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WPGC - Ed Walker in 1954

Ed Walker in 1954

Ed Walker was one of the first Air Personalities on WPGC just six weeks after it signed on the air from a farm on the edge of Morningside near District Heights. In the interview below, he recalls working at the station for exactly two years from June 4, 1954 to June 4, 1956. His illustrious career included stops at many notable Washington area stations including WOL, WWDC and WMAL, but he is most fondly remembered for his work with Willard Scott as 'The Joy Boys' at WRC.

Ed's final WAMU broadcast aired on 10/25/15. Three hours later, he passed on to that great transmitter in the sky. He was a true friend of this site, providing much information about the earliest days of the station. Without his help, the WPGC sudios and offices location in Hyattsville from 1954-1956 might never have been found.

More on Ed's career can be found at the Washington Post.

 

 

Marty Dempsey writes:

When I was 16 or 17 years old, I drove out Brookville road in Silver Spring, Maryland , Home of the WWDC Studios and Towers, I walked into the old stone building, The receptionist was not at her desk, So Iwandered down the steps, right into the studio area. The Engineer who was running the board for the "Joy Boys", asked me if I knew who those two guys were in the next studio. I gazed through the glass and saw two gentlemen laughing as they were doing a "bit" on the air, It was Willard Scott and Ed Walker performing magic right in front of me!

Ed had a variety of REAL Sound effects they used, like a little wooden box that he would knock on and it sounded exactly like a door, that opened. That inspired me so much I'm proud to say I was working on the air in that stone building just a couple years later!

I keep that inspiration with me everyday.

 

 

Jack Rabbit remembers:

Ed will surely be missed as a wonderful guy and a great talent . I was born and raised in DC. I grew up listening to Walker and Scott on WRC. They were icons.

After I left WPGC, one of my stops was WLMD, Laurel. I had the great pleasure of getting to know Ed Walker who was doing a talk show at WLMD shortly after Willard Scott and Ed disbanded as the Joy Boys of radio on WRC. Willard went to do weather at NBC TV New York. Ed Walker was the real deal, personable and very talented. He was an inspiration.

 

 

Davy Jones recalls:

I knew Ed from the AFTRA days, he was a great guy, a true friend an ultimate professional and an elegant gentleman.

 

 

WPGC - Ed Walker and Willard Scott

From Radio-Info.com:

Ed Walker, inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago

Blind jock Ed Walker tells Willard Scott “my only handicap was working with you.” Ed and Willard, who met at American University, were the "Joy Boys" first at Washington's WOL and then WRC and WWDC. Scott left to pursue TV fulltime in 1974, and Ed worked at WPGC-AM, WMAL and the later WWRC. It says something about his talent and attitude that the congenitally-blind Walker did TV at WJLA (1975-1980) and News Channel 8 in the early 1990's.

The affection that "Today Show" legend Willard Scott has for Ed was evident from the moment he stepped onto the podium during the live broadcast. Willard recalled the time the local Jaycees contacted Ed and asked if he’d like to judge a beauty contest. (Willard joked, “any young lady here tonight like to get judged in Braille?”)

Ed Walker told how he used to handle delivering a five-minute newscast at WPGC by listening to a rival station that subscribed to the same news service and memorizing it – but he got crossed up one day when the station threw on a religious program instead.

 

 

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Ed conducted by a student at the University of Maryland from April, 1974 in which they discussed his days at WPGC:

 

An Interview With Radio Announcer Ed Walker

Conducted by David L. Carter

For University of Maryland Oral History Seminar

(Dr. Donald Kirkley, Jr.) and Broadcast Pioneers Library, April 1974

Source: Library of American Broadcasting, University of Maryland Libraries

L.A.B. Audio Transcript # 410

 

My name is David Carter. The following is an interview with radio announcer Ed Walker. The interview is taking place in Mr. Walker's office at WWDC Radio in Silver Spring, MD. Today is April 20th, 1974.

 

"...I got a job in 1954 at a brand new radio station called WPGC..."

 

Q — Was WPGC in the Top-Forty format then?

A — Well, they certainly weren’t as into it as they are now. They weren’t as polished. Radio wasn’t quite as frantic in those days as it is now. We were playing the contemporary music. I guess you would call it Top-Forty, but we were playing all the big hits of that day — The Crew Cuts and The McGuire Sisters, and all of the groups that were very popular. They didn’t have the production aids and things that people use today, the jingles and stuff like that. We were just getting into that in broadcasting.

 

Q — You moved from WPGC to WRC. What year was that?

A — Well, I actually worked at both stations for a period of time. I started at WPGC on June 4, 1954, and in 1955, in March I think it was, Willard called me up and said, “I’ve got permission for you to audition with me”. He had a little record show then in the evening, and he said, “They’re going to let you do an on-the-air audition for two days”. So we did that, and they taped it, and I never heard anything from the station. And I thought, well, it must not have gone over too well. This was in March, and in July 1955, I get a call that they wanted to talk to me at NBC. It took them all that time. They work very slowly.

Then they hired me for a half-hour a day to work with Willard doing a half-hour show, which wasn’t a living, you know. So I got permission to stay on at WPGC and do both shows as sort of a trial thing, and I continued that from July 1955, until November 1956. Now let me get my facts straight. I left WPGC in June of 1956. I was there two years to the day, and then I did some summer work at WRC that summer, and then Willard went into the Navy, and then I inherited his afternoon show."

 

Q - Did you ever have any experiences with, perhaps, on the spot news reporting or sports cast?

A - Yes. Well, I've never done a sports cast, but I used to try to do the news because of the situation wherever I worked. I think you know the story, don't you? When I worked at WPGC, I worked Sunday afternoons my first few months there, and there was nobody else at the station except a high school girl who answered phones and took down people's addresses. We used to have these commercials where we were selling records and rebuilt vacuum cleaners, and people would call in. It was called a P I deal, a per inquiry deal. The station was paid by the number of inquiries they received. They would not let her do the news.

They said, "You've got to do the news on the hour". So I had been working on this system in college, anyway, where I would wear a pair of earphones and listen to someone reading the news; and I would repeat it about a half a sentence behind them just as a court reporter does with a stenomask machine. I had worked out this system where I found another station that used the same wire service and had sold the time check on the hour, and they always started their news on time. So I would just back-time myself to come out the same time they were; and I'd put on my earphones and listen to this guy read the news; and I'd follow him substituting my call letters wherever his were given; and it was perfectly okay because I was reading the same copy that we would be getting on our wire service anyway.

I got fairly proficient at this. Then one Sunday I put on my earphones ready for the news, and I heard, "from Long Beach California - the Old Fashioned Revival Hour is on the air". Well, they had sold the time; and I didn't know it; and so there I stood with egg all over my face and rattled my pages and said, "Due to technical difficulties", which is the big out, "our teletype machine is not working properly, and we will be unable to bring you the news at this time". And that ended my illustrious news career.

 

 

Print Materials

Articles

09/28/54

Blind Student Has Radio Job

WPGC - Blind Student Has Radio Job

© Washington Post

(Thanks to Bob Bell of DCMemories.com for the above)

 

 

Miscellaneous Audio

The following are excerpts from an interview recorded in
studio 'S' at 95.5 KLOS, Los Angeles on Friday, February 29th, 2004.

Ralph Tabiken & Harry Hayman - 1:12

Original Morningside studio and Duval B. Evans - :50

Max Richmond - 1:00

Max Richmond critiquing him while on the air - :59
Bob Bangston, Don Nork, Ted Werk and Guy Travers - :56

Doing mornings - :41

Moving to the Coral Hills Facility & WBUZ-FM - 1:07

WBUZ-FM broadcasting to WM&A busses - :34
Gene Winters - :14

Working at WRC & WPGC at the same time! - :21

WMEX & Howard Levy - :52

Hillbilly music and 'Curly's Corral' - :47

Remote broadcasts - 1:05

Repeating the news, word for word! - 1:03

 




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