The 1932 WLS Family Album...

1932 WLS Family Album cover "This book is dedicated to you, our listener---our friend. Your cheery letters encourage us; your criticisms guide us. Together we shall continue to build, in WLS, an institution of increasing service to mankind. We want you to think of us always as folks with a handshake and a smile---and remember, here at Prairie Farmer's home, the latchstring is always out".

Curator's note: So reads the preface to the 1932 WLS Family Album, which I offer here in an HTML version. The copy I've scanned originally belonged, according to a notation inside the back cover, to Ruby Peck of Sparta, Wisconsin. I purchased it several years ago at an antique store in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

  • Meet Burridge Davenal Butler. He was the publisher of Prairie Farmer, the President of WLS---and therefore the boss man.
  • Program Building. Meet the folks who develope and write those great shows you hear on WLS.
  • Farm Service on WLS. The editorial staff of Prairie Farmer who tell you everything you need to know about the world of agriculture as it effects your family's farm.
  • This Program was Announced by...Hal O'Halloran, Martha Crane, Al Rice, Jack Holden, Margaret McKay and Bill Cline: voices loud and clear, heard over the static.
  • The Maple City 4. That zany bunch that keeps you laughing and the studio engineer guessing.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, WLS Organist. Yeah, that really was his name. See him at the console of his instrument. And take a peek inside the organ chamber.
  • "Arkie". Transplanted from the Ozarks to the Windy City, the "Arkansas Woodchopper" and his guitar will keep your foot tapping. He's a mighty funny guy, too.
  • The Cumberland Ridge Runners. A first-rate bluegrass group.
  • Bill Vickland. The voice of The Book Shop and lay pastor of The Little Brown Church, Bill is in charge of dramatic productions at WLS.
  • The Sunday School Singers. The three little girls whose voices you hear each week on The Cross Roads Sunday School.
  • The WLS Staff Orchestra. Under Herman Felber's direction, they play more music more often. And it's always live.
  • Mac and Bob. You play their records. But now you can hear this bluegrass duo live over WLS!
  • Variety. The Hawaiian guitars (predecessors of the Dobro and steel guitars) of Cecil and Esther Ward; the keyboard artistry of Princess Tsianina---and the uncertain pitch of soprano Grace Wilson.
  • From the Studios of Swift and Company. As WLS's major time-buyer, Swift was allotted two pages in the Family Album. Among the featured artists you'll see here are a very young Win Stracke (one of the great folk singers of the Midwest and Great Plains) and a middle-aged Cliff Soubier (whose Chicago radio career ran from NBC radio's First Nighter to ABC television's Super Circus).
  • At the State Fairs. The WLS crew goes on the road to the 1931 Illinois and Indiana state fairs.
  • Sue, Anne and Leone. Gathered around the double-button carbon mike, this trio will tell you everything you need to know to be a sophisticated farm wife. These days they'd be doing news, traffic and weather.
  • Eddie and Lonnie. WLS had two harmonica players on staff. What other station could make that claim?
  • Harry Steele, The Chicago Post Reporter. He gives you the latest news. And he wears his hat in the studio.
  • Jim Poole, Chicago Live Stock Exchange. Even if your clueless as to the fundamental differences between a cow and a bull, you'll enjoy Jim's reports direct from the Union Stockyards.
  • John Brown and the Three Contraltos. Ten nimble fingers and three melifluous voices.
  • Ballads and Melodies. Harpist Margaret Sweeney, William O'Connor (the obligatory "Irish tenor") and balladeer Bradley Kincaid (the "Kentucky Mountain Boy").
  • The Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. Old time religion on the air.
  • Sophia Germanich. The stenographer who doubled as a soprano.
  • Following the Huskers. WLS keeps you on top of the state and national corn husking contests (no wagering, please).
  • 50,000 Watts. Technicians at work in the WLS studios and at the transmitter site. Meet engineer Charlie Nehlsen who, in May of 1937, would be at the controls to record Herbert Morrison's legendary description of the crash of the "Hindenberg" at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
  • Our Visitors. Some of the thousands of visitors who stopped by the WLS studios in 1931.
  • Some of our Girls at WLS. Don't stand up too quickly, or you'll hit the glass ceiling.
  • The WLS Guest Book. Wonder what ever happened to it

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
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