NYPR Archives & Preservation
June 24, 2016 - Volume 15  Issue 26
Edition # 715

1954: Jacques Barzun, Richard Lockridge, and Heinrich Harrer all speak about their recent books on this recording of The New York Herald Tribune Book and Authors Luncheon.

Pioneering African-
American Radio Producer
Clifford Burdette Gets His Start on WNYC in the 1940s. (Photo: Library of Congress, NAACP Collection)

Burdette's Story
"Success stories are only too rare today, but Horatio Alger, if he were alive might well be composing a new novel based on the career of Clifford Burdette… Although he is a Negro, and although he is poor, working his full eight hours daily as a salesman in a Fourteenth Street silk store, he produces and personally presents a weekly radio program on WNYC each Sunday afternoon at four. This in itself is a great achievement, but the character of this program, indeed its very title, “Those Who Have Made Good,” indicates its unusual quality. For Burdette has found a way not only to express himself, but to express the determination of his own people, the Negro people, to win complete equality in America by defeating discrimination and by counteracting the efforts of the Negro-haters.

"Great figures in the contemporary life of the Negro people have appeared on Burdette’s program during the 36 weeks of its life on WNYC. Canada Lee, Noble Sissle, W.C. Handy, Dean Dixon, Count Basie, the Charlioteers, the Golden Gate quartette, Musa Williams, Reginald Beane, Georgette Harvey, Lieut. S.J. Battle, and many noted Negro personalities have been presented.

"Recently he produced a review of Negro achievements in 1941, an impressive record of advances made during the past difficult period...'Eventually,’ he relates, ‘I got a job as a stock boy in the silk store and later as a salesman. Soon I was able to get auditions on the air, and finally to sing in broadcasts. From that point it was increasingly easy to find a way to keep my faith with my parents’ wish, that I do something to help my own people. I induced WNYC to let me experiment with an interview program, and finally the NAACP sponsored it. Today it is a popular feature with Negro and white listeners, wherever WNYC is heard.’ …”

Excerpts from James Morison’s “Success and Clifford Burdette: Negro Radio Impresario at 27,” Daily Worker, January 20, 1942. Reproduced in the Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration, edited by Steven A. Reich, Vol. 3.

Editor's Note: This wasn't the NAACP's first regular slot on WNYC. Between
November 20, 1929 - July 16, 1930,  members of the civil rights organization delivered weekly talks from our studios. More at Clifford Burdette

WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

December 3, 2016 will be WQXR's 80th anniversary. Listen to the tenth episode of WQXR at 50. Listeners will hear part II of host Bob Sherman's interview with WQXR co-founder Elliott Sanger. Jascha Zayde, Al Simon, and Eleanor Sanger join Elliott Sanger on the occasion of the publication of Rebel in Radio. Topics discussed include commercials and advertising at WQXR, Also included, Sir Thomas Beecham, and a Vladimir Horowitz concert at Carnegie Hall from April 23, 1951.

Thanks go out this week to Timothy V. Johnson, Director, Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU for digital copies of the 1981 WNYC/Wagner Labor  Archives co-production of New Yorkers At Work: Oral Histories of Life, Labor and Industry, eight half-hour programs on New York City's labor history, from more than 200 interviews. The program originally aired in November, 1981 and we'll be putting it up at soon.

WNYC will celebrate its 92nd anniversary this July. Just think, 8 short years to the big centennial. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions, broadcasts and milestones celebrating nearly a century on the air in the public interest. This week: The VD Radio Project.

This week's NEH-funded Annotations blog series features: General Maxwell Taylor and The Uncertain Trumpet.

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WNYC's Way Back series:'Before You Know it, Gays Will be Holding Hands in the Streets'

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