NYPR Archives & Preservation
October 30, 2014 - Volume 13  Issue 42
Edition # 630


1937: Mayor F. H. La Guardia and other city officials preside over the dedication of WNYC's new state-of-the-air transmitter facility at 10 Kent Street in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

1946: Betty Stamm interviews choreographer Igor Swetzoff and asks the questions, "What makes ballet tick?" and "Why are Americans mad about ballet now?"

1977: Roy Thomas discusses science-fiction writing and writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. He also talks about women writers of science fiction on The Reader's Almanac.

2008: Reporter Fred Mogul visits Roseanne and Jim Russo, who have invested about $16,000 transforming their house into a multi-colored Mecca for Halloween pilgrims.
A screen shot of "WNYC's" studio from the 1950 thriller, The Killer That Stalked New York. After some careful photo comparisons, we are pretty certain this scene was not filmed on location at WNYC but at another facility with facsimile microphone flags. Pictured on mic is actor Carl Benton Reid as the fictional New York City Health Commissioner Ellis. (Thanks to Rex Doane for obtaining a DVD copy of the film).


The Little Flower Decides WNYC is Worth Keeping

"The Mayor sent word that he wanted to talk to me.  I saw him this noon and it is his desire for certain reasons, instead of selling the City-owned Station WNYC, to keep it and build up its prestige.   He wants me to coordinate the thing for him along with Bill Paley and possibly Alfred J. McCosker of WOR - a committee of three.  He knows the present management is poor and he isn't satisfied with Christie Bohnsack (confidential).*

"Also, he wants to know if he can put just enough commercials on the station to meet their overhead, which is about $50,000 or $60,000 per annum, and if this would compete with WOR or the networks.   He is sending up a man by the name of Siegel with the books containing the record of the station.  After seeing the books, I should like to have you advise me on the situation.  The mayor said the New York Evening Post has been causing him trouble and it made him all the more determined to build up the station and make it successful."**

Source: A  confidential June 25, 1934  memo from Richard C. Patterson Jr., the Chairman and Executive Vice President of NBC, to NBC attorney Mark J. Woods.  (Thanks to the Wisconsin Historical Society, NBC papers collection).

*Christie Bohnsack was the Director of WNYC. 

**Mayor La Guardia originally came into office believing he was going to save the taxpayers money by shutting down WNYC.  A young Seymour N. Siegel (WNYC's new Assistant Program Director) helped to persuade him otherwise.   An investigative committee of the three network radio executives was indeed formed.  They studied the station and made recommendations to the  mayor for what was needed to put WNYC in a more stable position.

                     Poet Galway Kinnell, RIP
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8th, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

  WQXR - 'Long Reads' from WWII

Historic Performance Flown to WQXR

“As part of the celebration of Austria’s independence, the rebuilt Vienna Opera House, which was destroyed during the war, will reopen November 5th with a gala performance of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio. A tape recording of this historic performance will be made for WQXR and flown to New York for our broadcast on Sunday, November 13, on The Opera House program from 9:05 to 11:00 p.m. Included in the cast are Martha Modl, Irmgard Seefried and Paul Schoeffler, and conductor Karl Bohm.”

Source: News Notes, WQXR Program Guide, November 1955.


WNYC celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. We're now officially a nonagenarian radio station. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions and milestones. This week: The most expensive minute and forty-five seconds in the history of public radio.

40 hours of WNYC broadcast lectures and talks given at the New York Academy of Medicine in the 1950s are now up at Then include such notables as Norbert Wiener, Margaret Mead and Raymond Firth; as well as a symposium on Communist brainwashing. See: NYAM.

Some readers may remember the crime-fighting David Hasselhoff driving an artificially intelligent 1982 Pontiac Trans Am in the '80s TV show Knight Rider and a few may even recall the '60s sitcom with Jerry Van Dyke and his loquacious maternal 1928 Porter touring car in My Mother the Car. But, before them all was Josephine, the talking Jeep on WNYC.

The WNYC Facebook page has a station timeline (1922-present) with more than 600 milestones, photos, and links to audio. (Right hand column) This week:1936.
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 Check out the @mayorlaguardia Twitter feed straight from the WNYC broadcasts! His Honor now has 543 followers.

The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 2,238 followers @wnycarchives. We tweet daily reminders of, and links to, WNYC broadcasts from that day in the past.
We’ve got a Tumblr page too! More than 9,500 followers. Check it out at:
WNYC Archives in the…
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