|Vintage Zenith Wood Tombstone Radio, Model 10-S-130, Broadcast, Short Wave & Police Bands, 10 Vacuum Tubes, Made In USA, Circa 1936 - 1937 Photo; Joe Haupt|
If you were ever curious about how network radio sounded like 82 years ago today, here's your answer.
WJSV 1460 AM was a CBS affiliate radio station that served Washington D.C. It moved to 1500 kHz as part of the 1941 NARBA agreement, where it was later known for many decades as WTOP, an all news station. With WTOP moved to FM, it is known today as WFED federal news radio.
In 1939, engineers at WJSV set about recording an entire broadcast day. This was no easy task in 1939. Magnetic tape was unheard of. Wire recording was rare, mostly unheard of until later in the 1940s and prone to breaking and other snafus. So they recorded the output of the radio station on a record cutter on giant transcription discs. These have thankfully survived the decades and serve as an authentic template for old time radio re-creation for any project.
Listening to it, it was clearly another time altogether in America.