The 1954 WLS Family Album:

Turntable Operator Max Thompson

Curator's note: One of the unique operational features of the major Chicago radio stations was the presence of the "turntable operator" or "record turner". They were members of the American Federation of Musicians and had exclusive jurisdiction over turntables which, in other markets, engineers or talent operated. James C. Petrillo, the enormously powerful president of the Chicago Federation of Musicians (and later the American Federation of Musicians) waged a war against "canned music" from the earliest days of Chicago broadcasting. "Record turners" were one artifact of his clout.

Right: Max Thompson, as pleasantly methodical as he looks, must see to it that every recorded and transcribed announcement and music number goes on the air upon split-second cues from the studio. Madeline Lorch and Fred Vopatek assist him in these duties in studio E.

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