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The early days of radio in Charm City

The Centre Theater on North Avenue in Baltimore, which used to be home to WFBR.
WFBR moved its studio to the Centre Theater on North Avenue in the 1930s.

On the first episode of Wavelength: Baltimore’s Public Radio Journey, we're taking a look back at the origins of broadcasting in Baltimore and examining how commercial stations laid the foundation for the radio stations of today. You’ll hear about a broadcast from a bedroom, a radio transmission from a moving train, and a station once owned by the King of Soul, James Brown.

Plus, Johns Hopkins, the executive director of Baltimore Heritage, tells us about WCAO, WFBR, and WEBB. And LaFontaine E. Oliver, President and General Manager of WYPR, discusses the Communications Act of 1934.

You can see photos of the stations mentioned in this episode in this Five Minute Histories video produced by Baltimore Heritage.

Correction: The audio at the beginning of the episode is a recreation of KDKA's first broadcast. 

About Wavelength

Hosted by noted storyteller and actress Maria Broom, and featuring interviews and archival tape, the podcast will take listeners on a journey from public radio’s early days to now. Listeners will learn about the evolution of WYPR, WTMD, WEAA and WBJC, how the stations responded to major news stories, featured local and national musicians, and how they found their place in Baltimore’s current radio scene.

Wavelength is produced by Jamyla Krempel, Anne Kramer, Katie Marquette, Spencer Bryant, and Maddie Bristowe.

Johns Hopkins and Molly Ricks of Baltimore Heritage conducted research for this episode. The Maryland Center for History and Culture shared archival audio.

Production and support for this podcast was brought to you in part by the PNC Bank.

Jamyla Krempel is WYPR's digital content director and the executive producer of Wavelength: Baltimore's Public Radio Journey. She collaborates with reporters, program and podcast hosts to create content for WYPR’s online platforms.
Maddie is WYPR’s Digital Communications Associate, helping with all things digital for the station. She is a recent graduate of Fordham University where she studied Communications and Economics. Maddie started in public radio during her time at Fordham at 90.7 FM WFUV, New York’s music discovery station. She produced the weekly radio show/podcast Cityscape, an exploration of the people, places, and spirit of New York City. She also produced two award-winning audio documentaries for WFUV, Back to the Garden: Remembering Woodstock and You Should Know Their Names.