by Catherine Snodgrass

Radio listeners are familiar with WIL’s 2 o’clock Police Releases, a feature that has been heard for several years and has never lost its interest appeal. The broadcasts are from Headquarters, bringing news which Police Chief Gerk feels is of value to the public. This includes information about “missing persons” and “stolen machines.”

Police Chief Gerk
Police Chief Gerk

Nightly, Mr. Fixit answers the hundred and one questions about taxes, laws and public affairs. But still Mr. L.A. Benson, president and general manager of Radio Station WIL was not satisfied. He felt that WIL could be of further service to the people of St. Louis. He noted the increasing accident and casualty list and decided that WIL could be of assistance in helping to curb this growing menace. He knew that as the radio reached into the homes it was the best means of educating the entire family, and the quickest and most impressive lesson would be to present the actual happenings of the Traffic Court over the air.

Immediately, Mr. Benson began to formulate plans and make arrangements. Mayor Bernard Dickmann was in full accord with this new Safety Campaign. Police Chief Gerk lent his assistance and judge James P. Finnigan obligingly agreed top allow the broadcasts to be made from his court.

Several microphones were placed at vantage points in Police Court No. 1, one before Judge Finnigan, another on the witness stand and still another for the Prosecuting Attorney.

Elmer Miller, the remote operator, arranged his amplifiers, power packs, faders and mixer control, etc. A test was made. It was satisfactory, and so one of the most interesting, yet one of the most difficult broadcasts ever attempted in St. Louis was put on the air by WIL last Wednesday at ten o’clock. Judge Joseph Dickmann made the keynote speech on the opening day.

(Originally published in Radio and Entertainment 9/24/1933)