This page was last updated
Sunday, July 14, 2013
WTMA has had numerous
articles published about it in the local print media since 1939. Some of
them are included on this page.
a print article or feature about WTMA you'd like to contribute?
News and Courier and
Evening Post Enter Radio Field in Charleston
News and Courier and Evening Post
October 14, 1939
The publishers of The News and Courier
and The Charleston Evening Post yesterday announced that they have
purchased Radio Station WTMA. Negotiations are underway for placing the
station on a national network.
Mayor Henry W. Lockwood, speaking last night at a brief ceremony in the
newspaper's news telegraph room, hailed the purchases as a "progressive
step which will be greatly appreciated by the people of Charleston and the
surrounding territory". He called the combination of the local newspapers
and the radio station "a logical hookup, in that the public of Charleston
can be immediately advised of important events between publication
Hall T. McGee, business manager of the newspapers, declaring that
application for a transfer of the station's license is being made to the
Federal Communications Commission, added:
"Steps are now being taken for an association with a national network, and
it is our hope and expectation that arrangements may be completed at an
early date. Rapid changes are not to be expected, for a sure foundation is
a much desired goal. It will, therefore, be the policy of the new
management to gradually develop Radio Station WTMA into a real 'Newspaper
of the Air', providing educational and entertaining features, and a
coverage of worthwhile news, presented in a manner calculated to create
Former Owner Speaks
Jesse W. Orvin, secretary-treasurer of
the Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Company, in the name of which the
station formerly was operated, expressed belief that the newspapers "are
better fitted than any group to operate a broadcasting station, and to
give to the public more news and better entertainment, while assuring a
higher types of service to commercial advertisers.
David A. Skinner, assistant to the president of the chamber of commerce,
offered the chamber's congratulations.
WTMA microphones were set up in the newsroom, on the third floor of the
newspaper's building at 134 Meeting Street. They were only inches away
from the teletype machines on which Associated Press, United Press and
International News Service wires were bringing news items from every
section of the world. Wylie Calder, immediately after he announced the
conclusion of the ceremony, went on the air with first broadcast of
Associated Press news direct from the newsroom.
The newspapers, in their afternoon announcement of the purchase, said: "A
contract for the purchase of Charleston's newest radio station, WTMA,
operating a studio in Wagener Terrace, at the north end of Tenth Street,
has been entered into between Messrs. Y.W. Scarborough and J.W. Orvin, the
original proprietors, and The Evening Post Publishing company and The News
Mr. Orvin, the first speaker on last
night's program, said:
"In turning over station WTMA to The Evening Post Publishing Company and
the News and Courier Company, Mr. Scarborough and myself feel that we are
rendering a service to the people of this community, inasmuch as the
newspapers, in our opinion, are better fitted than any other group to
operate a broadcasting station, and to give to the public more news and
better entertainment, while assuring a higher type of service to
"We will also have the satisfaction of knowing that this radio station
will still be owned, and conducted by local interests, on behalf of the
welfare and progress of the City of Charleston. In closing, I would
earnestly request that the people of this city who have so generously
supported Mr. Scarborough and myself in the establishment and operation of
this station will continue these same relations with our successors that
were so deeply appreciated by us.
"Keep your dial tuned in on station WTMA: first, last and always ahead
with the news in Charleston."
Text of McGee Speech
Mr. McGee said:
"Mr Orvin has just informed you that he and his associate, Mr. Y.W.
Scarborough, have contracted to sell their interests in Radio Station WTMA
to the publishers of The Charleston Evening Post and The News and Courier.
Application for a transfer of the license is being made to the Federal
"Radio is a comparatively new industry, yet because it has caught the
public's interest, it has made tremendous strides, and though but twenty
years of age, it has won a recognized place in American life.
"From its inception, radio has been fostered by newspapers, particularly
through the great news gathering organizations, and from time to time
features, popularized by newspapers, have been added to its airwaves."
Workman Appointed To
News and Courier and Evening Post
October 14, 1939
News and Courier
Reporter Assigned to Radio Post
William D. Workman, Jr., newly appointed
manager of Radio Station WTMA, which has been taken over by the Charleston
newspapers, had been a reported for The News and Courier for the last
three years. He was born August 10, 1914 in Greenwood, but has lived most
of his life in Greenville. He is the son of W. D. Workman (a Charlestonian
and Citadel graduate of 1909) and Mrs. Vivian Virginia Watkins Workman.
A 1931 graduate of Greenville High School, where he was editor of the
annual, he entered the Citadel and was graduated in 1935 with honors in
history. He held the rank of cadet major, was editor of The Sphinx college
yearbook; feature editor of The Bull Dog college newspaper; vice president
of the senior class; and president of The Round Table, an honorary
literary organization. He played football for four years, being varsity
blocking back and quarterback his last two years, and boxed for a time
during his junior year.
After graduation he went to Washington, where he studied law for one year
at George Washington University and worked for more than a year as a
civilian in the navy department. He helped reorganize and was
secretary-treasurer of the Citadel Club of Washington.
Station WTMA Tells How
Network Allots Programs
News and Courier and Evening Post
December 19, 1940
In response to several inquiries the
change to the Red Network by WTMA, the radio station has made public the
text of an answer to one letter which exemplified the questions of many
The letter explains some of the workings of the radio business which, like
every other business, has special problems of its own.
A listener wrote to WTMA as follows:
"As an ardent Breakfast Club fan, it is putting it mildly to say I am
disappointed in the changes announced in the papers. I surely expected you
would give us a few outstanding programs, such as Lowell Thomas and 'One
Man's Family', but it seems I'm wrong again. Why this change anyway? We
were curtailed enough where NBC programs were concerned, and instead of
improving the situation you seem to be giving us less and less of the
cream of radio entertainment. Music can be had from any record any time.
Give us something alive. What would we do without WJAX and WSB, even
though they sometimes come in poorly?"
The radio station, in acknowledging this letter, went into detail to
answer the questions and to point out the change in reality is an
improvement in service.
Local, Sustaining and
The letter outlined the situation as
"In addition to local programs prepared by a local station, there are two
types of programs available through the big networks. First, there are
commercial programs, which are created and paid for by advertisers. These
advertisers buy time on stations in the territories in which they wish to
advertise. The time is bought through the networks, such as NBC and CBS.
"Then, in addition to these, the networks themselves provide certain shows
which are known as sustaining, such as the Breakfast Club. Lowell Thomas
and 'One Man's Family' are commercial programs. Lowell Thomas is sponsored
by Sun Oil company products and these products are not sold in Charleston.
Therefore, the advertiser does not buy time on WTMA. WTMA does carry H.V.
Kaltenborn (who incidentally has a higher rating nationally than Lowell
Thomas) because he is sponsored by the Pure Oil company and it does have
distribution in this territory.
"'One Man's Family 'is sponsored by Tender Leaf Tea. These people do not
have sufficient distribution to warrant their use of this program in
"WTMA has made and continues to make every possible effort to help these
advertisers secure distribution and to make it profitable for them to use
"Now as to the recent to the exclusive Red Network affiliation. As
explained in the advertisement in The News and Courier Sunday, this change
has been made by the National Broadcasting Company. It became effective in
the Southeastern area on December 15. All other sections of the country
have been under this arrangement for some time.
"With the exception of the Breakfast Club and one or two other less
popular sustaining programs, the Blue Network does not carry very many
outstanding shows. As time goes on WTMA hopes to be able to secure a great
many popular commercial shows that heretofore have not been available in
this territory, because NBC had only one line for the two networks.
'Information Please' is certainly one of the greatest radio shows in
America. This will be heard over WTMA commencing January 3, 1941. This
program was not available under the old set-up.
"We note in your letter that you refer to WJAX and WSB. WTMA occupies
exactly the same status relative to the network as these stations."
New Radio Dial Numbers
News and Courier and Evening Post
March 29, 1941
WTMA Now 1250, WCSC 1390 as Frequency Changes Go into Effect
Radio stations today begin operating on
their new frequencies, which went into effect at 3 o'clock this morning as
a part of a general reassignment of frequencies to stations throughout
North America. In Charleston, station WTMA has moved from 1210 to 1250
kilocycles and station WCSC from 1360 to 1390 kilocycles.
Today has been proclaimed "Radio Moving Day" by the president, Governor
Burnet R. Maybank and Mayor Henry W. Lockwood.
Under the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement, most of the
stations are moving up thirty kilocycles. WTMA is moving up forty
kilocycles because the power increase which has been authorized and which
will be put into use soon would have made it necessary to take up a new
wave length, even if the agreement had not been adopted. By making the
change at this time, a second move is avoided.
James Lawson Fly, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has
described the North American greement as an example of the American
principle of settling international difficulties by peaceful means.
Before the agreement was reached, he said, chaos threatened the radio
industry with the expansion of the number of stations, which resulted in
too many being on the same wave length. To make matters worse,
broadcasters barred from the United States were setting up stations south
of the border and infringing on frequencies of regularly licensed
stations. The recent development of directional antennae, letting these
stations send their programming directly into the heart of this country,
made it possible for them to drown out regularly licensed stations.
WTMA's Power To Be
Jumped To 5,000 Watts
News and Courier and Evening Post
June 27, 1947
Radio station WTMA was granted a
construction permit to increase its power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts by the
Federal Communications Commission yesterday, Robert E. Bradham, station
A tentative order for a 5,000-watt Westinghouse transmitter was placed
several months ago. The order was confirmed yesterday following the FCC
grant. Cost of increasing the power will be between $35,000 and $40,000,
Mr. Bradham said.
Construction to equip the WTMA transmitting house, situated on the west
bank of the Ashley River near old Charles Town, for the 5,000-watt
installation will begin immediately. Supervising the work will be D.M.
Bradham, WTMA's technical director.
By increasing power to 5,000 watts during the daytime, WTMA will increase
its effective listening radius at least two times. Broadcasts will be
transmitted over the station's 432-foot tower. Radio listeners will
continue to hear WTMA at 1250 on their radio dials.
WTMA is owned and operated by the Atlantic Coast Broadcasting Company. The
organization also broadcasts daily over a frequency modulation station.
WTMA-FM is heard over 95.1 megacycles between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and
between 4 and 9 p.m. daily.
You're On The Air
By David W. MacDougall
Of the Post-Courier staff
Dan Moon sits at the control panel of
WTMA-AM radio. His large, beefy hand hovers over one of 10 black control
At 9:05 a.m., he fires up a Winston 100, takes a sip of cold black coffee
and gives the control knob a gentle twist.
"Good morning. This is Open Forum and I'm Dan Moon. Turn your telephone
into a microphone to the Lowcountry. Whether you're off, or at work, or
just goofing off, whatever you're doing, give us a call and tell us what's
on your mind."
Two decades ago, talk radio was largely the province of nerdy night owls
and shift workers with nothing to do.
It was a marginal medium. At best, a forum for the forlorn; at worst, a
gathering of grousers.
That was then and this is now. Talk radio has moved into the mainstream of
American life. Smart people listen to talk radio. Powerful people listen,
It has become an instant ready-reference for those who want to know what
people are thinking and talking about.
Almost every major city in the nation is served by at least one 24-hour
talk station. In some markets, such as Chicago, these stations lead the
A full-length feature film, "Talk Radio," and a successful NBC television
series, "Midnight Caller," highlight the medium, which last year
demonstrated its political clout by galvanizing public opinion against
Congress' proposed 50 percent pay raise.
In Charleston, the all-talk format was introduced by WKCN-AM in 1984. The
station had local talk programs and satellite-fed nationwide programs
around the clock. In 1989, WTMA, which operates at 1250 KHz, switched over
to the all-talk format and acquired rights to broadcast some of the most
popular nationwide shows. It also lured most of the local talk/news talent
away from WKCN.
By 9:07, Moon is talking about his vacation. Then he talks about the
weather before throwing out his first teaser of the morning.
"Well, let's see what's going on with the Charleston County School Board."
He mentions the recently passed $136 million budget, getting very excited
and punctuating his remarks by pounding his hand on the control desk. He
keeps an eye on the four-line telephone console, waiting for the first
call to come in.
"556-1250. I've had enough of my grandstanding. What's on your mind this
The call board lights up. He flicks a switch and says, "Hi. Good morning.
You're on TMA Talkradio."
His first caller in Charleston City Council member Robert Ford. He talks
about the recent Democratic primary, not the school board.
At 9:13, Moon lights another cigarette and shuffles through some papers on
his desk while Ford keeps talking.
Moon, 49, was operation manager at WTMA when the station changed formats.
A veteran of 36 years in radio and television, he was dead-set against
talk radio andů (rest of article incomplete)
Moon Fills Air Waves
By Dawn Brazell
Of the Post-Courier staff
February 3, 1991
A low, scratchy voice rasps over the air
waves: "War monger. War moooongerrr. War moooongerrr."
WTMA-AM radio talk show host Dan Moon listens to the ominous monotone,
trying to engage the anonymous caller in a conversation. The line goes
It's a dramatic ploy that irritates Moon, especially since the phone lines
to his morning talk show have been jammed since the war started with
people who do want to talk -- who need to add a human, emotional dimension
to the media-relayed war being fought on another continent.
The war on the home front can turn into a volatile situation as is,
without citizens finding ways to inflame it, he says. Moon sees his talk
show as a constructive outlet for democracy at home.
His challenge is to stimulate callers with diverse opinions, despite his
pro-war stance. It used to be the name of the game was to please
everybody, but then stations found the way to attract an audience was to
be controversial and take stands on issues, he says.
That's fine for the former Marine, who's not bashful in stating his
opinions. "You have to take a stand on something. I don't have a problem
with that at all. You have to jump right in there. I'm not a war monger by
any means, but I don't believe in a peace-at-all-costs situation either."
Moon says this situation's emotional intensity makes it trickier to
"The key factor in being a talk show host at a time like this is making
everybody feel comfortable on the air. It's hard to do."
Often Moon winds up rehashing the same issues day after day. But he says
people need to voice their opinions and say why they feel something is
right or wrong or what should be done.
"The average listener cannot call the president of the United States or
the secretary of defense and say, 'I think you're crazy' or 'I love what
you're doing.' So guess what they do? They call me. They have to get it
off their chests."
Talk shows provide an emotional outlet to allow people to respond to a
barrage of information pouring into their homes every day. People
genuinely love to have other people listen to them, he says.
Moon has played an anti-war song (Marvin Gaye's "Mercy, Mercy Me") to see
what reaction people would have. They asked him what was wrong with him --
afraid he had lost his mind, he recalls. "Just because I believe one way
doesn't mean I can't have feelings or sympathy for the other side of the
issue. I understand why people would hate this war situation. I hate it
"The difference between me and the anti-war protestors is, though I hate
this war. I feel it is the way to peace."
Often it's easy to find similarities in opinions, but there are issues
Moon sees as having no gray areas, such as protestors who go too far.
"They can protest to their hearts' desires as long as they don't interfere
with other people's freedoms. When they stand in front of a federal
building and forbid people to go inside, they have taken a freedom from
Moon admits he has little patience for callers who advocate such actions.
But, for the most part, he allows people to have their say, sometimes
playing devil's advocate to elicit reaction. "When you get both sides
calling up, you've got a great show."
On tough job requirement is that he has to keep up with the war. He takes
six newspapers and keeps up with local newscasts. He also watches about
six hours of CNN each day.
Moon says it's fine if someone calls up and asks him something he doesn't
know. "But what the listener does not want to hear that I don't know
what's going on."
Calls so far reflect national opinion polls, with an overwhelming majority
in favor of the government's use of force. Moon says he feels it's
positive to support patriotic feelings, so he plays the national anthem
and the U.S. Navy Band's "We Are With You."
But Moon only takes it so far. He defends the rights of peace activists to
have their say. "I've got my feelings and my philosophy. But also you have
to remember that radio is part of the entertainment business. People don't
mind me telling them my feelings, but they don't want me to preach on it."
If you become too extreme on either side, you lose the respect of
everyone, he says. He also loses trust if he doesn't treat callers,
whatever their opinion or IQ, with respect. He has found the best tactic
in disarming people is to genuinely listen to them and answer in a way
that causes no one to lose face, he says.
He also tries to keep an open mind. "Who knows? Maybe one day an anti-war
protestor will change my mind," he says, smiling.
Are you a former WTMA
employee or listener with a story to share?
We'd love to hear from you!