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Wnyc History

NYPR Archives & Preservation

Concert Pianist Irene Jacobi: WNYC American Music Festival, 1943

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

At the height of World War II, WNYC invited concert pianist Irene Jacobi and her husband, composer Frederick Jacobi, to perform some of his works for the station's fourth annual American Music Festival.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

William Orton Tewson - WNYC Literary Critic (1928-1934)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

W. O. Tewson was an editor and literary critic heard regularly on WNYC between March, 1928 and September, 1934 discussing literature and books. He wrote for The New York Times, Hearst newspapers, and was the editor of The New York Evening Post's literary review.

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Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

Art in Public: Stuart Davis on Abstract Art and the WPA, 1939

Friday, February 15, 2013

WNYC
Stuart Davis doesn't waste time with small talk or being nice to Republicans.
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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Pioneering Language Classes Over WNYC

Friday, September 14, 2012

Between the summer of 1925 and spring 1932, Victor Harrison-Berlitz, the General Manager of 410 U.S. Berlitz language schools, taught French, Spanish, German and Italian over WNYC. The regular classes were a pioneering effort for American radio.

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In Public: Essays from Laura Walker, President of New York Public Radio

WNYC Transmitter Park

Monday, September 10, 2012

On September 10, 2012, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Veronica White, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member Steve Levin and President & CEO of New York Public Radio Laura R. Walker took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony officially opening WNYC Transmitter Park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  The $12 million redevelopment of WNYC Transmitter Park includes an esplanade for passive recreation, and 1.6-acres of open space to provide residents and visitors with increased access to the Greenpoint waterfront.   Laura Walker spoke about the significance of the site during the ceremonies.  Below is a transcript of her remarks. 

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WNYC News

A Look Back: WNYC Transmitter Park in Photos

Monday, September 10, 2012

New York Public Radio President Laura Walker, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials dedicated a new park Monday in Greenpoint, Brooklyn — at the site of WNYC's original transmitter.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Macklin Marrow and the WNYC Concert Orchestra

Friday, August 03, 2012

From July 1939 to March 1942, conductor and composer Macklin Marrow led the WNYC Concert Orchestra. The 35-piece ensemble was sponsored by The New York City Music Project, a unit of the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). One of Marrow's earliest assignments at the station was the August 2, 1939, dedication of the WNYC WPA murals when the orchestra performed the scherzo from William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony (audio above).

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Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

Twenty-Four Years Later: Celebrating the 88th Anniversary of WNYC

Sunday, July 08, 2012

On Sunday, July 8, 2012, WNYC will mark 88 years on the air. Originally established as New York City's municipal radio station, WNYC has since become the flagship station for the country's public radio networks. In 1948, station founder Grover A. Whalen spoke briefly about what he believed to be WNYC's primary role in the lives of New York's residents.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Ralph Berton: The Man Behind Radio's First Serious Jazz Music Program

Friday, June 01, 2012

From 1940 to 1942 Ralph Berton hosted WNYC's daily foray into jazz called Metropolitan Review, dedicated to "the finest in recorded hot jazz." The program was radio's first serious jazz music show on the air. 

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

The Reader's Almanac with Walter James Miller

Friday, May 04, 2012

Walter James Miller (1918-2010) was Professor Emeritus at New York University and host of WNYC’s Reader’s Almanac (1970-1985) and WNYC-TV’s Book World (1968-1970). He conducted early interviews with writers such as Nadine Gordimer, Erica Jong, Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Gallagher and Jerzy Kosinski.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

WNYC Vintage Microphone Slide Show

Friday, March 16, 2012

Some of the ways to reach the air.
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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Al Arkus: The Music Maestro

Friday, February 24, 2012

Al Arkus started at WNYC by producing, directing and reading newscasts. He also directed and announced for Edward Tatnall Canby, David Randolph and Oscar Brand. Children’s programming became one of his favorite genres: he wrote, produced and narrated The Music Maestro, a weekly educational music program, and appeared regularly on The Children’s Story Fair, a show with a cast of 'kids' wandering on a magic midway to adventures in an opera house, a record room, a side show, a concert hall and similar locations. Al also wrote, directed and produced Here's Heidy, a children's program with storyteller Heidy Mayer that moved to WOR in 1949.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

WNYC Director Seymour N. Siegel: Public Radio Visionary

Friday, February 10, 2012

On January 3, 1934, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia swore into office Seymour N. Siegel as WNYC's Assistant Program Director.  Immediately after Siegel affirmed his commitment to the people of the City of New York, the mayor promptly ordered him to "go across the street and close down the joint." The "joint" was WNYC. One of La Guardia's campaign promises was to close the station and just a few days earlier he had released his cost-cutting program of ten major reforms. Number nine on the list was "abolition of the municipal broadcasting station, WNYC." But after carefully surveying the situation Siegel determined there wasn't anything a little good management and TLC couldn't fix. A panel of experts was convened, a thorough study was done and recommendations were made and implemented.  Because of Sy Siegel, WNYC became a political asset for the mayor and a ground-breaking public broadcaster.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

WNYC's Resident Man of Words, 1926-1929

Friday, January 20, 2012

Long before language mavens Patricia T. O'Conner or Richard Lederer ever matched puns with Leonard Lopate, WNYC had Frank Horace Vizetelly (1864-1938).  Known in his day as the "Dean of Lexicographers," Vizetelly was a major force behind the Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary.  The etymologist, however, was not limited  to the discussion of words and their origins: on WNYC he covered a wide range of topics. Among his talks were "The Ant and Its Ways," "The Story of the Sneeze," and "The Story of the Garter." Before WNYC he was on WOR, and after WNYC he moved to WJZ and WABC.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

WNYC and the Land of Mu

Friday, January 13, 2012

A cult classic airs on WNYC.
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NYPR Archives & Preservation

On the Eve of New Year's Eve 1924

Friday, December 30, 2011

On December 30, 1924, The New York Times radio listings* for WNYC included a remote broadcast from the Newspaper Club of New York. It was a children's Christmas party for the sons and daughters of newspaper men. The entertainment line-up included Marilyn Miller, the Duncan Sisters, The Singer Midgets, George Haas and his singing canaries, Betty Bronson, Toto, Bob Miller, Gedney and Magee, Winifred Toomey, Rachel Mastrota, Richard B. Gilbert, Sam Wooding's Orchestra and Teddy, the baby elephant. Who were they? Let's find out.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

WNYC Promotes Health and Wellness with Olympian Joe Ruddy

Friday, December 23, 2011

Keeping Fit was a regular series of  health and exercise talks by Joe Ruddy on WNYC in 1926.

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Cartoonist and Sports Writer Thornton Fisher, WNYC Sports Commentator 1924-1925

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thornton Fisher (1888-1975) began his broadcasting career in 1923 at AT&T's WEAF in New York as one of radio's earliest sports commentators. He switched to WNYC the following year, not long after the municipal station began broadcasting. The Evening Leader of Corning, New York  praised Fisher's Tuesday and Thursday evening program, Sports Analysis, and said, "he is one of the keenest sports writers and cartoonists in the world of journalism. His love for all sports, coupled with his sparkling wit and understanding of every phase of every game, have created an immortal place for him as chronicler of the progress of sports."[1]

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

The Five Locust Sisters Perform on WNYC

Friday, December 09, 2011

On December 9, 1926, the Locust Sisters sang popular tunes in our studio. The  Locust Sisters were a singing quartet with a fifth sister, Mathilda, on the piano. Known as the "miracle makers of harmony," they were featured as missionaries in the 1927 Vincent Youmans Broadway musical Hit the Deck. Reviewing the performance in The New York Times, Brook Atkinson wrote, "the thin harmonies of the four Locust Sisters, admirably introduced, are artless and delightful."  They also appeared in a five-minute movie short in 1928, the first of their two appearances for MGM Metro Movietone Revue. The sisters also briefly recorded for Columbia Records. Watch and listen to them in their 1930 MGM short at: LOCUST SISTERS. 

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

First Jewish Daily Forward Radio Program is on WNYC

Friday, November 04, 2011

WNYC

Contrary to prevailing belief, the Jewish Daily Forward's first radio program was not on WEVD (a leader in Jewish and Yiddish radio programming in the 1930s and 40s), but on WNYC!  The Yiddish newspaper marked the May 21, 1926 broadcast nine days later by printing the photos on the left with the following caption:

"The First Forward Radio Concert --Isa Kremer, the world famous balladiste, who was the featured soloist of the Forward radio hour May 21, from WNYC. (Left) The famous Stringwood Ensemble, which rendered a program of classical music."*

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