Arthur Godfrey, The Romance of Helen Trent, Our Gal Sunday, The Goldbergs, President Roosevelt’s Address to Congress, Amos and Andy, Joe E. Brown, Major Bowes, Louis Prima, and more all in a row!
This is a recording of a full broadcast day, remastered (from the National Archives transcript disks) by Joe Bevilacqua.
On Thursday, September 21st, 1939, radio station WJSV (CBS) in Washington, D.C., recorded their entire broadcast day — from sign on, to sign off.
This was before the advent of magnetic recording tape, so transcription disks were used. The overall quality of these disk recordings is good to excellent, except for a few spots of noticeable distortion and drop out.
This collection is the complete broadcast day of the Columbia Broadcasting System’s radio station WJSV AM, Washington, D.C. September, 21, 1939, was recorded in part because of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to Congress. This twenty-fifth special session speech covered FDR’s plans to change existing neutrality laws in light of the coming European war.
You will hear everything as it was the day it was recorded — that includes the pops and crackles, the station breaks, and the technical difficulties, along with all the music, comedy, drama, soap operas, a quiz show, war news, baseball, and advertisements that were aired on September 21st, 1939.
Let this One Day in 1939 be your personal time machine, as you traveled back to those days when 15 cents would buy a hamburger, a six-pack of Coke costs a quarter, and the future was on display at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
WJSV originally came on the air in 1926 as WTRC in Brooklyn, New York then was moved to Arlington, Virginia, the following year and became WJSV in 1928.
CBS bought the station from the previous owner in 1931, officially moved the station to Washington, D.C., although the transmitter site remained in Virginia. CBS made WJSV its affiliate in the nation’s capital.
Among the more famous events involving WJSV was the recording of its entire broadcast day on September 21, 1939. The recording includes many famous radio programs of the time (including Amos ‘n Andy and Major Bowes’ Original Amateur Hour), local programs featuring Arthur Godfrey and John Charles Daly before their national successes, a Cleveland Indians-Washington Senators baseball game, and a speech by President Franklin Roosevelt. The recording was saved in the National Archives.
WJSV Washington, D.C.Broadcast Schedule
Thursday, September 21st, 1939
From: 05:59-06:30 — Sign On and Sundial - Recorded Music
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From: 06:30-07:00 — Sundial - Arthur Godfrey
From: 07:00-07:30 — Sundial - Arthur Godfrey
From: 07:30-08:00 — Sundial - Arthur Godfrey
From: 08:00-08:05 — Arrow News
From: 08:05-08:30 — Sundial - Arthur Godfrey
From: 08:30-08:45 — Certified Magic Carpet
From: 08:45-09:00 — Bachelor’s Children
From: 09:00-09:15 — Pretty Kitty Kelly
From: 09:15-09:30 — Myrt And Marge
From: 09:30-09:45 — Hilltop House
From: 09:45-10:00 — Kay Fairchild, Stepmother
From: 10:00-10:15 — CBS News and Mary Lee Taylor Program
From: 10:15-10:30 — Brenda Curtis (with Agnes Moorehead)
From: 10:30-10:45 — Big Sister
From: 10:45-11:00 — Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories
From: 11:00-11:15 — Jean Abbey
From: 11:15-11:30 — When A Girl Marries
From: 11:30-11:45 — The Romance Of Helen Trent
From: 11:45-12:00 — Our Gal Sunday
From: 12:00-12:15 — The Goldbergs
From: 12:15-12:30 — Life Can Be Beautiful
From: 12:30-12:45 — Road Of Life
From: 12:45-13:00 — This Day Is Ours
From: 13:00-13:15 — Sunshine Report
From: 13:15-13:30 — The Life And Love Of Dr. Susan
From: 13:30-13:45 — Your Family And Mine
From: 13:45-14:00 — News Followed By Albert Warner
From: 14:00-15:00 — President Roosevelt’s Address followed by French Premier Daladier
From: 15:00-15:10 — Commentary & Analysis On The President’s Address
From: 15:10-15:25 — The Career Of Alice Blair
From: 15:25-15:30 — Arrow News
From: 15:30-15:45 — Rhythm & Romance
From: 15:45-16:00 — Scattergood Baines
From: 16:00-17:17 — Baseball - Cleveland at Washington
From: 17:17-17:30 — The World Dances
From: 17:30-17:45 — Arrow News followed by Time Out
From: 17:45-18:00 — Sports With Harry McTigue
From: 18:00-18:15 — Amos ‘n’ Andy
From: 18:15-18:30 — The Parker Family
From: 18:30-19:00 — Joe E. Brown
From: 19:00-19:30 — Ask-It Basket
From: 19:30-19:55 — Strange As It Seems
From: 19:55-20:00 — Elmer Davis And The News
From: 20:00-21:00 — Major Bowes and his Original Amateur Hour
From: 21:00-21:30 — The Columbia Workshop
From: 21:30-22:00 — Americans At Work
From: 22:00-22:15 — Arrow News & Edwin C. Hill Commentary
From: 22:15-22:30 — Streamline Interlude
From: 22:30-22:45 — The Midweek Review With Albert Warner
From: 22:45-23:21 — Repeat of FDR Speech
From: 23:21-23:30 — Jerry Livingstone & His Orchestra
From: 23:30-24:00 — Teddy Powell Orchestra
From: 00:00-00:30 — Louis Prima Orchestra
From: 00:30-01:02 — Bob Chester Orchestra, News, Signoff, National Anthem