Broadcast Pioneers member Raymond Silvernail Green was the former president and owner of WFLN Radio, here in Philadelphia. He was the second President of our organization and served us from 1963 to 1964. He was a founding member and our first Vice-President. He also served for many years on the Board of Governors (now the Board of Directors) of our group.
In 1949, Green was named General Manager, the station's first. While most radio stations had an AM station and then added a FM station, WFLN was just the opposite. The FM station was issued their license on Tuesday, March 1, 1949. It went on the air two weeks later. Sign on was at 5 pm on March 14, 1949. Broadcasts in the early days were confined to evening hours.
The AM station, a 1,000-watt daytimer, came on the air on July 23, 1958 with a permanent license. However, for a couple years, they were simulcasting the FM programming under the terms of their construction permit. It was at this time, 1958, that Raymond Green became Executive Vice-President of the stations.
WFLN-FM in association with KYW (then WRCV) was experimenting with early stereo. One station would broadcast the left channel and the other would broadcast on the right. The listener would have to have two radios, one tuned to each of the stations in order to hear stereo.
WFLN radio pioneered the concept of FM radio and an all-classical music format. He became one of the co-owners of the station in the fifties and was appointed president of Franklin Broadcasting, owner of the WFLN stations, in 1965. He held that post until 1983, when he became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
The AM station was sold in 1985, but Green held the mortgage. The FM station was sold in July of 1988 to different owners with the FM station keeping the WFLN call letters and the classical format. Green retired at that time as Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Franklin Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Nine years later, the classical format and call letters were changed. The station went through several call letters and formats and is at 95.7 on the FM dial. The AM station was sold to Jon Harmelin, former WWDB-FM time salesman and Broadcast Pioneers member Frank Ford, husband of Philadelphia's District Attorney Lynne Abrams.
When the FM station was sold, so was the note on the AM outlet. The new FM owners eventually got the AM too. When the FM station changed format, Green was too ill to be aware of the new music, said his son Raymond F. Green, also a member of the Broadcast Pioneers. The younger Green owns WWPR in Bradenton, Florida. He said that if his dad had known of the change in format, "he would have been devastated." While the senior Green knew the station had to make a profit, he also felt it was his duty to introduce and present classical music to the citizens of the Delaware Valley.
Raymond S. Green was born in Torrington, Connecticut where he eventually became an Eagle Scout. He was a concert singer, violinist in a string quartet and a graduate of the Julius Hartt School of Music in New England. In 1938, he received his first radio job at WTIC, Hartford where he was a studio musician (violinist and baritone soloist) broadcasting over the NBC Radio network for three years. Green was also the first violinist with the Dautrich String Quartet. He performed in many radio dramas and other programs. He also taught singing on the side and hire Dr. Rose Basile to teach Italian pronunciation and language to the students. On June 20, 1942, the two married. The couple had two children, Dr. Carol-Rae Green Hoffman and Raymond F. Green.
He also worked as a musician and later an announcer for NBC radio in New York City. Then he was drafted into the armed forces during the Second World War in 1941. He served in the Army Air Corps with a South Pacific military intelligence unit as an officer. When discharged, he held the rank of Major.
After the conflict, he became production manager at the NBC radio network (International Division) where he produced game shows and other network programs including one of his favorites, the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He moved to the Philadelphia area when he was appointed GM at the new radio station, WFLN.
In 1993, our organization inducted Raymond S. Green into our Hall of Fame. He was previously honored as our Person of the Year in 1976.
In 1966, Florence, Italy was damaged by terrible flooding and Green raised money on the stations for the city and its population. Later, he received recognition and an award from the Italian government.
He collected automobiles including the Studebaker he was known for driving. He also collected musical instruments.
He was the former president of the Philadelphia Art Alliance from 1966 to 1973. At that time, he became the Honorary Lifetime President of the group. He was the owner of a tree farm and wildlife research area in Vermont. Green was Vice-President of the Schuylkill Valley Nature Center from 1963 until 1989. Ray had an active interest in reforestation and was engaged in the development and research of soil conservation and timber growth.
Some of his other honors included being director of the America-Italy Society of Philadelphia; Director and Co-Chair of the Philadelphia World Affairs Council; Director of the Pennsylvania Council for Economic Education; Director of the Presser Foundation and the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia.
Ray was a former board member of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts. He served on the advisory board of Cabrini College. On April 14, 1970, Raymond Green was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. He passed away of pneumonia on Wednesday, January 2, 2002. He will be missed.
Michael J. Gushue of Philadelphia, a visitor to our website e-mailed: I'm sorry to hear the passing of Raymond Green, founder of WFLN Radio. He was great. My memories of WFLN until its demise in 1997 was listening to it every night when I went to bed. Good classical music, 24 hours a day. Personalities like Ralph Collier, Frank Kastner (now at WPEN), Jill Pasternak, Bill Shelton, Mark Pinto and others. It was a wonderful and great station.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Written and researched by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
© 2002 & 2005, All Rights Reserved
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