NYPR Archives & Preservation
November 21, 2014 - Volume 13  Issue 45
Edition # 633


1949: Grover Whalen introduces the Shah of Iran at a City Hall luncheon.

1955: Cultural critic Gilbert Seldes praises architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

1964: Mayor Wagner officiates at the opening and dedication of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island to Brooklyn.
WNYC Reception in 1939
The Louis Schanker WPA mural at the north end of the 25th floor of the Municipal Building set the welcoming scene for visitors to WNYC beginning in August, 1939. The artwork was complemented with furniture by Warren McArthur (1885-1961), whose pieces helped define the glamour of 1930s Art Deco curves and the new age of technology and design.


 "To Every Ear in a Multitude"

With new technological developments in both aviation and radio occurring rapidly and simultaneously, it should be no surprise that the aviation weekly Aerial Age would also be reporting on advances in radio in 1922. Before the $50,000 in start-up funds for WNYC was even approved, the magazine clued its readers into the requested appropriation:

"The appropriation covers not alone the broadcasting station, but many portable receiving stations that may be set up quickly in the parks and other places where crowds gather---these receiving stations to have sufficient amplifying apparatus to carry to every ear in a multitude.

"When the station is going, and the Mayor or one of the department heads wants to say something without using the medium of the public prints--presto! He calls for his radio crew, orders the receiving sets put up in all the boroughs, talks into the mouthpiece of his office telephone and the people will hear his own words in his own voice.

"All the important orders and directions of the Fire, Health and Police Departments are to be broadcast from the Municipal Station. Whenever a distinguished visitor from abroad calls to pay his respects to the Mayor, the freedom of the broadcasting chamber is to be conferred upon him, so that the feted stranger may address not only a populace of newsboys in front of City Hall steps, but many thousands of citizens elsewhere. 

"Lest the appropriation be regarded as an extravagance, in view of the many broadcasting stations now keeping citizens listening close to home, this economy feature was mentioned, with suitable cheers at the [Mayoral radio] committee's meeting:

"One band will do for all parks! One really good band may be hired instead of several lesser bands. The amplifying apparatus will do the trick."

Source: "New York Mayor Requests Radio Appropriation," Aerial Age, May 15, 1922, Vol. 15, No. 10 pg. 234.
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8th, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

  WQXR - 'Long Reads' from WWII

This is Only a Test...
"...Symphony hall tonight presents the incomparable Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Serge Koussevitsky. The program will include the works of Dimitri Shostakovich, Modeste Moussorgsky and Mili Balakirev. German music is represented by the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude and Richard Wagner.

"We will hear works by Charles-Marie Widor, Henri Vieuxtemps and Jules Massenet as well as Ottorino Respighi, Ruggiero Leoncavallo and Umberto Giordano...The program will commence with Claude Debussy's L'Après-Midi d'Un Faune."

An excerpt from the audition script aspiring WQXR announcers once read on sight before being considered for a position at the station.

Source: WQXR at 50: An Anniversary Album from 1986 a New York Times advertising supplement..

WNYC celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. We're now officially a nonagenarian radio station. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions and milestones. This week: Art in Public: Stuart Davis on Abstract Art and the WPA, 1939 - (Davis' no-nonsense remarks at the dedication of WNYC's WPA murals).

Thanks to the Braun Music Center at Stanford University we now have a digital copy of the February 18, 1945 WNYC American Music Festival performance of John Cage's Three Dances for the Prepared Piano, performed by pianists Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale.

Thanks also go out this week to Sound Engineer Rudi Pedersen at the National Library of Norway for helping us with the anti-Nazi WNYC broadcasts by Gladys Petch in their collections.

The WNYC Facebook page has a station timeline (1922-present) with more than 600 milestones, photos, and links to audio. (Right hand column) This week:1939.
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 Check out the @mayorlaguardia Twitter feed straight from the WNYC broadcasts! His Honor now has 545 followers.

The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 2,265 followers @wnycarchives. We tweet daily reminders of, and links to, WNYC broadcasts from that day in the past.
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WNYC Archives in the…
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