NYPR Archives & Preservation
August 28, 2015 - Volume 14  Issue 34
Edition # 672


1924: Dr. W. C. Miller explains why it is necessary to muzzle dogs in New York City.
Sadly, this Sunday evening, we bid farewell to David Garland's Spinning on Air, a fixture on WNYC since August 2, 1987. At the time, WNYC's program guide Wavelength described it this way:

"Starting this month, FM/94 welcomes announcer/producer/host David Garland to a regular spot on our airwaves. David has worked with us on many special projects (remember those Audio Oddities during the American Music Festival?) Now he will bring his sonorous voice and fresh ideas to the air every Sunday night. From 6:30-8pm in August (7-8pm from then on), listen for Spinning On Air, when Garland spins through an hour of records, mostly drawn from his amazing collection. It's new radio, with roots in the excitement of radio in the 1940s."

Photo: David Garland in the 1980s, carefully retrieving a rare record on the roof of our old quarters at the Municipal Building on Centre Street. (WNYC Archive Collections)

February 28, 1939
WNYC host Ted Cott invited contralto Marian Anderson to sing on his program anytime she wanted to. The offer came as what he described as a "one-man protest against certain actions that occurred several days ago." That action was the D.A.R.'s (Daughters of the American Revolution) banning of the African-American singer's performance at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. scheduled for Easter Sunday.

Although no stranger to WNYC, Anderson did not appear on Cott's music quiz program, Symphonic Varieties. Cott, however, played three recorded selections by Anderson: I've Heard of a City Called Heaven, All God's Chillun Got Wings, and Lord, I Can't Stay Away. According to a newspaper account, Cott said, "You have just heard the voice of Marian Anderson, great contralto, singer extraordinary, citizeness of the United States, of which Washington, D.C. is the capitol." And in a jab at the D.A.R., Cott made a slight addition to the station ID: "This is Station WNYC, the Municipal Broadcasting Station, coming to you from New York City where more than 7 million live and enjoy the benefits of democracy. It is not enough to enjoy the benefits, one must deserve them." *  WNYC reportedly received several hundred calls in support of Cott's offer, while the D.A.R. complained.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt intervened and on March 30th, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes announced that the Lincoln Memorial would be made available for Anderson's performance.  The acclaimed open-air concert was attended by more than 75,000 people and had a radio audience in the millions.

Symphonic Varieties was WNYC's classical music quiz show. It first aired on July 4, 1938 and ran until CBS lured Cott and the show over to the network barely a year later, where it became the popular So You Think You Know Music.

*Source: Poston, Ted, "Die-Hards in D.A.R. Protest WNYC Bid to Miss Anderson," New York Evening Post, March 1, 1939, pg.1.
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8th, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)
WQXR Touchdown!

"That old Yale spirit proved too much last week for John V.L. Hogan, president of WQXR, New York. Station has never broadcast a football game, but at the urging of fellow Yale grads in New York, Hogan cancelled the regular Saturday afternoon schedule to pick up the play-by-play of the Harvard-Yale contest from Boston via the Yankee network. As a payoff, Yale lost, 14-0."

Source: Variety, November 26, 1941, pg. 40.

(Editor's Note: No doubt the WQXR Program Director will  consider a similar broadcast sometime soon).

.WNYC celebrated its 91st anniversary last month. Just think, only 9 short years to the big centennial. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions and milestones celebrating nearly a century of broadcasting in the public interest This week: WNYC Becomes Only Metro New York Radio Station Permitted to Use Naval Observatory Time.

Welcome this week to Ben Houtman, who will be helping us out while Senior Archivist Marcos Sueiro Bal is on leave in Spain for a year. Ben has just finished up at the University of Texas, Austin library program with a focus on audio.

We're also happy to report that digital producers Rachel Neel and James Ramsay have been enlisted to work with the Archives in the coming months to help us extend our reach and audience.

The WNYC News Department has not been shy about asking for some archive assistance lately and it shows!  Check out Stephen Nessen's, The Thing Donald Trump Didn’t Inherit and Janet Babin's, What it Means to Put ‘Trump’ on the Front of a Building.


The WNYC Facebook page has a station timeline (1922-present) with more than 600 milestones, photos, and links to audio. (Right hand column).
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Check out the @mayorlaguardia Twitter feed straight from the WNYC broadcasts! His Honor now has 561 followers.

The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 2,695 followers @wnycarchives. We tweet daily reminders of, and links to, WNYC broadcasts from that day in the past.
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