NYPR Archives & Preservation
February 26, 2016 - Volume 15  Issue 09
Edition # 698


1938: Tony Marvin, one of the great radio voices of the past, got his start on WNYC before before becoming the announcer on Arthur Godfrey's CBS program.

WNYC News circa, 1939  

"One of nearly a dozen scenes drawn from life by illustrator Laszlo Matulay at WNYC. To see the entire work and read the back story go to: MATULAY. (Courtesy of the La Guardia Artifact Collection, The La Guardia and Wagner Archives, La Guardia Community College/The City University of New York)

WNYC Launches First Public Radio Tape Network
"About two years ago, a few institution-owned, non-profit radio stations began an experimental exchange of recorded programs. Out of this experiment, there has grown the National Association of Educational Broadcasters Tape Network.

"The philosophy behind the Tape Network was evolved at a conference of 22 educational broadcasters who met for a two-week round table at the University of Illinois in July 1949. There they discussed the ways and means of economically advancing their efforts towards the improvement of educational radio stations...

"After the seminar, Mr. Seymour Siegel, director of New York City's Station WNYC, conferred with Mr. Richard Hull, director of the University of Iowa's Station WOI. At that time Mr. Hull was president of the NAEB. Mr. Siegel recommended the use of magnetic tape as an economical means for the 'interchange of resources.' The cost of telephone lines prohibited the actual establishment of a network similar to those used in commercial radio practices...Some funds were granted and the tape network began operations. The recorded programs were 'bicycled' around from one station to another. Each broadcaster paid only for the postage involved in mailing the programs to the next station on the NAEB itinerary...

"The tape network grew rapidly. Whereas early in 1950 only 4 or 5 stations were using the taped programs, six months later almost 40 stations were on the mail itinerary. It was a dramatic development. The stations were thirsty for good programs and more of them. The catalogue grew to include such things as a series of We Human Beings which originated at the Lowell Institute in Boston, Music For The Connoisseur moderated by David Randolph, and, adding an international note, a series of concerts from Canada, and the BBC's World Theatre.

"Almost 90% of WNYC's resources were being devoted to the tape network.This was becoming too big a project to be handled on a part-time basis by WNYC's small staff. In January 1951, the Tape Network headquarters were moved to the University of Illinois...

"In June 1951, through Seymour Siegel's efforts, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, donated $250,000 to the NAEB Tape Network. The Ford Foundation then donated $300,000...To date, 900 commercial radio stations have requested that the Tape Network permit them to use some of these recorded programs."

Source: "News, Trends, and a Review of Magnetic Tape Recording,"  Radio and Television News, May 1952,  p. 132.
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)
WPA Drama on WQXR

"Comparing radio with the stage and screen in a presentation of drama, Percival Wilde, whose Blood of the Martyrs was given its premiere in the WPA Federal Theater Radio Division Contemporary Theater series over WQXR last week, said radio offers the greater scope of the three mediums.

"One reason is that the radio listener becomes co-author and co-actor, he says. Wilde is author of 116 plays, including 107 one-act-ers, and more than 80 percent of them have been broadcast in various parts of the world. His Finger of God was done three times on the Rudy Vallee program."

Source: "Radio Limitless," Radio Daily, December 13, 1937, pg. 1
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: Patricia Marx interviews William Golding in 1963.
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After six years of pursuit, WNYC and WQXR now have a copy of the 1964 WQXR broadcast interview with Harper Lee. Thanks to Kim Nowacki for the 'heads-up.' Listen at: MOCKING BIRD.

Featured on the NEH-funded Annotations blog series this week: A look at When the Mob Infiltrated City Government. Also, under the Lindsay administration, and what now seems almost quaint, the coffeehouse battles in the West Village are explained in The Mayor Versus MacDougal Street.

WNYC's Way Back series

Black History Month is now! Check out our updated compilation of major holdings at: BLACK HISTORY.
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