From the letterhead of New York City's Municipal Broadcasting System to the new design today, WNYC has gone through a number of logos. While each logo represents WNYC in a specific period of time one thing remains constant: WNYC is "The Voice of the City."
From the August, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
The Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra tells in this article how music appreciation is spread through the use of records. Though Russian by birth, he has done much to advance the cause of American composers during his years of conducting orchestras in the United States and Europe. This month New York welcomes him as guest conductor at the Stadium Concerts.
In 1941 John Barbirolli was the Conductor of The New York Philharmonic-Symphony Society Orchestra. In February of that year he wrote the following for the WQXR Program Guide.
Pioneering news commentator Quincy Howe (1900-1977) was on WQXR between August, 1939 and June, 1942. His essay for the September, 1941 WQXR Program Guide was introduced this way:
Mr. Howe needs no introduction to the WQXR audience for he has been the station's news commentator since the outbreak of World War II. In addition to his radio duties, he is Editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster, and is the author of numerous books, the latest being "The News and How to Understand It."
Polish composer, pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski died June 29, 1941. The following tribute was published in the August, 1941 WQXR Program Guide. Here is its introduction:
Mr. Steinway, President of Steinway & Sons, was an intimate friend of Paderewski. The following is based on a talk he gave over WQXR on the evening of July 1st, 1941 during the broadcast of a program honoring the memory of the great pianist-composer.
[Editor's Note] Composer Aaron Copland wrote the following for the WQXR Program Guide in June, 1942. It was, of course, the early months of the United States' involvement in World War II and the reader should keep that in mind. As well, Copland's use of 'Negro' for 'African' or 'African influenced' was common for the time in which he wrote, as was the phrase, 'serious music' for what is now generally referred to as classical music. The program guide prefaced the article with this introduction:
Aaron Copland, gifted American composer and writer on music ("Our New Music" and "What to Listen for in Music") writes about the place of Latin American countries in the world's musical scene, and of the increasing influence being exerted by the composers of our sister republics.
WQXR News Commentator Lisa Sergio wrote the following article for the WQXR Program Guide in April, 1943. As a woman in the almost exclusively male domain of news commentary, Sergio distinguished herself as the only woman Variety included in its 1945 analysis of 30 popular radio news commentators. Her essay is a brief reminder of just how far women have come in the field of journalism. The guide prefaced the piece with this introduction:
Because many people wonder how it feels to be a woman radio commentator, we asked Miss Sergio to write the following article. She need no introduction to the WQXR audience, which listens to her regularly at 7 o'clock every evening, Monday through Friday, nor to her morning audience at 10 A.M. on Monday and Friday.
For the January, 1944 of the WQXR Program Guide, the station's announcers got together and wrote the following:
Have you ever thought: "I could be a radio announcer. My friends say my voice over the telephone is good"? Maybe you could--and then again maybe you couldn't. And after reading this article cooperatively written by members of the WQXR staff--maybe you wouldn't even if you could.
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. 
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.
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.
During World War II, rationing became not only accepted, but a symbol of patriotism for most Americans. Listen to Oscar Brand in this never-broadcast documentary on how the government —and WNYC— helped foster that sentiment.
It is April 19th, 1944. Thousands of mourners silently march from a service at the Warsaw synagogue on Rivington Street to City Hall. A few carry signs: "Save Those Jews in Poland Who Can Yet Be Saved!" and, "Three Million Polish Jews Have Been Murdered By the Nazis!" When they arrive at the steps of City Hall, Cantor Moishe Oysher sings El Mole Rachamim, a funeral prayer for the the 40,000 Jews who died a year earlier in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
The broadcast above comes from a rare shellac radio transcription disc dated March 26, 1933. The program, The News Parade, consists of several news stories, including the one above dramatizing the Nazi persecution of Jews. It's particularly notable since Adolph Hitler had only become German Chancellor on January 30th, less than two months earlier.
In March, 1972, reporter Eleanor Fischer interviewed Congresswoman Bella Abzug as she was fighting to hold on to her congressional district in Manhattan encompassing, in part, the Battery, the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, Greenwich Village and Chelsea. Representative Abzug talks about this effort to marginalize her. She also calls for pulling U.S. troops out of Vietnam, endorses Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's campaign for the Presidency and (there may be some debate over it) lays claim to starting the honorific "Ms."
Marcus Garvey, the promoter of Pan-Africanism and black pride, had a vision of economic independence for his people. Those who followed him were called Garveyites. He was the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, (UNIA) the single largest black organization ever. In the 1920s and 30s, the UNIA had an estimated six million followers around the world.
It was the Great Depression. Nine young black men were hoboing, riding a freight train to Memphis, Tennessee in search of work, but their ride was cut short. At Scottsboro, Alabama the police hauled them off the train: the young men, ages 13 to 21, were accused of raping two white women who were on the train. For black men in the 1930s in the Deep South, such a charge could be fatal. Like so many others who had died by trial or lynching, the Scottsboro Boys (as they came to be called) were falsely accused, a fact that meant almost nothing. In March, 1931 eight of them were sentenced to death, while the fate of the ninth, 13-year-old Roy Wright, hovered dangerously close to life in prison before ending in a mistrial.
In 1961, a radio reporter named Eleanor Fischer spoke to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for a CBC called Project 62. As far as we know, these unedited interviews have never been presented in their entirety until now.
David Durk, the New York police detective who teamed up with officer Frank Serpico to breach the aptly named 'blue wall of silence' died yesterday. His testimony before the Knapp Commission investigation into police corruption in 1971 made for some of the most moving public testimony ever broadcast. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, WNYC Director Mary Perot Nichols said it was largely thanks to Durk's persistence and contacts that their campaign against police corruption became a matter of public record. Above is an excerpt from his remarks on December 21, 1971.
In 1989 National Public Radio commissioned me to produce a Veterans Day documentary piece on General Smedley Butler, the consummate American soldier.