WACO-AM – Waco, Texas – The Percy Medicine Program – February 9, 1950 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
There was a time, long enough ago where most people can’t recall, that Rural Radio was that lifeline link to the rest of country, while staying your helpful and concerned neighbor and buddy. The vast majority of radio stations were of the “mom & pop” variety and corporate takeovers were unheard of. The radio in these communities reflected the communities themselves and each had a distinct character and voice indicative of the area of the country and the social makeup of those people. Taste in music, even down to pronunciation and regional dialects were all preserved and all part of the picture.
Bear in mind that radio, just like the rest of America in the 1950s, was segregated and divided by race as well as ethnicity – there were radio stations that catered strictly to the African-American segment of the population, just as there were stations that catered strictly to the Latino segment of the population – although Mexico boasted those Million Watt stations you could hear as far north as Anchorage Alaska, there were comparatively few Latin stations operating in the U.S. at the time.
So this was the backbone of America from the earliest days of radio all the way to the late 1970s – early 1980s. For some idea of what Rural America was listening to, here’s one sample – WACO in Waco Texas as it was broadcast on February 9th 1950. A local disc-jockey program sponsored by a product that is most likely not around anymore; Percy Medicine. It’s not exactly clear what this product is, but it appears to be good for small children as well as people with hangovers.
Perhaps you could call this program a pre-historic podcast – and that might just fit.
Check out Rural America in 1950.