Broadcast Pioneers member Doug Henson began his career at WTEL Radio, Philadelphia in 1941. He was 16 and in high school at the time and was trained in announcing and board operation by the owner, Doug Hibbs (Sr.); his son, Bud (Broadcast Pioneers member Doug Hibbs) and an employee of the station.
The draft had begun and they were desperate for help. He did everything there from writing and delivering news and commercials to announcing an early morning German program when the regular announcer was absent. The highlight of his first year in broadcasting was December 7th, Pearl Harbor day. WTEL did not have a teletype machine and Washington knew about it, Henson told us, "as I received I don't know how many telegrams describing the invasion. I typed these into news stories, pre-empted paid programming and then delivered the news. It was rather scary, as I was all alone and had
to make these decisions on my own. You couldn't begin to compare radio at that time to what it is today!"
Henson continued on:
In April, 1943, I was drafted and served in the Army in the European Theater for three years. Upon returning home, I was offered a job as announcer at WMVG, Milledgeville, Georgia where I stayed and was program director for three years.
My experiences there included a search for people who were missing in the Okefenokee Swamp. I piloted a plane in search of them and, after they were found, I interviewed them. I also did a statewide play-by-play broadcast of a University of Georgia football game knowing next to nothing of football rules. I somehow got through it and was told I did OK.
I moved back to Philadelphia and worked again at WTEL for a two year period. Then, Pat Stanton (who later became my godfather) hired me at WJMJ to do announcing and board work. He often had me announce his daily Irish program. (Broadcast Pioneers member) Sally Starr came along and I worked with her for eight years (at the radio station). She finally left for Channel 6.
In 1965,I accepted a position with Channel 29 and WIBF-FM. I started the very first country & western show on FM. I did this show nightly until 11 o'clock at which time I quickly moved over to the TV studio to do the news. In those early days of UHF-TV, the teletype was the sole means of news. Nobody on the street for local stories and - even the weather and sports came from the teletype.
When Channel 29 was sold to Taft in 1969, I was made general manager of WIBF-FM. The station was barely in the black at the time and so I told the owner, Bill Fox, if he wanted a profitable station, he would allow me to program religion and foreign language. He said OK and the station became very profitable
and ratings were entirely unnecessary. I retired in 1993 when the station was sold.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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