Hark! The Voice Of St. Louis!
By Harold P. Brown
As the uses of Radio grow and expand, our interests grow and expand with them. We no longer are satisfied with the passing song and the chatter of the hour. There is a powerful fascination in bringing in the distant stations. They stir our thoughts. We like to imagine ourselves in the places where the voices originate. We dream of the city and wonder about it and the environment of the peoples who live there.This is a healthy curiosity. We are learning something. Our ears are open to the voices of these citizens. We enjoy the pride they feel in their communities and of the fine things their cities have done. It seems like unrealities becoming real. We always knew they were there, even if we had not traveled, and now we are almost like being there ourselves, right in the presence of the people who are broadcasting in the studio - and it isn’t so far away after all.Many people who have never seen the Mississippi river have heard the Voice of St. Louis, which is radio station KMOX. To the people of the South, it is a voice from the North, and from the North it is the voice of the South. This is equally true from the East and the West. But especially it is the voice of that vast area described by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat as the “Forty-ninth State.” The Globe-Democrat is affiliated with the KMOX station. The territory defined as the “Forty-ninth State” is embraced in a circular boundary drawn at a radius of about 150 miles from St. Louis.
In making a trip through Missouri not long ago I called on Mr. Joseph McAuliff, managing editor of the Globe-Democrat and he pointed me to the wonderful future of this “Forty-ninth State,” served by the Voice of St. Louis. Uncle Sam has, within the past few years, completed many miles of levees that have reclaimed hundreds of thousands of acres from the Mississippi overflow. I stopped at Cape Girardeau and Caruthersville, and saw prodigious crops from cotton and peanuts to corn and potatoes, all producing great wealth that finds its way to the metropolis.
Some of these are thoughts that come to mind when the DX listener tunes in KMOX, the Voice of St. Louis.
The station is still young although it is rather an old story now how Tom Convey, the managing director, brought it into being.
He had a conviction that there should be a truly representative Radio broadcasting station with the sinews and blood of the thriving city in its composite. To speak with the Voice of St. Louis it must have the authority of those who do speak with the Voice of St. Louis. He went about visiting the large business concerns and hammered this truth home to the big manufacturers and bankers.
He convinced them that he was right and welded sixteen of these firms into a unit to finance the institution in a way that they would not be ashamed to hear its voice on the air, speaking as the voice of the city. The enthusiasm, once the ball started rolling, was unbounded. It was hoped to have the station on the air in time to say “Merry Christmas” this last season.
Then came the old brick, that pernicious stumbling block over which many a hopeful young Radio station has stubbed its baby toe. There was no wave length. But Tom Convey had put in too many heart-breaking hours surmounting other difficulties to be overwhelmed at this obstacle. He found a powerful ally in Colin P. Kennedy, head of Colin P. Kennedy Radio Corporation of St. Louis. Together they journeyed down to Washington and stormed the ramparts of the secretary of commerce. Just what was said or done I do not know, only this, that they came marching home again victorious with a sure ‘nuff wave length buckled up in their luggage and St. Louis got its voice.
The intended Christmas present to the people of St. Louis of a voice on the air was a trifle belated but none the less welcome when it did sing forth with a clarion call from the studio in the Hotel Mayfair.
Recently “Smiling” George Junkin, announcer of the WSWS Radio station in Chicago, has been signed up to the KMOX staff. George has been around some and knows all the announcers in the United States by their first names, so it is said (but not by George). If you want to know what “Smiling” George thinks about his new job we submit a quote from an interview in the Globe-Democrat.
“I consider KMOX one of the five leading broadcasters in America,” he said. “Its financial condition, management, personnel, equipment, facilities and program material place it easily within this group. It has all that is necessary to build into a popular presentation of programs on the air. The chief idea of a broadcast station should be to work up a continuity in its presentations, and KMOX has the proper facilities to do this. The orchestra, carefully selected so that every individual is an artist on the instrument he plays, is the essential background which can not only play symphonies, but light music as well.”
And that is what “Smiling” George Junkin says…
There have been many celebrities including Rosita Forbes, famous explorer; John Philip Sousa, Arturo Mondragon and others. Even talented children are heard, as the Kimmel Kiddie Frolichsters.
The Voice of St. Louis is heartily recommended to Radio audiences, America over, as a voice well worth listening to.
(Originally published in Radio Digest 4/24/26)