NYPR Archives & Preservation
January 8, 2016 - Volume 15  Issue 02
Edition # 691


1955: Arts critic Gilbert Seldes talks about theater production in New York, on the road, and production outside of New York. It is commonly said that theater is dying. Seems like everyone knows exactly what to do to fix that. Seldes jumps on the bandwagon and has two separate ways to make the theater flourish.

1964: David Halberstam talks about Vietnam, the U.S. and the war at the Overseas Press Club.

WNYC's Kid Brother

This is the kid brother as drawn by Leo Garel for the Masterwork Bulletin program guide in 1941. "He turns up each evening as WNYC goes off the air the for day. Known officially as W2XVP, the short wave station, he can be found at 26.1 megacycles on the shortwave section of your radio. On the air from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m, nightly these days, he's good news for listeners because he affords you a chance to hear the Masterwork Hour at 7:00 p.m in the evening, in case you miss the morning broadcast of this popular program." Source: January/February 1941 Masterwork Bulletin. See also: SHORTWAVE.

W2XVP was one thousand watts at 26,100 kilocycles (26.1 megacycles). Due to wartime and staffing shortages in early 1942, the facility was shut down.The station was dismantled in February 1942. WNYC-FM (W39NY) came along the following year.

Famous Streets Dramatized

"The famous streets of New York town are to be dramatized in a new WPA series called “Streets of New York,” and very appropriately broadcast over the Municipal Station, WNYC, starting Friday at 5:30-6 p.m., under the sponsorship of the Department of Sanitation.

"The first dramatization will be 'Broadway,' the high-road to success for many, but a street of broken dreams for others. A cast of players from the New York WPA radio unit will re-enact historical and modern scenes on Broadway, from the days when Governor Peter Stuyvesant stumped up and down the one time cow-patch, to the present days of bright lights, theaters and restaurants."

Source: Radio Daily, January 10, 1938 page 3.


'High' Culture vs. 'Pig' Culture

May 22, 1959

The New York Herald Tribune reports, "the sovereign State of Minnesota charged that WNYC's 'cultural' radio programs [AM] beamed from New York City are jamming news vital to farmers in the Mid-West. In a long-awaited argument before the full Federal Communications Commission, the Minnesota Attorney General's office backed the claim of WCCO, a Minneapolis radio station, that New York's municipal station is hogging the airwaves, so to speak...

"The vision of Mid-Western farmers glued to their radio sets in anticipation of the latest livestock prices and getting Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 instead was conjured up by Ralph H. Lee, Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota. The farm news provided by WCCO, a 50,000-watt CBS affiliate, is more important to Minnesota 'than a steady diet of (WNYC) culture,' Mr. Lee said....He particularly stressed the importance of quotations on 'feeder pigs'...."
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8th, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

There's Nothing New in Music

There's Nothing New in Music was a short-lived series on WQXR in 1940. The show generated a little heat in the mailbox, but not enough to produce any serious combustion. Dropping a postcard was music critic and reviewer (and later WNYC host) Edward Tatnall Canby.

"Have you heard that the repeated harmony of Basin St. Blues is almost identical with that of Liszt's Liebestraum? Those six chords are probably the basis of many other compositions! The program sounds good. --But what about primitive rhythms in the 3 B's, et. al?  There's plenty."

Source: Douglas A. MacKinnon papers, Duke University Collections.
WNYC celebrated its 91st anniversary last July. Just think, 8-and-a-half 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: Your Future in an Automated Society.

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

WNYC's Way Back series rewinds the tape 50 years this week to the transit strike of 1966.

Radio's first quiz show aired on WNYC in 1926 with The Brooklyn Eagle's Current Events Bee. By the late 1930s we hosted Symphonic Varieties, radio's first music quiz show and Art For Art's Sake, radio's first art quiz show (we believe). So it should come as no surprise that a literary quiz show made it into the mix by 1953 for the station's first book festival. Listen and read more at: Critics, Authors, and Trivial Pursuits - a WNYC Book Fest Quiz.

Other audio from the archives this week: Tribute: Elizabeth Swados and Influential Composer-Conductor Pierre Boulez Has Died.

The Archives Digital Resident Mary Kidd has been taking a lot of notes these days on how we operate. And she's written up a piece for The Signal, the Library of Congress' digital preservation blog on just a fraction of what she's discovered. Read it at: National Digital Stewardship Resident.
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