Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

We're Talking Obscure Here

Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

We're Talking Obscure Here

Article excerpt

(Editor's note: Information for this article was provided by the St. Louis Media Archives at the St. Louis Public Library.)

When the radio business caught fire in the early 1920s, there were several major types of owners, each with good reasons to build radio stations. Newspapers used their stations to promote their papers, broadcasting news and telling listeners they could read more in the next edition. Communications companies like AT&T and Westinghouse would realize immediate benefits as people bought radios: AT&T leased phone lines for programming and Westinghouse sold radios to consumers. In many cities department stores also owned stations to sell radios to listeners.

Here in St. Louis, Stix, Baer & Fuller built WCK in 1922, broadcasting its first program April 18 from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. on 360 meters (approximately 830 Kc.) Mary Jones was in charge of programming, which was aired Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. St. Louis Mayor Henry Kiel opened the show, which originated from the 11th floor studios of the downtown Stix building. There were musical numbers performed by former Metropolitan Grand Opera soprano Agnes Hanick, her sister Florence Hanick and the Rush Musical Company.

While this may not sound terribly enlightening or entertaining, it was standard fare on radio through the decade of the '20s. Three years later the station announced it would broadcast exercise classes at 7 a.m. "Tune in on the radio and take on a manly waistline this week" read the lead in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on Jan. 18, 1925. The "first-of-its kind" broadcast in St. …

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