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This page will attempt to showcase the histories of New York City AM Radio stations,
past and present.
Please feel free to e-mail me with any information you would like to contribute to this page and
you will be credited.
Some information provided by:
"The Airwaves Of New York:
Illustrated Histories Of 156 AM Stations In The
Metropolitan Area, 1921-1996"
Dave Hughes' NYRTV website (no longer online)
Jeff Miller's History Of American Broadcasting website
Do you, or anyone you know, work in NJ radio, either now or in the past?
is looking for you!
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WLIB - 1190 AM, New York
The origins of this station go all the way back to November 2, 1926 when WBKN signed on, owned by engineer Arthur Faske and his brother Dr. Leo Faske, on a frequency of 1030 AM.
Studios were located at 1525 Pitkin Ave. in Brooklyn.
However, the Faske brothers soon found themselves under orders from the newly authorized FRC (Federal Radio Commission) to move WBKN off of 1030 (which was assigned to Canada at the time) and move to 1210 AM, which they did in early 1927 and began sharing time with four other stations in the process: WWRL, WIBI, WBMS and WJBI.
Then, the FRC told WBKN, along with WWRL, WIBI and WBMS, to move up to 1500 AM, effective December 1, 1927.
All the stations protested, contending that older radios would not be able to tune that far up the dial and called the frequency a "graveyard."
But, they eventually followed the orders and managed to survive.
The published schedules of WBKN reveal a varied and lively program service.
The station even aired a regular "Midnight Jamboree."
On April 11, 1928, Arthur Faske moved WBKN out to Long Beach, Long Island and operated under calls WCLB.
The Faske brothers built studios in the Ocean Crest Hotel on the boardwalk at Laurelton Blvd. and the transmitter was 1½ miles away at Reynolds Cove.
They solicited the cooperation of the Long Island and Long Beach Chamber Of Commerce as well as the US Coast Guard.
Away from the crowds of Brooklyn, WCLB was alone in its community and seemed to enjoy the support of local business, calling itself "the Municipal Broadcasting Station Of Long Beach."
Programming was informal; schedules would sometimes list merely a "two-hour varied program."
WCLB's license expired on July 31, 1929 and the Faske brothers didn't apply for an immediate renewal, but early in 1930, they went before the FRC to protest that their reapplication had been dismissed without cause.
The license was renewed in April 1930, but the following winter, the Faskes and manager L.W. Berne moved the station back to Brooklyn and resumed broadcasting under call letters WMIL.
Studios went back to 1525 Pitkin Ave.
With WMIL still sharing time with other stations on 1500, the Faske brothers attempted to take over the airtime of one of them, WLBX, in August 1932.
Then that autumn, Faske applied to take over a station located on 1300 AM.
Both applications were denied.
In September 1933, Arthur Faske changed WMIL to WCNW.
Studios were moved to 846 Flatbush in 1935.
Audio equipment was homemade by the Faske Engineering Company.
The transmitter he built was so unreliable that Faske sometimes called other stations asking them to check his frequency.
WCNW specialized in ethnic programming.
It broadcast programs in eight languages, including the city's first Chinese programs.
On WCNW, you could hear New York's only female sportscast with Babs Brodsley covering women's sports in the early 1940's.
The station also broadcast a program entitled - and the station enjoyed an identity as - "The Voice Of The Negro Community."
Each weekday at 5pm and Sunday mornings at 9am, WCNW aired a mixture of entertainment, religion and public-service features reflecting African-American life, from the mundane to the spiritual.
One of the nation's great black broadcasters, Joe Bostic Sr., began his long career at WCNW.
In 1941, WCNW moved over to 1600 AM and shared time with WWRL (though only after the FCC assigned it to operate for one day at 1490 AM on March 30 of that year.)
At the same time, the FCC determined that Faske had "operated and permitted his station to be operated, in violation of the terms of the license," and it moved to shut down WCNW.
However, the changes brought about by the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) also opened up new frequencies and so, in Faske's final metamorphosis, WCNW moved to 1190 AM on December 23, 1941.
The following spring, the station was sold to Elias Godofsky, the general managerof WCNW since 1940, and on July 1, 1942, the station became WLIB.
Arthur Faske stayed on for a while as chief engineer.
WLIB described its programming as "the popular classics with a blend of the modern ... and news."
Former WQXR music director Eddy Brown joined the station and it became the first commercial competition with WQXR for the classical music audience.
Murray Jordan was chief announcer and other air personalities included Charles Sidney Freed, who'd been heard on WQXR, and Alan Courtney, whose credits included WNEW and WOV (see below).
In October 1944, New York Post publisher Dorothy Schiff Thackery bought WLIB for $250,000.
In November of that year, the city of license was officially changed to New York and studios were soon moved to 207 30th St.
New York Post newscasts were heard at 45 minutes past each hour, but programming was little changed.
In September 1949, with financial difficulties facing the Post, WLIB was sold for only $150,000 to the New Broadcasting Company, led by former WNYC manager Morris Novik and his brother, Harry, who was in the ladies' garment business.
Classical music was proving unprofitable and with some ethnic programming already in place, they expanded broadcasts for Jewish and black audiences and added Spanish, Polish and Greek programs.
The Jewish-oriented programs were mostly in English and emphasized culture and public affairs, while a Harlem studio was planned to better serve the African-American community.
On December 11, 1952, WLIB moved its entire broadcast operation to Hotel Theresa at 2090 7th Ave., which the station dubbed Harlem Radio Center.
WLIB developed a respectable schedule of community-affairs programs.
News director Clifford Evans went on to head RKO-General's Washington bureau.
During WLIB's "Anglo-Jewish" hours, commentator Estelle M. Sternberger was heard.
Drawing listeners to the black-oriented programming that filled nearly 90% of its schedule were persoanlities like Buddy and Sara Lou Bowser, Doc Wheeler, Ora Brinkley, George W. Goodman and former NAACP president Walter White, whose discussion show was nationally syndicated by WLIB.
Disk jockey Hal Jackson came to WLIB briefly in 1949 and returned in 1953 with "The House That Jack Built."
One of the most respected programs was "The Gospel Train," created by veteran broadcaster Joe Bostic Sr., who began his career back when the station was still WCNW.
In 1962, WLIB moved its studios from Hotel Theresa to the United Mutual Life Insurance building at 310 Lenox Ave. at 125th St., still in the center of Harlem.
Five years later, WLIB went from 1000 to 10,000 watts.
On June 6, 1967, Mayor John Lindsay presided at the ceremony that shut down the Queens transmitter and switched over to the one in Lyndhurst NJ.
In the late 60's and early 70's, WLIB became a soapbox and safety valve for the black community.
The "Community Opinion" call-in show conducted by program director Leon Lewis gave listeners an outlet for ourage, frustration, or just puzzlement.
Lawyers, doctors, and even psychologists, were regular guests.
Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, WLIB turned over its entire broadcast days to news and a wide range of public comments and won some of the credit for keeping New York City reletively calm while riots broke out in other cities.
The radical Black Panther party even had its own program on WLIB in 1969, "The People's Information Slot."
All this provided an outlet for black opinion as well as a listening post for the entire community to share that opinion and in 1970, WLIB earned the first Peabody Award given to a black-oriented station.
In 1966, WLIB was awarded a license to operate an FM station, WLIB-FM.
A disagreement that began with the dismissal of a producer who refused to act as a lunch-hour switchboard operator led to a rupture of labor relations at WLIB, forcing both the AM & FM station to shut down for two weeks in October 1970.
Employees set up picket lines outside the studios and handed out pamphlets accusing the New Broadcasting Company of being "the scavenger of black radio."
The dispute ended on October 28, 1970 (the producer was offered her job back), but the strained relations added to the pressure on Harry Novik to sell WLIB, and he looked for an African-American buyer.
In July 1971, WLIB was purchased by Inner City Broadcasting Corp., headed by former Manhattan Borough president Percy Sutton and by Clarence Jones, publisher of New York's major back newspaper, the Amsterdam News (which had been purchased by Jones and Sutton a year earlier).
Other owners included Billy Taylor, Percy Sutton's son Pierre, Hal Jackson and "three black housewives."
Novik intially held on to WLIB-FM, until it too was purchased by Inner City in 1973.
In 1975, WLIB moved from Harlem to 801 2nd Ave and changed the FM's calls to WBLS.
WLIB soon became the center of an African-American media empire, which added stations in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Detroit markets as well as cable TV systems.
In 1980, Inner City bought and restored Harlem's historic Apollo Theatre.
In November 1980, WLIB applied to the FCC to move the station from 1190 to 1200, in order to escape its daytime-only broadcast restrictions hampered by being on a clear-channel frequency with WOWO in Fort Wayne IN, but the FCC denied the application.
Public affairs continued to be a key part of WLIB's schedule and as racial issues grew sharper in New York and public involement in broadcast discussion more commonplace, WLIB became a dominent and controversial voice.
WLIB assumed a conspicuous role in local politics, especially with the election of David Dinkins, the city's first black mayor and a close friend of Percy Sutton's.
Dinkin's transfer of Inner City Broadcasting stock to his son had become an issue in his mayoral campaign.
Harsh criticism of Mayor Dinkins over WLIB caused Sutton to go on Gary Byrd's "Global Black Experiance" program on May 14, 1990 and tell listeners, "WLIB cannot be used for us to destroy each other."
He threatened to cancel the talk shows.
In September 1994, in a move unprecedented in the broadcasting industry, Inner City Broadcasting purchased WOWO for the sole purpose of reducing its power and redirecting its signal.
As a result, WLIB was finally able to power up to 50,000 watts daytime/30,000 watts night, and be heard full-time in the entire New York market.
On March 31, 2004, WLIB became an affiliate of Air America, a liberal talk network.
On September 1, 2006, WLIB started a religious format, when the Air America affiliation moved over to WWRL 1600.
Consultant Daulton Anderson, Chief Production Engineer Anthony Richards and GM/PD Vinny Brown spearheaded getting the religious format to take shape.
First song was Tim Harper's, "High Praise."
(Thanks to Daulton Anderson for some of this information)
WLBE - 1200 AM, Brooklyn
WLBE broadcasted briefly from Brooklyn in 1926 and 1927.
WAOK - 1210 AM, Ozone Park
WAOK started broadcasting in 1926 from Ozone Park, before being deleted in April 1927.
WMRJ - 1210 AM, Jamaica, Queens
WMRJ - "Merrick Radio, Jamaica" - went on the air July 9, 1926 and was built by owner Peter J. Prinz in his Merrick Radio store at 12 New York Blvd.
The station was originally at 1320 AM.
It had a 10-watt transmitter with a six-wire "inverted-L" antenna on the roof, and in 1927, started to split its airtime with other small stations on 1450 AM.
Garry Howard was studio manager and chief announcer.
WMRJ had a strong tie-in with Queens newspaper, The Long Island Daily Press, and it joined with the paper during the 1927 Christmas season to present a series of fund-raising marathons on behalf of holiday aid to the needy.
WMRJ occasionally stayed on the air into the wee hours with "The Gloom Chasers" or a "Midnight Frolic" from the Merrick Theatre and a 2am aid to insomnia called "The Coffee Chasers."
There were frequent request programs, and Prinz even arranged with record stores and companies to play records before their official public release.
When it appeared that the FRC (Federal Radio Commission) might revoke WMRJ's license in 1928, Queens Borough President Bernard Patten personally intervened on its behalf, citing frequent community service programs, and Congessman Robert Bacon called the station "indespenable" in Queens.
The license was renewed, but the station was still squeezed in too closely to other local stations.
In May 1930, it was authorized to move to 1210 AM, but had to keep its power down to 10 watts.
The station moved studios and transmitter to 146-10 Jamaica Ave. in July 1930, for the New York Ave. site was to be torn down.
In February 1931, Prinz moved WMRJ to 162-14 Jamaica Ave., and in April of that year, it finally was able to increase power to 100 watts.
The station then found its license under challenge from a rival 100 miles away.
Peter Goelet, scion of a wealthy banking family, was establishing a station on his Orange County estate and WMRJ off the 1210 frequency they were sharing.
Goelet and the FRC examiner alleged violations of radio regulations, which Prinz denied in a Washington hearing.
It was around this time that WMRJ initiated its most memorable and influential program.
In April 1932, John J. Anthony, the professional name of Lester Kroll - a prankster who once served a jail term for not keeping up his alimony payments - began a series "dedicated to helping the sufferers from an antiquated and outmoded domestic relations code."
Troubled listeners in Queens could "Ask Mister Anthony," a self-styled expert on human relations.
It was one of radio's first, and frankest, advise programs.
Unfortunately, Mr. Anthony couldn't solve Mr. Prinz's problems.
The challenge from Peter Goelet was successful, and in September 1932, Goelet bought WMRJ and put it off the air.
John J. Anthony went on to national fame on the Mutual Network and Peter Prinz continued his career as an engineer for NBC.
WABS - 1230 AM, New York
WABS was on the air briefly in 1924 and 1925.
WADO - 1280 AM, New York
This station began its history as WGL on January 30, 1927.
WGL broadcasted from the Hotel Majestic, located on Central Park West at 72nd St.
The station was owned by the International Broadcasting Corporation, and hotel manager Copeland Townsend was named to the station's advisory board.
WGL president Colonel Lewis Landes stated on the inaugural broadcast, "The International Broadcasting Corporation's aim is to adhere to truth, to be free of partisanship, religious or political."
But, by opening its microphones to a broad range of speakers, WGL was often embroiled in controversy and confusion during its 20 months on the air.
In May 1927, WGL was the first station to protest the frequency allocations of the Federal Radio Commission.
WGL had been authorized to move to 1170 AM, but wanted to go to 720, which was currently occupied by WOR.
Then, when WOR was awarded the 710 frequency, both stations went to court, with WOR eventually winning the case.
Finally in June 1927, WGL moved to 1020 AM and shared time with Paterson NJ station, WODA.
Perhaps in an effort to put their problems behind them, WGL turned to another dimension of programming on the night of July 13, 1927.
Rev. Mary Freeman of the Liberty Spiritulist Church beckoned the spirits of Voltaire, Woodrow Wilson and murder victim Albert Snyder.
WGL prepared the studio to Freeman's specifications, dimming the lights and setting out drums, a bell, a cello and other objects that would vibrate in repsonse to messages from the beyond.
WGL listeners heard various sounds, which Rev. Freeman later interpreted as ambiguous messages.
On August 1, 1927, a second experiment was conducted, with noises emanating for a half-hour from an empty, darkened studio.
On August 21, 1927, studio manager Charles Isaacson announced one of the city's first attempts at local news coverage.
WGL was organizing listeners to volunteer as radio reporters and call the station with breaking news stories.
By now, WGL was also striving to be commercially successful and hired the Theatre Sales Company as its agency.
24 announcements of 100 words cost $47.50.
The company said it was to receive $30 of the $47.50 and sued WGL for $32,812 in damages, charging that the International Broadcasting Corp. had broken its agreement.
Soon afterwards, WGL stopped dealing with the company.
On September 16 1928, WGL changed calls to WOV.
It had been sold to Sicilian-born importer John Iraci, at a time when the FRC was ordering all stations to update their equipment.
In November 1928, WOV moved to 1130 AM, as part of the nationwide frequency reallocations.
WOV's initial programming was aimed at a general audience, but by the mid 1930's, it strengthed its ethnic ties and expanded its Italian-language programming to fill the daytime hours.
WOV soon became the dominent Italian voice in the Northeast through its affiliation with share-time station WBIL and Iraci's WPEN in Philadelphia.
As a side note, WBIL was established in 1937 by Iraci and watchmaker Arde Bulova.
Bulova was also part owner of WNEW and he and Iraci swapped stock to buy into each other's stations.
In November 1937, Iraci died suddenly, and management of WOV and WBIL was assumed by his long-time assistant Hyla Kiczales.
Iraci's stations weren't simply "sisters" but also neighbors.
WOV operated during daytime hours on 1130, WBIL was at 1100 in the evening as well as Fridays and Sundays, when WOV was silent.
WPG in Atlantic City also occupied 1100, sharing time with WBIL.
This cumbersome arrangement ended in 1940 in a complicated series of events when Arde Bulova's Greater New York Broadcasting Corporation bought WPG and absorbed it into WOV, shut down both WOV and WPG on January 2, 1940 because they interferred with WBIL, asked the FCC to cancel WOV's license and move WBIL to 1130, and immediately changed WBIL's calls to WOV.
In 1941, Bulova applied for a swap of frequencies between WOV on 1130 and WNEW on 1280.
The request was actually a simple application for the two stations to switch call letters.
So, on December 1, 1941, WOV moved to 1280 AM, operating 5½ days a week and sharing time with WHBI and WNEW moved to 1130 AM and assumed full-time status.
WOV's original studios were located at 16 E. 42nd St. and in 1935, it moved to 132 W. 43rd St.
In the early 1940's, Arde Bulova established new facilties in the Heckscher building at 730 5th Ave., across the street from Tiffany's.
Starting in 1943, GM Ralph Weil and PD Arnold Hartley maintained a durable format of "Italian all day, jazz all night."
When the station resumed English-language broadcasting each evening, there was a solid hour of news and commentary followed at 7p by an hour of country music with Rosalie Allen, the "Queen Of The Yodelers."
There was also an hour of classical music before the midnight sign-off, and the series "America In Music" featured many seldom-heard native composers.
The night-time schedule featured some of the nation's best disc jockeys, including at one time or another, Art Ford, Martin Block, William B. Williams and Allen Courtney, who combined interviews and liberal political commentary with the hippest sounds of the day.
In the early 1940's, Courtney welcomed some of the biggest swing bands to the WOV studios, including the Glenn Miller and Charlie Barnet organizations.
On the "1280 Club" and Robbin's Nest", Fred Robbins presented classic blues and boogie-woogie.
It was Robbins who first called singer/songwriter Mel Torme, "The Velvet Fog."
The jazz programs featured many new and off-beat performers of the 1930's and 1940's and attracted a strong following among African-Americans.
This gave WOV a reputation to build on when it instituted its first gospel programming in the mid 1950's, two hours each evening hosted by Thermon Ruth.
In 1946, WOV established a studio on the Via di Porta Pinciana in Rome - it was the only foriegn-language station in the United States with a permanent facility in the "mother country."
In the 1950's, WOV's Italian schedule was expanded to 8p and the early-morning and evening hours were increasingly occupied by black-oriented rhythm-and-blues and gospel music.
Programming was inspired by the nation's space program: the day began with the "Gospel Rocket," Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert rode the "Blue Rocket" and Jocko Henderson took off in "Jocko's Rocketship."
Daddy Dee, Joe Crane, and Cleo Rowe were also on WOV, along with Thurmon Ruth who played inspirational music on "The Old Ship Of Zion."
In 1955, the WODAAM Corporation sold WOV to a group headed by Morris Novik, who had run WNYC and WLIB (see above) and including Arnold Hartley and Ralph Weil.
In August 1959, WOV was sold again, this time to Bartell Broadcasters, which subsequently changed the call letters to WADO.
As part of the sales agreement, many of the Italian features continued until their contract period expired.
WADO then began a rock music format, with the Italian programming regulated to the 7p to 10p block.
In April 1960, studios were moved to the Newsweek building at 444 Madison Ave., Bartell's corporate headquarters.
The "Musicmakers" (DJ's) on WADO included "Happy Hare" Harry Martin, Kenny Garland and "Johnny Holiday" Mort Crowley.
On the graveyard shift, Jack Walker played rhythm and blues with special appeal to black audiences, a carryover from WOV.
Also in the early 1960's, "Symphony Sid" played Latin and jazz midnights.
The most striking sound on WADO was the news.
News director Jack Powers personally delivered most newscasts from 6a to 6:30p.
Opening with the words "This is the voice of the news!", he would cup his hands and hawk, "Downtown dailies, please stand by to copy!"
With a Walter Winchell-like delivery, Powers piled on the sound effects: teletypes clicking, bells ringing, sirens wailing and datelines shouted through an echo chamber.
It was an energetic approach, but most of WADO's air personalities lacked experience in the New York market and never really connected with the local audience.
Faced with strong competition from the other Top 40 stations of the day, WADO brought back its Italian and black-oriented programming in the early 1960's, and some Spanish programming was also phased in.
In 1962, WADO purchased its time-share partner, WHBI, and expanded its Spanish programming, confining English programming to religious broadcasts on weekends.
In its final weeks as a rock station, WADO added more newscasts to its schedule: from 2 newscasts an hour to 4.
In June 1963, WADO finally pulled the plug on its rock music format.
Among the new air personnel were Angel Richardson, Ismael Diaz Tirado and Raul Torres.
The News Director, Program Director and Assistant Manager was Louis Romanacce.
In 1964, studios were moved to 205 E. 42nd St.
On June 1, 1964, WADO began to air Spanish programming from 5a to 8p.
WADO became a 24 hour Spanish station in 1973, and with its 1979 sale to Command Broadcasting Associates, the ownership and management became primarily Hispanic.
Studios moved to the transmitter in Carlstadt NJ and the station joined Cadena Radio Centro, a Texas-based network.
By the 1990's, WADO was the metropolitan area's dominent Spanish language station.
(Thanks to "Renesil2" and Stan Futterman for some of this information)
WDBX - 1290 AM, New York
WDBX, dubbed "New York's Smallest Radio Station," went on the air June 14, 1924, with a mere 5 watts.
It was located in the back room of the Dyckman Radio Shop at 138 Dyckman St. in Inwood, near the northern tip of Manhattan.
WDBX was the project of Edward C. Wilbur and Max Jacobson, both former shipboard operators and ham radio enthusiasts.
Their friend, Eugene Delmar, was the announcer.
The station was on the air Monday, Tuesday and Saturday nights and despite its flea-sized power, was picked up as far away as Chicago.
WDBX used a portable transmitter with the call letters WOKO, and in 1925, Wilbur and Jacobson sold WOKO to radio-shop owner Otto Baur and subsequently shut down WDBX's operation.
Wilbur and Jacobson later joined the WJZ engineering staff, with Jacobson eventually becoming the supervisor of field operations for NBC.
WSAY - 1290 AM, New York
WSAY broadcasted briefly in 1923 and 1924.
WMHA - 1300 AM, New York
Not too much is known about this particular station.
WMHA was owned by Boy Scout Troop 707 and was authorized to start broadcasting on January 17, 1927.
It is not known how long this operation lasted.
WPOW - 1330 AM, New York
Jehovah's Witnesses was one of the first religious organizations to enter the broadcasting field.
In 1923, the International Bible Students' Association (as it was then called - the name 'Jehovah's Witnesses' waa adopted in 1931) bought the equipment of radio station WDT at Stapleton, Staten Island, which the Ship Owners Radio Service was shutting down.
A year later, on February 24, 1924, Judge Franklin Rutherford, successor to the sect's founder, Charles Taze Russell, dedicated the new station, called WBBR, at Rossville in southwestern Staten Island.
Facilities and accomodations for the staff were in the 2½ story "Big House" at 111 Woodrow Rd.
WBBR's programming schedule included programs in several languages, including Yiddish and Arabic.
Judge Rutherford later expanded the radio operations into ownership of at least 7 stations in the United States and Canada, including outlets in the Chicago, Toronto, and Oakland areas.
On August 5, 1928, Rutherford broadcast on a chain of 96 stations, the largest radio network organized till that time.
Later, broadcasts were beamed via shortwave to over 400 stations worldwide, sometimes originating from WBBR's studios.
In the New York area, the Witnesses also bought time on WBNX, WOV (see above), WGBB, WFAS and WNEW.
But, Rutherford's attacks on other religions led many stations to drop his programs, sometimes cutting him off before he was finished.
WBBR started off on a frequency of 1230 AM in 1924, then moved to 1100 later that year.
In 1925, the station moved to 720 AM, unauthorized.
In 1927, WBBR moved again to 1170, and in 1928 to 1300 - in both instances, sharing time with other stations.
In 1931, the main studios were moved from Rossville to the sect's headquarters at 124 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights, which also served as a residence for church workers.
In 1941, WBBR's license was transferred to the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society, the religion's publishing arm, and in March of that year, WBBR (and its share-time partners) moved to 1330 AM.
Judge Rutherford died in 1942 and was buried at Rossville in a Methodist cemetary within sight of the WBBR towers.
A fire at the Rossville transmitter in February 1945 put the station off the air briefly.
In 1946, WBBR erected a 411-foot, three-tower array at Rossville and two years later, the power was increased to 5000 watts.
A new structure housed the transmission equipment.
For all its days on the air, WBBR was powered by its own electrical generator.
In 1957, choosing to emphasize its publishing activity and stating that WBBR "no longer served the interests of the Kingdom," the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society sold its station to H. Scott Killgore's Tele-Broadcasters Of New York Inc. for $133,000.
Call letters were changed to WPOW on May 1, 1957, the religious talks and placid string and organ music disappeared, and the new station embarked on a series of changes that would repeatedly make it something of a pioneer in New York area radio.
Killgore established offices and a closet-sized studio for WPOW at 41 E. 42nd St. in Manhattan, but most of the broadcast operation remained at the Staten Island transmitter.
On the morning of September 5, 1957, WPOW became the first New York station to play a form of rock music during most of its daily schedule.
"Rhythm Ranch" was heavily into rockabilly, a blending of country & western and rhythm & blues.
It was hosted by WPOW program director Mel Miller and Dave Pryce, the station's chief engineer.
The show was heard for 1 hour 6 mornings a week, for 2½ hours most weeknights and on Sunday afternoons.
Five minutes of UP news was read every half-hour.
The remainder of WPOW's schedule was filled with easy-listening music, paid religious programs (including "Glad Tidings Tabernacle" and "The Hebrew Christian Hour") and a Sunday-evening taped description of a Saturday-afternoon Staten Island high school football game.
Under its share-time arrangements, WPOW often broadcasted at unusual times, occassionally signing on at 3a and then leaving the air while the morning drive-time audience was at its peak.
By 1959, WPOW's schedule looked like this:
Tuesday-Friday: 5:30a-8am & 5p-8p
Monday & Saturday: 5:30a-8a
Sunday: 6a-11a & 4p-8p
Despite the slogan that "WPOW brings more POW-er to New York," the signal was weak in the northern reaches of the five boroughs and the Staten Island location discouraged a lucrative local presence.
In February 1958, "Rhythm Ranch" was cancelled and the station moved to foreign-language programming, mostly Spanish but also including some Polish, French, Armenian and Byelorussian.
There were also a couple of popular Sunday programs for the Irish-American audience: Harry McGuirk's "Shamrock Time" and the "Irish Showboat" with Peter McNulty and John Rooney.
In July 1959, Killgore sold WPOW for $250,000 to John M. Camp, an Illinois-based advertising agent and broker of religious broadcast time.
Camp moved the Manhattan studio and offices to the Roosevelt Hotel on Madison Ave. and 45th St.
Naturally, paid religion began to take more time on the WPOW schedule, and ethnic programming also increased.
Some holdovers from the Tele-Broadcasters days remained, including Jack Smith's "Vocies Of Staten Island" and "Jazz n' Things", produced by Erwin Frankel from 6a-7:15a Monday thru Saturday.
Cool and mellow early-morning jazz was punctuated by Frankel's editorializing on events of the day, and eventually his comments caused the management to dismiss him.
Operating as "WPOW Inc.", Camp's station turned heavily to inspirational and religiously-oriented public-affairs programs, with foreign-language broadcasts largely confined to late afternoon and evening hours.
In 1964, studios were moved to 305 E. 40th St.
In 1973, Camp purchased share-time station WHAZ in Troy NY and starting operating it as a daytimer, opening up Monday nights for WPOW.
In 1979, WPOW's other share-time station, WEVD, was sold to Salem Media, and became WNYM.
In the early 1980's, Salem bought out WPOW for $4 million, most of that sum simply for the Staten Island real estate.
On December 31, 1984, WPOW signed off without ceremony, and the last time-sharing arrangement in New York AM radio came to an end.
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