We celebrate the end of the Cold War 25 years ago this year with Oscar Brand giving us a taste of 1950s civilian defense.
Howard Harold Hanson (1896-1981) was a composer, conductor, educator and music theorist. He was Director of the Eastman School of Music for 40 years and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for his Symphony no. 4. A year earlier he wrote the following essay which appeared in the March, 1943 WQXR Program Guide.
Kurt Vonnegut tells Walter James Miller why he abandoned the sketchy sci-fi plot lines that had made Slapsticksuch a punching bag for critics in favor of a sharp-eyed political realism of what has come to be known as his “Watergate novel,” Jailbird.
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.
From the April, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Barzin, conductor of the WQXR Orchestra, is also conductor of the National Orchestral Association. He is one of the few men regularly conducting both for radio and for the concert hall. He has certain ideas about leading an orchestra over the air waves which we hope will throw new light on broadcasting musical programs.
This May 1, 1978 interview was the third Vonnegut had with Walter James Miller for WNYC’s “Writers’ Almanac.” This time, Vonnegut shares the microphone with journalist/novelist L. J. Davis. The topic was “the novelist’s relationship to community.”
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.
From the June 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Caesar has been before the public as lyricist and librettist for twenty-five years. Among his better-known lyrics are "Tea for Two," "Sometimes I'm Happy," "Lady Play Your Mandolin," "Swanee," "Crazy Rhythm," and a series of children's songs. "Sing a Song of Safety," in wide use throughout our public school system. He is a member of the Board of Directors of ASCAP, and a former president of the Songwriters' Protective Association.
Vonnegut talks about his strange sci-fi tale of fraternal twins who are brilliant when they can interact with each other but only “dull normal” when separated. He reveals that his portrait of these fictional twins was based on his deep real-life bond with his only sister, Alice.
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. 
From the November, 1942 WQXR Program Guide.
We take pleasure in presenting another article from the pen of America's outstanding popularizer of good music, Dr. Sigmund Spaeth. He last appeared in these columns with a strong plea for the American composer. This time he takes up the cause of the interpreting artist, whose work is of such importance in the fields of radio and records alike. Dr. Spaeth recently began a new series of programs over Station WQXR, sponsored by the Columbia Recording Corporation. These broadcasts are heard every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening from 7:30 to 8 o'clock under the title of "Dr. Sigmund Spaeth and His Record Library." The detailed programs for November will be found in this issue.
After years of obscurity in the 1950s and early 1960s, Vonnegut now found himself one of the handful of most-talked about writers in America. This interview reveals him at the top of his game—confidently proclaiming the novelist’s ability to “make up new myths that people will believe.”
From the December, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
When you think of interesting approaches to music you think of Mme. Stokowski, whose Layman's Music Course at Town Hall, New York, has been famous for years. To know why she is so successful in her method, we suggest you listen to her WQXR program every Sunday morning at 10 A.M.
On April 17, 1937 WQXR invited Evan Roberts, the Managing Director of the WPA Federal Theatre Project Radio Division, to talk about the wonders of radio and its potential to be entertaining, educational, amusing, exciting and appealing to the intellectual as well as the average person.
From the October 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Spaeth, radio's famous "Tune Detective" , is an author, music critic and commentator of wide reputation. He addresses this message to WQXR's listeners as President of the National Association for American Composers and Conductors.
From the February, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
You or we may not agree with everything [or anything] that Sir Thomas Beecham says about women in music, but we know his comments will interest you. This article is condensed from the original which appears in the recently published "Vogue's First Reader." We wish to express our thanks to the publishers for their permission to reprint it.
From the September, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
Alec Templeton is one of the few great artists who is equally at home in the realm of the popular as he is among the classics. His thorough musicianship has won for him an outstanding place on the air and in the concert hall, and we know that his thoughts on the music of today will be stimulating. When we asked Mr. Templeton the other day what we should say about him in this introduction, he said, "Say I am a devoted listener to WQXR." We say so proudly.
From the March, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
Irwin Edman, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and author of Philosopher's Holiday, Fountainheads of Freedom, and other books, has on various occasions spoken over WQXR and is, as the following indicates, one of its devotees.
With sadness we note the passing on October 11th of former WQXR Chief Engineer Zaven “Doc” Masoomian. Doc had visited us here recently and was always available to answer questions about WQXR history. He joined WQXR in May, 1941 as a studio engineer before serving as a B-17 bomber pilot and enduring a German POW camp.* He returned to WQXR after the war and worked tirelessly through till 1986 when, after 44 years at the station, he retired as WQXR's Chief Engineer.
From the May, 1944 WQXR Program guide:
Roy Harris, who is well known to our audience, is a Westerner by birth and upbringing. He resides in Colorado Springs, where he holds the post of Composer-in-Residence to Colorado College. Rated by such publications as Time, Life and The Christian Science Monitor as "America's Leading Symphonic Composer," Harris has written six symphonies and a great deal of choral and chamber music. He has been recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Because National Music Week is celebrated this month, we asked Mr. Harris to write about American music and we feel sure his opinions will arouse your interest in contemporary composers.