NYPR Archives & Preservation
January 29, 2016 - Volume 15  Issue 05
Edition # 694


1942: Professor D. Sharp of CCNY says what we have most to fear is not the Axis powers, but too great a sense of complacency here at home. People must be told the hard truth; final victory is not served by sugar coating losses.

1955: Cultural critic Gilbert Seldes discusses Pearl Bailey and two of her current projects: the musical House of Flowers and the film Carmen Jones.

1964: Paul H. Nitze, Secretary of the Navy, talks about the role of sea power in United States foreign policy.

 Mayor John F. Hylan on WNYC's Opening Night in 1924

"Municipal information, formerly available only after perusal of reports, is now to be brought into one's home in an interesting, delightful and attractive form. Facts, civic, social, com-
mercial and industrial, will be marshaled and presented by those with their subjects well in hand. Talks on timely topics will also be broadcasted. Programs sufficiently diversified to meet all tastes with musical concerts, both vocal and instrumental, featured at all times,
should make 'tuning in' on the Municipal Radio pleasant as well as profitable.

"Through the employment of this modern and very effective means of transmitting information an aroused public interest in the municipal government may logically be expected to ensue upon a broader understanding, a clearer knowledge and a deeper appreciation of its functioning. And it follows, as night the day, that the more enlightened the citizenship the better it becomes."

Editor's Note: Mayor Hylan used (and some will say abused) WNYC to call for the abolition of the state transit commission and have its power transferred to the city's Board of Transportation. Hylan also attacked the owners of the city's private subway lines. These talks brought sharp criticism of the mayor's use of WNYC for political purposes, a charge that dogged him for the balance of his administration. (Photo: WNYC Archive Collections)

January 16, 1933
Adventures in the Archives with Professor Charles Upson Clarke

According to his diary, Clark discusses "the Aztecs, Vasquez Espinosa, Cowan, Chinese, China, Guatemala and Buddha" on this WNYC program. In 1929 Clark discovered the Badianus Manuscript (the Americas' earliest medical text), hidden in the Vatican library. Clark was a professor of history at CCNY and Columbia University. He also discovered the Barberini Codex, the earliest Aztec writings on herbal medicines extant. (Photo: WNYC Archive Collections)
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)
An Engineer's Engineer: Russell  D. Valentine
"…Val is the oldest WQXR employee. He was hired even before the station came into existence.  (On March 26, 1929, the license was granted for W2XR; two days later, its first programs were on the air).  Val built every transmitter and piece of equipment WQXR ever had, from its earliest 50 watt job to the present 10,000 watt transmitter, including Mr. Hogan's earliest television transmitter (1929)...

"Val always uses his ingenuity for building the equipment he wants, and he uses whatever materials come to hand. The change-over switch, used to put the station on its auxilliary transmitters in the event of a failure of its regular transmitter, is a case in point. Entirely automatic, it is designed and built by Val, who, in building it, needed a little metal here and there. He pulled four dimes out of his pocket, soldered them in, and now tells visitors his little invention cost forty cents.

It is an axiom of FM broadcasting that a short transmission line to carry the ultra-high frequency current is desirable. Val uses a long one…and he made it work. The line he rigged, for FM station W2XQR, is about 180 feet long, going from the second floor of Mr. Hogan's lab in Long Island City, to the tower of the building next door. 'We couldn't move the station up on top of the tower,' Mr. Hogan says, 'so Val rigged a long line which would work.  All the things he builds work, 'even when everybody else says they're impossible.' "

Source: Unpublished excerpts from "Notes to Mr. Kennedy regarding Russell D. Valentine," October 23, 1941,  WQXR Engineering files. (WQXR Archives Collection).

Note: W2XQR was the first incarnation of WQXR-FM broadcasting at 43.2 megacycles.
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: Music Decriminalized: The End of "Cabaret Cards"

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

WNYC's Way Back series

Black History Month is only days away! Check out our updated compilation of major holdings at: BLACK HISTORY.
The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 2,816 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 10,000 followers. Check it out at:
WNYC Archives in the…
Copyright © 2016 New York Public Radio, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences