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Mayor Fiorello H. Laguardia reads the comics on the radio, 1945

In a slightly-belated celebration of Fiorello H. LaGuardia’s 130th birthday (December 11, 1882), I would like to remember one of the many things that made him a most memorable mayor of New York City during his 12 year tenure from 1934-1945.  Known as much for his strength and determination to stamp our corruption in New York City as his gentle kindness and compassion for New York citizens, LaGuardia is often remembered for reading the Sunday funnies on the radio.

Mayor LaGuardia had a weekly Sunday radio show on WNYC called “Talk to the People,” his own version of the FDR “Firesides Chats,” where he would discuss current events and the state of affairs.  He talked about national and international concerns, especially the war, and would also tell listeners where to get the best prices on vegetables and inform them that there would be shoe rationing.  Radio was the dominant electronic medium of the day, as television was in its infancy, and Laguardia had a large and diverse listenership. Read the rest of this entry »

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To go along with our series of posts about the subway, this week’s Please Explain on WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show about the NYC subways is worth a listen: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2012/mar/02/please-explain-subway/

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Officially founded in 2000, the WNYC Archives was established through the initiative and perseverance of Andy Lanset, WNYC Archivist and audio preservation specialist. In 1999, Lanset began working at WNYC as a consultant for its 75th anniversary celebration and soon thereafter convinced his employers of the necessity of a unified archive. In 2000, Lanset began as a part-time employee and moved in all of his sound equipment as well as his own archive of City Hall and United Nations-related sound files he made when he was a radio reporter. He sees a mutual benefit to this arrangement: WNYC gets much needed equipment and a supplement to its own archive, and Andy gets to store his “stuff” someplace.

Andy Lanset at work in the WNYC Archives (photo: WNYC)

The Archives includes items from various WNYC departments, as well as many items from the Municipal Archives. It also includes copies of recordings held by other institutions including The Paley Center for Media, The Peabody Institute, and Yale University. WNYC has a long and proven track record of covering the widest array of subjects, and therefore the collection covers myriad topics related to the arts, culture, politics, and science. Read the rest of this entry »

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