Today is a momentous day in the history of New York City. For 90 years ago on this date, WNYC transmitted its first radio broadcast.
It's hard to believe that this radio station, which is a staple of New York City, has existed for almost a century. In this world of crass commercial radio, it's a great thing that it does.
Back in 1924, of course, there was no television. Or Internet. Nobody had smart phones or even Walkmen. If you wanted to get news about the city, you had to either read a newspaper or listen to the radio. But as people quickly discovered, radio was more than about getting information -- it was about community, about literally bringing together the "8 million people who live in freedom and enjoy the benefits of democracy" as WNYC would proudly announce every day that it signed on.
Today, in 2014, WNYC still holds together this city's vast and diverse community. The station still has great news and entertainment programming. It respects the intelligence of its listeners and broadens our horizons.
All this week, WNYC is remembering its history by going into its vaults and re-broadcasting its classic programming. You can find a link to it here. You'll here a 1959 report on Greenwich Village where they talk about the "problem" of black men and white women being seen in public together. There's a bizarre and hilarious series from 1998 of Kurt Vonnegut broadcasting from the afterlife (I kid you not). And there are also interviews with the Master Builder himself, Robert Moses and his ultimate antagonist Jane Jacobs.
WNYC is a treasure, the crown jewel of the New York City air waves And as it complete its first century of broadcasting, I'm sure the best is yet to come.