WILE moved into this beautiful old home on Beatty Avenue in 1948.
You’re listening to WILE, 1270 on your radio dial.
Thus a radio station began broadcasting in the hills of southeastern Ohio in Cambridge on April 9, 1948 after playing “Beautiful Ohio” as their sign-on song. Located at 917 Beatty Avenue in the old Orme home, this daytime-only radio station operated on 1000 watts.
Enthusiastic young locals began working at the station in various capacities. Several young ladies were continuity writers, who wrote those much needed commercials, while young men became announcers. They also had to keep things on schedule. Since everything was live at this time, that often became a difficult task.
1948 provided big excitement in downtown Cambridge as it celebrated the Sesquicentennial of Guernsey County. In order that area residents could learn more about this new radio station, WILE placed a temporary studio on the courthouse square for broadcasting. This perhaps began their popular remotes.
Early programs featured locals in everything from music to ministry. Groups came to the station for live performances. A popular musical show, “Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers”, combined several small groups of local performers in Studio A.
Another of those local groups contained two young men from Indian Camp, Ray and John Hosfelt, better known as Oak & Ash, “The Forest Rangers”. They sang their way into the hearts of many listeners throughout the county.
On Saturday morning, boys and girls gathered around the radio to listen to “Story Time for Children”. In the afternoon, “Junior Talent Time” gave youngsters a chance to shine by singing or playing a musical instrument. A couple friends practiced singing with me “You Are My Sunshine”, in hopes that someday we would get the courage to go to the radio station. But we never did.
Donna Lake Shafer, who started working as a continuity writer at WILE in the summer after she graduated from Cambridge High School in 1948, remembers Election Night being a very important event at the radio station. Election results came over the station’s Teletype machine, which printed messages from news wire services. Only a few local places received up-to-the-minute reports of the Truman – Dewey presidential election.
Even though the radio station was off the air, people crowded inside the Beatty Avenue headquarters to hear results coming in on the Teletype machine. Donna stayed busy that night keeping hot coffee and cookies ready at this big election party, which was attended by owners of the radio station, local officials and curious citizens. Remember, television sets in homes didn’t exist at this time.
These were not high paying jobs, according to Laura Bates, an early employee of WILE. When she started in 1952, her salary was $140 a month. But Laura recalls, “I loved to write and use my imagination. Working at WILE was enjoyable. You felt like you were a family.”
In those early days, the station manager banned certain music from the air. Sometimes it was too loud, or occasionally the lyrics might be offensive. The radio served as the voice of the community.
Many changes have been made over the years. The station is now located on College Hill, where its transmitter stood years ago. Almost everything is recorded these days and the station airs around the clock. From Land ‘O Lakes Broadcasting Corporation in 1948 to AVC Communications today, their community spirit still gets broadcast over the hills of Southeastern Ohio.
Comments on: "WILE: The Early Days of Cambridge, Ohio Radio" (4)
When WETZ Radio set up for business in early 1953 in New Martinsville, WV, Donna Ludu and I were selected to D. J. an hour show. We didn’t apply. We were just selected. I still remember when we were on the air. I was 12 years old. I’ll be 77 on June 22. Can’t remember today but I can remember 1953. Ha! Ha!
Glad the article brought back some fun memories for you. That would have been fun to be a D.J. back in 1953.
Great history here, Bev!!
Local history needs to be cataloged for future generations as well as major events in our world. This early radio station touched a lot of lives.