Radio Fad: Collecting Verified Reception Stamps

In the 1920s and early 1930s, collecting radio verification stamps was a big fad. Broadcasters rewarded listeners for sending in reception reports by mailing them a stamp with the station's call letters on it.

The stamps usually came on a card verifying the listener's report since signal strength and coverage could vary widely depending on equipment and atmospheric conditions. Two firms out of Chicago were involved in making the stamps and albums for them. The more prominent was EKKO Company and the lesser known P.M. Bryant Company. The Bryant stamps, like the one here, are rare because they had a fairly limited run being sold directly to collectors too impatient to wait for a reply from stations between 1925 and 1927. (See ad below) Stamps came in a variety of colors including red, green, purple, brown, blue, gray and orange. More than 700 stations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Cuba participated in the promotion. Canadian EKKO stamps featured a beaver instead of an eagle. By the mid-1930s, radio technology had improved to the extent that listener reception reports were no long needed for the conventional A.M. broadcast band.

 

 

 

 

 

Radio News from February, 1925 

 

 

Ekko Stamp Album ad from December, 1924. (WNYC Archive Collections)

Ad for Bryant radio stamps, February, 1925. (WNYC Archive Collections)

Just as the EKKO and Bryant stamp collecting fad was fading, a third maker of verified reception stamps briefly came on the scene. These were known as AFCO stamps. In the mid-to-late 1930s Arthur Foerster, a Vice President of the Newark News Radio Club copied the EKKO stamp. Listener-collectors reportedly sent Foerster a reception report along with postage and a nickle for a radio stamp like the one at the right. They are quite rare.

 

Broadcast on WNYC Today in:

1944: Mayor F. H. La Guardia in his weekly Talk to the People considers the possbility of a German attack on the U.S. mainland. "The Nazis persist, in their talks over their radio,  in stating that by the end of the month, they will be ready to attack the Atlantic Coast of our country with the V-3 bomb…I was interviewed by a representative of the British Press concerning our attitude on this. Well, I think the answer is very simple. We will take it in the same spirit that the people of London took the Blitz..."

1953: President Eisenhower addresses the 8th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

1962: Frederick Dvonch talks about conducting the musical theatre and Sid Ramin talks about orchestration for an ASCAP program on musical comedy.

1973: Painter Todd William and urban designer Bob Votova talk about planning public art programs on Artists in the City.

1989: Arts Alive From the Algonquin with host William Luers and  features guests Kishasha Conwill, George Langdon, and Robert MacDonald.

1992: The Sea Cliff Chamber Players with Paul Schoenfield perform for Around New York.

2004: The Brian Lehrer Show interviews Mohammed Fadhil and Omar Fadhil, two members of a trio of Baghdad brothers who write a blog together called Iraqthemodel. Mohammed talks about running for a seat in the new Iraqi parliament.