technical development in broadcasting was halted, and radio became an even stronger medium in the dissemination of news.

KMOX Was Important to CBS

Many people tend to think that radio’s “golden age” ended in the 1940s, but one local media veteran has memories of that golden time extending into the ‘50s in St. Louis.
In 1950, the KMOX studios in the Mart Building were the site of a veritable beehive of activity. Ollie Raymand was there, newly hired as a staff announcer. “At that time,” he says, “St. Louis was the network’s third-most-active radio production center.”
That meant that the multiple radio studios in the massive downtown building were kept busy, often with two programs being broadcast live at the same time – one to St. Louis and another to the CBS affiliates around the country.
“We started in the morning at 7:30 feeding the Ozark Varieties Program around  the country,” says Raymand. “We’d occasionally feed our noon news to the network. There was the Housewives Protective League. From 3:00 to 4:00 we produced Matinee.
“That featured our 26-piece KMOX orchestra. Curt Ray and I were emcees. Jack Hill was our male singer. The female singers were Dottye Bennett and Fredna Parker”
The high cost of Matinee led to its demise after about nine months. But KMOX still fed a lot of nighttime material to the nation. Big band remote feeds often featured Stan Daugherty and the KMOX musicians, and other bands could be heard appearing at the Jefferson Hotel and the Chase Hotel.
Saturday at the Chase was, as the name indicated, a remote from the famed hotel’s Starlight Room. The program featured whatever big-name talent might be appearing at the hotel at the time or, occasionally, stars from the Muny Opera.
Jazz Central originated from the Ambassador Hotel. Raymand says with that much activity going on, the job was full of surprises.
“One time an orchestra leader whose band was scheduled to go live on the network in a few hours became, shall we say, indisposed. I got a call from the manager of the Sheraton Jefferson Hotel. He knew I played trumpet, and he called and asked me to come in and take over the band. I’d never played with them and, of course, didn’t know their arrangements, but I did it and went on to finish out the final two weeks of the band’s engagement there.”
The KMOX production facility and offices occupied over 40,000 square feet of Mart Building space. In addition to talent, the programs required a staff of writers, since nothing in those days was ad libbed. Engineers were needed to operate all the equipment, and there was a large news operation.
Raymand captured the atmosphere of the place when he said, “I used to love the job because it was so exciting. We’d rehearse and go through the script. You could work directly with the writers to make changes so the phrases were more natural for the way you spoke. It was totally different from what radio people have today.”
CBS had built the KMOX Mart Building studio complex at the height of the Depression, pumping much-needed money into the local economy. But the death of network radio’s Golden Age was looming in the ‘50s. That, along with a notice to vacate from the building’s owner, who needed the space for a larger tenant, forced KMOX to relocate to smaller quarters in 1957.
The programming changed too, and St. Louis’ position as a CBS Radio production center soon evaporated.

Roy Queen Walked Three Miles Through Snow To Learn To Play A Guitar

About three years ago, Roy Queen, the Lone Singer, decided that he wasn’t quite satisfied with life in Ironton, Missouri and wanted things to happen. He took a couple of bicycle tires and traded them for a 22 rifle but found that wasn’t quite what he wanted.
Then he traded the rifle for a guitar and his young career began to bud. Of course he didn’t know one string from another nor did he know how to tune it but he did have courage and that of his convictions. He walked three miles to a neighbor’s house through the snow to get him to tune the instrument and then trudged merrily home.
Unfortunately, on the route home, the guitar got out of tune and he was no further along than before. But he set to work to master it and basing his inspiration on his knowledge learned from his mother’s playing an organ when he was a youngster, he learned to play. He learned to sing the songs that his mother had taught him and then he came to KMOX for an audition.
His singing of the plaintive Western laments and hillbilly songs was so effective that he was immediately given a job and he has been there since March 1930. He is now heard on the Early Morning Farm Folks Hour and the weekly County Fair.
Roy has black, curly hair, regular features and is about five feet six inches in height. He is very quiet and apparently unconscious of the fact that he is the object of devotion of feminine admirers. He is twenty years old. His fan mail comes from all over the United States and requests for his favorite song “I Can’t Give Up My Rough and Rowdy Ways” pour in every day. That is the song that he sang for his first audition and that is the primary reason for his preferring it.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/1/1933).

WIL Has New Penthouse

Kenneth Crank, one of WIL’s engineers, has taken up golfing. Oh, what an array of clubs!
Now Neil Norman, announcer, will be able to tell Ken just how to play, because Neil is about six lessons ahead. At any rate we are expecting these two to team up and some day win a trophy cup for WIL’s new Penthouse Club.
The Penthouse is cool – big, comfortable chairs and soft rugs make it an ideal place to lounge.
Frank Menges, the cello player, is an excellent painter and plans are being made for Frank to paint a large picture to adorn the walls of this new club.
Even the chief engineer, Chal Stoup and Kenneth Crank are installing a short wave set in the club. Every day something new is planned and executed to make it the pleasant gathering place for the WIL family – I guess I should say “staff,” but it is more like one big family directed by the friendly hand of L.A. Benson, the President of the Missouri Broadcasting Corporation.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 1/27/1932).

WIL Announcers All Have Wide Radio or Theatrical Background And Come From Different States.

By Catherine Snodgrass
“Radio announcers!” What an interesting title. When one hears the suave or peppy voice of a radio announcer, he oft-times wonders just what the owner of the voice is like; so I’m going to give you a little personal insight into the life of WIL’s announcers.
Let us begin with Neil Norman, Program Director. Neil’s full name is Neil Norman Trousdale. He is of medium height, has brown hair, which is inclined to wave, and an every ready smile.
He is the third generation in his family to follow the stage. He not only played leading parts but has enjoyed the privilege of directing his own shows. His mother is still an actress of note on Broadway. He is a talented musician and while conducting an orchestra and acting as Master of Ceremonies in a theatre in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1924, he was offered a job as an announcer, but he turned it down, considering radio a big toy. Four years later he was convinced of the possibilities of radio for entertainment and expressive purposes and accepted a position as announcer at Billings, Montana. He was connected with KSL in Salt Lake City and WMT in Waterloo, Iowa, before coming to WIL.
Neil is very versatile and has a keen sense of fitting the right program at the right hour. He also has a pleasing personality which enables him to handle auditions with the greatest of ease. Neil’s favorite diversion is golf. His chief reason for not playing the game is, “I can’t find a punk enough player to make the game interesting.”
When I asked George Wood about himself, his answer was, “Oh, I am just WIL’s oldest announcer.” Don’t be misled by that statement. George wasn’t referring to his age. He was referring to his length of service at the station. He was with WIL for three years serving as announcer and program director. Then he was seized with a case of wanderlust and nothing would do buy George must see the radio world in other cities, so he left the staff and traveled through Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas and Washington, D.C., inspecting radio stations and doing announcing. He returned to WIL last Fall as announcer.
Before being seized by the radio bug, George saw service in France in the World War. He entered the business field as a newspaper reporter, then editor. Later ambition made him a newspaper owner. This meant he sold advertising, was reporter, printer, distributor and owner all in one – some job.
George came into the radio fold as a singer on KGFJ, then went to KOIL as publicity director and just dropped in on the announcing game. He continued with KOIL until he came to St Louis and finally to WIL.
And now for WIL’s Junior Announcers:
Some three years ago a tall blond boy answering to the name of Russ Walker ambled into the studios of KMOX to listen to a friend broadcast. After the program, in which the friend had acted as announcer for the “Lions’ Club of St. Louis” the visitor exclaimed “Gee, you sounded great. I’d be scared to death if I had to do that!” Subsequent events proved that he was right. He did announce the program the following day and was quite properly scared. It all happened when his friend, Homer Combs, had to drop his announcing duties to accept a teaching position at a county high school and named Russ as his substitute. Russ was allowed to finish the series of broadcasts for the Lions’ Club, and following this was offered a place on the staff at KMOX.
After four months as a staff announcer he heard the call of the great open spaces of Illinois and went to Springfield, Illinois, as Chief Announcer of WCBS. From there he jumped to the windy city as announcer and jack of all studio trades at WBBM, a Columbia outlet, Chicago. He has had the honor of announcing both Paul Whiteman and Ben Bernie’s Orchestra on the network.
Russ returned to St. Louis and was associated with WIL in 1931 but decided to take a whirl at selling for a while, and acted as district representative for a manufacturing concern. He’s now back in the fold at WIL.
His diversion from the hectic atmosphere of radio is tennis. He and his partner won the doubles championship at one of the CMTC Camps once upon a time! Enjoys all sports and is an admirer of C. C. Petersen, the billiard wizard, but would rather be caught watching the ball pass down the sideline than anything else. Russ grinned when asked his age and tossed his hair back from his forehead with “Oh I’m twenty five but no fair asking any more questions and the size of my shoes is an absolute secret.” Well, that’s all the info I could get from him, but I do know he’s a six foot one and one-half athlete and not married.
Hugh Howard, the latest addition to the WIL staff of announcers is still in his early twenties. Until coming to the station, Howard was a radio columnist for RAE and his pert criticisms caused considerable comment.
The Wolverine State, Michigan, was the scene of his first radio work. The show-world also attracted him while a resident of that state and he found himself for some time a unit manager for the Butterfield Michigan Theatres, Inc., who operate over 100 theatres in that district. Hugh was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, March 13, 19---but that would be telling.
Baseball and canoeing monopolize his sport enthusiasm and his pet passions are program production and Walter Winchelling.
Howard took an active part in the Radio Players’ Guild of this city and portrayed important roles in many of the Guild’s productions. He is an earnest worker with a good voice and really enjoys his hours of broadcasting.
Now for that announcer extraordinary – Dave Parks, who is known to the radio audience as “The Old Reporter.” His real name is David Pasternak. It used to be that only girls changed their names but now radio announcers have that privilege. Dave was born in St. Louis slightly less than twenty-five years ago, and attended public schools of this city and Washington University. After leaving school and up to the time he joined the staff of WIL last August, Dave was engaged in the advertising business. He entered radio as the first “Inquiring Reporter” on any radio station.
For the past four months he has been handling sports at WIL, and in doing so has returned to a “first love” for sports writing. He thoroughly enjoys every sport and enjoys discussing the merits of the players.
While in the advertising business, Dave used his evenings in writing and producing musical shows for private organizations.. He did considerable writing of lyrics for Milton Slosser at the Ambassador. He possesses a keen sense of rhythm and a fondness for good music. He was a member of a college dance band for five years and also worked one season in Vaudeville. Dave says his chief enthusiasms are writing lyrics and eating at night. The last “sport” seems to be the universal failing of all. When asked about girls Dave blushed to the roots of his very curly hair and said, “Oh, I am a confirmed bachelor,” and he really doesn’t like girls unless they are blondes, redheads or brunettes.
His favorite sport to play or watch is basketball. His chief ambition in life is to write something that other people will enjoy reading. Here’s trusting that  someday we’ll see “Dave Parks’” name on a popular seller.
Now that I have given you the so-called lowdown on WIL’s announcers, I am sure you will agree with me that they are human, likeable young men with high ideals, enjoying their work and endeavoring to furnish high class entertainment and joy to their listening audience.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 7/8/1933).

New Director For Station WEW

Rev. Chas. T. Corcoran, S.J., is the new director of Radio Station WEW, St. Louis University, succeeding Rev. Thurber M. Smith, who was recently appointed assistant dean of the Graduate School.
The new director is carrying out the enlarged program initiated by Father Smith at the beginning of the year, and he is trying to maintain the same high standard.
In pursuance of this policy, plans are now under way, under the direction of professor Walter von Kalinowski, to eliminate jazz and to cater exclusively to listeners who have a taste or desire for the best in music.
Another point of the present policy is to emphasize educational features. Since radio entertainment is sufficiently provided by other stations, it will be the aim of WEW to devote itself more and more, as circumstances permit, to popular education. With this in view Fr. Corcoran is endeavoring to enlist the cooperation of faculty members in inaugurating a University faculty hour which will be devoted exclusively to talks by various instructors. Several of the departments have already given to this project their hearty cooperation, and others, no doubt will join them.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 1/16/1932).

WEW Celebrates Its Twelfth Year of Broadcasting

The “real” pioneers of radio – those people who used to fall asleep with a pair of ear phones clamped to their heads – will remember those early days  and a station answering to the call letters – if that’s what they were – 9YK, before Department of Commerce officials assigned the letters now familiar to most radio listeners.
For quite some time prior to 1921, WEW was experimenting in radio transmission, the outcome of these experiments being the present station. The period of experiment might be termed the “pre-historic” period of WEW’s existence, inasmuch as officials have chosen to date its official life from April 26, 1921, when the station inaugurated the first regular broadcasts it presented at regular, stated periods, twice a day. These reports are still being broadcast and have been for the twelve years of its history. Incidentally, the time for these releases has not changed in the twelve years except in one detail – the night broadcasts were discontinued because the station’s present license allows only daytime transmission.
Contemporary reports of this inaugural program are interesting, if not amazing, in the light of present day radio reception. A reporter for the Belleville Advocate stated in a news story of the reception in Belleville: “Eventually the government hopes that wireless receiving sets will be established in the farm houses of the land so wireless communications may be established throughout the country.” Recent census reports have indicated that the “hopes” have been realized far beyond the expectations of the most optimistic prophets of that time.
Scattered reports on reception indicated that an almost identical procedure was followed in each of the receiving points. First there was a distinct whistle; then the whistle changed to a “cat concert,” presumably of the back fence variety. Rumbling noises followed with occasional outbursts of staccato, sharp interruptions, after which a human voice became audible. Quoting again from a newspaper account of this epoch making broadcast: “Whoever did that talking had some voice and knew how to make even a prosaic weather report sound real impressive.” This was the first official weather report sent out over radio in the United States, and Rev. William H. Robison, S.J., President of St. Louis University at that time was the one who read the report. The words may be likened, by comparing later developments, to the shot fired at Fort Sumpter [sic] which was “heard ‘round the world.”
The years slipped by speedily, with WEW constantly keeping abreast of the developments as each was introduced. Still under the science division of the University, the radio station became a vehicle for experiment by members of the meteorological department, notably Brother George E. Rueppel, S.J., who more than any other single person, is responsible for the progress of WEW from the weak, dot-dash transmitter into the present modern, telephone broadcasting with an enviable record for fulfilling its purpose – existing for the “interest, convenience and necessity of the public.”
In November of 1926, a new transmitter was installed and was universally acclaimed as one of the most efficient transmitting stations in the country. A short time later, the transmitter and studios were relocated – this time in the Law School of St. Louis University, its present location.
During the middle of the year of 1932, a comprehensive expansion program was begun, shortly after the appointment of Rev. Charles T. Corcoran, S.J., as director of the station. From that time until the present day, the expansion plans were carried out slowly but effectively, and the result has been the attainment of an enviable reputation among radio listeners in St. Louis and the surrounding territory.
WEW is perhaps the only non-commercial station broadcasting regular entertainment features during most of the time its license allows. This fact, in itself, has caused much comment among people who have appreciated the efforts made by the station without capital or material aid from advertising sponsors.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 5/6/1933).

William H. West Is New General Manager of Radio Station KSD

William H. West, who resigned last week as Director of Operations of KMOX, has become General Manager of station KSD. The station is undergoing a period of expansion and reorganization and Mr. West is in charge of all operations.
Mr. West was appointed Director of KMOX last year by Nelson Darragh, president of the Voice of St. Louis and he has been with the station since it was first organized in 1925. He came to St. Louis from Springfield and is one of the best examples of youth at the helm of radio.
He was associated with Colin B. Kennedy in radio work and then came to St. Louis as Chief Operator.
Mr. West was influential in the obtaining of 50,000 watt power for KMOX and actively engaged in the selection of equipment.
(Originally published in Radio and Records 2/11/1933).

WIL's Night Watchman Was Everywhere

By Nancy Fraser
Borrowing a dainty little flashlight as the 1932 version of Diogenes’ lantern, I foregathered with the “Old Night Watchman” of WIL on Sunday night to help him augment the revels of St. Louis night life upon his rounds to assure radio listeners that “All is well.”
Thrilled to death I was for the idea of being assistant “watch lady” was unique enough in itself without having the fun of tearing about the city in a battery and amplifier-ladened Ford with a red lantern swinging in its wake. It was with a feeling of romantic glow of adventure that I met Billy Lang, the Old Night Watchman and Little Willie Keller, the remote control man at the Ambassador Theater at 8 o’clock to begin the thirty-five mile round. I wasn’t disappointed.
There in the screening room were the twenty “Gloom Chasers” led by a collarless Al Roth, Ambassador music director. They were working hard on the torrid night to send sweet strains of music over the air. As the last noted were wafted, up jumped Little Willie and disjointed the microphone and started putting wires and tubes and boxes together; the Night Watchman helping him. Being somewhat of a novice at the serious business, I was so confused that I all but got coiled up with the cords and put into the panel box. They discovered me in time though and we were out of the street and crammed into the “waiting” Ford to begin our land “hop” down to Sauter’s Park.
Streets flew by, headlights danced and the soft air from the Mississippi rose to greet us as we accomplished that leg of the journey in less than thirty minutes.
Little Willie dashed into the pavilion ahead of us and by the time we had threaded our way over the gaily illuminated floor, he had set up the microphone, twisted a few knobs on the amplifier and was ringing the control room in WIL saying “OK.” Then the Night Watchman climbed on the stage and with his “Heigh-Ho, everybody” began announcing the numbers of Dewey Jackson’s Harlem hot rhythm band.
I couldn’t help but reflect what a lot of pleasure such an open air place gave young people who were swaying and whirling around in floor in an inspired manner. It was cool, gaily lighted and the music impelling. I had a severe case of the “jitters” when Billy Lang invited me up to the microphone to announce a few of the numbers and couldn’t help envying him his easy manner and infectious smile as he greeted his friends both on the floor and over the air. There is a stir of anticipation when the Old Night Watchman enters each place and it is easy to see what an addition he is to the spirit of revelry.
The half-hour raced by and we were going through the same performance of taking down  the equipment and loading it into the car although I had by then learned enough to keep out of the way and to even carry the tiara-like mike with the significant call letters WIL across the top.
Dodging returning weekenders in a nineteen-mile circle of the country, we found ourselves on the Olive Street Road at Diane’s, the new dine and dance palace. We received a royal welcome there from everybody from the doorman up to Miss Diane herself.
Little Willie had the accoutrements strung up in the mere “twinkling of an eye” while Miss Diane, who is a tall, stately and gracious blonde person, proudly showed me the softly lighted café and introduced me to the delightfully silly entertainers including Al Rusell, the dancer, Larry Green, eccentric second Al Jolson and Ray DeVinney, drummer dance band leader.
The smart looking crowd joined in the dancing and greeting of the Night Watchman and a lot of impromptu specialties went over the air. The music was good, the crowd lightly gay and the hostess charming – so it was small wonder that the Night Watchman and humble assistant sneaked in a syncopated three turns about the floor before tearing ourselves away to join Bill Bailey at the Canton Tea Garden. And it was a thrill to dance with six-feet-four-and-a-quarter charming Billy Lang – Night Watchman or otherwise.
Another Ford flight and we were back in the center of busy St. Louis listening to Bill Bailey’s eccentric xylophone playing. There I helped Billy in “heighhoing,” getting the numbers all mixed up but thoroughly enjoying myself. It was just twelve when we bade the audience a regretful goodnight and little Willie packed up for the last time. Fleet Smith joined us and with our official duties over, we went back to Diane’s to catch the last floor show.
With tapping steps and well sung popular tunes still resounding in our ears, we left there in time to join the two o’clock bathing party at Sauter’s Park and it was near the dawn when we finally disbanded.
Weary I was but enchanted with the amusing possibilities of nightwatching with infectiously charming Billy Lang leading the lanterned way who uses the microphone instead of the stick to announce “All is Well.”
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 7/30/1932).


The Voice Of St. Louis [A Flooring Perspective]

By M.J. Conohan
The “Voice of St. Louis” is the powerful 50,000 watt radio station KMOX. One of the strongest and most popular radio stations in the middle west, KMOX has a listening audience over a radius of 1,000 miles. A member station in the Columbia Broadcasting System, it brings national broadcasts to its listeners as well as rendering all the radio services of regional interest to the people in the St. Louis business and agricultural area.
KMOX is located in the Mart Building in downtown St. Louis, KMOX being the only business enterprise that remained in the building when the government took over the property several years ago for use as an Army Medical Depot. The offices and studios of the station are located on the second floor of the building and occupy approximately 22,000 square feet of floor space. The transmitter for KMOX is located several miles outside the city limits of St. Louis.
Only a small portion of the space occupied in the Mart Building by the radio station is devoted to the actual broadcasting of programs. Long hours of preparations are required to obtain the perfection and split [second] timing so necessary in radio work and consequently much space is used for offices devoted to the development and preparation of programs. The business offices of the station are also located in the Mart Building.
The floors of radio station KMOX are all covered with serviceable floor coverings: rubber tile, asphalt tile, rubber and linoleum. The KMOX Playhouse has carpeting in the area used for the seating of audiences and the center portion of the main corridor is carpeted. Mr. L.C. Burrows, Maintenance Engineer for KMOX, has a crew of five men under the supervision of Mr. J.L. Scherder who takes excellent care of the floor services.
There are six studios, designated as studios A, B, C, D, E and F. Each studio has a Master Control Room, with a glass partition facing the studio so the engineer present for each broadcast can see exactly how the program is proceeding in the studio. The engineer has full charge of the broadcast, advising the various performers by hand signals when to begin their parts and when to interrupt the program for commercials. Each control room has a recording device to make recordings of the broadcasts and this equipment is used in playing or recordings or transcriptions for broadcast. There is a special room called the Recording Room which is used in making transcriptions for future broadcast.
Double doors lead to the various studios to provide a sound “trap” when it is necessary for someone to enter the studio during a broadcast. Some of these doors are heavily soundproofed and weigh as much as seven hundred pounds. All the studios are open to view, three panes of glass with air spaces between the panes and set on felt pads making the studio soundproof. The interiors of the studios are all acoustically engineered to make for good tonal quality in the broadcasts. One studio required considerable engineering: the ceiling and walls are all paneled with acoustical board, the board being set on the surfaces in a zig-zag pattern rather than flat against the wall surface so that sound waves are broken up and do not “bounce back” into the microphone; in addition the floor is set on springs six to eight inches high as a further assurance of proper sound quality.
The KMOX News Room is serviced by four teletype machines with complete Associated Press news service. The studio used for news broadcasts at one time was a part of the news room but it has now been separated from the news room and soundproofed. One of the music studios contains a four bank organ, the pipes of which are set into the walls of the studio. There are also two grand pianos in this studio.
All the studios in KMOX with the exception of the Playhouse and the Magic Kitchen are covered with the same type of floor covering – rubber tile. The selection of this type of flooring was apparently made after considerable attention to serviceability and beauty. Alternate blocks of rubber tile in red and buff, black and yellow mottled or marbleized, light green and dark green, all with black borders, make the studios very attractive and the condition of the floors shows that they have proved to be very serviceable.
The news room and the news studio have the best floors in the studios. These rubber tile floors have been in service for twelve years and still show no wear. The floor of studio D is in two shades of green rubber tile and has always been difficult to clean properly. During the cleaning of this floor, it must be kept wet until all cleaning is completed to avoid streaking of the floor.
The stage of the KMOX Playhouse has three tiers, the floor of gray rubber and the risers of the tiers in blue. Every Saturday the Playhouse is host to eight hundred guests for two very popular programs.
It is interesting to know that the broadcasting of programs concerning the preparation of foods is done from real kitchens maintained by the larger studios. The KMOX Magic Kitchen is a complete kitchen that would delight any housewife. The deep red or maroon linoleum in the Magic Kitchen make[s] it very attractive.
Passageways, corridors and toilet rooms are floored with asphalt tile in brown, gray or black. Offices are covered with rubber tile except for a few of the executive offices which are carpeted.
Mr. Scherder finds that the floors do not require an undue amount of care, and maintenance at irregular intervals, as the floors require, has proved satisfactory. The floors are dry mopped daily to keep them clean. When additional maintenance is indicated, the floors are cleaned with a wet mop and neutral soap. All but the Magic Kitchen are then treated with Finish Material and buffed. Some of the floor areas can be kept in good condition for as long as two months at a time with daily dry mopping.
Due to the nature of the linoleum floor in the Magic Kitchen, a “spewing” of oil apparently coming from the porous surface of the linoleum, it does not readily take applications of wax. It has been found that the cleanest and neatest looking floor for this surface can be obtained by merely scrubbing it with neutral soap and water and leaving it untreated.
Even the experienced radio announcer is subject to “mike fright” when facing his unseen audience. Two black smudges on the floor of one studio just before the microphone proved to be due to the nervous scraping of the feet of an announcer. Due to the methods of maintenance used in KMOX these “burns” are easily removed and do not injure the floor.
The selection of proper maintenance materials and good maintenance methods  for the floors of KMOX studios has materially aided in making the appearance of the studios fit in with the top quality of its programs.
(Originally published in Floorcraft magazine 12/1943 ).

New Director of Station At KMOX

J.L. Van Volkenburg has been appointed Director of Operations subsequent to the resignation of William H. West who has served in that capacity for the past year. Mr. Van Volkenburg came to KMOX last October as Director of Sales and will continue as Sales Manager as well as Chief Executive of the station.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Mr. Van Volkenburg has been on the stage and featured as an entertainer and musician over the air. He left stage work to go into advertising and was Director of Radio at Batten, Barton Durstine and Osborne Agency before coming here. He is but thirty-two years old and one of the youngest executives of a 50,000 watt station in the country.
Other appointments made at the station subsequent to Mr. West’s resignation include the advancement of Nicholas J. Zehr to the position of Radio Engineer in charge of the transmitter plant in St. Louis County and Graham L. Tevis to Audio Engineer in charge of studio reception, wire lines and remote control.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 2/4/1933).

WIL’s Uncle Bob Entertains “Mates” of Pirates Club

As many of the 5,000 mates of the Pirates’ Club that could possibly get there foregathered yesterday at the Missouri Theater for the first get-together meeting of the club. They met personally Uncle Bob, Pirate Chief, who is Bob Enoch of WIL.
The meeting was opened by the members of the crew rising and singing the Pirate Song which is a necessary ritual of the organization. Uncle Bob related some thrilling adventures of swashbuckling days while the youngsters gathered about him. The latest release of The Marx Brothers’ “Horsefeathers” was the feature entertainment with a subsequent comedy by the “Our Gang” youngsters.
Uncle Bob has been conducting a cleanliness health book contest and the prizes have just been awarded. Another contest is now underway whereby the youngsters submit scrapbooks of their own design dealing in health and cleanliness and underlined with their own comments.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 8/27/1932).

New KMOX Trio A Sensation After First Appearance

A new trio made its appearance to the radio audience of KMOX, The Voice of St. Louis, last Sunday at 10:15 a.m. The trio to which we refer is “The Debutantes” whose vocal harmonies attracted so much attention on Sunday’s broadcast that the telephones of KMOX were kept busy for hours answering calls from the inquiring audience who wanted to know just who these three girls really were.
Well, they are Linda Stuart, Jean Carleton and Betty Marshall, and their initial broadcast over KMOX was their first appearance before a microphone..
The reason they created such a sensation was because they had, at the start, the experience of “old timers.” They derived this experience from Ted Straeter, popular KMOX pianist and coach who has been instructing the trio for three months.
During this time Ted has taught them the art of radio broadcasting by teaching them expression, phrasing, microphone technique, in addition to blending their voices, developing their vocal personality and writing special trio arrangements.
Summing it up in a few words, Ted discovered and developed this unusual trio. He has a habit of developing radio talent, for Ted has coached some of radio’s outstanding trios and soloists. “The Coeds,” “The Three Blue Notes,” “Irene Beasley,” “Bernardine Hayes,” “Jimmy(sic) Cabooch” and many others have been tutored by this young man who is now only eighteen years of age.
While young in years, Ted has had a wealth of experience. He has been in radio since the early days of the one tube set when he was featured as the child wonder. Ted is still a wonder, for in addition to his radio work, he finds time to maintain his own studios where he teaches piano and voice. In spite of his youth, Ted Straeter is regarded as one of the most capable coaches and pianists in the middle west.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 1/16/1932).

Nothing But Radio Appeals to Danny Seyforth

Many radio listeners recall the pleasant hours spent back in 1927 when there were few stations in St. Louis and their dials used to swing to WSBF, the Stix, Baer and Fuller Station.
Since the days of 1925m ‘6 and ‘7, radio in the city of St. Louis has made rapid progress and it was in the early part of 1928 that WSBF went out of existence.
How many of you remember the name of Eddie Burback? Well, it was Eddie Burback and Danny Seyforth who appeared regularly on WSBF in a piano and singing act.
After WSBF went out of existence, Danny Seyforth floundered around until he finally formed a five-piece band, but the call of the radio brought him to Station KFVE, which was then located in the Egyptian Building in University City. Shortly after this KFVE was moved to the Hotel Chase, having been purchased by Thomas Patrick Convey for a group that financed the transaction.
Early KWK Artist
It wasn’t long before Danny Seyforth found himself working with a singing trio known as “The Varsity Boys” and in the early hectic days of KWK many of you recall the many hours of pleasure brought to your home by the trio. In fact, the Varsity Boys Trio became so popular that they were called to Chicago for an audition by the National Broadcasting Company. Like most trios, quartettes and other musical groups that start to get somewhere, something always occurs to break them up, and before the trio learned what their future might be with the National Broadcasting Company, they parted and each went in a different direction. Danny Seyforth, whom we are writing about, decided to go back to clerking, working for banks, railroads, shoe companies, paint companies, and even became a soda fountain clerk for short time.
Radio On His Mind
Evidently Danny’s numerous changes in jobs were brought about by dissatisfaction with these various types of work. He couldn’t get radio off his mind and his itching to return to radio caused him to drift into KWK where he met Bob Thomas who happened to be on duty at the time. Danny begged for a chance to start up a singing team and convinced Bob that he might, with a little training, be able to harmonize with him.
They didn’t know much about it but became enthusiastic, knuckled down to hard work, rehearsed day in and day out and finally convinced the Program Department of KWK that they had arrived at a point where they deserved a chance on the wir.
The team of “Frank and Ernest” was the outcome, and while they have not as yet arrived at a point where booking agents are seeking their services for national network programs, they give promise of a future if they continue their hard work and do not become temperamental among themselves as many teams do.
Many have written to KWK to learn the identity of the “Early Morning Songster” and the story is now out – he is “Frank” of the “Frank and Ernest” team, who pays his income tax under the name of Danny Seyforth.
Hard Work His Diet
Danny Seyforth is so enthused about his future in radio that it is difficult to even get him to enter a bank, a shoe store, or a paint company where he formerly worked. You cannot even get him to ride on a railroad train. He prefers to travel by air, and even in hot weather it is difficult to get him near a soda fountain – BUT, show him a piano in a quiet atmosphere, a microphone and he is as contented as any human being could be. He doesn’t know a thing about music, never took a lesson, doesn’t know one note from the other, but somehow or other he manages to hit the right ivory at the right time. His fingers seem to synchronize with his ear and he is determined to work in the development of his technique in broadcasting – in fact, he said the other day that he would work until Niagara – Falls.
His fan mail at KWK is growing day by day. His postage bills have been running so high that he cannot even answer all his fan mail any more but endeavors to do so in a word of thanks now and then on the air and by sending out the type of material that most of the fans request.
Danny is still unattached, he is under twenty two years of age, his waist line is still under twenty-two inches, he is five feet seven inches tall and as far as can be discovered after close examination, his heart and his attentions have been devoted to one little girl whose first name begins with a “C.”
Now and again he fails for several days to shave his upper lip but he is gradually being sold on the idea that he takes a better photograph when his upper lip is shaved.
He spends all of his spare time about the studio grabbing a piano wherever it is not in use and when he cannot get accommodations at the Hotel Chase studios, he can be found at Kirkwood practicing and rehearsing in a little private studio that has been set aside out there for the development of Frank and Ernest and for emergency announcements or broadcasting.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 1/23/1932).

Staff Organist Was Child Prodigy

Diminutive Ruth Hulse Nelson who is regularly heard over KMOX, the Voice of St. Louis, in piano and organ recitals, is one of the most accomplished organists in the middle west, and began the study of music at the age of three. When but seven she composed her first song, “Dream of Night” and featured it on Chautauqua programs. Since then Ruth has constantly been in touch with the musical world. In 1924 she won a scholarship and studied under the excellent tutelage of Silvio Scionti. Through friends she became acquainted with Ralph Waldo Emerson, prominent organist and teacher who made her his understudy and assistant in the Emerson Organ School. After a short while Ruth had her own pupils. In fact, she had too many to handle, for by this time, Ruth was being featured on numerous radio presentations in Chicago. Finally she decided to devote all her time to radio and since then has been featured over station in Illinois, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri. Ruth first appeared on small stations only, but as time went by her popularity increased so rapidly that she was brought to St. Louis as staff organist for one of the most powerful stations in the country – KMOX the Voice of St. Louis. One of her fondest memories is of the time when she supplied the organ accompaniment to that now famous Tony Wons in a program of Shakespearian interpretations.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 2/27/1932).

By Meryl Friedel

Someone has said, “the more a man has accomplished, the less he is apt to talk about himself or what he has done.”
Ruth Hulse Nelson, KMOX staff pianist and organist, is one of those people. Only just turned 29 – her birthday is June 23 – she has the distinction of being one of the very few musicians in the country recognized for her ability to play both the piano and organ with equal brilliance. Masters of these instruments say the difference in technique of playing either of them makes Ruth’s ability truly exceptional.
Yet only a handful of those who work with her know this…or know that Ruth is also a composer, that she was a child musical prodigy, that while still quite young, she won a famous musical scholarship, and that she has accompanied a number of famous singers.
She was born at Center, Missouri, but soon after, her parents moved to New London. It was there, when only three-and-a-half years old, that Ruth started her musical career with the study of the piano. She still cherishes “Red Wing” as the first complete song she ever played.
Her musical genius asserted itself immediately. When she was seven, she composed her first piece, “Dreams of the Night.” Already her fame as a pianist was beginning to spread and during that same year, she started a tour of Chautaqua circuits which lasted for two years.
Ruth attended the grade and high schools in New London, then went to Culver-Stockton College at Canton, Missouri. While at college, she also continued her musical study at the Quincy Conservatory of Music in Illinois. After two years there, she won a scholarship at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. It was soon after going to Chicago that she met Ralph Waldo Emerson, the noted organist who is a direct descendent of the famous poet. He induced her to start also studying the organ. It was then that she was studying piano, theory and harmony with the internationally famous Scionti. And during that period she composed the number that was so widely acclaimed as worthy of being classed with Percy Grainger compositions, “Southern Atmosphere.”
With all this fame and accomplishment…and more that we haven’t space to tell you about…Ruth has remained a charming unaffected young woman who displays none of the so-called temperament generally expected of successful artists.
Besides all her unusual musical talents, Ruth is pretty enough to have been successful on the stage. She has beautiful large, dark blue eyes, naturally wavy brown hair, is five feet, five inches tall and weighs only 115 pounds. And last, but most certainly not least, she has a gorgeous, infectious laugh that always makes the world seem right, no matter what mood one may be in.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 7/15/1933).

Peter Grant Wanted To Be An Announcer So He Is One

Just as little boys dream of becoming policemen or engineers, Peter Grant, senior announcer at KMOX, cherished a hope of being a radio announcer.
Finishing his course in law, Grant – Melvin McGinn he was then – planned to open his own law office and wait dignifiedly for clients to rush in. He thought, however, that there might be a period of time before they found the way to his office and he was faced with the necessity of providing himself with a few sustaining funds. Dramatics were his natural bent and his eloquence in law work had been greatly enhanced so he hit upon the idea of convincing KMOX that he would be an excellent announcer for evening programs.
He tried out for this enviable position one night and got himself a contract to appear in dramatic sketches which were being featured over that station about six years ago.
Grant’s father is an instructor in music at Washington University and he tried vainly to make his son’s chubby fingers master the art of playing the piano. Some way, when practice time came, the budding genius was always on the corner lot conducting a circus or improvising some dramatic sketch. It was more to keep domestic peace than anything else that finally made his father give up his determination to make a concert pianist of Grant and let him spend the practicing hours on dramatic creations.
Dramatics bore fruit, however, forming the basis for Grant’s success. He has occupied almost every position from office boy on up. He is now senior announcer in addition to appearing in other sustaining programs at the station and thus is one little boy who had his dream actually realized.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/17/1932).

The "Office Boy" Gets Ideas

Bob Harms who takes the part of “Tommy” and writes the script for that nightly KMOX feature program “Tommy Talks” gets his inspiration and ideas from many sources. Bob has lunch with a group of office boys and messengers two or three times a week so that he can absorb their ideas and views and pick up their slang expressions. In this manner Harms is able to give a true picture of the thoughts and actions of the average office boy.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 1/30/1932).

The First 1st Lady of Radio

The name Louise Munsch and her “Just for Women” program on station WEW meant radio for women in St. Louis and a large surrounding area. For thirteen years during the 1940s and 1950s. The show, made up of interview and commentary, was called a low-key women’s lib. A graduate of Visitation Academy and Fontbonne College, she went on to do graduate work in radio and television at Northwestern University. In 1950 she was one of 25 people from throughout the nation who were chosen to spend eight weeks in intensive study of television at KNBH, the NBC basic station in Hollywood, California.
At St. Louis University, she gave the first course in television with academic credit to be given anywhere in this area, plus the first course in radio feature programming to be given anywhere. This radio educational first went out on the national news wires.
She had two other radio series on KSD under other names. She was Virginia Blair on “The Biederman Puzzle Party,” a quiz show recorded in homes; and she was also Louise Terry in “A Woman Views Politics” – a liaison between the women of St. Louis and the then Republican candidate for Mayor, Carl Stifel. She was also the first person in this area to present a women’s show on FM radio. WEW was the first FM station in St. Louis.
Helen Traubel, famous Wagnerian soprano of the Metropolitan Opera, and Mrs. Stan Musial made their radio debuts on the program. She also pioneered Alcoholics Anonymous on the air. There were series for the St. Louis Mental Health Society, The Municipal Opera, the Little Symphony Under the Stars at Washington University, the St. Louis Symphony, the Art Museum and the Missouri Historical Society. The theme of the program was to widen the horizons of women from the kitchen, the nursery and the front yard.
(From St. Louis Memories, 1990).

Seeing The Game With France Laux

By Nancy Frazer
Seated at the tiptop of Sportsman’s Park at the side of France Laux, KMOX’s popular announcer, offers both a mental and verbal picture second to none. At that commanding position where the park looks like an artist’s dream, the game should be apparent in even its tiniest details – but it isn’t unless Laux is describing it.
Personally, I am not much of a baseball enthusiast or wasn’t until I heard him talk about the game so familiarly and colorfully. Since seeing the game through his eyes and my own simultaneously, I am convinced that one actually derives as definite a picture of what is taking place through his description while seated comfortably by the radio as if one were actually there.
While thousands of persons in homes and on the street and in automobiles are awaiting his next word, France Laux’s head in bent close to a microphone with his eyes on every player in the game. He catches every movement and the words are on the air before the ball stops and while the actual spectator is wondering what the result will be. I heard what he said and with my eyes glued on the plays I still couldn’t see what was going on until he had already sent the words bounding out through the ether.
The amazing part about it is that he rarely, if ever, makes a mistake. He knows the game thoroughly, having played baseball in all positions and all over the state of Oklahoma. He has played in all the major sports and served as coach and instructor to the extent that he is renowned in the Southwest. He is even popular as an umpire, and that is saying something!
I always fancied when I merely heard of him that he must have lists of names and score cards and all sorts of historical data piled before him which he fumbled through in order to get the information out in time. But he doesn’t! He merely has an ordinary scorecard and a package of cigarettes and a head full of personal and historical information about each of the players. With each play he puts down a system of circles and dashes which mean worlds to him.
They meant so little to me that I prevailed upon him to explain while Ray Schmidt was summing up the events at the end of the innings.
He has worked out a system of recording all his own so that every one of the minute hieroglyphics means a player or a play to him. He is so well versed in the game that he knows what the decisions are and he can tell them as quickly as the play is made. He does however keep a weather eye on Martin Haley, official scorer, who sits over in the press box across the tiptop way. If there is any doubt, the scorer nuts up a finger or lays it down and they understand each other.
Laux tells that happens in an unbiased and simple way leaving out all adjectives, since he feels that if people are interested in listening to the game at all they want only information as to what transpires and not any comments of his own. As simple and as few as the words are, he has the most graphic command of descriptive words that I have ever heard.
I tried listening and looking. Then I tried just looking at the game and then merely listening to him and I found that I enjoyed the game much more with the mental picture and hearing him calmly and accurately verbally parading the plays out over the air.
France Laux started participating in sports via the radio announcer way in a spectacular manner.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees were playing in the decisive game in the World Series, the sports announcer at KVOO suddenly quit and there was no one to announce. The powers were in a quandary while they realized that there was but one person in Oklahoma who knew the game well enough to describe it. France Laux was fifty miles away and there was but one hour to spare.
They tore down to his town and back again, did an in-motion kidnapping act and had him back in the studio with one minute to spare where he broadcast his first game. Being really catapulted into the announcing field, he made such a success at it that KMOX asked him to come here in 1929 where he was voted recently one of the best announcers in the country. It must be a family trait, however, for he has a brother in New Jersey who is also making a name for himself as an announcer.
Try as he will, though, he can’t keep all the enthusiasm out of his voice and that is toned down by Robert Stetson, engineer for the station, who is continually on the job at the radio booth in the park. He sees to it that the volume is kept down and the voice is modulated even during the most exciting moments.
Anyway, baseball has an ardent devotee. Since becoming a Laux follower I keep mentally reflecting what I have been missing.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 6/11/1932).

KWK’s Sound Expert Creates Illusions For Radio Fans

If a thunderstorm comes raging and roaring out of your loudspeaker to the accompaniment of high-class “drummer” some calm midsummer night, don’t be kidded. They haven’t set up a shower-bath in the studio to get that pitter-patter effect, nor is George Bungle delivering a campaign speech to create that loud, empty, booming illusion.
If the program is from KWK studio, you can bet what little coin you have left that Jeff le Pique’s at the microphone pouring rice from one tin can to another and rattling a sheet of tin for all he’s worth, which is a lot.
For Jeff is KWK’s sound effect technician. He’s also Herbert Berger’s drummer man. The two jobs work in together. Jeff was the kind of a boy who liked to beat on tin pans when he was little. He’s working that out of his system on the kettles and traps. He was also the sort of boy who enthusiastically splashed the water with his hand to assure his fond and intently listening parents that he was taking a bath. Thus was created the sound illusion genius we have today.
Jeff’s a nice, pleasant-faced young fellow, honest-looking in spite of that mustache, and you wouldn’t think to look at him that he’s got the soul of a shell-game man when it comes to fooling people. But he has. He makes a business of fooling radio listeners, and the better he does it, the more he gloats.
For instance, to create the effect of softly lapping waves, he gently strokes a kettle drum with a wire brush. For the sound of canoe paddles, he squeezes a newspaper into a ball and pulls it out again, like a round accordion. For a train clicking over the rails, he pulls a iron bar over a set of chair springs. And when the Cannonball Express roars over a trestle-there’s a thrill. Jeff puts springs and a bar over a kettle drum and repeats the operation.
When Black Lightning gallops down the home stretch a nose in front to pay off the mortgage on the old cunnel’s plantation, it’s just Jeff tapping his drum sticks on an old derby. And don’t ask whether it’s an English or a Kentucky derby. We thought of that one and passed it up as phooey.
For the tinkle of breaking glass, he shakes a thermos bottle with the insides broken in front of the mike. The whir of an airplane motor is gotten by sticking a piece of celluloid into an electric fan. Kissing is usually done by one of the entertainers merely kissing his or her finger close to the mike.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 6/11/1932).

Polly Pops Pirates

A string of last Year’s Christmas tree ornaments provides the clank of the sailors’ chains as the clamber aboard Captain Pegleg’s ship in the Polly Pops Pirate Thriller program over KWK at 6 o’clock Tuesday and Friday.
A deft wielding of a folded newspaper makes the sound of paddles of the canoe to conjure up romantic pictures. An empty cigar box tapped gently on the table represents the soft footfalls of the attackers.
Cajoleries and cries of Poll Parrot, the inseparable companion of Pegleg, are provided by Austin Cottrell, a staff member of KWK. In fact, he is the one-man sound effects man (sic) who furnishes the sound of the waves and the yells and shouts of the sailors. When the continuity reads “The steady rolling noise of the surf” or “The ship’s bells sounded through the deadly clear,” Cottrell leaves off being the parrot and rattles the property chains or imitates noisy sailors.
Squawks, cheers, applause, shrill sounds, parrot lingo are all a part of the sound background which he supplies to make the yarns that Pegleg spins sound more realistic.
Pegleg is played by Robert Vaughan, the original “Bat” when that production played in New York.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/17/1932).

Live Teen Show Broadcast By KSHE/95

Radio station KSHE has made a big step into the lives of St. Louis area teens. KSHE-95 in the past few weeks has changed to “Rock Radio.” Now they have gone a step further and broadcast live every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 9 to 10 PM direct from the Castaways, 930 Airport Road in Ferguson, Missouri. The live broadcasts are emceed by Don O’Day, Big Jack Davis, and St. Louis’ own Johnny B. Goode.
Top bands are featured each night. You’ll hear sounds from such popular groups as Jerry Jay and the Sheratons, the Acid Sette, Herman Grimes and the Spectors with the Mo Jo Men, Walter Scott and the Guise, the Good Feelin’, the Poets, the Belaerphon Expedition, the Aardvarks, and too many more to mention. Castaway management told Teen Sceen that some new big groups from out of town will be featured in the future.
And where is KSHE 95? Why, it’s on the FM dial. In fact, KSHE is the first radio station to play hard rock music. It has become known as all request radio, 24 hours a day. Many of the area high schools listen to KSHE during their lunch periods, among them Webster Groves, Parkway, and Vianney in Kirkwood. The new tempo at KSHE cannot be pinpointed. Jockeys move. Therefore the KSHE disc jockeys will be moving time segments regularly so listeners can catch the djs of KSHE during the time that they normally listen. Guest appearances are coming up too.
To sum it all up, look for big things to happen to St. Louis radio during the first part of 1968. Lots of surprises  and prizes from the new top station, KSHE, the official voice of Teen Sceen are in store for you.
(Originally published in Teen Sceen 1/68).

KMOX Plans New Year’s Eve Party

The largest individual New Year’s Eve Party that has ever been held in the Middle West is planned by KMOX for Saturday night according to Walter “Hank” Richards, program production manager. More than 10,000 persons are expected to attend this party in the Mart Building.
“It is our aim to provide a wholesome, inexpensive New Year’s Eve celebration which everyone will be able to attend,” Richards said. “Every attempt will be made to make the party that begins at 8 o’clock as personal as possible with the members of KMOX serving as very cordial hosts.”
A big dance orchestra directed by Carl Hohengarten will play throughout the evening and there will be a section of the first floor where Len Johnson and his Ozark Mountaineers will play for those who wish to dance the square dance. All of the County Fair acts as well as others will provide entertainment throughout the evening, Richards said. There will be more than a hundred artists, all of whom are KMOX favorites.
The lower floor of the Mart Building has been converted into a gaily illuminated ball room and a band stand has been constructed in the center of the room from which the artists will perform. Admission will be fifty cents and refreshments will be available. Concessions in keeping with the spirit of the County Fair will be open throughout the night and the dance orchestras will play until 7 o’clock the following morning for those who wish to stay, Richards said.
The entire preparations [sic] for the celebration are being made by Louis Tappe, assistant to Richards.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 12/26/1932).

Don Hunt, KMOX’s “Uncle Billy” Author of Radiomusicomedy

Versatility – one of the first requisites of a radio station attaché – is shown in the remarkable combination of talents of Don Hunt, chief continuity writer at KMOX, who now makes his debut as “The KMOX Song Writer.” He is now featured over KMOX each Friday at 10:05 a.m.
He interprets his own song compositions by his piano playing and singing voice. He plays the piano equally as effectively as he does the typewriter and the lyrics of his songs are as pleasing as his radio scripts.
On his program of last Friday he presented “I Do,” “Fortune Teller’s Song,” a number from his radiomusicomedy, “Fleurette,” “My Mother’s Flowers,” sung with Gay Lee, who is featured on the KMOX Noon Hour programs, and “Rosette.”
On his broadcast for Friday, July 8, he will present his original version of “River Jordan,” a spiritual; “Air de Ballet,” an instrumental number; “My Heart Is Your Heart,” and “Mary Ann, which he says is one of his favorites.
Under another radio alias Don Hunt is widely known as “Uncle Billy,” popular with children and grownups everywhere for his stories-in-song, and is heard from KMOX at 5 p/.m. daily except Saturday and Sunday.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 7/9/1932).

Holland Engle, KMOX Star, Was A Child Prodigy

Holland E. Engle, announcer for KMOX, is the son of Olive and Harry E. Engle, pioneer residents of Fairmont, West Virginia. He comes honestly by his natural vocation which is entertaining, and his avocation, which is writing, having inherited these inclinations from his father, who was a newspaper man and vocalist.
Like many of our noted stars of radio, Holland Engle started his career as a child actor in 1910, when he played the juvenile lead in “The Little Wedding.” In 1912 when five years old, young Engle was playing a guitar before swinging doors for pennies, graduating finally into the inner “company rooms.”
Like other ingenious little boys of the time, Engle became fascinated by the radio when he was fourteen years old, and so he constructed a station of his own and broadcast from it.
Since that time he has performed over more than one hundred individual radio stations in the United States and Canada, and over the networks of the National and Columbia Systems several times. There are no outside hobbies for this radio enthusiast. He concentrates both serious and recreational interests in radio. His spare time is spent talking operators about the resistance in an antenna coupling condenser, or with continuity writers about “stunts.” His great ambition is to become affiliated with the Columbia Broadcasting System and win the Diction Award for five consecutive years.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 7/9/1932).

“Voice of St. Louis” Opened to the World

Wrapped about in a holiday garb of music and speeches, KMOX, the new superpower broadcasting station known as the “Voice of St. Louis,” was officially launched last Thursday night, the gift of St. Louis to the nation.
The inaugural program, which lasted from 7 o’clock until the early hours of Christmas morning, was opened with addresses by the men who were responsible for the mammoth station in St. Louis. The entertainment portion included a wide variety ranging from Christmas music by the vested choir of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church to syncopated melody.
The hour of 7 brought the first official message from the station in the form of an announcement by Nate Caldwell, official announcer. An organ prelude by Arthur L. Ott, and two numbers, “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hail to the Chief” by the Little Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of David Bittner, Jr., with Utt at the Kilgen organ, followed.
After this, W.S. Matthews, president of the Kirkwood Trust Company, and who has played an important part in this matter, gave the following three-minute address in behalf of the Kirkwood Trust Company over “The Voice of St. Louis”:
“The Kirkwood Trust Company is happy to be one of the forces that has brought the great sending station of the ‘Voice of St. Louis’ to Kirkwood.
“We have great pride in our city, the County of St. Louis and the great City of St. Louis, and stand ready to do anything to the best of our ability for their betterment and advancement.
“In all the United States there is not a more beautiful country than the rolling hills and wonderful valleys of St. Louis County; and in the midst of it is our little City of Kirkwood, a charming home town with all the advantages of rural and city life combined, situated in the highest part of the county in a lovely spot where the summer breezes are the coolest.
“Our educational advantages are unsurpassed; five public schools, one high school, and five other schools and colleges. Churches of all denominations, three golf clubs, our own water supply and electric service, fine roads and streets with easy access to all parts of the county. Two railroads, two electric car lines and several bus lines connecting us with St. Louis. We invite those who are seeking a suburban home to come to see us.
“To all of our friends, both far and near, we wish a Merry Christmas and all the success, prosperity and happiness that can be crowded into Nineteen Hundred and Twenty –six.”
The other speakers included Isaac H. Orr, vice-president of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce; R. L. Jacobsmeyer, Mayor of Kirkwood, who forgot to mention all the papers of Kirkwood but thanked one paper for the valued assistance given him in this matter; Thomas P. Convey, managing director of the station; Colin B. Kennedy, president of the station, and R. Fullerton Place, former president of the Advertising Club of St. Louis, and Clifford Corneli, president of the Merchants Exchange.
(Originally published in the Kirkwood Monitor 1/1/1926.)

Ann Walsh Cooks As She Talks In Magic Kitchen

Broadcasts from the new General Electric kitchen recently installed at KMOX are heard every morning at 11 o’clock when Ann Walsh, Home Economics expert, gives recipes, menus and household hints.
The foods made from recipes that call for Omega Flour and David G. Evans products are actually cooked in the studio during the broadcasts and Miss Walsh describes the results as they take place. The Singing Chefs, the four Schumate Brothers and Sunny Joe and his banjo supply the musical interludes in the programs.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/1/33).

KMOX Kitchen Interests Women Everywhere In USA, Including Mrs. Roosevelt
(By Meryl Freidel)
Old adages are sometimes trite and tiresome, but very often true. The one about “make a better mousetrap…” – you know it…is again proven true by the KMOX Magic Kitchen which, in the short space of five months has won national recognition for its new and unusual manner of teaching home economics to both and air  and a visible audience at one and the same time. It is the only actually-in-operation radio electric kitchen in the Midwest.
Only a few short weeks after its beginning, the Magic Kitchen began to receive letters from all parts of the country, from other radio stations and from home economics schools, asking full details about the KMOX enterprise so that they might start a similar one in their cities. About a month ago, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a personal letter to Ann Walsh, director of the kitchen, commending the work of the kitchen and enclosing one of her own favorite recipes to be made in the kitchen and passed on to its audience. Last week, the National 4-H Club for girls affiliated itself with kitchen through Miss Alice Classen, County Leader of the 4-H Club of St. Clair County. Miss Classen, declaring that the kitchen was an inspiration to the girls and a long sought opportunity to show interested homemakers just what the girls learn in the club is, each week, bringing a different group of six members of the club to the kitchen where they demonstrate in complete detail, methods of canning, various kinds of cooking, baking and so on.
The picture of the KMOX Magic Kitchen and its auditorium shown here gives only the very faintest idea of this unusual broadcast program and its setting. The kitchen itself, all glass-enclosed, is all electric, showing and using the latest in household appliances. The auditorium in front of it seats about three hundred persons and is filled to capacity every day during the program. Housewives come from far and near to inspect the kitchen’s many labor-saving devices and new accoutrements for better and easier housekeeping and cooking.
During the program, which is broadcast daily except Sunday from 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., Ann Walsh presents various new house keeping suggestions and a number of novel recipes, of which one is prepared in the kitchen each day as it is given. Several valuable prizes are distributed daily among the auditorium audience which, after the broadcast, personally inspects the Magic Kitchen…with many Ohs and Ahs of delight and amazement…and samples the particular recipe prepared that day.
Although originally started as a sustaining service to its listeners by the station, the Magic Kitchen received such instantaneous response from housewives all over the country that manufacturers of foods and household appliances asked to be represented during this unusual feature, with the result that six such national manufacturers now have their products demonstrated in the kitchen.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 7/8/1933).

Ann Walsh Dresses The Part On Home Economics Programs

Do you think that a crisp, white apron and a jaunty cap put you more in the mood for trying out delicious recipes?
Ann Walsh, home economics expert at KMOX, wears them when she stands before the microphone to talk confidentially to you about home planning and cooking. She says that is one of her chief cooking secrets, for when she goes into the kitchen, she likes to dress the part. It puts her more in the spirit for experimenting with the ingredients that make up the dainties she suggests to you over the air.
Even when she was a little girl and invited her playmates in for tea parties, she liked to wear becoming aprons and be a very correct hostess. A great number of her recipes come from a huge loose-leaf scrap book about good things to eat that she has been keeping since those make-believe days.
Long before little and red-haired Miss Walsh became known to her listeners as a cooking authority, she was behind the scenes so to speak in the varied, versatile capacities that are to be found in a radio station. She came to KMOX five years ago when George Junkin was director and did fifteen-minute singing programs presenting ballads and popular songs in a style all her own.
She remembers only two things about the first six months of her association there. She was frightened to death of Mr. Junkin and she adored him, as did everyone else at the station.
Her next step was that of studio director, when getting people in and out of audition rooms at the right time and seeing that everything was in readiness for the broadcasts were part of her worries. Going on the air in speaking parts was a gradual process and she hated it at first. When home economics became a greater feature, the news leaked out that she knew about good things to eat, which were almost total mysteries to everyone else, and she was chosen to direct this department.
Her career was almost nipped in the bud, however, for one night when a local soloist was to sing, she forgot to have an accompanist there. Mr. Junkin had already started to announce the numbers, and Miss Walsh pushed the protesting singer into the room and ran in search of a pianist. She was much too frightened to admit her error but scurried madly about to find someone to play. Before she returned, the director had seen the plight and heard Mrs. H. Carey Korndoerfer playing a one-finger accompaniment and had diverted the program.
She tells that as the worst of her radio experiences.
Letters asking about every conceivable thing in home management come to her from listeners, and she says that is the most gratifying part of talking to the unseen friends. She likes to feel that she is helping women in their homes with these aids that come from her own experiments and from scientific investigation.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 3/19/1932).

Radio Programs For Children Planned As Carefully As For Adult Audience

Children are the most critical radio listeners and the most loyal. Radio production managers strive the hardest to please them with the programs for several hours each day designed especially to interest and amuse as well as to instruct children.
The have their own favorites in their own programs as well as in those arranged for older people and, according to a recent survey, retain as much information from the things they hear as older people. Older listeners have other interests but children give their undivided attention to the things they happen to like and can quote verbatim both the features and the introductory continuities.
Educating and interesting these potential listeners and citizens of the future is one of the greatest problems and pleasures of both chain and local producers.
Dramatized comic strips are among the favorites. The survey shows. “Skippy,” the youngster beloved by all has an enormous following. His serious antics are heard every week day over KSD at 5:15 p.m. “Little Orphan Annie” with her trials and philosophies rivals other child programs for popularity each day at 5:45 p.m. over KWK.
Through “The Singing Lady” at 5:15 p.m. every day except Saturday and the Uncle Billy feature at KMOX at 5 p.m., children get a liberal education in song and have their foundations laid for music appreciation in balladry.
Romantic adventure and geographical picturization are included in the “Round the World Club” and the “Lone Wolf Club” which appear every other day at 5:30 p.m. over KMOX to transfer children to romantic lands. They are cheered and set on their way with a thought that someone is interested in the day’s work at school by a “Don’t Be Late for School” chat over WIL.
Other worlds are brought closer, music appreciation is taught, club fellowship is learned and enjoyed while children feel that they are receiving especial and personal consideration in the scheme of radio relationship.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/17/32).

Ken Wright, Master of Organ, Violin, Piano and Accordion Is Charming and Handsome!

When he was a wee lad of three Ken Wright started playing original compositions – too original, some of them – on the piano. Then he graduated to a three-quarter violin to suit his childish chubbiness and thence to adept piano playing and finally to concert organ work.
You see, he was designed for a musical career even some twenty-two years ago when he gladdened his mother’s heart by playing these delightful three-year-old bits on the piano. She was a music teacher and it was just in that field that she hoped he would finally land.
He hails from Great Bend, Kansas, a village of some 6,000 souls, and it was there that he received the greatest part of his education both musical and educational. When he was eighteen, he decided that he would rather play an organ than anything else and in less than a year he was the rage at church and was sought after to open theaters in various cities in the great state of Kansas.
After he had achieved all honors that could be accorded to one young man in his home state, he landed in Menominee, Michigan, in a theater, and was there and thereabouts for four years.
He was featured in theaters as a master of ceremonies where he led an orchestra and introduced acts and played the organ. In his spare time he learned to play the accordion since it was easier to carry about than a piano or organ. His first radio work was done while he was there when he played from a theater for remote broadcasts, and he is given credit for having originated the novelty type of program. You may have read an extensive article crediting him with this advance of theater and microphone technique in the September 1931 edition of the Motion Picture Herrald.
Last September he decided to take radio more seriously and came down to St. Louis where he joined the staff of KMOX been heard on original programs of his own, in-studio features, and has adapted his original theater title of  “The Singing Organist” in his daily morning programs where he sings an all-request hymn feature called “Morning Reveries.”
When he came here, he and Sunny Joe, the banjoist, formed a team, and by way of contrast, Walter Richards, the Program Production Director, dubbed him Sad Sam. So he is the same person, Sad Sam the accordionist, and Ken Wright the organist. Each program is typically different and indicative of the versatility of his ability and character.
Ken and Sad Sam, since he is the same, is probably the most serious minded person to be so merry that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. His work is his paramount interest and one can practically feel his intent interest in his work when he is near. He has cabinets and more cabinets full of music through which he pours [sic] with all possible application when he is designing a single program for his listeners.
He is six-feet-two with brown hair and violet colored eyes. His features are regular and have the most flashing smile of great conviction. He is devoutly interested in every possible angle of his work and in his friends. One has the feeling that he is a trifle romantic but try as hard as I could, I could not discover what his ideal girl would be.
He has the forehead of a scholar and his eyes are rather quizzically slanted which might be an indication of the part that he is playing when he is Sad Sam. Ken speaks a good brand of French all of which he has mastered by himself and is thoroughly conversant on most of the intellectual subjects that there are.
He is likable and friendly and talented and handsome, in fact he answers the ideal requisite which one would create in one’s mind as his favorite radio entertainer. That he is a favorite is indicated by the several thousand fan letters he has received.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 2/11/33).

Holman Sisters Win Local Paul Whiteman Radio Contest

By popular request we print the picture of Betty Jane and Virginia Holman, 17 and 19 year-old daughters of Mrs. Jane Holman of 142a East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves, who were chosen recently by Paul Whiteman during his appearance in St. Louis, as the first of his “finds” in his nation-wide search for radio talent.
The Holman  Sisters have won wide distinction through their broadcasts over KMOX as a piano team.
The selection, coming after the “Jazz King” had listened to nearly five hundred applicants, entitled the sisters to personal appearances with the Whiteman Orchestra during its theater engagement in Cincinnati a week ago and a place on the Pontiac program over the National Broadcasting Company’s hookup last Friday night.
Whiteman expressed himself as delighted with the success of his first contest. “From my experiences in St. Louis,” he said, “I firmly believe that we shall discover some real radio headliners during our talent search, which will be conducted in each of the cities where I play during my vaudeville tour.
“I was amazed at the great amount of talent uncovered in St. Louis. While many of the contestants were not ready for network programs, there were several who, with a little training, could compete successfully for places on the major broadcasts.”
The Holman Sisters are to have further auditions later in the studios of NBC in Chicago.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 1/23/32).

Three Comics From Topeka Captivate St. Louis Hearts

(By Nancy Frazer)
Getting Henry, Zeb and Otto all rounded-up for an interview requires so much effort that I was exhausted when I finally got them cornered. Gasping for breath, I, by degrees, managed to get this much information out of them.
They are quite as aimless off the air and the stage as they are on – even after I got them all together, they sat on the edges of their chairs and wanted to know after each question whether or not that was all and they could go. How they ever all get into a studio at once remains a miracle but we have their daily programs over KMOX as positive evidence of their one-purposeness when it comes to music.
They were all born in Topeka, Kansas, and all came to radio by devious routes. Being all born in one place is about the only unified thing about them except their programs and so we’ll have to take them singly.
Henry – the first in point of name of the trio – is Merle Hausch and plays the guitar as well as sings with Zeb. Some years ago, a paper hanger in Topeka had a dream of being on the radio in an act named Henry and Hiram. He had never been on the air in his life but the dream was so impelling that he took the name Henry and started out to find himself a partner. Two weeks later, he was on the stage in Topeka doing the act of which he had dreamed (This is a true story. All three of them swear to it).
He took guitar lessons from the time he was twelve years old and the first tune he learned was “Gates Ajar.” So it was with guitar playing that he essayed to make his radio fame – and he has. He went from Topeka triumphs to Chicago and then to the Dixie Columbia Chain. When his act with Hiram was broken up, he found Zeb and then they set for Otto. They had never met before – although they grew up in the same town!
Then there’s Zeb, whose real name is Rene Hartley. He always smokes a big, black “seegar” and notoriously never talks on the air. He is reticent about himself but this we managed to elicit from him.
He took his first violin lessons from a Negro who was in jail – no Zeb wasn’t in jail but the Negro was and he was the best violinist in Topeka. So every day the little lad trudged down to the jail to learn to “fiddle.” Since that timehe studied two years with Bissing in Chicago.
He has had two orchestras all his own in Topeka and Kansas City where he violined and led and has composed several song hits. He does all of the arranging for the three as he did for his orchestra. He is tall and slender and has gloriously wavy hair. He is not sure where he got the name Zeb except that youngsters always called him that.
Making personal appearances lately, he has gone back to stage work from whence he came but he likes radio work best of all. “More interesting,” he says, with Calvin Coolidge brevity.
Last, but in no way least, is jovial Otto who was christened Ted Morse. He played a bugle much to the delight of all his neighbors and had a band all his own when he was a youngster. His family bought him and trumpet and a trumpeter he has been ever since. He started in stage work at a very early age and appeared here with the “Six Brown Brothers.”
He was the leader of the 139th Infantry Band in France and graduated from the American Band Leaders’ School in Chaumont, France. He sings second tenor with Henry when their voices come over the air. He is jovial and as much like the title “Otto” as anyone could possibly be. The others gave him that name when he joined them in Chicago.
Otto’s favorite tune to sing is “Ach die Lieber Augustine” and by some amazing manner he has managed to grow one hair on his head that has attained the length of four inches!
They have a collection of more than 700 songs that they sing including ballads, hymns and hillbilly music and they nearly always play with their music perched in front of them. The only tune that they could all agree on as being their favorite was the “Naughty Waltz.”
Zeb supplies the arrangements. Henry has amassed the words for their songs and Otto is the droll wit. They all contribute real musical training and experience to make them the popular trio that they are.
There they are – at least those are the last words that I managed to get as they rushed off in three directions. All born in Topeka – got together to make radio fame in Chicago and came to KMOX where they have made it.
And that’s Henry, Zeb and Otto when they whale into their rollicking melodies with “Let ‘er go, Zeb – Let ‘er go.”
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 10/29/1932).

Gypsy Joe

When a meteor flashes through the sky leaving a trail of only a few seconds’ duration, we seldom inquire into the cause, but if a brilliant, attractive star were suddenly to take its place in the firmament, we’d all rush about asking why.
But let’s drop the metaphor of the heavens because it would certainly embarrass such a fellow as Gypsy Joe. Despite his recent success over WEW he is just as modest as the Texan people from whom he comes. Though broadcasting in this city only a little over a month, and with fan mail coming in by the basket, he remains simple and sincere.
Perhaps that word “sincere” is one of the reasons for the phenomenal rise of this latest radio star. Sincerity and hard work are the two qualities one finds most outstanding in Gypsy Joe. Long practices, a policy of answering as many requests as possible, and effort to make each program his best, account for the reception accorded Gypsy Joe since his debut in September over WEW.
His weekly number of requests, and they are steadily increasing, now average about 350 separate numbers; it’s quite impossible for him to fill all of them, but he does as many as possible each day at 11:30 a.m. His requests range from that of an estranged husband for a number to be dedicated to his wife, to a birthday song for a child born the day the Cardinals won the 1931 World Series and named Burleigh William in honor of two of the Cardinal pitchers. And still they come.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 10/29/1932).

Gypsy Joe
(By Olga Hugo)
“Gypsy Joe,” or in real life, Joseph David Cline, has gained great popularity with his radio listeners. Joe is 36 years of age, six feet tall, has brown hair and brown eyes and a very pleasant disposition. He is not married but is partial to blondes. He has played a guitar since he was a small boy but has never taken a lesson. He did, however, take one vocal lesson, but when asked to sing the scales, quit. He acquired the name “Gypsy Joe” about four years ago when directing an orchestra under the name “Gypsy Troubadors” – hence the name “Gypsy.”
Joe began his radio career about ten months ago at WEW where he was given an audition on a Sunday afternoon and on the following Monday morning started his regular daily program and has been with that station ever since. He likes radio and puts his whole heart and soul into his work with the resultant feeling that he is right in the home with you and you and you when conducting his airings.
The programs are made up entirely of the many requests sent in by the vast dialing audience. And talk about fan mail! When asked to give an estimate of the amount of letters received during his career you should have seen the mountain of mail he exhibited. Just recently he received a letter from Craft Yard, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Joe has certainly enjoyed being with WEW these past months and is especially fond of the young gentleman who has been announcing his programs, meaning none other than Bill Durney, the old Mike-master. Joe contends he’d be lost without Bill to utter the mutterings.
He confesses that there isn’t anything he’d rather do than stick to radio and make good. That is his highest ambition. As evidence of his mounting popularity, “Gypsy Joe” has left WEW to join the staff of KMOX. He is featured on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and also appears each Saturday evening on the celebrated “County Fair.” We are sure that the entire WEW staff joins us in wishing Joe the best of luck in this new and more advantageous position and as evidence of our appreciation of his past performances, we’ll be listening.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/22/1933).

Girls of the Golden West Regret Texas in Their Mountain Songs

The story of the Girls of the Golden West is one of determination and centered purpose. They wanted to be singers, they wanted to sing over the air and they have succeeded.
Their real names are Dottie and Millie Good. They come from Texas and at heart they are real Texans. Their mother plays the guitar, their father sings and all eight children are musical.
When they were youngsters, they were ushered into the front room after supper and had singing bees all their own. Their oldest sister played the piano, both their father and mother played and they all sang. They had contests to see who could sing the loudest and best, whistling contests and so on and hilarious in their idea of make-believe, they always pretended they were on the stage. They “played like” they were bowing to vast audiences and they acknowledged the applause as graciously as if they were.
While Dollie, the youngest, was still in school she decided that she wanted to play and sing more than anything else. Her mother told her that she would either have to stop school or stop spending so much time in learning to play a guitar. So Dollie, intent on her purpose, stopped school.
She wanted to play a guitar because her mother played one but she wasn’t quite sure just how to go about it. She played a ukulele ever since she was a child.and so she tuned the guitar in just the same way and managed to get music of a sort out of it. Then she started harmonizing with her own music and playing while Millie sang.
When they had learned about two songs together they decided to attempt a radio tryout. They went down to WIL and had an audition on one of the two songs that they knew and they were so well received that they were given a job immediately. They were scared to death for their repertoire was limited and so they started learning some popular songs. The program director there told them to play and sing more “hill billy” songs and they were so new in the game that they didn’t even know what he meant!
After about six weeks, they decided to devote more of their time to learning to sing and concentrated on that. They came down to try out on “Hank” Richards’ County Fair last summer and have been at KMOX since then with the exception of three months they spent at the KER outlet in Milford, Kansas.
Besides being talented, (they both play banjos and violin) they are pretty and friendly and happy in the work that they are doing. Millie has dark brown hair and laughing brown eyes and Dollie is taller, quite slender with broad shoulders and has light brown hair and a smile that would win anyone.
Their childhood ambition of being on stage is gratified in the personal appearances that they make throughout the surrounding cities. They are a part of Wyoming Jack’s rodeo unit that is booked out for personal appearances and they are featured as the only two girls singing yodeling Western songs on the air. Millie harmonizes yodeling which is a unique feat.
When they sing “I Want to Go Back to Texas,” they really mean it for, as they explain with a dreamy look in their eyes, they really love Texas and the West. They can visualize the mountains when they sing about them, they can picture the camp fires and are really inspired when they are singing about that country. It takes real feeling to be able to sing about that territory, they explain, and they have it.
They appear on the Early Morning Farm Folks Hour, the KMOX County Fair as well as on special programs when Wyoming Jack is the announcer of his own Western Rodeo.
They have talent and ambition and a native interest in things, they are determined to succeed further in radio work and in talking to them and realizing what pretty, clever girls they were, I decided that they started out to win, and at the moment that is…success.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/22/1933).

Georgia Erwin, KMOX Soloist, Is Real Pioneer of Radio in St. Louis

Georgia Erwin, who is regularly heard as a soloist over KMOX, is one of the real pioneers in the artistic side of radio.
Her very first radio appearance was when station WSBF was still in its infancy and since that time she has sung over KSD, WIL and KMOX. She has been on the station regularly since last summer when she appeared with Ted Straeter with whom she studies. She was a member of the Three Best Girls trio and since the first of the year has been featured in the Don and Georgia sweetheart duo and as a soloist.
Georgia’s real career began much longer ago than that. When she was quite a tiny youngster, her father had great aspirations for her singing ability and essayed to have her learn to sing with him. He laboriously repeated the lyrics of the songs and she would obediently say or sing them after him. Try as he would, she could not get sufficient courage to sing with him. But she was quite docile and enthusiastic so long as he sang them first.
One day he was seized with an inspiration and brought home a cylindrical recording of “Willie, Willie, Why Are You So Bashful” (or something like that) and played it on the “gramophone.” Little Georgia was simply intrigued and delighted with the tune and lay fascinatedly on the floor while that record played over and over. It so pleased her that she forgot herself and started singing the catchy lines with the record. Her father was enthralled – he’d achieved success!
From then on she sang lustily at the top of her voice all of the time and was featured in school entertainments, school what-nots and the like that were held in Granite City. She won contests in high school for the best voice, learned to play the piano and generally delighted her music-loving father.
When radio became a field for vocal endeavor, she was among the first to offer her services and has become correlatively successful and interested in its possibilities as radio has grown.
Her radio success, however, is attributed to her training with Ted Straeter of the Hasgall-Straeter studios who taught her the essential elements of radio technique.
Like most radio artists, her greatest ambition is to be a chain artist someday and she says in a happy-go-lucky semi-serious manner that she feels convinced that if she works hard enough and lives long enough she will some day attain her aim.
Georgia is blond and blue-eyed, pretty and vivacious and with the most irrepressible collection of humor possible in one person. She is optimistic about everything, completely enraptured with radio work and singing, to the exclusion of all else. Listen to her on KMOX.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/1/33).

"The Friendly Station" Lives Up to Its Name

Neil Norman, announcer at WIL, once laughingly described the announcer’s booth as “the house by the side of the road” because everyone who comes into the station to visit or to perform passes along there.
“Being a friend to man,” as Walt Whitman described the ideal house along the roadside, is a good idealistic theory, but WIL lives up to it. It is known as “The Friendly Station” and the first thing that greets the visitor’s eyes as he leaves the elevator on the top floor is a sign bearing two hands in a comradely handshake and the slogan “WIL, The Friendly Station.”
On my first visit there, I rather thought that the friendliness that I encountered was because of my connection in radio interests but upon weeks of revisiting it, I am realizing that they really live up to the motto. Everyone from L.A. Benson, president of the station and on down to the janitor who is always in evidence is cordial and it is because they are actually glad to see people and take them into their friendly band.
Evidence enough of the pervading spirit of good fellowship is the fact that no one ever seems to want to leave and one can almost find the entire staff around even when they are not working. They like being with each other. They like extending the expressions of friendship to visitors and they don’t like to leave and fear that they will miss something.
I had the occasion the other day to take a total stranger there while I was securing an interview and the reception he received for no reason at all was of epic-making sincerity.
There was Franklyn MacCormack, the program director, who has a ready smile of greeting and a common interest with everyone who comes up there. He immediately establishes some sort of a definite connection  and everyone feels that he has made a friend. While my guest and I were visiting with him, along came six-foot-four-and-a-quarter Billy Lang, who is said to be the tallest announcer in the middle west. He joined the group lending his interest and support to the conversation.
Miss Catherine Snodgrass, who is chief continuity writer and general reception committee stopped by and they all started teasing her while Robert Enoch, leader of the Pirate Club, with his compelling smile and guileless eyes, attempted to take her part. Eddie Wacker with his flaming red hair who was just around joined the general teasing and chatter.
Mr. Benson slipped out of his office with a greeting for everyone and while they paid him the respect due his position, one could feel that he was as much a part of them and their “kidding” as they were themselves. He was in on their secrets and enjoyed the gentle raillery as much as they did.
They treated my guest with such delightful informality that I had all the pleasure of having taken a child to visit his austere maiden aunt and had him behave in a model fashion. The teasing reached its height when Frances Domeimuth, switchboard operator and secretary, handed Franklyn an elaborately wrapped bouquet of flowers from some admirer.
Otto Reinert, director of the studio orchestra, rushed up in his clean white suit with his violin in hand to see what had happened. He joined us rather regretfully for he had been peering in Studio One to try to distract the artist by making faces at him like a bad boy. Even Allister Wylie, pianist, left his dreamy piano musings to come out and talk a minute.
Garnett Marks, newest announcer at the station, sat reading studiously, looking up only occasionally to laugh with the rest of us. Then in strolled several of the five Vaughn Brothers and Les Roberts, soloist. Allen Clarke, who is billed as “The Prince of Songs” rushed out to rehearsal at the Municipal Opera stopping long enough for a handshake and a greeting. C.W. Benson, vise-president, was a friendly but quiet participant in the fun.
We were shown each of the three studios and equipment and went back to the control room where we got the same friendly spirit of interest. We had only stopped for a minute but it was hard to tear ourselves away after an hour’s time for we had gained the feeling that we, too, might miss something.
They accompanied us to the elevator and they had made us know why the station was successful. It couldn’t help but be successful when it is all founded upon such harmony of interest. They work together and love doing it. My guest said as we parted that in all his travels he had never seen such a delightful group of people.
I am an old-timer in my visits there and I know that they are always like that and I agree with my guest. They live up to their motto of: “WIL, The Friendly Station.”
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment, 7/23/1932).

Castani Wouldn't Give Up

 It was just like those stories you hear the old timers tell: He was a 15-year-old kid who was so fascinated with the radio business that he just hung around the radio station until someone decided to hire him. His name – Dick Castanie.
When Dick was 15 in the late 1950s, he started spending all his free time at the KCFM studios in the Boatmen’s Bank Building downtown. The station had no openings for announcers, but Chief Engineer Ed Goodberlet recommended Dick be hired on a part-time basis to do some engineering work like meter reading.
“I got paid $19 a week for about 35 hours,” he says.
The station’s format consisted of instrumental music tapes. The “studio” from which the broadcasts originated was a room at the top of the building next to the elevator shaft, which made it impossible to talk on the radio when the elevator motors started up.
Castanie says that was no problem. Back then the KCFM broadcasts were based on music,  not personality. When listeners heard a voice, it was seldom, if ever, live. The drop-ins were recorded at KCFM’s other building at 532 DeBaliviere – where station owner Harry Eidelman owned and operated a hi-fi shop – and brought downtown to be broadcast. All the music was on huge reels of recording tape which were played on the big machines in that small room at the top of Boatmen’s Bank. Castanie says there was an emergency microphone there to be used should the need arise.
Eidelman had bought the KCFM frequency from KXOK for $1 after KXOK-FM had shut down. In an effort to keep breathing life into KXOK-FM, the station’s owner, the St. Louis Star-Times, had tried something called “transit radio.” The city’s streetcar and bus system had been outfitted with FM receivers tuned to the station’s frequency. But lawsuits shut down transit radio in other cities, and in 1954, Harry Eidelman became the proud owner of the frequency. KMOX gave Eidelman a used Western Electric control board from its old Mart Building studios.
“I remember Harry bought all the radio receivers used in the streetcars,” says Castanie. “We converted them for use in automobiles and sold them over the air for $19.95 apiece.”
A couple years later, Castanie got a chance to jump stations when a friend let him sit in and watch a show. While Dick Kent was on the air on KWK, the 17-year-old Castanie sat in an adjacent room next to the turntable operator behind the glass. These operators were leftovers from the days when radio stations had employed live musicians. Their union, the American Federation of Musicians, negotiated a deal with the station that would allow members to continue employment as “platter spinners.” Castanie was hired at KWK in 1959 as vacation relief for the turntable people, but he had to join the musicians’ union. His dad loaned him the dues, and Dick was soon elevated to a full-time slot. 
“I worked with Buddy Moreno and King Richard, and for a short time with Gil Newsome before he went to KSD. Gene Davis was the program director, and I worked with him when he was the midday announcer in 1961,” says Castanie.
That union situation hit an interesting juncture while he was working at KWK. Radio stations were limiting their playlists, so they dubbed most of their popular songs onto tape cartridges. This meant the turntable operators were no longer playing records, and they weren’t supposed to handle the tapes. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers argued its members should be playing the carts since they were the audio engineers, and the announcers’ union, AFTRA, argued its members should be playing the carts since the little plastic contraptions were part of program content. The entire argument centered on who would push the button to start the tape cartridge.
Castanie has other vivid memories of his work at KWK: “I was there during the ‘treasure hunt’ fiasco, and we had to go to work through the back of the building because the crowd up front was very upset about being scammed.” KWK was later found guilty of hiding the “treasure” in Tower Grove Park the day before it was found by a listener even though clues to its whereabouts had been broadcast for several days. The Federal Communications Commission eventually found the station guilty of conducting a fraudulent contest and revoked KWK’s license to broadcast, shutting down its operation.
When Ed Ceries signed on with a new FM station in St. Louis in 1961, Castanie went to work for him. The station, known as KSHE, featured female announcers playing classical music and was located in the basement of Ceries’ home in Crestwood. Castanie says his work with the new station didn’t last long: “I was let go because they couldn’t afford to pay me.”
Looking back on his experience over the years gives Castanie a different perspective, especially when it comes to the real reason he was hired at his KCFM job. “Years later my uncle, who managed the building, said that Harry [Eidelman] hired me hoping that if he couldn’t pay the rent there my uncle wouldn’t evict him.”
(Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Journalism Review. Originally published 11/2001).

Buddy Blattner, Sports Voice

Much like the proverbial cat with nine lives, Buddy Blattner proved to St. Louisans several times that one man could be successful in many careers.
Robert G. Blattner, known to his fans as “Buddy” died September 4th  [2009] after suffering from lung cancer. He was 89. Although many remember him as the announcer for the St. Louis Hawks professional basketball team, Blattner excelled in many other areas before and after that part of his life.
At age 12, he would venture into John’s Pool Hall here in St. Louis where he honed his table tennis skills. It was reported the kids would put slabs of wood atop the pool tables to use them for table tennis. The pool hall on Natural Bridge may not have been the ideal spot for a youngster to hang out, but Blattner became a world champion at the craft while he was a student at Beaumont High School
By graduation his prowess at baseball was also becoming apparent. He became a part of the Cardinals organization and moved up to the Majors in the 1942 season. He got to play in only 19 games, though, before he was drafted into the military, serving the Navy in the Pacific.  The Cardinals went on to win the World Series that year, prompting Buddy Blattner to quip, “The team said I sparked them to the pennant by going into the service.”
After the war at age 26, Blattner played 3 more seasons with the Giants and one with the Phillies, ending his career with a .247 average. Within a year he had transitioned to a different sort of baseball career.
He debuted in the broadcast booth of the St. Louis Browns in 1950, paired with another former Major Leaguer named Dizzy Dean. Blattner later acknowledged in an interview with SJR that his job was to be Dean’s straight man.
When the Browns moved to Baltimore after the 1952 season, Blattner and Dean moved their act to a national level with radio’s “Game of the Day” and television’s “Game of the Week.” And when the St. Louis Hawks pro basketball team came to St. Louis in 1955, Buddy Blattner became their radio voice.
From the booth in the rafters of the old Kiel Auditorium, Blattner broadcast 800 games for the team, and owner Ben Kerner knew how lucky he was to have Buddy on board. In 1960, when Jack Buck was fired from the Cardinals’ TV broadcast booth, Blattner took his place. It was said the move was a reward to Kerner for switching his team’s beer sponsorship from Falstaff to Budweiser.
Fans of those halcyon basketball days in St. Louis fondly recall Buddy Blattner’s voice on the booming 50,000 watts of KMOX. His familiarity with those who followed basketball was typified in his trademark phrase after a foul was called, when he would tell listeners, “They’re walking the right way,” or “They’re walking the wrong way,” depending on which team had committed the foul.
In 1959, Blattner asked to be removed from his national baseball broadcasting contracts, and after he left the Hawks, he did baseball announcing for the California Angeles and, later, the Kansas City Royals. He was founder of The Buddy Fund in 1961, a St. Louis organization that still provides sports equipment to the area’s underprivileged kids. He retired from broadcasting in 1975.
Never one to sit idle, Blattner then excelled at tennis in the Senior Olympics, earning a large collection of medals for his effort.
Perhaps one of the most valued assessments of Buddy Blattner’s work came from Jack Buck, the man whom he briefly replaced in the Cardinals’ TV booth. Without mincing words, Buck said Buddy Blattner was the greatest basketball broadcaster ever.
(Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Journalism Review. Originally published 10/2009).

Bob Holt, KMOX Announcer, Quit Ministry For Mike

Aspiring radio performers will envy the natural ease with which Bob Holt broke into the game. Connected with a commercial organization whose radio program was suddenly minus one of its regular performers, he was put in on a moment’s notice. His characterization without rehearsal was so outstanding as to create immediate interest. He was offered a position as an announcer, and though previously he had no thought of entering radio, he accepted because of the new experiences it offered.
His voice, however, is an inheritance from his mother, who, as Jessie Nelson, was well known in St. Louis some years ago as an elocutionist and teacher of elocution.
Young Bob was educated for a religious career. He attended seminary in St. Louis and a year abroad. An interesting sidelight is Bob’s reason for giving up the ministry as a life’s work: an intense dislike for public speaking. Even now he avoids public notice and confines his oratory to the small, round metallic instrument known as the microphone. But he is sufficiently cured of this reserve to aspire beyond everything else to sing over the radio when he has completed vocal training.
Bob Holt is now a real radio fan. His favorite pastime is paddling a canoe, with a portable radio and his favorite programs for companions.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 6/11/32).

When Radio Was Young

L.A. Benson at 32 is St. Louis’ Pioneer of Radio, Having Made First Broadcast and Installed City’s First Station.
Eleven years ago, L.A. Benson installed a radio receiver in an automobile and amazed the citizenry with a statement that the day would come when policemen would be in continuous communication with headquarters by means of radio.
He demonstrated his portable receiver to Chief of Police Martin O’Brien and a group of skeptics, who saw the device as an impractical and unnecessary invention.
Today, owners of short-wave radio sets are unimpressed when they hear police calls connecting headquarters with radio cars on the streets in all sections of the city. Radio police communication is an accomplished fact today and therefore commonplace.
Benson’s “dream” of eleven years ago is a reality now. But police radio communication is only one of the marvels of the era which has seen broadcasting develop into a major industry. He has been closely allied with every important step in radio broadcasting in this community, dating from the first broadcast sent from the basement in his little radio shop in 1920 – news of Harding’s election.
About a year later he established a record for long-distance radio broadcasting, having been heard as far away as Bristol, Conn. This achievement was flashed throughout the world as important news.
Ten years ago – he was 22 years old then – Benson installed radio station KSD and operated it for several months. That was his first adventure in broadcasting on a large scale. Now he is president of Missouri Broadcasting Corporation, owners of WIL.
Benson was the first St. Louisan to receive a commercial radio license. He began experimenting with wireless telegraphy when he was 14 years old and three years later ran away from home so he could enlarge the scope of his radio experience. He served as Marconi operator on the U.S.S. Arizona, a steamer on the Great Lakes and in 1918 entered military service at Camp Pike, where he became an instructor in wireless and was commissioned a first lieutenant.
Returning to St. Louis at the close of the war, he and W.E. Wood formed the Benwood Company to deal in radio equipment. The store was located at Thirteenth and Olive streets and it was from there that Benson did his first broadcasting. In 1921 the store was moved to 1110 Olive street and the call letters of the Benson station were WEB. Four years later Benson moved his station to the Star building and was assigned the call letters WIL, which still identify his station, now one of the most popular in the city.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 6/11/32).

KMOX Broadcasts Return Of Beer On CBS Network

The broadcast of the return of beer from Anheuser-Busch over KMOX last Thursday was hailed as the most successful heard during the two-hour CBS network program. Through the efforts of J.L. Van Volkenburg, Director of Operations, Walter “Hank” Richards, Program-Production Director, and Graham L. Tevis, Audio Engineer, the entire program necessitated accurate timing and numerous “remote” details clicked off perfectly.
France Laux was Master of Ceremonies of the program that included a broadcast from the warehouse where Marvin Mueller was in charge of describing the first trucks of beer that left the plant, another to the rail yards where Garnett Marks was heard and another to Lambert field where the first case of beer for President Roosevelt was loaded on a TWA plane. August A. Busch, Jr., addressed the nation upon the significance of the return of beer as it affects our economic structure.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 4/22/1933).

KMOX Janitors Became Radio Stars

When Miriam Blue took off her rubber gloves, put down her janitor's supplies and began talking into a microphone at KMOX radio in 1975, she was following in the footsteps of a man who did the same thing nearly 40 years earlier.
Sol Williams, like Miss Blue, was an African-American (the term in those days was "Negro") janitor when KMOX occupied studios in the Mart Building in 1938. Co-workers at the station appreciated Sol's wit and happy banter as he mopped the floors. His advanced age of 70 didn't stop him from living life to the fullest and loving it. 
A debut on KMOX for Sol Williams came at an unexpected moment, a time when sports announcer France Laux suddenly found himself without an expected guest at the beginning of his nightly sports show. Williams had been working as a janitor at KMOX for 10 years, and Laux's producer knew the man loved sports and had lots of opinions. Larry Neville ran out into the hallway. "Sol," he shouted. "Drop that mop and come on in here."
On the air, Laux was stretching, not knowing what was going on. As he saw Sol being escorted into the studio, he didn't miss a beat. "…and our guest for the evening is the celebrated sports authority, Sol Williams." There was no evidence of microphone fright, and management quickly found out how listeners felt. Fan mail came pouring in. Sol Williams became a regular guest on the "Hot Stove League" program.
In the late 1930s, almost everything heard on the radio was scripted, but not Sol. Laux reportedly wanted Williams to be himself, and a script would have hampered that. One of the traits that endeared the janitor to the listeners was his humanness. Sol was known for shifting his allegiance if his favorite teams or players let him down. As he once said on the program, "I picks 'em now. There ain't nothin' said about me having to stay on a team if it lets me down."
Miriam Blue and Jack CarneyMiriam Blue's big break came in October of 1975 as she dusted in the KMOX studios while Jack Carney was on the air. At age 61, Miss Blue, as she was known to the staff, was a welcome sight in the studios at 1 Memorial Drive. Known for her constant upbeat approach to life, Miss Blue rode the bus from her home in East St. Louis each day. When asked how she was doing, her consistent answer was a sincere "All is well."
As she told it later in her career, Miriam Blue was dusting in Carney's studio and he began asking her questions. She answered in her usual upbeat manner, not knowing the microphones were on. The reaction from the audience was immediate, just as it had been with Sol Williams, and Carney created a regular slot twice a week at 10:15 on his program for her. She had advice for callers who phoned the program with their problems, and she was later incorporated into Carney's wildly popular "As the Stomach Turns" skits. She joined the broadcasters' union, AFTRA, and was paid for her broadcast appearances.
After he got finished on the air each evening, Sol. Williams returned to his cleaning chores around the KMOX studios, and Miss Blue did too, even though a national spotlight began to shine her way. The Associated Press ran a feature article about her broadcast success, which led to an article in People magazine and another on CBS-TV. The game show "To Tell the Truth" flew her to New York to appear as a guest star and she was featured in "The David Susskind Show" on CBS Radio. The New York trip was not only her first time on a plane. It was also her first visit to Lambert Field in St. Louis.
She continued on Carney's show, as well as in her job as KMOX janitor until she was hospitalized in the early '80s suffering from a stroke. She passed away in the hospital.
Miriam Blue was once asked by a reporter whether she was making a lot more money in her new status as a KMOX celebrity. Her response was vintage Miriam Blue: "I just couldn't be happy as the idle rich."
(Reprinted with permission of the "St. Louis Journalism Review." Originally published 11/00)

KFUO Moves Studio

KFUO-AM Radio and broadcast operations have relocated from the Concordia campus in Clayton to the LCMS International Center Chapel at 1333 S. Kirkwood Road. The station had been located in Clayton since 1924 and moved to Kirkwood on Monday, June 24 [2013].
Prominent studio space in the LCMS International Center lobby will allow the station to show off KFUO as a great asset to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and allow it to to expand out its gospel radio ministry. The move will benefit the church by increasing the synergy between the radio station and other Synod departments and ministries.
(Originally published in the Webster-Kirkwood Times 8/2/2013).

KWK - Hotel Chase

1280 Kilocycles - - - 234.2 Meters
KWK which until a month ago callied the call letters KFVE is now in its tenth month of operation in its present home and under its present ownership and management, the station having officially opened bearing the name of the International Life Insurance Company on March 17th, 1927.
It is generally conceded that KWK now ranks as St. Louis' most progressive station. Its rapid rise to recognition started in April, 1927, when it scooped all other local stations and was first to present a play-by-play account of both the Cardinal and Brown Baseball Games (Ed. note: Some dispute this claim.) This feature won for the station thousands of followers. Through the broadcasting of nationally known orchestras from the Palm Room of the Hotel Chase it developed a large number of listeners who tuned in nightly to enjoy the music of the best orchestras in the St. Louis district.
Through its morning shoppers' program another large following was developed, as it was the first station to present morning programs which were enjoyed.
In the month of October, the station gained a splendid reputation through its untiring efforts and successful work during the tornado disaster. It was the first station on the air with the news.
The Shut-In-Fund through which the station provides radio sets for the unfortunates who are shut in has been another nice feature that has won public favor and brought joy and happiness to many of the unfortunate in the St. Louis district.
The station's standing in the community was most conclusively proven when more than twelve thousand listeners cast a vote by letter requesting the Federal Radio Commission to grant the station full time on its wave length while only forty-one voted against full time; and, though it is true full time was not granted by the commission, the station was only asked to give up two hours on Sunday to two other stations, namely WMAY and KFQA.
On December the first the station acquired the Blue Network programs from the National Broadcasting Company, and now broadcasts daily many national features, namely: Roxy and His Gang, Rise and Shine, Stromberg-Carlson Orchestra and Quintettes, The Sixty Continentals, The Torrid Tots, The Armand Company Girls, The Variety Hour, The Mediterranean Dance Band, The Ampico Hour, The Chicago Civic Opera Company's Balkite Program, The Wrigley Wrigamarole, The Victor Hour, Collier's Hour, Thomas Cook & Son Travelogue and a program by Montgomery Ward & Co., and the White Rock Mineral Springs Co. which starts next week.
On Sunday in each week, the station has also added the broadcast of a Little Symphony Concert with soloists from 12:00 to 2:00 P. M. followed by the St. Louis Symphony Pop Concerts through the courtesy of the Laclede Gas Light Company from 3:00 to 5:00 P. M.
Many new features and additional programs are being developed  and the most promising future appears to be in store for the station. It is the ambition of the entire staff and all those affiliated with the station that KWK  rank with the best in the west on or before the first birthday of the station which will be March 17th, 1928.
(Originally published in the International Life Broadcaster January 1928).

The First KSHE Promotional Brochure

Station Policy

In this era of "Modern Radio"...resplendent with frenzied format...rapid-fire rhetoric...ear-splitting shrieks...and programming designed to set your teeth on listeners are casting about frantically in this cackling cacophony (where even static can be soothing) for the small...still voice of sanity...programming designed to be listened to...with delight...not delirium.
In light of this need for common-sense listening and enlightened programming...K-SHE has painstakingly planned its listening day for the discriminating listener who expects more from radio than radio has been able to offer...until K-SHE.
Our format is adult programming for adult intelligence and adult preference. Programming with a purpose.
K-SHE is the radio station in which people are interested.
Meet the Lady of FM
K-SHE began operations on February 11, at 94.7 Megacycles, serving an area, roughly circular, within fifty miles from Crestwood. Although she is still a very young lady, K-SHE has acquired a reputation with her listeners as a "good music" station, programming over 26 hours of better classical music weekly. This is almost double that of any commercial FM station in the area.
Full Dynamic Range Sound is heard exclusively on K-SHE. This is an electronic system, whereby music is reproduced and transmitted to the listener in exactly the way the artist performed it - the pianissimo passages are heard pianissimo - the fortissimo passages are heard fortissimo. Nothing has been added - nothing taken away. Music is alive - as though the work were being performed in the listener's home.
Inherent in the FM system is good frequency response and freedom from static, distortion and natural or man-made interference. K-SHE has been painstakingly designed and constructed to take every advantage of these qualities. No effort or engineering talent has been spared to make K-SHE the finest-sounding station in this area. Distortion and compression on K-SHE have been brought to such a low level that they are almost unmeasurable. K-SHE sound is THE finest sound in the area.
Frequency response is flat to a fantastic range, far beyond the requirements of the FCC technical standards. Proof? Ask any listener.
Station image has carefully and rapidly been built into the operation of K-SHE. The call letters are always given with a female voice, with emphasis that K-SHE is the "LADY OF FM" with many moods. She is sophisticated, unpredictable, with the continental touch and ALWAYS INTERESTING.
Success? Many letters received by K-SHE are addressed to "the Sophisticated Lady" - "the Unpredictable Lady" - "the Lady of FM" - etc. Many telephone callers ask to speak to "The Lady."
Finally, K-SHE is known as ":the station that DARES to be DIFFERENT."
K-SHE is the area's only FM station with a balanced program schedule; one that was designed, not an accident. Its programming is patterned after but not copied from successful FM operations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
"Raconteur" nightly with Bud De Weese.
"Madamoiselle" weekly.
Garden Time weekly.
Cocktail Hour nightly
Over 11 hours of Comment weekly.
Musical Comedy nightly
Variety and Comedy nightly.
Over 4 hours of Comedy weekly.
Over 4 hours of Broadway Musical Comedy weekly.
Chain of Events.
News at the local level with weather every hour at the half hour during the day and between programs at night.
Complete performance each Sunday evening at 9:00 P.M. on "Night at the Opera."
Profiles in Jazz - two hours of better Jazz each Sunday at 4:00 P.M.
We're not sorry - none on K-SHE.
You'll find a veritable kaleidoscope of worthwhile, better listening on K-SHE, the station that truly DARES to be DIFFERENT.

Get Up and GO

He may be strictly for the early birds, but Gary Owens takes his civic responsibilities seriously. On Station WIL from 5:30 to 9 each morning, he wakes up St. Louis. It takes some doing. Gary must first rouse himself, then his wife "Arty" (Arlette), then one-by-one the "cast of thousands" who assist him in his morning shenanigans. Despite the heavy labor, Gary insists he enjoys the routine - "especially around 4 ayem, when I make coffee in my pajamas." ("Sometimes," quips Gary, "I wish we had a percolator!")...But the cast of thousands don't wake easily. For the most part they're a rascally bunch, destined to get coal in their stockings come Christmas. Among the leaders are Clinton Feemish, career nepotist; Fenwick Smoot, unlisted; The Marquis de Sade; and an amoeba named Frank. For a fictional break, Gary puts on his horn-rimmed glasses and plays "Uncle Don" reading the funnies. "Suddenly a huge black-lettering balloon comes out of the head of Rex Migraine, M.D.," narrates the GO-man, "and in big, blac k letters spells, 'Sorry, I can't remove your pancreas for only $25; however I may be able to loosen it a bit'...The nurses in the series," puns Gary, "are just too cute for wards."...Back in Plankinton, South Dakota, some 24 years ago, Gary didn't have such heavy duties. Just born, no matter how hard he cried, he couldn't wake more than 750 sleepyheads - the entire Plankinton population. On the "GO" ever since, Gary's been artist, journalist and deejay extraordinary. Gary also has the distinction of being the first American deejay to phone Moscow to ask if they kept a Top Forty list. "It was a Party Line," Gary surmises. "They told me the U.S.S. R. prefers the classics."...Because his wife Arty majored in psychology in college, she understands GO and shares all of his "real gone" enthusiasms - like sipping espresso and playing Monopoly. But then it's time for WIL's wake-up man to quiet down. By nature he's not an insomniac, but, before drifting off, Gary likes to think about his great system for rabbit-hunting in St. Louis. "You just wait for the rabbit to come by," says GO, "and make a noise like a carrott!"
(Originally published in TV/Radio Mirror 1/1959)

KXOK-FM Buys Broadcast Facilities

The purchase of the highest radio tower in St. Louis, and an FM transmitter radiating more power than any now in use in the area, has been announced by C.L. (Chet) Thomas, General Manager of KXOK and KXOK-FM, St. Louis Star-Times radio stations.
Thomas said the tower, which is located atop the Boatmen's Bank Building in downtown St. Louis, will also be used for television transmission when the Federal Communications Commission approves the pending application.
The tower, transmitter and equipment were purchased from station KWK St. Louis and includes a long-term lease on the entire 21st floor of the bank building, which has long been a familiar landmark on the Mississippi riverfront skyline. The tower atop the 23 story building is 574 feet above street level.
The eight-way antenna, fed by a 10 kilowatt Western Electric transmitter, will radiate 70-thousand watts. It will assure a clear, strong signal in a 17,500 square mile area.
Present transmitter operations of KXOK-FM are located in the Continental Building in mid-town St. Louis. The antenna there is 387 feet above street level and it was here that the St. Louis Star-Times pioneered in experimental ultra-high frequency broadcasts through W9XOK more than a decade ago.
The purchase of the new transmitter is subject to FCC approval and KXOK will take occupancy of the new headquarters as soon as approval is received.
Studios of both KXOK and KXOK-FM will remain in the Star-Times building in downtown St. Louis.
KXOK-FM is associated with Transit Radio, and according to Thomas, who is president of Transit Radio, Inc., the station, in addition to being received in thousands of homes throughout the area, sends its programs of music, news, sports, weather reports, time signals and announcements to 1,000 radio-equipped vehicles of the St. Louis Public Service Company.
The negotiations for the sale of the transmitter, tower, equipment and lease were handled by Thomas and Ray Dady, vice-president of KWK. No sale price was announced. Dady said the newly acquired facilities will give the Star-Times station the most powerful FM signal in the area. "It is a splendid plant," Dady continued, "and the tower on the Boatmen's Bank Building is the tallest structure in St. Louis. The Star-Times is fortunate in having acquired this excellent property," he said.
(Originally published in the St. Louis Advertising Club Weekly 12/26/1949).

We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

At least most of the Staff members of your radio station live in a big house all together where they cook and sleep and laugh and learn. The house has a big staircase, lots of bathrooms (most of which don't work) and a restaurant kitchen which is nice to have as there are always 15 to 20 people sitting down to dinner and lots of hungry folks who wander in and out during the day. There is a big signup sheet in the kitchen. It has boxes which say: Thirsty, Refried, Satieted, Saute, and other days of the week. Next to each box someone who feels like doing it signs their name for cooking that particular night and for cleaning up afterwards too.
There are quite a few bedrooms in the house counting the third floor and the living room, which is a bedroom right now. Almost every bedroom has two people living in it; some of them have three. People sleep at different times because of working off hours at KDNA. Lots of times folks will be working all night fixing electronic equipment or making tapes when it is a little quieter at the station and our equipment is in less demand.
Every Tuesday night is clean-up night. We vacuum, and wash woodwork, and scrub the stove and do all of the things we're really too busy to get done every day. Since we all work together, it doesn't take long and it feels good. Somehow, even with mostly men in the house, the dishes get done, homemade bread gets baked and the washing machine gets hard use.
Sometimes there are house meetings to discuss things like how we are all getting along and whether we are eating too many eggs, if you know what I mean. But most of the talk in the house is about radio. How do I make it better? What are we doing wrong? What are we doing? Some people in the house are into politics and meditation, but we're all together on radio.
(Originally published in Fat Chance 2/1972).

KDNA Three Years In

KDNA has been broadcasting to St. Louis for over three years now at 102.5 FM. In this period of time the station has broadcast talk, and interviews, and strange and wonderful musics - the types of programs which, because of their diversity (or rareness) have been ignored by all the other commercial and educational broadcast outlets in the city. KDNA was set up by two people who had worked at other community, listener-supported stations in the country...KRAB in Seattle, KBOO in Portland, and KATO in Los Gatos. It took them some ten years to go through the FCC application and hearing process, to get the station on the air, and to make it what it is today.
And KDNA is something special. There are only eight similar stations in the country: radio outlets with the independence and the fire to broadcast such a variety of talk and musical programs. There are interviews on poverty, and war, and hate, and love, and The Meaning of Life. There are musics of Spain, and Africa, and India, and Central Europe. There are concerts of rare jazz, and obscure blues, and unknown classical works. There is an entire panoply of music and talk and ideas which are always ignored by the other radio and television outlets in this country because of fear, or outrageous greed. "The history of radio in this country is littered with the bodies of those who have tried to do something better or different with the Aether - and who have been sold down the river by commercial interests," one critic has written.
We do not want KDNA to become just another body. We want it to survive, to live, to prosper - to become a permanent part of St. Louis life.
The two original founders of KDNA are now in financial straits. They have spent all their funds on this and similar operations in the country. And comes now an offer - a very large offer - from a commercial broadcaster, to buy KDNA and turn it into something else.
These two people, being not less than human, but just like the rest of us, are very tempted, are sorely tempted. Still, they would like to see some perpetuation of their broadcast ideals for the city; but the city will have to buy the outlet from them.
A non-profit corporation has been formed. Called Double Helix, it is established to own and operate KDNA as a perpetual community broadcast outlet. But it must raise $250,000 to purchase KDNA from the present owners.
$250,000...that sounds like an enormous amount of money. It is - and yet it isn't. It is far less than half of what the owners of KDNA have been offered by national commercial radio groups for that frequency. As we say, the previous owners are not being greedy.
But they have to pay back the enormous number of debts facing them on the construction of KDNA and three other broadcast stations. They have given Double Helix Corporation a few months to come up with the purchase price. When 20% of this purchase price is raised, the FCC will be petitioned to allow transfer of control of KDNA to this non-profit corporation. The radio station will then be set as a community operation for all the peoples of St. Louis. We would like your help in this endeavor. It goes without saying that the opportunity will never come up least not at this price. Please help us to make this community station a permanent part of the intellectual, cultural and political life of St. Louis.
KDNA is staffed by fifteen full-time and forty-five volunteer personnel. The full-time staff gets subsistence wage, which includes free room and board at the staff house, plus about $25 spending money each month. (The spending money comes from 1% per person of the total station income.) Volunteers receive no monetary compensation for their work. Full-time personnel work on an 8-12 hour day, every day, basis. Regular volunteers range up to about 30 hours a week. In addition, there is a continual stream of part time volunteers on an irregular basis.
Station policy is, generally, made on a collective basis with no distinctions drawn between full-time staff and regular volunteer personnel. Major decisions are made at weekly staff meetings, run on a democratic basis with group consensus determining most decisions. The station gives maximum freedom to each participant, and we have usually found that the effect any one individual has upon the station is closely related with the effort that individual expends.
"You know that we can never lose sight of the fact that the sole purpose for which an advertiser spends money is to win friends and influence people. Anything that he might do, however meritorious in one direction, that makes enemies is a bad action and is to be assiduously avoided." - memo from general manager for radio and television of a major advertising agency to Hubbell Robinson, Director of Programming for CBS Television.
KDNA has not always been listener supported radio. It started as a commercial station. But several things quickly became apparent. Commercial sponsors want to control the programming that surrounds their advertisement. They want a program that will hold the ears of just the "right audience"...THEN THEY MAKE THEIR PITCH. This considerably diminishes freedom to broadcast, an ideal KDNA was created to expand.
Few people are aware of the incredibly high percentage of time devoted to commercials on most radio stations. Even fewer know of the time staff at such stations put into lining up those commercials, matching ads to programs and producing the ads themselves. This was an energy drain on creative programming KDNA did not want.
KDNA found itself advertising products it just didn't think people needed, using programming energies to create an attractive "package" that would tell consumers to rush out and BUY, BUY, BUY.
"We know that your series is striving mightily to do things that are different and outstanding so that, as a series, it will rise above the general level of TV drama. This is fine, but since the series is a vehicle for commercial advertisers, it must also be extremely sensitive to utilizing anything, however dramatic, however different, however well done, if this will offend viewers." - Ibid
All these considerations indicated that KDNA should stop advertisements. Yet they were learning other things as well. As they became more familiar with the radio medium - what it is and what it can be - they began to understand that communication (and thus the media of communication) is too important a factor in the development of our society to be left to the manipulations of the commercial business world.
"As long as this series wishes commercial sponsorship, all of the creative people associated therewith must never forget that not to offend people must be an inviolate rule for guiding their operation. Narrow, prejudiced, ignorant, or what you will, though any part of the population may be, as a commercial vehicle the series must be ever alert not to alienate its viewers." - Ibid
Mass commuications is an art, a science that must grow and develop according to ppeople's needs - not their needs to sell or buy, but their need to communicate with one another. The KDNA staff felt that communications should be supported by and responsible to the people of its community directly. People should learn of the need for open and effective communication and be willing to support it. Broadcasters should be accountable for the content and quality of their communications to all area citizens, not just advertisers.
KDNA became a listener supported station in 1970. It was hard at first. St. Louisans had to understand the concepts KDNA was talking about before they could be expected to offer support. That took time - time in which finances reached often precarious levels. However, the situation soon began to stabilize. The subscription list has constantly expanded as more and more listeners "get the message" and as more and more subscribers see that supporting KDNA is more than a one-time gift.
For over one-and-a-half years now, listeners have totally supported KDNA's day-to-day operations. What that means is that KDNA is supported by its community more than any other station in the United States.
We believe our world has too many categories, barriers and divisions in how we act, how we think, how we live our lives. These barriers keep us from seeing true relationships among people, among ideas - the whole reality around us. At KDNA we try to break down some of those compartments in our lives. That's why we think no one person should just answer the phone, or just manage the station, or just be an announcer.
And that belief is reflected in our programs as well. Music can be used in many different ways. News should not be a five minute phenomenon, or a neatly encapsulated two-minute nothingness. Everything should be public affairs. Everything should be entertainment; nothing should be just entertainment. Everything should be political; nothing should be just politics.
But breaking down artificial barriers doesn't mean blinding ourselves to the differences that make up the variety of our existence. And recording the mayor's press conference is a different process than selecting the right record to play following a phone-in program on ecology. So we'll talk about the different areas of the station's programming and the different techniques that it is possible to use. Yet we hope there will remain a clear theme of integrated communication by and for the people of our city.
Think of "educational broadcasting": for a moment. Other than Sesame Street, a few special programs and the Great American Dream Machine, the vision is probably pretty bleak. Yet KDNA conceives of itself as educational radio - and that concept lies behind much, if not all, of its programming.
KDNA has no affiliation with an educational institution, nor is it licensed as an educational station. But KDNA provides more educational services than any other broadcaster in the St. Louis area.
Both students and faculty from local colleges, universities and high schools have made extensive use of KDNA's broadcast facilities. Mark Seldon and Jeff Shevitz, two nationally known professors from Washington University, have a regular program at KDNA. So does Chuck Lomas, a graduate student in urban planning at SIU. Mary Lehman of the St. Louis Learning Resources Exchange hosts the Spotlight on Education, regularly bringing in people who are at the cutting edge of crisis and creation in the educational field. These are but a few examples.
A recent arrangement with KFRH, the Washington University student station, is yet another kind of service. Through direct link-ups between the studios of the two stations, students will have access to the entire KDNA listening audience. Staff members will work with the students, training them in production work and effective radio communication.
Local high school students have access to KDNA broadcast facilities, providing "real" learning experiences. Occasional broadcasts of projects prepared for classes give a special extra value to the work.
KDNA will often broadcast speeches, discussions and other special programs from local educational institutions, as well as programs recorded at colleges and universities across the country. This sevrice makes it possible to share the resources of these institutions with a mass audience. A regular listener to KDNA will hear more lectures by top ranking authorities than most students at a typical university.
Other services include the continual availability of KDNA staff members to speak to classes and seminars on a variety of topics; the instant availability of nationally known speakers to our listeners for direct interchange through our phone lines; and the recent publication of the KDNA Handbook, a how-to-do-it guide for producing radio programs, making documentaries, covering news stories, etc.
In addition to these services, perhaps the most important educational contribution of KDNA is the continuing broadcast of music, poetry, drama and discussion heard nowhere else in this area.
It all merges together in a layered collage, at times entertaining, at times grating to the ear, at times reinforcing, sometimes knocking you down, but always pushing at the borders of your mind, and that, in the end, is what education is all about.
(Originally published in Fat Chance 4/1972).

Ragtime Piano

On March 7 [1972], KDNA began a series of lour-long programs each Tuesday evening from eight to nine on the heritage of ragtime piano. The program is being organized and presented by Mr. Trebor Tichenor of St. Louis. Mr. Tichenor plays piano with the St. Louis Ragtimers down on the Showboat Goldenrod and is coincidnetally a recognized authority on ragtime in the U.S.
The program draws nearly exclusively from the collection of piano rolls and records in Mr. Tichenor's collection, and he will provide commentary for the works.
We aren't sure how long the series will run, but if you have any comments or questions about the program you might write the station, or better yet, call up during the program since it will all be produced live from our studios.
(Originally published in Fat Chance April 1972)

KKSS History

In 1974, KKSS came to life on the FM band at 107.7 mHz., owned by the Amaturo Group. With a lively, pop format, the station established itself in the market. Seeing an opening in formats, management segued to disco, and finally, a popular Black format. With power increased to 100 KW in 1977, commercial success continued. Station call letgters were changed to KMJM in January, 1980.

KKOJ History

In a short-lived, unsuccessful effort at increasing the station's bottom line, owner Richard Miller revamped KADI-AM in July of 1978, removing the album-oriented format and replacing it with pop music and christening the station KKOJ - "OJ-13, Turn on the Juice." The effort lasted a little more than a year, when the KADI call letters returned.

KJSL History

Crawford Broadcasting purchased KXOK in late 1993. By May of the following year, the call letters were changed to KJSL, with a format described as "Talk Radio Hell Hates."

KIRL History

After tuning to 1460 on their AM dials for ten years to hear KADY, listeners heard a total identity change in July of 1968.
The studios were located in a small building in Boschertown, near St. Charles. New owners Mike Rice and his father changed the format from easy listening music to Top 40, pointing out that the old format had not only been unsuccessful; the KADY owners had actually declared bankruptcy in 1965.The Rices targeted listeners who were between 18 and 34 years old, competing directly against longtime powerhouse KXOK.
KIRL was sold in 1979 to Bronco Broadcasting, whose investors included several pro sports figures. It was the first black-owned radio station in the market. Upon completion of the sale, the format was changed to gospel music. 

New Director At WEW

Rev. Chas. T. Corcoran, S.J., is the new director of Radio Station WEW, St. Louis University, succeeding Rev. Thurber M. Smith, who was recently appointed assistant dean of the Graduate School.
The new director is carrying out the enlarged program initiated by Father Smith at the beginning of the year, and he is trying to maintain the same high standard.
In pursuance of this policy, plans are now under way, under the direction of professor Walter von Kalinowski, to eliminate jazz and to cater exclusively to listeners who have a taste or desire for the best in music.
Another point of the present policy is to emphasize educational features. Since radio entertainment is sufficiently provided by other stations, it will be the aim of WEW to devote itself more and more, as circumstances permit, to popular education. With this in view Fr. Corcoran is endeavoring to enlist the cooperation of faculty members in inaugurating a University faculty hour which will be devoted exclusively to talks by various instructors. Several of the departments have already given to this project their hearty cooperation, and others, no doubt will join them.
(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 1/16/32).


KSHE At the Castaways

Radio station KSHE has made a big step into the lives of St. Louis area teens. KSHE-95 in the past few weeks has changed to “Rock Radio.” Now they have gone a step further and broadcast live every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 9 to 10 PM direct from the Castaways, 930 Airport Road in Ferguson, Missouri. The live broadcasts are emceed by Don O’Day, Big Jack Davis, and St. Louis’ own Johnny B. Goode.

Johnny B. Goode 1968

Top bands are featured each night. You’ll hear sounds from such popular groups as Jerry Jay and the Sheratons, the Acid Sette, Herman Grimes and the Spectors with the Mo Jo Men, Walter Scott and the Guise, the Good Feelin’, the Poets, the Belaerphon Expedition, the Aardvarks, and too many more to mention. Castaway management told Teen Sceen that some new big groups from out of town will be featured in the future.
And where is KSHE 95? Why, it’s on the FM dial. In fact, KSHE is the first radio station to play hard rock music. It has become known as all request radio, 24 hours a day. Many of the area high schools listen to KSHE during their lunch periods, among them Webster Groves, Parkway, and Vianney in Kirkwood. The new tempo at KSHE cannot be pinpointed. Jockeys move. Therefore the KSHE disc jockeys will be moving time segments regularly so listeners can catch the djs of KSHE during the time that they normally listen. Guest appearances are coming up too.
To sum it all up, look for big things to happen to St. Louis radio during the first part of 1968. Lots of surprises  and prizes from the new top station, KSHE, the official voice of Teen Sceen are in store for you.
(Originally published in Teen Sceen 1/68).

Action Central News 24 Hours A Day

The job of Action Central is NEWS…the compilation and reporting of daily events from the four corners of the globe, and beyond. We live in a fast-moving world, not necessarily of our own making. None-the-less it is a world of speed where each fleeting moment has its hope and despair, its good and its bad. The job of Action Central is to bring these daily events into focus, to clarify their intent and content, with a minimum loss of time. The Action Central reporter is not a commentator. He does not take time interpreting the news for his listeners. He presents news as it happens – leaving the basis and reasons up to the listener himself. The Action Central report is brief, concise, and unbiased. It is modern news, geared for modern listening.
In the 13 months since its inception, Action Central has established an outstanding reputation. This reputation comes from constantly staying in touch with the city, county, state, national, and world news sources. Of special interest to WIL listeners is local news. By instituting a “News Tip Wire,” Action Central has brought the scope of local news directly to the citizens of our community. “News Tip” has become well known. An on-the-spot account of a local news event can be phoned to Action Central by anyone. Merely by calling the “hot line,” Olive 2-0440, anyone can get in on the news coverage. At the end of the week, the Action Central News Staff looks over the various calls made and picks a winner for the best story of the week. This lucky honorary reporter becomes the recipient of a new Zenith transistor radio for his efforts. The tip service was, and still is, very successful.
Action Central is a hot spot. Served by the Associated Press, the United Press International, the Western Union Sports Wire, and the U.S. Weather Bureau Wire, WIL adds the mobile news cruiser and news tip information, to channel without delay ALL news to the fingertips of the reporter on duty. For him it’s a constant race against time. He has two deadlines an hour. By comparison, a newspaper only has one deadline a day. The Action Central reporter is constantly writing, re-writing, phoning, verifying. No news can be broadcast unless it is definitely verified. And this is most necessary where news tips are involved.
Bob Hardy opens the newsroom at the beginning of the day. At ten he’s joined by either Bud Clark or Paul Bair, with Gene Chase or Paul coming in at three in the afternoon. That gives the advantage of two men in Action Central at the peak times of the day, when news is being made. Reed Farrell takes over double duty at night from midnight to six, frequently checking the news sources while spinning records on his all night show. News doesn’t take a break…it happens at all hours of the day and night. And the WIL listener can be assured, when a story breaks…Action Central will break it immediately!
(From a WIL ad that ran 2/59). 

KHRU History

The station, operated by students at Clayton High School, was assigned the 88.1 frequency and signed on May 28, 1968, after several years of planning. It operated with 10 watts of power until the late '80s, when the F.C.C. forced the school district to divest itself of the frequency unless it could meet minimum requirements for operational hours.

KWK Celebrates 23rd Anniversary

As March 17th rolled around with the "wearin' o'; the green," Station KWK in St. Louis celebrated its twenty-third birthday on St. Patrick's Day.

KWK, now in its swank new quarters in the ultra-modern Globe-Democrat Tower Building, is the dream radio station that its founder, the late Thomas Patrick Convey visualized. And the dream radio station that Convey thought of actually came into being before his untimely death in 1934, primarily because he personally did enough work to weary three men.

Thomas Patrick, the name Convey used on the air, believed with unbounded faith that any project begun on St. Patrick's Day meant success for him. However that faith developed, St. Patrick and Thomas Patrick Convey both were on the job March 17, 1927, when KWK was launched from studios in the Hotel Chase.

Thomas Patrick Convey came to St. Louis in 1925 from Chicago to promote home shows with radio tie-ins. He ended up by organizing the original "Voice of St. Louis, Inc.," jointly controlled by 16 St. Louis firms under a unit plan. A year later he struck out for himself when he acquired the interests of Romaine Fielding, a former motion picture idol, who had established a small transmitter with the call letters KFVE in the old Egyptian Building in University City.

Shortly thereafter he secured permission from the Federal Radio Commission, which preceded the present Federal Communication Commission, to change the call letters to KWK and transfer the station to Hotel Chase. KWK was in the Chase Hotel twenty-two years before moving to its present location in the Globe-Democrat Tower Building May 9, last year[1949].

That same year of 1927 was history-making too. KWK brought the St. Louis public the first baseball broadcast from inside Sportsman Park [Note: This has been found to be inaccurate in further research.] and the story of Lindbergh's epock-making solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Bob Convey
Bob Convey

Robert T. Convey, KWK's President, was elected to that position shortly after the death of his father in 1924. Young Convey, then only 21, had had six years' experience in the radio business, which stood him in good stead. He had started as an announcer when he was 15 and was known to St. Louis listeners as Bob Thomas. He also worked as a salesman, a copy writer, a singer in the very popular "Frank and Ernest" team, and as chief announcer. He had been elected a vice-president of KWK two years earlier.

Under its new head KWK continued to grow. In 1936, the FCC authorized a power increase to 5,000 watts daytime. The new transmitter at Baden Station, Mo., went on the air the same year. It utilized a new 400-foot tower and the latest high-fidelity equipment.

Although since 1927 KWK had been affiliated with the Blue Network of the National Broadcasting Company, in 1938 KWK augmented the Blue Network schedule by an additional affiliation with the Mutual Broadcasting System. In 1941, KWK became the exclusive St. Louis affiliate of Mutual.

At the end of World War II, KWK's operations began to expand. KWK-FM went on the air in 1946, and in August 1949 KWK-FM also moved to the Globe-Democrat Tower Building from its old quarters in the Boatmen's Bank Building. KWK-FM operates with 40 kilowatts effective radiated power, and utilizes the antenna atop the 525-foot pour-posted tower from which the new building takes its name.

In 1948 KWK's application for increased nighttime power was granted, and on January 5, 1949, KWK began operating day and night with a power of 5,000 watts, thereby increasing its nighttime service area by many counties on both sides of the Mississippi River - in both Missouri and Illinois.

On March 31, 1949, KWK and the Globe-Democrat concluded an agreement whereby the newspaper acquired a minority interest in the station and leased its ultra-modern radio building at 12th and Cole in downtown St. Louis to KWK. The Globe-Democrat, which had been operating its FM station, KWGD, in the new building, returned its license to the FCC. At the same time the newspaper also withdrew its application for a television permit, lending its support to KWK's pending TV application.

The Tower Building was built originally with TV in mind and makes KWK one of the best-prepared stations for the expansion of TV when the "freeze" is finally lifted.

(Originally published in the St. Louis Advertising Club Weekly 3/20/1950). 

KMOX Moves to New Quarters

After a period of 25 years in the U.S. Army Support Center, formerly known as the Mart Building, Radio Station KMOX-CBS will move to a new location at 9th and Sidney Sts., Robert Hyland, general manager, has announced.
At the new address KMOX will have three modern radio studios, the latest hi-fi technical equipment available, and new general office facilities.
The forthcoming move will be the third in the 31-year history of the CBS-owned-and-operated outlet in St. Louis.
KMOX, organized as a civic enterprise in 1925 with studios in the Hotel Mayfair, moved into its present quarters in the Mart Building in 1931.
Present plans call for the move to the new location to be completed by March 4.
(Originally published in the Ad Club Weekly 3/4/1957).

KXLW Is Sold

Les Ware and an investment group headed by John W. Kluge, owner of a radio station in Silver Springs, Maryland,

Les Ware
have purchased the principal interest in local radio station KXLW. Art Sloan and two brothers, Lee and Virgil, of Sloan's Moving and Storage, were the former owners. Ware is to assume full charge of the operation as Vice-President and General Manager. No immediate changes in personnel or programs are contemplated.

(Originally published in the Ad Club Weekly 11/25/1952).

WTMV Is Sold

Les Ware and an investment group headed by John W. Kluge, owner of a radio station in Silver Springs, Maryland, have purchased the principal interest in a local radio
station, KXLW. Art Sloan and two brothers, Lee and Virgil, of Sloan's Moving and Storage, were the former owners. Ware is to assume full charge of the operation as
Vice-President and General Manager. No immediate changes in personnel or programs are contemplated.
(Originally published in the Ad Club Weekly 11/25/1952).

KMOX Goes to Continuous Broadcasting

An around-the-clock schedule for KMOX is announced by Merle S. Jones, general manager of the station. Heretofore, KMOX has been on the air from 5:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. daily, with 24-hour service on special occasions only.

Under the new schedule, which began October 16, the period from midnight to 5:00 a.m. will feature a variety program to be known as the "Victory Patrol"
with Guy Runnion serving as master of ceremonies.

Guy Runnion


Guy Runnion

The program itself will include news reports during the last five minutes of each hour; occasional interviews; special CBS transcriptions; western and
hilly-billy music; dance recordings and martial airs played by well-known bands. Special War Bond promotions will also be included.

With this new schedule, KMOX becomes the first St. Louis station to operate regularly every minute of the day.

(Originally published in the St. Louis Advertising Club Weekly 11/2/1942).

Newscasts from On-the-Scene Location

Bruce Barrington, News Editor for KXOK St. Louis, presented what is believed to be the first broadcast of its kind in the United States when he aired a direct report of a spectacular $1,000,000 fire near East St. Louis via mobile radio telephone. Barrington contacted Richard Everett, Star-Times reporter who was on the scene with a radio-telephone-equipped car from the studios and relayed, over the air, Everett's on-the-spot description of the 300-foot flames visible for miles, the crashing walls of the burning buildings which endangered the large crowd on hand and the great difficulty experienced by firemen because of the low water pressure caused by tremendous amounts of water being poured on adjacent buildings to keep the fire from spreading. The use of the radio-telephone has undoubtedly opeened up a new avenue of on-the-scene broadcasts.
(Originally published in the St. Louis Advertising Club Weekly 10/21/1946).

New Studios for KSD

KSD-TV-AM have moved into a new $1,000,000 home in downtown St. Louis. The building, formerly the mechanical annex of the Post-Dispatch, was extensively remodeled for the stations, which occupy the first two floors. The newspaper vacated the building two years ago. The new studios are among the most modern in the midwest, according to General Manager Harold Grams.
(Originally published in the Ad Club Weekly 11/26/1962).

KADI-FM Signs On

The first new FM station in the metropolitan area since 1955 signed on the air Tuesday, December 22, 1959.
Transmitting on 96.5 megacycles from the Continental Building at Grand and Olive in midtown St. Louis, the daytime transmission of KADI duplicates radio station KADY, which has served the St. Louis area from St. Charles since April, 1958. The new station in concert with KADY will program an hour of stereophonic broadcasting daily, except Sunday, when the two stations will program stereophonic music from 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
(Originally published in the Ad Club Weekly 12/28/1959).

KXOK Announces "Radio Park"

Radio Station KXOK has purchased a 2 1/2 acre tract in midtown St. Louis as the new site of its studios and offices. To be known as "Radio Park," the location fronts on the east side of Kingshighway Memorial Boulevard facing Sherman Park, and extends from Warwick Avenue on the north to Aldine Place on the south.
A two-story brick, concrete and steel office building on the property which contains over ten thousand square feet of floor space is being completely remodeled to provide new and larger quarters for the KXOK studios and offices.
The plans provide for engineering, program and continuity departments, studios, control rooms, news room, music library and business office on the first floor, and sales, traffic and executive offices on the second floor.
(Originally published in the Ad Club Weekly 8/8/1955). 

KSTL to Sign On

Completion of the staff of KSTL, new 1,000 watt station on 690kc in St. Louis, Mo., was announced this week by General Manager Frank E. Pellegrin. The station expects to take the air June 1.
Studios and offices of KSTL are in the American Hotel, 7th Street at Market, St. Louis. The transmitter and tower are at 999 South 6th Street, East St. Louis, Ill. Raytheon transmitting and studio equipment and a 352 foot Wincharged tower are in use.
Program policy calls for KSTL to be "the good music station for St. Louis," Pellegrin said. Pointing out that the station will carry no hillbilly or "hot jive" programs, he added that "at the other extreme we will not be too high-brow or long-hair. We intend, however, to program the station chiefly with good 'middle-of-the-road' music, with accent on melody rather than novelty."
The station will also feature a "less yakity yak" policy, he said. "We will not have any disc jockeys as such. Our announcers will introduce the programs and musical numbers with a minimum of chatter."
A series of "salute" broadcasts from other stations throughout the country and from national, state and local dignitaries is planned for the opening day's ceremonies.
(Originally published in the St. Louis Advertising Club Weekly 5/31/1948).

KHOJ History

​Call letters changed from KIRL 2005.

KGNA History

​Call letters changed from KCWA in 1999.

KGLD History

​Call letters were changed to KGLD in 1984 just prior to an ownership change in which the station was bought by Robinson Broadcasting. An oldies format was put in place. In 1991, owners Chase Broadcasting pulled the plug on oldies and instituted an all sports format, the market’s first. Call letters were changed late that year to KASP.

Live Teen Show Broadcast by KSHE 95

Live Teen Show Broadcast By KSHE/95

Top bands are featured each night. You’ll hear sounds from such popular groups as Jerry Jay and the Sheratons, the Acid Sette, Herman Grimes and the Spectors with the Mo Jo Men, Walter Scott and the Guise, the Good Feelin’, the Poets, the Belaerphon Expedition, the Aardvarks, and too many more to mention. Castaway management told Teen Sceen that some new big groups from out of town will be featured in the future.
And where is KSHE 95? Why, it’s on the FM dial. In fact, KSHE is the first radio station to play hard rock music. It has become known as all request radio, 24 hours a day. Many of the area high schools listen to KSHE during their lunch periods, among them Webster Groves, Parkway, and Vianney in Kirkwood.
The new tempo at KSHE cannot be pinpointed. Jockeys move. Therefore the KSHE disc jockeys will be moving time segments regularly so listeners can catch the djs of KSHE during the time that they normally listen. Guest appearances are coming up too.
To sum it all up, look for big things to happen to St. Louis radio during the first part of 1968. Lots of surprises and prizes from the new top station, KSHE, the official voice of Teen Sceen are in store for you.
(Originally published in Teen Sceen 1/68).

KXFN History

​Call letters changed from KSLG 2012


​The call letters were assigned to Cleveland High School in 1924, but no information could be found confirming that the station was ever on the air.


​Missouri Sports Radio, which owned KFNS(AM) in 1998, purchased KZMM, which was licensed to Troy, MO., in 1998. Call letters were changed to KFNS-FM.