A short history of WRUL Radio Boston, WNYW Radio New York Worldwide and WYFR Family Radio.
Based on a Presentation by Lou Josephs(c)
Updated and edited Nov.15th, 2012
Take a listen to these 1964 sounds!
A QSL card from the web at
•1927 First US Shortwave License issued Oct. 15th, 1927, by the FCC to founder Walter Lemmon and Experimenter Publishing of New York on 9.7 Mcs, 500 watts. Callsign W2XAL.
•1928 Sale to Aviation Radio.
•1929 Lemmon regains license and moves station to Boston with callsign W1XAL, Worldwide Broadcasting Corporation.
The 30s: The Walter Lemmon Years
•1936 Hatherly Beach near Scituate, Mass. aquired for use as new site.
•The approx. coordinates of the antenna park: -70.44 W/42.12 N
•Upgrade to 20 kW.
•New unit added: W1XAR.
•September 1939 FCC assigns regular call letters and WRUL ”World Radio University-Listeners” is born.
•Studios in Boston at the Harvard Club on Commonwealth Avenue.
•Programs are educational in nature.
World War II.
•WRUL broadcasts as ”Radio Boston” in Norwegian from Sept 29th,1940 with ”Gunnar Martin”(Nygaard) as speaker.
•WRUL Radio programs produced by Royal Norwegian Information Services, New York office(Norwegian Embassy in the USA) 1941–1958: NORWAY FIGHTS ON and THE SPIRIT OF THE VIKINGS, for more see
•On 9th of November 1942 all US Shortwave broadcasting including WRUL taken over by the Government in lease arrangement. First mainly OWI, then VOA programs.
•Mr.Nygaard becomes Norwegian editor for OWI in New York.
The Cold War Years.
•1946 Walter Lemmon demands State Department return his stations or permit him to use a portion of time.
•1947 Smidt-Mundt act. WRUL allowed to program 25% with VOA broadcasts the rest of the day.
•1953 WBOS in Hull, Mass(co-sited with WBZ-1030) released by VOA and closed. Spare parts sold to WRUL.
From "Land of the Pilgrims' Pride" National Geographic Magazine©. August 1947.
It’s the WRUL/WNYW/WYFR transmitter site at the Scituate Proving Grounds. Jim Cutler©
The big smokestack once had the WNYW call letters painted on it. Jim Cutler©
How you got into the building! Jim Cutler©
Here you can see one of the old masts. Jim Cutler©
•1954: Back to Private Broadcasting
•By 1954 US Gov’t lease ends and WRUL has full control over facility. Still a non-commercial station with sponsorship owned by Worldwide Broadcasting Foundation, 1 East 57th Street, New York 22, N.Y.
•Slogans ”Voice of Freedom” and ”Truth is the strongest weapon”.
A 1955 program schedule provided by Swedish Veteran Dxer Henrik Klemetz.
•Norwegian programs on WRUL ”Radio Boston” on 9675, 11780 and 15280/15350 kcs from 2000-2045 every Tuesday.
•Programs are ”Bringing Christ to the Nations” and ”New York Calling Norway”.
•Speaker Johan Fillinger.
Johan Fillinger was a Norwegian actor. Here is a link to his career at the movies:
Johan Fillinger with grey hair and glasses as a dubious art dealer in this 1984 Olsen Gang comedy movie.
1993: Norwegian newspapers carry birthday notices of Johan Fillinger describing his career.
The Early 60s: Ownership and Studio Changes
•1960 Sale of station to Metromedia who owned radio stations in major markets in the US, such as WNEW 11-30. Also owned the remains of the Dumont TV Network. Move of studios to 4 West 58 St New York 19, N.Y.
•1960 Contribution to Propaganda effort towards Cuba.
•1961 Peabody Award: Contribution to International Understanding for Coverage of U.N. General Assembly Proceedings.
•1962 Sale of station to Bonneville International Corporation.(The Mormons broadcasting arm.) Station carried live conferences from Salt Lake City.
•Listen to a recording of WRUL on 11890 kcs from March 1964 here with an ad of the World Radio TV Handbook: :
This 1959 WRUL card to Tom Sundstrom is from
From WRUL to WNYW
•1964 ”On the air from the fair.”(Expo ’64)
•1965 English broadcast hours 1200-0000 UTC. Spanish 1100-1215, 1300-1445,2200-0400. Creole 1100-1130.
•June 1st, 1966. Change of call letters to WNYW. Chatsworth(In the Jersey Barrens), NJ proposed as new transmitter site. Land later sold.
•Apr.9th, 1967 The original transmitter site at Scituate is torched. Transmitters are burnt to a crisp. Arson suspected but not proven. The only thing left is the building. Fire destroys all WW2 equipment, re-location to point-to point station in Brentwood, Long Island.
•Summer and September,1967 Gates trucks new transmitters into Mass. Site. First two and then all 5 transmitters back on the air from Hatherly Beach.
•The Arch L. Madsen era. This GM co-created the Drake SW-4A.
Satellite photo from Google Earth(c) of good resolution. You can clearly see the entire site.
From station leaflet ca. 1965, donated by Jim Howard. The Radio Boston/Radio New York Worldwide/Family Radio transmitters were a stones throw from Hatherly Road. The antennas were on poles, and a lot of those were moved to WYFR's Florida site. The antennas went from behind the building all the way out to the area near the ocean. The antennas would ice up when it snowed.
•Transmitter capacity restored at Scituate: 2*100 kWs, 3*50kWs and 1*20 kW standby. 1*100 kW and 1*50 kW beams to Europe. 1*100 kW to Latin America, 1*50 kW to Mexico, and 1*50 kW to Africa. Frequency changes take 10-15 minutes.
•Expansion of English Programs to Caribbean 2200-0000 UTC.
•In April Les Marshak replaces Steve Grayson as host of Dxing Worldwide. Stays until hired back by WABC.
•Taped/Live show Music From New York debuts hosted by Marshak. Canned music was Bonneville Beautiful Music tapes from co-owned WRFM.
•In November WNYW changes news affiliate: From ABC Information to CBS News.
•1st Computer Show on radio with Bert Kleinman.
•Pirate Radio-Dead Issue written by Irwin Belofsky, narrated by Morgan Skinner. Airs in Dxing Worldwide time slots and other times during the weekend.
•Caribbean Weather Watch starts, report is taped at 16 and 2200 UTC.
Ad from WRTH 1969
Towards the end of WNYW: 1969-1973
•Easter 1969. No power at transmitting site. WNYW off for 2 days.
•July 1969. Man lands on moon. Coverage via CBS Radio. Spanish language Interamerican broadcasting does live TV from WNYW with coverage as can’t get accreditation at KSC. WNYW missed the first space walk, station was off the air.
•Broadcast hours 1600-0000 UTC.
•0000-0245 Bi-Lingual service starts in Summer of 69.
•Worldwide Phone-in with Bert Kleinman and Les Marshak 2000-2100 UTC. Kleinman left WNYW after the phone in to become PD of WPLJ-FM in New York.
•1970 Station is run on tape from from Scituate. Bonneville starts syndication service. BPS tapes give WNYW a way to save costs of direct phone line from New York. Voice grade circuit used for stock market news and as a way to hear the station in the offices. Station offered for sale to US Government for 1 dollar.
•Oct.20th, 1973 Station sold to Family Radio of Oakland, Calif. Call change to WYFR.
WNYW Sales brochure with Coverage Maps
•WRFM 105.1 air talent was also WNYW’s talent. It worked like this: Joe Roberts did morning drive on the FM, then taped 1 hour for WNYW at 1600(11 am EST)sign on. Ken Lamb did afternoon drive on WRFM and followed Joe on the SW. Les Marshak did 10-3 on FM, and then 1 hour on WNYW. 5-7 pm on WNYW was Larry Yount who did 7-12 midnight on WRFM.
•Weekends: Bob Weston, Roy Whitfield, then Jim Aylward.
WRFM 105,1 FM ad from-WRTH 1969.
•Called ”Chicken Rock” at the time, today resembles light AC.
•Heavy on Sergio Mendes, Enoch Light and the Free Design. Few Singles, mainly LP cuts. Most popular show Worldwide Hit Parade preceded Kasey Casem AT40, counting down the hits. Every Thursday Billboard would give Les Marshak the top 20 of the Hot 1-00 from the issue that went to press on Friday and hit the newsstands Monday.
Radio Nueva York ad from WRTH 1969
WNYW Jingles and Promos
•Robert Hall productions did the News intro, Caribbean weather watch, and ramps to the top of the hour.
•The Robert Hall stuff is mainly brass. Bert Kleinman as PD commissioned it.
•Mike Marion, production director created the loop tape with the interval signal. It’s 15 minutes long, than it’s dubbed, and spliced so it could last half an hour. Larry Yount is the voice. Started in New York at 1530, so it would fit with CBS news at 1600 UTC.
•Worldwide Hit Parade Theme was Bandstand from NAB Radio promotional discs.
•Most other jingles came from instrumental albums, with voice overs.
•Electronic Backgrounds and theme came from Perrey and Kingsley. Track 4 Swans Splashdown is the theme from DXing Worldwide. Content was 90 percent recycled from Sweden Calling Dxers 2 weeks later. NASA press releases also used.
•Roy Patrick, Herman Jager provided dx tips from Europe. Bob Balser provided offshore radio news.
Other North American SW stations at the time:
Š 6005 CFCX Montreal, QC(//CFCF-600 Montreal)
Š 6030 CFVP Calgary, AB (//CFCN-1060 Calgary)
Š 6080 CKFX Vancouver, BC
Š 6070 CFRX Toronto, ON (//CFRB-1010 Toronto)
Š 6130 CHNX Halifax, NS(//CHNS-960 Halifax)
Š 6160 CKZN St. John's, NF (//CBN-640 St. John's)
Š 6160 CKZU Vancouver, BC (//CBU-690 Vancouver)
Š 9715/11710/15240 KGEI San Francisco, CA
Š 11795/17720 WINB Red Lion, PA
Some of the Competition on MW/SW in Europe:
•After the demise of most UK offshore stations the two Radio Carolines(1169/1187 kcs) live until the evening of March 2nd/morning of March 3rd, 1968.
•Radio Veronica 1562 kcs.
•RNI, starting on 1611 kcs has a turbulent life from January 1970.
•Radio Luxembourg 1439 kcs new format from April 1968.
•BBC Radio One 1214 kcs.
•Radio Sweden Saturday show on 1178 kcs.
Some of the Competition on SW:
•Radio Sweden Saturday show.Sweden Calling Dxers, later Media Scan.
•BBC World Radio Club.
•Radio Nederland Happy Station. His and Hers. Dx Jukebox later Media Network.
•RNI, starting the first SW offshore service mostly on 49 m from January 1970.
WNYW air personalities: Where are they today?
•Les Marshak: Voiceovers in NYC.
•Ken Lamb: Most afternoons on ABC TV Voiceovers.
•Mitch Lebe: WBBR 11-3-0 Afternoon Drive.
•Bert Kleinman ran Radio Maximum in Moscow.
Roy Whitfield: Roy currently works for Tribune Broadcasting’s Ch 11 in
•New York City and does voice over work for them.
The WNYW Newsroom
•Identical to the WRFM Newsroom.
•Newscasters: Elwood Thompson did news on WNYW until 2, followed by Murray Roberts.
•Dave Henderson and Dick London at weekends.
•The news on the SW ran at the half hour and could then be edited.
•Quincy Howe worked for ABC, before going the commentary route. His Commentaries were taped once a week until they ended in 1970. After WNYW he was involved with PBS in New York (ch 13). He died 1976.
WNYW Technical Details
•Transmitters were Gates.(Now Harris)
•There is talk of a deal with Continental Transmitters, but Gates replaced the transmitters after the fire.
•Processing with tube type automax and volumax.Phone lines were equalized for mono, speech and voice.
•ATT Long Lines was the phone company.
WNYW Air Studio
•Only one, a Collins 212-m Board with two Gates turntables. 3 Cart Machines.
•Shared production with WRFM Stereo 105.1.
•WRFM had a a Gates Stereo board with Neuman Mics and Gateway 80 Stereo console for remotes.
•I later used the same board at WRMF in Titusville Florida. I used the Gateway 80 as a production console. These boards were everywhere in the early 70’s radio station.
•Spanish Production was a duplicate Collins 212-m console.
485 Madison Avenue
•485 Madison Avenue, 3nd floor
•CBS original tenant
•Later shared floor with other tenants.
•”Mad” was on the 13th floor.
•Moved in the 90s to Avenue of the Americas as Jammin’ Oldies.
Scituate: The end
•1977 WYFR starts broadcasting from removed transmitter at new site in the swamps of Florida in Okechoobee.
WYFR Program Schedule from late 1980 describing the changeover to Okechoobee. From the late Bernt Erfjord’s collection.
The Scituate antenna park coordinates were: -70.73713 W/42.20858 N
The WRUL/WNYW/WYFR antenna park site between Oceanside Drive and Hatherly Road and between Hatherly Road and Tilden Road shown from mapquest.com
A map from Jan. 7th, 1988 shows 9, or maybe 11 towers as they were still standing, over 9 years after the station closed for the last time shown on this www.terraserver-usa.com map from 1988. Terraserver also gives you the opportunity to view an aerial photo of the site from 1995.
Current photo of the WRUL/WNYW/WYFR antenna park site between Oceanside Drive and Hatherly Road and between Hatherly Road and Tilden Road in Scituate shown on the fabulous Google Earth© system. Why not download the free verson at http://earth.google.com/
•Today not a trace is left at Hatherly Beach.
•So, the station that had been WRUL 1938-1966, WNYW 1966-1973 and WYFR(1973-1979) is no more.
•Thank you for listening!
•If you have any questions, just email Lou at
AWR Wavescan on WYFR Family Radio
The story of WYFR goes back a long way, almost to the very beginning of shortwave broadcasting. The early origins can be traced back to New York City in 1927 when Walter Lemmon obtained a shortwave licence for a station with the callsign W2XAL. At the time, this station took a tandem relay from the mediumwave station WRNY.
In the following year, the shortwave outlet was sold to a commercial company, Aviation Radio. However, three years later, Walter Lemmon was again granted the license for this station and he transferred it to Boston where the callsign was changed from W2XAL to W1XAL.
Five years later, in the year 1936, Walter Lemmon purchased a large property at Hatherly Beach, near Scituate, for the purpose of installing a large international shortwave station. His first transmitter at this new location was a 20 kW unit under the same callsign, W1XAL. A second unit, W1XAR was added shortly afterwards.
In 1939 the callsigns at Hatherly Beach were regularized, first to WSLA & WSLR, and then to WRUL & WRUW. Soon after a spate of government service with VOA programming for Europe, Africa & Latin America, the station was sold a couple of times, with one callsign change, and finally Family Radio took over on October 20, 1973 with the callsign WYFR.
Over the years several additional transmitters were installed at WRUL, including WDJM from Miami and WBOS from Hull. After a disastrous fire in 1967, the station was rebuilt with five new transmitters.
Four years after Family Radio procured the station, they began to transfer the transmitters from Hatherly Beach to their new property near Lake Okeechobee in Florida. The first transmitter at the new location was activated on November 23, 1977; and subsequently a total of 14 transmitters were installed at this very large facility. The final broadcast from WYFR at the Scituate location ended at 2052 UTC on November 16, 1979.
In vain, we have tried to track any copyright holder. All rights remain with that holder. In addition we think with the NAB and ABC.
 45 Newport Ave.,Hull, MA
Coordinates 70.53W 42.17N
 Provided by Swedish veteran dxer Henrik Klemetz.
Later WNSR, WMXV and now WWPR.
In 1968 WRFM adopted an easy listening format. The format was mostly instrumental with about one vocal every 15 minutes. Their music featured the works of such composers as Mantovani, Henry Mancini, John Fox, Percy Faith, Hollyridge Strings, Leroy Anderson, Frank Mills and Richard Clayderman. Mixed in were vocals by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, Nat King Cole and Barbara Streisand. Ratings for the station were high, and a couple times they hit number one overall. A rival station, WPAT,
tended to do slightly better in the ratings, but both stations held their own.(Wikipedia)
 10 years later, the USA would again have commerical shortwave stations: KUSW owned by Carlson Communications, broadcasting from Salt Lake City, UT. This was a locally run, classic hits/classic rock station. They also aired country oldies, rock oldies and some religious programming from the LDS. KUSW was seemingly sold to TBN in 1991. Also WRNO Worldwide, a "Hobby" project by owner Joe Costello. In the late 1980s mainly rock formatted, and often simulcast with its sister, WRNO-FM in New Orleans which was then AOR formatted, even if they had a rock oldies show from noon to 1 PM weekdays and a Sunday night call in oldies show, both were also ran on both outlets.
Check out Ludo Maes site on vintage SW statiions from the USA and elsewhere:
 Ironically, Hatherly Beach is now doing well as a dx listening site: