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Re: First time on the air

I remember many women who did women's programs on local 
stations (talk hosts such as Mary Margaret McBride and 
Dorothy Kilgallen in New York and their Boston 
counterparts, of whom Louise Morgan was one) and women 
actors on soap operas and other dramatic programs 
(remember Jane Ace who appeared with her husband Goodman 
on easy Aces?), but I can recall only one woman who 
hosted a record show in the 40s and early 50s. That was 
Rosalie Allen, who did a country-and-western show (the 
Big Apple's only such program at the time) on the old 
WOV New York (1280--now WADO). WOV broadcast in Italian 
during the day and in English from about 6:00 PM into 
the early morning. The station's slogan was WOV--Fills 
your nights with music. The other personality on WOV at 
night was William B Williams, who did a very hip jazz 

Although the station's owner, Arde Bulova, was 
apparently continually in and out of trouble with the 
FCC, WOV was a pioneer in equal employment opportunity 
on the air, since it had both female and Afrcian-
American DJs.

The next time I can recall a woman playing a major role 
on the air at a pop-music station was here in Boston 
during 1090s first incarnation as WILD (CA 1957), when 
the station was owned by Bartell Family Media and ran a 
very tight, albeit short-lived, top-40 format. The woman 
or women did not spin the records, but they voiced the 
weather, maybe the news--I can't recall, and most of the 
bumpers and positioners. It was definitely novel to hear 
female voices on such a station.

In fact, as I recall, the only voice heard on WILD's 
famous teaser the weekend before the top-40 format 
debuted was female. Aside from the use of a female 
voice, the teaser is famous (OK _was_ famous--I may now 
be the only living person who remembers it) because it 
ran on WBZ, WEEI, and all of the major signals in the 
market. It could do so because--until WILD signed on--
nobody outside of WILD and its ad agency knew that the 
commercial promoted another radio station. Nobody knew 
_what_ the commercial was promoting.

The copy was read by a _very_ sultry female voice that 
whispered "Everybody in _old_ Boston is going 
wildwildwildwild (fade)." Today, it would be duck soup 
use a DAW to create the effect of the words running 
together with no pauses, but back then it had to be done 
by carefully snipping the pauses from the tape and 
splicing the words back together without pauses.

I find it hard to believe that technology had anything 
at all to do with women having had to wait so long to 
get the break they deserved as voices in mainstream 
local programming, but I will say this: In a succession 
of cars and car radios that my family owned from the 
time I was a little kid in the early 40s until I moved 
away and went to college in the early 50s, I found 
women's voices to be consistently unintelligible or 
nearly so over the road and wind noise. I had no similar 
problems with male voices. Over the years, my high-
frequency hearing has deteriorated somewhat, but I don't 
have a problem understanding women's voices on modern 
car radios. And to keep it an apples-to-apples 
comparison, I'm talking about listening to AM then and 
AM now. So I have to believe that there was something 
different either with the road and wind noise, the audio 
processing, the car radios, or some combination. And 
whatever it was, it interfered with the intelligibility 
of female voices.

Donna wrote:

> It was so different for me: although I 
> knew from childhood that I wanted to be in radio, so many people told me I 
> couldn't, without even giving me a chance; and even when I did a good job, 
> I was made to feel as if the guys just wished I would go away and let 
> things return to the way they used to be...  I had never expected that my 
> gender would be an issue...