NYPR Archives & Preservation
October 18, 2013 - Volume 12  Issue 40
Edition # 578

1926: Chief Announcer Tommy Cowan provides on-the-scene coverage of the City Hall Reception for Queen Marie of Romania.

1934: The Hearings before special Congressional Committee Investigating Un-American Activities (Nazi propaganda) at the Bar Association Building enter their third day. WNYC's microphone cable was cut by Nazi sympathizers the previous day.

1946: Secretary of State James Byrnes delivers an address on foreign policy and relations with the Soviet Union.

1950: Philip James, Art Director for The Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA) of Great Britain talks about state subsidized art at the first annual WNYC Art Festival.

1965: Sammy Davis Jr. speaks at the New York Herald Tribune Books and Authors Luncheon about his book, Yes I Can.

1995: The Sea Cliff Chamber Players perform with Morton Gould on Around New York.
'Doc' Masoomian (1921-2013)

With sadness we note the passing last Friday of former WQXR Chief Engineer Zaven “Doc” Masoomian. Doc had visited us here recently and was always available to answer questions about WQXR history. He joined WQXR in the 1930s. During WWII Doc was a B-17 bomber pilot and endured a German POW camp. He returned to WQXR after the war and retired to Plano, Texas, where he served as the local representative of Northeast Broadcast Labs for several years. (Photo of Doc at WQXR courtesy of Bill Ryan, S.B.E. Chapter 67)


Old Vienna Versus the 'New Order' on WNYC

"This one-time shot on the anniversary of Hitler's march into Austria turned out to be a poignant, nostalgic musical and dramatic potpourri of deeply moving quality.  It resolved itself into an outpouring of affection for America in which a group of talented Austrian refugees have found a home.  Austrian folk music songs mingled with classics and original lyrics set to U.S. melodies satirizing Schickelgruber registered equally well.  One of the best in latter category was a jingle set to the tune of Pepsi-Cola musical spots.  Franz Schubert's Military March interpolated with 'Sieg Heils' is a bit which could well be used in cabaret and vaudeville shows.

"Willy Trenk, with engaging accent, came through the mike as a topnotch entertainer for whom there should be a spot in niteries. He was formerly program producer and director at the municipal station in Vienna.  Potent dramatic skit, with Joseph Schildkraut, Lee J. Cobb and 10-year-old Ronni Liss, pictured a meeting of Beethoven and Franz Schubert in Central Park with Schubert pointing out to the youngster the similarities between Vienna and New York, that 'Vienna's lilacs bloom again in Central Park and the Hudson is as blue as the Danube.' Distinguished vocalists included Hertha Glatz, alto at the Met, Kurt Baum, Met tenor, and Emanuel List. Amsterdam String Ensemble was under the direction of Paul Breisach, Met conductor."

Source: A radio review in Variety, March 18, 1942, p. 36.  This WNYC program aired March 15, 1942 from 6 to 6:45 PM.  Also in the cast were: Elizabeth Schumann, Robert Stolz, Robert Goldsand, Harold Maresch, Paul Peter Fuchs and Irwin Strauss. 

"The Brooklyn Mark Strand Theater offered an innovation to Brooklyn theatergoers last week with the first actual radio studio settings that have been presented on the stage of any theater. The interior of a radio studio, carefully designed and artistically furnished with the drapings and the soundproof settings necessary to deaden the sound in the studio, showed radio fans who have never before seen the interior of a studio the exact conditions. Edward L. Hyman, who devised the settings, presented the entire corps of artists who appear on WNYC each Sunday night. A microphone on the stage picked up the singing and playing and carried it to those listening in on WNYC…
"Among the artists who appeared in the stage incident entitled, 'In Our Broadcasting Studio,'  were Estelle Carey, soprano; Tom Williams, baritone; Frank Banta, pianist; Edna Berhans, sorprano; Rosalie Erck, contralto; Sascha Kindler, violinist; Robert Thrane, cellist; Harry Breuer, xylophonist; Ruth Watson, soprano; Richard Bartlett, tenor; Louis Dornay, tenor; Charlotte Bergh, coloratura soprano; and Carlo Berreti, baritone."
Source: "Broadcast Studio on Strand Stage," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 22, 1925, pg. C9. 
WNYC First day of broadcast, July 8th, 1924. 
Municipal Archives Collection.

       WQXR at 75

          (2 Years Ago)
Weegee on Weegee on WQXR

"...One of my last stops was at New York's favorite egg-head station, WQXR. (The WQXR listeners read the New York Post, smoke filter-tipped cigarettes, and like guitar music). Before I got on the air, a woman announcer warned me, 'Now two things, Mr. Weegee: no profanity and no plotting to overthrow the government.' I said, 'Nice to have known you, dearie. As one egghead to another, give me your phone number, so I can take it off my mailing list.' I was really getting around and becoming known all over... "

Source: Weegee by Weegee: An Autobiography, Ziff-Davis, 1961, pg. 84.

Editor's Note: If Weegee, a.k.a. Arthur Fellig, was at WQXR, it was probably in the summer or fall of 1945. At that time the New York Post was a liberal paper owned by Dorothy Schiff.

WNYC's 90th year of broadcasting is upon us. (The actual anniversary is next July 8th.) In this space we'll be linking to various WNYC champions and milestones. This week: WNYC's Resident Man of Words, 1926-1929: Frank Vizetelly.

This week The Metropolitan New York Library Council announced its 2013 Digitization Grant Awards. Among the winners, a joint proposal from NYPR and NYAM (New York Academy of Medicine) to make available on the web 40 hours of WNYC NYAM programs from the 1950s.

The $25,000 grant will cover the especially labor-intensive cleaning and digitization of aluminum-based 16" lacquer broadcast transcription discs. Among the noteworthy voices to be digitized: Margaret Mead, Raymond Firth, René Dubos, Milton Helpern, Paul Dudley White, Sidney Farber, and Norbert Wiener. Thank you METRO!

Released this week on the web: Lorraine Hansberry in 1961, Anthony Lewis in 1967, Thomas Wilfred, Martin Garbus, Earl Reiback and David Halberstam in 1968, all with host Patricia Marx.

In 1941 Maestro John Barbirolli was the Conductor of The New York Philharmonic-Symphony Society Orchestra. In February of that year he wrote an essay about conducting on the radio for the WQXR Program Guide. Read it here: BARBIROLLI.

Special thanks this week to video producer Amy Pearl for donating to the archives some particularly psychotic WNYC hate mail she saved from the late 1990s. Also, thanks go out to ARSC member Mike Devecka for donating several dozen WWII era and post-war transcription discs of news related events and speeches.

A belated thanks to Chief Concert Engineer Ed Haber for donating 15 reels of his WNYC program, Folkwave to the WNYC Archive Collections.

The 75th anniversary of the Orson Welles broadcast of The War of the Worlds is approaching fast. Tune in to the various commemorative events on Facebook at: WOWTW75. And on Twitter.

The WNYC Facebook page has a station timeline (1922-present) with more than 607 milestones, photos, and links to audio. (Right hand column)

We're also working on the WQXR Facebook timeline. (1929 - present)

Do your friends want to subscribe to this newsletter? Have them sign up at: NEWSLETTERS.

Check out the @mayorlaguardia Twitter feed straight from the WNYC broadcasts! His Honor now has 468 followers.

The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 1,450 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 5,000 followers. Check it out at:
WNYC Archives in the…
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