No Script? It's Against the Rules
"It was somewhere in the Fall of 1924, just about the time I was informed that I was to be the next Park Commissioner of Brooklyn, that I was asked to make a talk on 'Trees.'
"I had always spoken ex-tempore, hence I went to the [WNYC] studio without a prepared speech. They asked me where my script was and when I told them I had never used one, they opened their eyes wide and replied it was 'against the rules' and I would not be permitted to speak.
"I sat there in the ante room while they phoned Grover Whalen
, who assured them I would make no breaks and told them to 'take a chance' and put me on. I had never talked over the air before and felt a bit shaky without an audience facing me.
"Christie Bohnsack was director then...Christie and the boys called in all the people who were still awaiting their turn to go on--bandmasters, singers and other musicians--and they sat in a semi-circle in front of me. I thus began to 'ad-lib' to this hastily assembled audience...and imagined I was addressing the 'unseen millions.'...The flood of telegrams and telephones calls to the studio was instant and gratifyingly enthusiastic.
"From that time on, for three or four nights a week over a two-year period Bohnsack, [Tommy] Cowan
and I put on a series of programs...and the succession of nights we broadcast became very popular.
"Our readers may recall 'Brooklyn Night,' 'Flatbush Night,' 'Greenpoint Night,' 'Harlem Night,' 'Coney Island Night,' when we introduced Sam Gumpertz' Wild Man of Borneo and a hundred other features..."
Excerpts from Edward T. O'Loughlin, writing in "WNYC Broadcasting Back in Hylan's Day," The Brooklyn Eagle,
November 20, 1949, pg. 34.