Pieces of the Past — Radio Day

February 7, 2024

Tuesday, Feb. 13 is a very important day for me. It’s also big for Warren High graduates John Girardi, Bob Peltz, Dave Jones, Rick Reiff, Frank Filessi, Joe Templeton, Bob Huckabone, Terry Reynolds, and over 100 more. It’s International Radio Day!

The United Nations designated Feb. 13 as a day to acknowledge the accomplishments that the medium has achieved in the 200 years of its existence.

Warren’s radio voice was the brainchild of David A. Potter and his brother Jim back in the late 40’s. Engineers like Homer Haines, Wilson (Bud) Boyd, and several others built WNAE from the ground up. Their first transmitter site was out east of town on a hill near Brown Run. About 3 years later the transmitters for both AM and FM were moved to the current location southwest of the City on Mohawk Avenue.

What might surprise you is that WNAE was founded during the postwar radio “boom” when hundreds of radio stations were built. The closest competition WJTN in Jamestown had been on the air since 1924. The leadership of WNAE was laser-focused on gaining a 24-hour operation. Thus WNAE-FM later given the callsign WRRN was built 6 months ahead of WJTN FM which later became WWSE.

The battles between SE-93 and 92-Gold mellowed over the years. As someone who worked for both, I can recall some pretty interesting staff and strategy meetings about what the other guy was doing in the other market.

As WJTN celebrates 100 years on the air I was there for the 50th and the 75th. I was the first live Morning Man on FM in this region in 1972. Up till then, most FM stations carried their AM station programs. I didn’t do well. I found my niche in Corry and spent 30 years there. I’m still sort of working for Corry’s low power station, Channel 98-9.

Have a little fun playing Radio! Cut a piece of rigid wire about 24 inches long and attach it to the antenna terminal on the back of an FM radio. Then start tuning the FM band and see how many stations you can hear. If you want to get all the facts about stations you hear, go to radio-locator.com. I’ll close with some facts you might not have known:

Marconi experimented with radio. He didn’t invent it. Nikola Tesla did. KDKA was not the first radio station. They were the first to announce a schedule of programs and actually do them. The first radio commercial was a 10-minute blockbuster about real estate rentals that was done on an experimental station in Manhattan in 1910. One year later AM was used for the first time to modulate the airwaves.

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