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Wnyc History

NYPR Archives & Preservation

Ted Cott: WNYC Wunderkind

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ted Cott was just 17 in 1934 when Seymour N. Siegel hired him to be the station's Drama Director. Cott had been a volunteer doing weekly radio plays with other City College students when his promising work came to the attention of Mayor La Guardia, who insisted 'the young man' be hired. La Guardia had only been Mayor about six or seven months and had campaigned to shut WNYC down, believing it was a waste of money. But Siegel had engineered a stay of execution and needed to bring in some fresh ideas and talent to further convince La Guardia that the station was worth keeping. Since there was no equivalent civil service post at WNYC's parent agency, the New York City Department of Plant and Structures, Cott was hired as a ticket taker for Staten Island Ferry and reported for work at WNYC. [1]

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Earliest Known Recording of a New York City Mayor

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

As we enter the back stretch of the current mayoral campaign, there have been a lot of competing voices for the city's top spot. For contemporary oratory, what we've heard so far has been fairly standard: frequently finding fault, at times dogmatic, often punctuated with clichés, promising the moon, but always familiar in tone. The candidate, after all, needs to look and sound appealing to win those votes.  Oddly enough, it wasn't always this way. Let's dial back the years to the earliest recording made of a New York mayoral candidate, incumbent Mayor John F. Hylan, in this abridged recreation of his Primary renomination acceptance speech from the fall of 1921. [1]

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Raymond Asserson, Sr., The Man Who Built WNYC in 1924: Speaking Truth to Power

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

As New York City's Broadcasting Supervisor, Raymond Asserson was charged with designing and building the first WNYC facility by then Commissioner for Plant and Structures, Grover A. Whalen. Generally behind the scenes in bringing WNYC to life, Asserson made his mark publicly before the House Merchant Marine Committee on March 12, 1924. Testifying on behalf of Whalen, the former Navy engineer charged that through its patents, AT&T had stymied New York City's efforts to set up a radio station and had effectively created a radio monopoly.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Radio Pioneer Tommy Cowan Announces a Parade of History

Friday, May 10, 2013

Beginning as an office boy for The World, Tommy Cowan went on to be Thomas Edison’s receptionist, greeting important visitors to the inventor’s laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. From there he was the first announcer on the air in the New York metropolitan area when WJZ Newark started broadcasting in 1921. He announced the first World Series broadcast based on descriptions phoned into him from the game, as well as covering the June, 1924 Democratic National Convention from Madison Square Garden.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Richie Havens' Passing Recalls a 1989 WNYC Broadcast

Thursday, April 25, 2013

WNYC's Chief Concert Engineer Edward Haber recorded Richie Havens for WNYC and had this recollection.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Hal Holbrook Takes on Twain

Friday, November 30, 2012

WNYC

In this 1959 episode of Recordings, E.T.C., Host Edward Tatnall Canby presents the "voices" of two canonical storytellers: Mark Twain and Hans Christian Andersen. Neither Twain nor Andersen is actually featured on these recordings, but Canby delights in the authenticity of Hal Holbrook's portrayal of Twain and Boris Karloff's readings of Andersen's tales.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Radio for Children

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

WNYC

Our five-year old at home loves The Singing Lady, WNYC's program of tales and music for children from before her parents were born.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

The Earliest Identifiable WNYC Recording: Lindbergh at City Hall in June, 1927

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Col. Charles A. Lindbergh receives a medal of valor from New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker, June 13, 1927. The aviator stood in front of the WNYC and network microphones, having just garnered tributes in Washington, D.C. for his historic non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic. 

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