One Day in 1939

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Arthur Godfrey, The Romance of Helen Trent, Our Gal Sunday, The Goldbergs, President Roosevelt's Address to Congress, Amos and Andy, Joe E. Brown, Major Bowes, Louis Prima, and more all in a row! This is a recording of a full broadcast day, remastered (from the National Archives transcript disks) by Joe Bevilacqua.

On Thursday, September 21, 1939, radio station WJSV (CBS) in Washington, DC, recorded their entire broadcast day - from sign on to sign off. This was before the advent of magnetic recording tape, so transcription disks were used. The overall quality of these disk recordings is good to excellent except for a few spots of noticeable distortion and dropout.

This collection is the complete broadcast day of the Columbia Broadcasting System's radio station WJSV AM, Washington, DC, September, 21, 1939, recorded in part because of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's address to Congress. This 25th special session speech covered FDR's plans to change existing neutrality laws in light of the coming European war. You will hear everything as it was the day it was recorded - that includes the pops and crackles, the station breaks, and the technical difficulties, along with all the music, comedy, drama, soap operas, a quiz show, war news, baseball, and advertisements that were aired on September 21, 1939.

Let this One Day in 1939 be your personal time machine as you travel back to those days when 15 cents would buy a hamburger, a six-pack of Coke cost a quarter, and the future was on display at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

More details: WJSV originally came on the air in 1926 as WTRC in Brooklyn, New York, then was moved to Arlington, Virginia, the following year and became WJSV in 1928. CBS bought the station from the previous owner in 1931 and officially moved the station to Washington, DC, although the transmitter site remained in Virginia. CBS made WJSV its affiliate in the nation's capital.

Among the more famous events involving WJSV was the recording of its entire broadcast day on September 21, 1939. The recording includes many famous radio programs of the time (including Amos 'n' Andy and Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour), local programs featuring Arthur Godfrey and John Charles Daly before their national successes, a Cleveland Indians-Washington Senators baseball game, and a speech by President Franklin Roosevelt. The recording was saved in the National Archives.

©2015 CBS Radio (P)2015 Joe Bevilacqua, Waterlogg Productions

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