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WSB History - The 1920s
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WSB History - The 1920s

WSB History - The 1920s
Henry Ford (seated) asked to see WSB when he visited Atlanta in 1922. At far right is Maj. John S. Cohen, editor and publisher of The Atlanta Journal and founder of WSB. Others are (L) Montgomery Haynes, Ford district manager; Mercer Lee, secretary to Atlanta Mayor James L. Key; and L. W. (Chip) Robert, architect and business and civic leader.

WSB History - The 1920s

The history of WSB is the history of an industry. It’s the history of Atlanta. And it’s the foundation of everything you hear on the air--or online―today. There’d be no Neal Boortz or Cap’n Herb without a fellow named Lambdin Kay. On our 90th anniversary, a brief recap...

Literally just hours after getting formal approval from the federal government, WSB signed on the air on March 15, 1922―in a media landscape far removed from anything we’d recognize today. No television; no internet; movies had no sound; and radio itself had been little more than a tool for communication with ships at sea, or a hobby for buffs who’d built homemade sets. What we’d consider modern “broadcasting” began in 1920, with the reporting of election returns (Harding wins!); the first radio “commercial” is widely regarded to have aired in August, 1922 in New York City, several months after WSB had taken to the airwaves in Atlanta―the first radio station in the region, soon nicknamed “The Voice of the South”. There were barely 600,000 people living in the entire metro, at the time.

Hear the first recorded example of the "WSB Chimes" and announcer Lambdin Kay. [3:23] You’ve heard this for decades billed as an actual WSB broadcast, but it wasn’t—it’s a phonograph record with the radio announcer added as a novelty, a minor fad at the time.  

Hear the first actual recording of a WSB broadcast. Announcer Lambdin Kay is one of a group of broadcasters speaking at a technical trade show on December 8, 1925. [4:17] This is an ultra-rare recording, and a fun example of the standard ‘announcer delivery’ of the day.

Its call letters said to stand for “Welcome South, Brother,” WSB moved from quarters in the Atlanta Journal building to the Biltmore Hotel in 1925; the first known recording of the station―featuring pioneering General Manager Lambdin Kay―also dates from 1925. WSB used a distinctive three-note “chime” (think of the tune “Over There” in reverse) as on-air identification; reportedly after being heard by a network executive on a WSB broadcast, this exact same sequence turned up several years later on the NBC network and is still in use today as the famous “NBC chimes”. Program logs indicate WSB carried the inaugural NBC broadcast in November, 1926. Early programming was incredibly dry yet not dissimilar to the content of today: news, market reports, weather forecasts. There was also a “silent hour” in the evening, so listeners could scan for sounds of faraway broadcasting stations.

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  • An Atlanta-area family is thankful for an act of kindness during the chaotic coronavirus pandemic. In 2013, Jamie McHenry was killed in a car crash during spring break in West Palm Beach, Florida, WSB-TV reported. Every year since his death, McHenry’s parents make the trip from their home in North Fulton County to St. George Island on the Florida Panhandle to pay their respects to their 13-year-old son at a memorial. This year, they could not go because of the coronavirus pandemic. But that didn’t mean the memory of their teen son was forgotten. A random stranger in the area heard the family’s story and decided to step in and make sure Jamie McHenry’s memorial was still decorated. The kind stranger, who posted a photo of the good deed on Facebook, wrote: “Christine and the McHenry family … we were sad to read that due to this pandemic your annual trip to SGI was canceled and you will miss visiting the memorial brick for your son Jamie. Wanted to know we are watching over it for you today and he is in our thoughts. God bless.”
  • Amoco and its parent company, BP, announced their gasoline stations will offer a 50-cent discount per gallon to first responders, doctors, nurses and hospital workers during the coronavirus pandemic. “Thank you for being on the front lines and keeping our communities healthy and safe,' the company said on its website. 'We are honored to be supporting you and helping you get where you need to go,” the company said on its website.The discount, which eligible customers can sign up for, will allow the health care workers to take the discount the next time they fill up, BP said on its website. People who want to take advantage of the discount must verify their status through ID.me, a website that “simplifies how individuals prove and share their identity online.”
  • Can’t get enough of “Tiger King”? Don’t despair. Netflix is releasing an extra episode next week, Variety reported. “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” is a true-crime docuseries about wild animal owners in the United States. The documentary focuses on the self-proclaimed Tiger King, Joe Exotic, aka Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who keeps hundreds of wild animals in cages at his G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, Entertainment Weekly reported. Current zoo owner Jeff Lowe broke the news in a Cameo video posted on Twitter by Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Justin Turner. “Netflix is adding one more episode. It will be on next week. They’re filming here tomorrow,” Lowe said in the video. Lowe joined later episodes of “Tiger King” as Exotic’s business partner, Entertainment Weekly reported. It is not clear if the new episode will be a follow-up to the show’s seven-episode run or a reunion, Variety reported. Maldonado-Passage, 57, is currently serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison for two counts of murder-for-hire, eight counts of falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act. The murder-for-hire charges stem from a plot to have a hitman kill Carole Baskin of Tampa, Florida, and the wildlife crimes are related to Maldonado-Passage’s killing of five tigers and falsifying of paperwork. Netflix did not respond to a request for comment about a new episode, the magazine reported.
  • Georgians are still feeling the weight of the new coronavirus Sunday as the number of confirmed cases increased to 6,647 and the death toll rose to 211.  The Georgia Department of Public Health reports since Saturday 3 more Georgians have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus. The latest data released at noon shows 264 new cases since Saturday evening.  » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Of Georgia’s overall cases, 1,283 patients remain hospitalized, a rate of about 19%, according to the noon figures. That number is up from 1,266 confirmed hospitalizations Saturday evening. The rate of Georgia patients who have died of COVID-19 is about 3.1%.  The number of COVID-19 cases in the state has tripled in just over a week. Health officials announced that Georgia surpassed 2,000 cases on March 27. A statewide shelter-in-place mandate went into effect at 6 p.m. Friday in an effort to limit residents’ travel and curb the spread of the virus. The order requires Georgians to remain in their homes for all but essential activities, which include buying food, seeking medical care, working in critical jobs or exercising outdoors. » RELATED: Confusion surrounds Georgia’s coronavirus lockdown The number of cases across the state is expected to spike even more in coming weeks as plans are put in place to increase daily testing capacity. Projections suggest the state could see thousands of new cases and hundreds more deaths before the virus is contained. On Sunday, 27,832 tests had been conducted across the state with about 23.88% returning positive results.  » DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia Fulton County has the most cases with 962, followed by Dougherty County with 686, DeKalb County with 543, and Cobb with 456, according to the latest data. Fulton reported 21 new cases since Saturday evening while hard-hit Dougherty County reported 50 more. The southwest Georgia county of about 90,000 has lost 30 residents to COVID-19, more than any other county in Georgia. MORE: City under siege: Coronavirus exacts heavy toll in Albany So far, the oldest patient to die in the state was a 96-year-old Bibb County woman while the youngest was a 29-year-old woman from Peach County, according to the health department.  For most, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and those with existing health problems are at risk of more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover in a matter of weeks. Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility. Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals. 
  • As you drive toward the Marietta Square, you’ll see it to your right – a “Heroes Work Here” sign display below the Wellstar Kennestone hospital sign. Go through two traffic lights and you’ll see homemade signs of support in the front yards of some homeowners along Church Street.   From Marietta to elsewhere in metro Atlanta, residents are now acutely aware of the burden on health care workers as the coronavirus crisis plays out … and with likely many more tough days ahead before it all gets better.  What public shows of support for health care workers are you seeing in your local community? What are you and/or others doing to support those most at risk on the coronavirus frontlines? Tweet at us to tell us with your words and pictures: @wsbradio. You can also share with us on the WSB Open Mic, via the WSB Radio app.    
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has expanded the state’s coronavirus task force once again, now adding a committee focused on community outreach.  The governor’s office announced the members of the new 16-person Community Outreach Committee Sunday. COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Initially created in February before Georgia had a single confirmed case of the illness, the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force panels were focused on addressing the disease’s impact on the economy, healthcare network, emergency preparedness and the needy, AJC.com previously reported. RELATED: Kemp expands Georgia’s coronavirus task force as pandemic spreads The creation of the new committee comes as the state continues to put measures into place to fight COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.  As of Sunday morning, the virus had sickened more than 6,000 Georgians and killed 200 more.  'Comprised of talented individuals from the public and private sectors, I am confident this committee will ensure that our state remains prepared in the fight against COVID-19,' Kemp said.  The members of the new committee are:   Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center - Co-Chair  Leo Smith, Presidentof  Engaged Futures Group, LLC - Co-Chair  Santiago Marquez, President and CEO of Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce  Representative Calvin Smyre, Dean of the Georgia House of Representatives  Leona Barr-Davenport, President and CEO of Atlanta Business League  Nancy Flake Johnson, President and CEO of Urban League of Greater Atlanta  Reverend Tim McDonald III, Pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church - Moreland Avenue  Pastor Reggie Joiner, CEO and Founder of Orange  Tres Hamilton, CEO of Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority  Natalie Keng, Founder and CEO of Chinese Southern Belle, LLC  Jasmine Crowe, Founder and CEO of Goodr, Inc.  Dr. Wayne S. Morris - Internal Medicine/Geriatrics  Laura Mathis, Executive Director of Middle Georgia Regional Commission  Rodney D. Bullard, Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation  Jacob Vallo, Senior Director of Transit Oriented Development and Real Estate for MARTA  Sunny Patel, Operations Manager of the Office of the Governor In other news: