Stan Lee Broza & kids
The Children's Hour Broadcast
Here's the oldest piece of audio in our archives. It dates from March of 1933 and originated from the brand new WCAU Building at 1622 Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia.
It's a brief excerpt of "The Children's Hour" program airing over WCAU Radio (1170 on the dial at that time) late on Sunday mornings. The host was our organization's very first President, Stan Lee Broza. By the way, you can see here a cast photo of "The Children's Hour" from 1934. Some of the people credited in this 1933 broadcast and be seen in this picture.
This 1932 photo was taken in Studio A of the WCAU Studios when they were at 10th and Arch Streets. You can see the very same studio in this 1927 photo!
On February 10, 1933 with much fanfare, WCAU Radio moved to their new digs on Chestnut Street. It is from this location that this 1933 broadcast excerpt originated from. The WCAU dedication event took place at 10:30 pm and was carried live over the Columbia Broadcasting System, CBS Radio. It featured many leading entertainers of the era. President Herbert Hoover participated in the WCAU dedication ceremonies, with his broadcast originating from the White House.
President Hoover said:
I am glad to participate in these dedication exercises. Radio broadcasting has spread its influence to every phase of mankind's endeavors and achievements. Its unique value is the possibility it provides of bringing people and nations into immediate and intimate association, permitting universal dissemination of ideas, facts, and opinions.
I had the privilege of sharing in the development of radio while it was still practically in embryo, when I was Secretary of Commerce. The radio art was developed with phenomenal rapidity. Most of this development took place in the last 10 years. It illustrates the possibilities of modern life wherein science, invention, technology, and industry quickly cooperate to put at the service of mankind the full values of scientific discovery. Already radio has had a profound effect upon all our institutions; social, political, and industrial, and upon the very color of our thoughts.
This important position in our daily life has been well earned, and those who have ministered so admirably to its development deserve our praise and thanks. I heartily congratulate the management of the new WCAU Building upon their enterprise in erecting this unique temple to this modern art, especially constructed for radio broadcasting purposes.
The "new" WCAU Building was located at 1618 to 1622 Chestnut Street in Center City. It was built at a cost of one and a half million dollars. In today's money that would be 25 million dollars. It was an 8 story building with the radio station occupying the top four floors. The lower floors were leased to other businesses to help produce revenue for the station (first floor was leased to Woolworth), who owned the building. The original arrangement was that WCAU with extend the Franklin Trust Building (18 South 15th Street) by three floors with the station occupying the top three levels, but when the structure was sold, WCAU had to come up with another plan. An emergency (back-up) transmitter was placed on the rooftop (permission to do so was applied for in January of 1932). It was the first building ever erected for broadcast use by a broadcasting station.
We wish that we had a longer audio clip to run, but this is all we have. However, we are delighted to have even this small clip from so long ago. It dates from 1933!
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From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Bill Bransome
Audio originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Les Waas
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