WFLN, Philadelphia, PA

Ken Orr, WFLN 1970s


The call sign WFLN was originally assigned in 1949 to a Philadelphia FM radio station located at 95.7 MHz. In 1956, WFLN-AM (900 kHz) was started as a simulcast of the FM programming. WFLN-AM was sold in 1985 and became WDVT. WFLN-FM continued operations until 1997 when it was sold, changed format and was renamed WXXM. Today, this station is identified by the call sign WBEN-FM. The Philadelphia WFLN was a popular classical music station.

Photos | Station History


WFLNotes

Personal observations about a fine station...

The station produced the national broadcasts of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Magnetic Recorder Reproducting Company made the recordings. Jim Keeler, produced and hosted the series heard Sunday afternoons. In fact once assistant conductor William Smith called saying he and Mr ORMANDY were listening to the broadcast in their office and wish the `stay level` monitor on the broadcast line could be turned off...as it sucked up all the quiet passages, which they found annoying.

In the late 1960's both AM and FM simulcasted and carried programs of NBC Radio. If the NBC program was dropped the commercial matter had to be recorded and broadcast with in the hour. Frequently a fully sponsored program such as a sporting event was not aired but resulted in an hour of short musical selections with frequent and many times the same commercials repeated over and over. Listener reaction was understandably quite negative. There is a website indicating WFLN-AM 900kc went on the air in the late 1950's. I believe this was a few years later.

DELAWARE VALLEY radio listeners of the 1950's may recall hearing the voice of AL BARCLAY for many years on WJBR out of Wilmington, Del. As a youngster living in Drexel Hill, Pa A. Campbell recalls hearing him there then on WFLN where he worked for the rest of his life. He said he used the name BARCLAY, as his real name, BRESSLER, was too German for post WWII listeners.

Station engineer TOM MOYER was a technical wizard and fanatic about new trends in broadcasting, stereo, microphones and transmissions. Frequently in the studio there would be a new turntable, stylus, cartridge or technical gizzmo he was testing for some electronic company.

In the early days you could hear two voices on each shift. Daytime announcer would read news live and record a reel to reel of commercials, ids and music announcements for use by evening announcer. At night the live announcer woulds read news and play taped liners of daytime announcer. He would record a liner tape for use the next day by daytime announcer. Thus there were two distinct WFLN announcer voices on duty all the time.


JOHN EDWARDS was the daytime music host of WFLN in the 1960's. He was also a familiar frequently heard announcer 'in the booth' at "Channel Ten, Philadelphia". He was a great friend of WCAU-TV news anchor John Facenda, who paid an unusual tribute to Edwards on the channel ten newscast on the day that John Edwards passed away in 1970.

What young broadcaster would not want to emmulate RALPH COLLIER. Good voice...always well tailored and doing interviews of celebrities...attending opening events etc. Philadelphian's first heard him in the 1950's on WCAU and later on his daily WFLN lunchtime broadcasts from The Art Alliance and 'Views and Reviews' features. We heard him on the WWFM classical network out of Trenton, NJ Ralph Collier died at the age of 91 in 2013.

Lengendary pioneer broadcaster-newsman and curmudgeon TAYLOR GRANT would arrive daily at 4:30PM to record his commentaries (usually engineered by Al Barclay) sponsored by The Philadelphia Gas Company. Playback was at 6:30 PM. He had a terrific sense of humor and a loyal following of listeners who tuned in to see who in politics he would be skewering from the news of that day.

If you watched the PHILLIES or A's games on TV in the 1950's you may remember a slick skinny kid selling TASTYKAKES(TM). The young FRANK CARTER was broadcasting 'live' from Scheib Park. He was also an early WFLN announcer and had a rather rocky relationship with the station. Somewhat self absorbed and opinionated personal positions that led to frequent dismissals. In the late 1960's he was doing a 'new releases' hour on Saturday mornings, sponsored by Sam Goodie Record stores. It was good to hear him in his later years on WRTI. d-5 APR 2004.
R Alan Campbell, WFLN afternoon host c 1970s

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