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Radio
Shep's History at Station
Last Update: 03-20-2016
WWAE - 1200 AM

Hammond Indiana

1936-?

When Shep was in high school, he played defensive back on the football team. In his Sophomore year a faculty advisor connected with the local radio station asked him to do commentary on the week's game on a Saturday morning half hour sports show. (Jean Shepherd - 1970 Overseas Press Club Conference) ***************************************************
[ Courtesy: Steve Glazer - 03-20-2016 ]
From time to time, Shep claimed on his WOR radio broadcasts (e.g., 2/26/64, 4/18/69) that at age 16, while in high school, he had a small program on a local radio station, where he would give Hammond High sports scores and the like. Similar claims were apparently made in interviews and promotional materials (e.g., Independent (Newark State College), 2/15/73). Although it has long been assumed that Shep began his broadcast career in this manner -- probably on Hammond radio station WJOB -- no independent corroboration for these assertions have yet been uncovered. (See also Bergrmann's Excelsior, You Fathead!, pp. 71-72.) Over the years Shep gave enough clues to identify the station about which he spoke, especially in his broadcast of February 26, 1964. It was then that he told of Bobby "the operator," who Shep said he introduced to the program director at the station where Shep was working at the time. Bobby -- a classmate whose full name was Robert B. Weiss -- went on to actually have a popular request program on the station, as well as become its assistant program director, all before graduating from Hammond High with Shep in June 1939. Bobby's achievements at the Hammond station were well chronicled in the Hammond Times. The station was WWAE, which operated at 100 watts on a frequency of 1200 Kc., and was owned by the Hammond-Calumet Broadcasting Corporation. The call letters were sometimes said in jest to stand for "World's Worst Air Entertainment." Commercial radio in Hammond had its start in the mid 1920s. By the end of the decade, WWAE had taken to the air. Although a relatively small station, it was of some importance in the region. In about 1932, it was the first time the Monroe Brothers -- Charlie and Bill, said to have created bluegrass -- were heard on the radio, given a spot on WWAE. Pioneer black DJ Jack Cooper also had a regular program there beginning in about 1928. In 1937, the owners of WWAE established WHIP, a new 5,000 watt station at 1480 Kc. -- "First Station on Your Dial" -- to reach a wider and more diverse audience. It began broadcasting on October 11, 1937, as the second radio station then serving Hammond. WWAE was to remain the city's principal voice for local programming, however. Mr. O. E. Richardson, part owner of Hammond-Calumet Broadcasting Corp., became general manager of both stations. "Mr. Richardson" was mentioned during several WOR broadcasts by Shep when telling of his high school broadcasting days. On June 25, 1940, the Federal Communications Commission approved of the sale of WWAE and transfer of its license to Richardson and Dr. Fred L. Adair, both of whom had been in charge of the station since the previous September. In early September 1940, Richardson and Adair were on the air with the station's brand new call letters, WJOB, obtained to emphasize the change in ownership and management. And sometime around the turn of the year the station's frequency was moved to 1230 Kc., where it remains today.
Where Shep Made Reference To This Subject
Photos:


July 21,1937
Hammond Times - WHIP scheduled to air

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


September 29,1937
Hammond Times - WHIP delayed

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


October 11,1937
Hammond Times - WHIP airs

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


October 29,1937
Station manager O.E. Richardson

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


June 25,1939
Graduates High School

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


1939
Radio Annual Listing for WHIP and WWAE

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


1941
Radio Annual Listing for WJOB

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


February 15,1973
Independent

Courtesy: Steve Glazer