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Not Just A Sound
The Story of WLW
By Dick Perry
Prentice-Hall, Inc.
1971
242 Pages
ISBN:  0-13-623876-9

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Remember the good old days when radio was the high palace of entertainment, forefront of the performing arts, heartbeat of the nation? Dick Perry does, and here he has recorded the triumphant story of one of the true greats of radiodom—Station WLW—the community voice of Cincinnati that became known as "The Nation's Station" and "The Crade of the Stars". Winner of the first George Peaboy Award, Variety Awards for the best talent-originating staion, and the 1961 Golden Mike Award, WLW from the very beginning was a broadcasting power.

Founded in 1922 by a young inventor-manufacturer who merely wanted to sell more radios, WLW early rejected mere record-playing in favor of live shows and performers, and specially arranged music by impressively assembled bands. (Of course this being the early days of radio, things—from train whistles in the background to on-the-air weddings to announcer-baiting— were less than predictable.) Who can forget the Mills Brothers, Hink and Dink, the Ink Spots, Ma Perkins, Salt and Peanuts, Little Jack Little, Singin' Sam? How would you like to hear Moon River again, and Amos 'n' Andy, Young Doctor Malone, Pa and Ma McCormick, The Lady Next Door?

WLW is the station that launced a freckled young blonde later known as Doris Day, gave initial voice to Rosemary and Betty Clooney, featured early plays by a young Rod Serling, and aired such notables as Andy Williams, Red Barber, the McGuire Sisters, Jane Froman, Fats Waller, Red Skelton. Over the years WLW has delighted country and western buffs with Red Foley, Merle Travis, Kenny Price, Cowboy Copas, WHitey Ford (the Duke of Paducah). (WLW may have been the only station that regularly sent scouts to New York, to see if any of Manhattan's offerings were good enough for Cincinnati.)

This behind-the-scenes look at WLW is in many ways the story—past and present—of broadcasting. Here is the rearing of one of the most listened-to stations in the world—from infancy to the 30's (when WLW broadcast with a legendary 500,000 watt transmitter), to the war years and the advent of television. And who else but WLW would be Ohio's first television station? Have a look at television history in the making, featuring in-depth views of some notable WLWT personalities—Ruth Lyons (the Midwest's own Arthur Godfrey), Bob Braun (bedimpled heir to the 50/50 Club), Paul DIxon (daily companion to millions of housewives), Phil Donohue (who features some of the best guests on television)—all of the people, in and out of the limelight, who make WLW so much more than a sound.

  • Dick Perry, former producer-director for the Dumont Network and ABC-TV, is now a successful free-lance writer. The author of many short stories and magazine articles, his plays have been produced on the CBS Repertoire Workshop and in various theatres around the country. Mr. Perry is well known for books about the Midwest, such as Vas You Ever In Zinzinnati? and Ohio: Personal Portrait of the 17th State. His novels include Raymond and Me That Summer and The Roundhouse, Paradise, and Mr. Pickering. Mr. Perry lives in Oxford, Ohio, with his wife and three children.