WOR-AM/FM – Moonlight Savings Time With Willie Bryant – September 5, 1947 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
So. Was there top-40 radio in 1947? No. Was there Rock n’ roll? No. Were there Disc Jockey’s? Yes. . .kind of.
Listening to radio (if you still are and not streaming) in 2020, it’s almost impossible to imagine what listening to a disc-jockey program was like in 1977, let alone 1947. Radio in 1947 in general was an entirely different universe, as was the technology of the time. The Disc-Jockey was more of an entertainer who just happened to play records in this case, but did a lot of talking and kept things lively, even at 3 in the morning.
Radio programs like this one: Moonlight Savings Time, were relegated to the hours 2-5:00 am – the dead of night until the crack of dawn. Reasonably away from the mainstream population and pretty much the domain of the insomniac, musician, swing-shift factory worker or food buyer – not a large audience by any stretch, but enough to create word-of-mouth, especially with new records. And since many radio stations were now operating on a 24 hour basis, thanks largely to World War 2, where Networks were no long obliged to shut down at Midnight, it offered a potential if not limited opportunity to gather a loyal audience.
On this particular episode of Moonlight Savings Time, a program which ran on WOR in New York in the 1940s, the search was on for a replacement disc-jockey to handle the chores of running a three hour show with just your personality and a stack of records. This shows features guest DJ Willie Bryant, who was a band leader of note but who also hosted a program on WOR on Saturdays; Harlem Hospitality which also featured live music as well as guest appearances by artists who were playing local clubs as well as the fabled Apollo Theatre.
This is a half-hour excerpt of the full 3 1/2 hour show. I’m not sure if Willie Bryant won the audition, but he was actively involved in being “Mayor Of Harlem” for a good long time.
Enjoy the show.