WSB History - the 1940s

War engulfed Europe after Germany invaded Poland in September, 1939; the United States entered the war upon the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. One source indicates WSB broadcast nearly 20 news programs daily by 1942. With many male WSB staffers off at war, the station became one of the few to use woman on the air; announcer Jane Sparks later became a station executive.

On June 6, 1944, as U.S. and Allied troops invaded German-occupied France, WSB News Director (and Atlanta Journal Managing Editor) Wright Bryan broadcast one of the single most famous news reports of the war over NBC, flying with one of the first groups of paratroopers on invasion day. The report was so memorable it was later dramatized by Orson Welles! Bryan himself was later captured by the Germans about a year before the war ended in 1945.

In a genuine rarity for the era, the station employed not one but two female announcers. WSB made Georgia’s first experimental FM broadcasts before the war ended; WSB-FM began commercial operations in late 1948---just as WSB-TV also took to the air.

Hear Wright Bryan’s historic news report, June 6, 1944. [1:02]

Hear the story of pioneering female WSB staffer Jane Sparks. [1:00]

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