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October 12, 2020 12:41 pm  #1


WGR, WBEN & CKLW: The Way They Were

If you can stand one more entry in this series, here are three final books from WGR (1947) and WBEN (1946) in Buffalo from the worldradiohistory site, along with CKLW, Windsor in 1941.
 
What a different time those years were. WGR, Buffalo’s oldest surviving radio station (starting in 1922), not only had network radio shows and disc jockeys playing music, but employed a hunting and fishing expert, a full time farm reporter, a woman’s show specialist and a storyteller for kids.
 
What’s really interesting about WGR isn’t who was there in ’47, but who wasn’t. The station promotional booklet lists a host of talents who went on to bigger and better things elsewhere.
 
Clint Buehlman was the morning man on WBEN-AM for decades, one of the longest running gigs in Western New York radio. But he started at WGR.
 
https://i.ibb.co/CQ8LNMH/WGRbenclintbuehlman.jpg

 
Bob Smith was busy developing Howdy Doody at the time this brochure emerged. But the “Buffalo” in Buffalo Bob started at 550 AM.
 
https://i.ibb.co/88LhzFh/Bobsmith.jpg

 
Fran Striker is famous as the guy who created The Lone Ranger. He once called WGR home.
 
https://i.ibb.co/0Mw6DTj/strikerwgr.jpg

 
And then there’s Foster Brooks, who started in radio and went on to become an actor and comedian, a stalwart of those old Dean Martin roasts. It’s hard to say how his drunk act would be received today but it was pretty funny back then.
 
https://i.ibb.co/7tR7jQK/brookswgr.jpg

 
Meanwhile, down the dial at WBEN-AM, they were using the awkward slogan “preferred by most listeners, most of the time.” Imagine someone using that today.
 
https://i.ibb.co/KG8k141/WBEN-Cover-Page.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/6mSNgwh/wbentx.jpg

 
WBEN was one of the few stations at the time that actually experimented with FM.
 
https://i.ibb.co/PgTmv6w/WBENFM.jpg

 
Meanwhile, CKLW was still a shadow of what it would become years later in its powerhouse Top 40 era. From 1941:
 
https://i.ibb.co/ck8z74y/CKLW-Intro-Page.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/z27zLZ9/CKLW-Exterior.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/YN8ty39/CKLW-This-Is.jpg

 
It did boast, though, that “The Voice of Doom,” Lorne Greene – who had not yet gotten the career “Bonanza” of Pa Cartwright – was heard on its airwaves via the CBC.
 
https://i.ibb.co/mtWqWCX/CKLWLorne-Greene.jpg

 
Even then, CKLW was boasting of being a station for two cities. It brags of of having the “most up-to-date equipment, in the hands of skilled technicians.” Its 5,000 watts probably did OK at night, but nothing like what was to come.  
 
https://i.ibb.co/hgqvzwj/CKLW-Coast-To-Coast.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/GQzPGyJ/CKLW-Two-Nations.jpg

See the full WGR booklet here.
 
The WBEN edition is here.
 
And CKLW’s offering can be viewed at this link.
 
The site for all of these and more is worldradiohistory.com.

 

October 14, 2020 10:24 am  #2


Re: WGR, WBEN & CKLW: The Way They Were

Thanks RA.

The WBEN transmitter building is impressive; it looks like something you would see at an institution like a university. From a time when stations were proud of their transmitters. I wonder what it looks like today.