A quarter century
of pioneering in the field of radio is the enviable record that Station WMAQ,
Chicago's oldest station, has maintained from its first broadcast---on April 13,
The station was within a day of being six months old when it presented the first
music appreciation program---on October 12, 1922. On that day Mr. and Mrs. Max
E. Oberndorfer began a series of broadcasts with an analysis of the opening program
of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that year.
On the following day, WMAQ led the radio industry into the field of children's
programs with Mrs. Oberndorfer's Hearing America First series. This phase of broadcasting
was expanded in October 16 of the same year when Miss
Georgene Faulkner, the Story Lady, gave the first of her "Mother Goose"
On November 28, 1922, the first educational broadcast was presented by WMAQ when
Prof. Forest Ray Moulton, head of the astronomy department at the University of
Chicago gave a lecture on "The Evening Sky." It was the first in a series
of broadcasts by University of Chicago professors and was the forerunner of the
present University of Chicago Round Table.
WMAQ also led the field in sports broadcasting, presenting the first daily play-by-play
descriptions of major league games. The first such broadcast was on April 20,
1925, when the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs by a score of 2 to
The first play-by-play description of a football game also was broadcast over
Station WMAQ on October 3, 1925, when the University of Chicago defeated the University
of Kentucky, 9 to 0.
The first trans-oceanic news broadcast in history, on December 4, 1928, also was
broadcast over WMAQ. It consisted of a telephone conversation between, John Gunther,
then Chicago Daily News correspondent in London, and Hal O'Flaherty, then foreign
news editor of the News, regarding the condition of King George V who was seriously
More recently, WMAQ used a recordograph for the first time in covering a 5-11
fire in a lumber yard on April 11, 1945, has pioneered in the use of the wire
recorder for commercial broadcasting and is the only station presenting a daily
spot news program using the recorder exclusively.
Station WMAQ also was the only Chicago station to broadcast the first presidential
inaugural ever put on the air, that of Calvin Coolidge, on March 4, 1925. WMAQ
also took part in what is believed to have been the first commercial network broadcast
on March 26, 1925. This broadcast was the first of a series of concerts presented
by the Victor Phonograph Company over an improvised network of some 20 stations
scattered between WNBC in New York amd WMAQ in Chicago. On August 27, 1930, WMAQ
presented the first
television broadcast in Chicago when Hal
Totten described a boxing match in the first of a series of sports shows.