WMAQ Pioneered Industry In Music, Sports, Discussion Progr

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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, 1922.

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" broadcasts.

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 1.

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 ill.

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.

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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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Created by Rich Samuels (e-mail to rich@richsamuels.com)