The History of WMAQ Radio

Chapter 8

Operation of WMAQ settled into a schedule routine early in 1924, with three regular broadcast periods every day except Sunday. The first Chicago Nemo’s were installed by WMAQ at Lyon and Healy’s Music Store, and at the Chicago Civic Opera House. In the summer of 1925 WMAQ broadcast the Democratic and Republican conventions exclusively to Chicago, by arrangement with the A.T.&.T.

The 1924 World Series baseball games were also broadcast by WMAQ in October, and a new field of sports reporting was opened to radio broadcasting. Public interest in these baseball games was very much apparent, and the Daily News decided to look closely into this new field of radio. All during that fall and winter plans were completed for broadcasting the local Chicago games of both the American and National League teams for the next season. Miss Waller, incidentally, first sold P.K. Wrigley on the idea of broadcasting from Wrigley Field. WMAQ was the first station in the United States to broadcast every home baseball game, an arrangement which began on June 1st, 1925, and continued for many seasons.

The Daily News and WMAQ also took an active interest in all other sports, both collegiate and professional. Football games from the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field were begun in the fall of 1925, the first game being played October 3rd, between Chicago and Kentucky, and believed to be the first regular football game broadcast in the United States.

Chicago at that time was devois of qualified announcers as it was of experienced operators. In order to accurately broadcast these various sports activities, it was necessary for the Daily News to draft two of its experienced reporters for radio work. The two chosen were” Harry Beardsley and Hal Totten---and Hal is still doing sports broadcasts for NBC.

Another sports reporter, Kenneth Fry of the Chicago Evening Post, was also doing occasional stints for WMAQ in 1925. Ken is now Director of Special Events for the NBC Central Division.

WMAQ was the only Chicago station to broadcast the Coolidge inaugural from Washington in March, 1925, and all other local stations courteously remained silent during the special broadcast so that listeners would not be detracted from the important event.

In the same month the Victor Phonograph Company presented the first of a series of concerts over an improvised network of some twenty stations scattered between WEAF in New York and WMAQ in Chicago. This probably was the first “commercial” network broadcast, and was the forerunner of the present-day independent network systems.

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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