Michael Bates spotted this, and I couldn’t pass it by: the Radio Annual and Television Yearbook for 1949, part of the extensive collection at AmericanRadioHistory.com. This one annual is more than 1200 pages. Just having one around is pretty amazing to me, but proprietor David Gleason has all but a handful of them, from 1938 until the Annual was discontinued in the mid-1960s.
Back then, radio was AM: FM existed, but it was relegated to the back pages, and stations got only one line worth of data. Not that this was a problem, really, since there were few FM stations — Oklahoma had twelve in 1949 — and they tended to be owned by operators of AM stations, who were listed in the front of the book anyway. Of those twelve, four were in Oklahoma City, two in Muskogee and in Tulsa, one each in Ardmore, Durant, Enid and Stillwater. What strikes me as slightly weird is that so many of the frequencies have been changed over the years: ignoring call-letter changes, which are trivial by comparison, half of those twelve frequencies have been moved elsewhere in the last 61 years. I’m not sure what this means. My first exposure to FM was in Charleston, South Carolina, which had two FM stations in 1949; by the time I left in 1969, those two were still there, unchanged except for format, and a third had been added. I checked two other places I had lived, but apparently neither Austin nor Corpus Christi had FM service in 1949. (Nor was this particularly odd; North Dakota had exactly one FM station at the time, and South Dakota didn’t have any.)
The AMs didn’t move so much, except for studio locations. KTOK was still on 1400 KHz with 250 watts in 1949, though they had a construction permit to move to 1000 and go to 5000 watts day/1000 watts night. The Chicago Federation of Labor had had a 50,000-watt blowtorch on 1000 for twenty-odd years by then, so KTOK went to a directional array to avoid interference with WCFL. I suspect it’s the same wacky pattern they use today. Most Oklahoma AMs were either daytimers or operated on 6 am-to-midnight schedules; a few, though, were listed as “Unlimited.” I really wasn’t aware that 24-hour radio existed back then. (Then again, I didn’t exist back then.)
A few names I remembered, mostly in management: Matthew Bonebrake at KOCY, Frank J. Lynch at KBYE (and later at KFJL-FM), John T. Griffin of KOMA and Tulsa’s KTUL. And there was Wakefield Holley, chief announcer at WKY, who was still around in the Seventies doing TV spots.
Anent something related, the Old Grouch thinks we may regret getting away from the system we had:
I fear that someday we may get a surprise, and discover that high-power Ancient Modulation still has a place in national security. Question is, between the clueless FCC and the equally clueless consolidators, will it still be there?
Sad recent experience when driving past Lexington, Kentucky one evening: Tuned the car radio to 770, and heard not WABC, but some daytimer religious dropin.
If I ruled the world, we’d get rid of NRSC-2 (so AM could start sounding good again) and bump our blowtorches to 500KW.
Not going to happen. If anything, the FCC will probably commandeer this spectrum space and sell it off, and God knows what damnfool use will be made of the proceeds.