NYPR Archives & Preservation
February 28, 2014 - Volume 13  Issue 09
Edition # 597


1927: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle editor H.V. Kaltenborn discusses "current history."

1938: Progressive Wisconsin Governor Philip La Follette speaks on the problems facing the United States today; the threat of war and the need to maintain a prosperous society.

1951: Bill Leonard speaks with Adelaide Healey, Special Assistant to the Director of the NYS Civil Defense Commission, about women in the defense effort for this edition of Plan for Survival.

2003: New Jersey Governor James McGreevey talks about  the state budget, environmental issues and 'pesky' municipalities with Brian Lehrer.
Now That's a Mic Flag!
Conductor John Barbirolli in the WQXR studio circa early 1940s. (Columbia University Library and Manuscript Collection)


Not One of Our Finer Moments...

"My experience with radio broadcasting began [1931] when,  as a twenty-three-year-old, I was scheduled to speak on noise abatement over New York City's radio station, WNYC.  The studios were under the roof of the huge municipal building...Empty, murky corridors went off in several directions.  Dreading to be late, I feverishly sampled one corridor after another, banging on locked doors, forlornly rattling doorknobs...Finally, an oblong of light sprang onto the floor of one of the corridors.  From the door that had been opened stepped a tall, willowy, immaculately dressed young man.  Having approached me formally, he greeted me with all the ceremony I could have desired.  I was led into a room furnished with a few rickety chairs and an oblong  table bearing several microphones.  My companion showed me how close I should put my mouth to the microphone, and asked me to say a few words so that sound could be adjusted.  Then he spoke into his own microphone a few words of gracious introduction, and pointed to me.

"My manuscript before me, I was reading smoothly, without any of the confusions or hesitations I had feared, when I felt a strange sensation on the top of my head.  Something was happening to my hair.  I felt that I should not interrupt my speech by turning from the  microphone to investigate, but finally, as the sensation went on, I dared a quick backward glance.  The announcer was running his hands through my curly red hair.  As I could not shout into the air waves, 'Take your god-damned hands out of my hair!' all I could do, as I read doggedly on, was to shake my fist backward over my shoulder.  This had no effect.  The hand continued to move through my hair.  

"The instant I had got through my speech, I sprang up to face the announcer.  He was talking into his microphone, gracefully closing the show.  Having finished, he rose langourously,  delivered in my direction a deep courtier's bow,  and then dashed for the door,  slamming it behind him.  By the time I got the door open, the murky corridors had returned to their suicidal emptiness..."

Source:  James Thomas Flexner (1908-2003) in his autobiography, Maverick's Progress, Fordham University Press, 1996, pgs. 467-468.  Flexner was a distinguished man of letters writing about American history and art.  In 1931 he was the Executive Secretary for the NYC Board of Health's Noise Abatement Commission.   
WNYC First day of broadcast, July 8th, 1924. 
(Municipal Archives Collection).

    WQXR - 'Long Reads' from WWII

The Beginning
March 19, 1929: Original contruction permit for experimental television and sound station to John V. L. Hogan for W2XR.


WNYC's 90th year of broadcasting is upon us. (The actual anniversary is next July 8th.) In this space we'll be linking to various WNYC champions and milestones. This week: Seymour N. Siegel: Public Radio Visionary.

Ever wonder what it's like to work behind the scenes at WQXR? Now take a step backward and consider what working behind the scenes at WQXR in 1943 was like. Well, here's your chance to get a gander of the traffic through the music library back then with your tour guide Alfred E. Simon. Read it at: It's All in the Day's Work.

From the Library of Congress: Getting Public Radio’s Legacy Off Ageing Rewritable CDs: An Interview with WNYC’s John Passmore.

Notes on the Notes: Apologies to readers last week who got a dead link for the Marian Anderson/ Mischa Elman- Lewisohn Stadium link. The above highlight will get you there.  Also, the Notes will not be published for the next two Fridays, March 7th and 14th.

Enjoy WNYC's tube noise-free sound? You're not alone, no less than Thomas Edison's Chief Engineer praises our signal and content. See: ACOUSTICON.

With sadness we note the passing (February 14th) of  long-time friend and colleague Leonora Gidlund, former Director of the NYC Municipal Archives. Leonora was with the city archives for 28 years and was always there to help us out with cheer and great knowledge.

It's  BLACK HISTORY MONTH for one more day.

The WNYC Facebook page has a station timeline (1922-present) with more than 607 milestones, photos, and links to audio. (Right hand column)

We're also working on the WQXR Facebook timeline. (1929 - present)

Do your friends want to subscribe to this newsletter? Have them sign up at: NEWSLETTERS.
Check out the @mayorlaguardia Twitter feed straight from the WNYC broadcasts! His Honor now has 535 followers.
The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 1827 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 9,100 followers. Check it out at:
WNYC Archives in the…
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