RADIO STATION ORGANS AND ORGANISTS FROM RADIO'S GOLDEN AGE
This is a comprehensive listing of all known radio station pipe organs and the organists who played them.

By the very early 1930's, motion picture sound had reached most tbeatres in the United States. The "Mighty Wurlitzer", a much desired fixture from the last decade, was rendered obsolete over night. Many theatres discontinued their use of the organ, and theatre organists began looking for other lines of work.

At the same time, Radio was entering the American home and live radio production was sweeping the nation. In local radio stations across the land, there developed a need for relatively low cost live music for these in-studio productions. Studio orchestras were standard at most of the larger stations and network program centers, but many station managers and producers realized that the theatre organ was a perfect fit for this application. As theatres removed their organs and organists, the instruments and the musicians found their way to radio stations across the land where they became the substitute for a more expensive studio orchestra. This is a listing of those radio stations with theatre organs installed. We have combined the station organ page with a previous page, by the late Harry Heth, that lists organists who were involved in the radio profession. The two lists are now connected so that searches span both realms of information.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information on this list was provided from numerous sources including The Theatre Organ Encyclopedia, the original installation database on theatreorgans.com, and from list members and visitors to the site. Please notify John DeMajo (jdemajo (at) demajo.net (replace the at with @) if you wish to contribute information or offer corrections.


Above: Ed Zollman at the console of the KOMO pipe organ.
(Photos courtesy of the collection of Gordon Crook, Exmouth, UK)
Disclaimer: The photos above are believed to be in the public domain. If anyone holds claim to these photos, we will either remove them or give credit to the proper owner. Please contact the author if you wish to offer information regarding any photograph displayed on this site.

 
RADIO STATIONS LISTED
CALL
LOCATION
CALL
LOCATION
CALL
LOCATION
           
WAPI Birmingham, AL WHDH Boston MA WNEW New York, NY
WBBM Chicago, IL WHEC Rochester, NY KNX Los Angeles, CA
WBBR Brooklyn, NY WHIO Dayton, Ohio KOIN Portland, OR
WCAU Philadelphia, PA KHJ Los Angeles, CA KOL Seattle, WA
WCBS New York, NY WHK Cleveland, OH KOMO Seattle, WA
WCCO Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN KHQ Spokane, WA WOR New York, NY
WCDA Parsippany, N.J WHT Chicago, IL WOWO Ft. Wayne, IN.
WCFL Chicago, IL WIOD Miami, FL    
WCLO Green Bay WI KIT Yakima, WA KPO San Francisco, CA
WDAY Fargo, ND WJJD Chicago, IL KPOF Denver, CO
KDKA Pittsburgh, PA CJOR Vancouver, B.C. WPTF Raleigh, NC
WDOD Chattanooga, TN KJR Seattle, WA WSMK Dayton, OH
WEAR Cleveland, OH WKAF Milwaukee, WI WSOC

Charlotte, NC

WEII Boston, MA WKBW Buffalo, N.Y WSPA Spartanburg, SC
KELW Burbank, CA (see KTAR) CKLA Windsor, Ontario WSPD Toledo, OH
WENR Chicago, IL WKRC Cincinnati, OH KSTP Minneapolis, MN
KEX Portland, OR WKY Oklahoma City, OK WSUN St. Petersburg, FL
KFI Los Angeles, CA WLAC Nashville, TN KTAB San Francisco, CA
WFIL Philadelphia, PA WLAW Lawrence, MA WTAM Cleveland, OH
KFOX Long Beach, CA WLS Chicago, IL WTAR Phoenix, AZ
KFPW Ft. Smith, AR WLW Cincinnati, OH WTMJ Milwaukee, WI
KFPY Spokane, WA WMAQ Chicago IL WTOC Savannah, GA
CFRB Toronto Canada KMBC Kansas City, MO KVOO Tulsa, OK
KFRC San Francisco, CA WMBI Chicago, IL WWJ Detroit, MI
KFVD Culver City, CA WMCA New York, NY WWL New Orleans, LA
KFWB Los Angeles, CA WMEX Boston, MA WWVA Wheeling, WV
WGBN Chicago, IL KMJ Fresno, CA KXL Portland OR
KGDM Stockton, CA KMO Tacoma, WA NBC Merch. Mart Chicago, IL
KGER Long Beach, CA NBC_Studios New York, NY
WGN Chicago, IL KMOX St.Louis, MO NBC Studios Los Angeles, CA
WGR Buffalo, N. Y. KMTR Los Angeles, CA Radio City San Francisco, CA
KGW Portland, OR WNAC Boston, MA BBC UK
WHAD MIlwaukee, WI KNBC San Francisco, CA Roxy Studio New York, NY
WHAS Louisville, KY WNBC New York, NY Haven of Rest Studio Hollywood, CA
 

 

HISTORY OF RADIO STATON ORGANS


Bill Bunch (above) and at the CBS studios in Hollyhwood , and below:
George Epstein (below) who was also an organist at the CBS Studios,

 

WAPI
Birmingham, AL
Kimball 3/8

The organist at WAPI was none other than Stanleigh Malotte, better known for his work at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham. The only known recording of Malotte that exists today is an eleven minute demonstration called "A Walk Through The Organ." The tape was released to the public in 1990 as a fundraiser, however, Malotte's first name was mis-spelled as "Stanley." Malotte's bio from Wikipedia appears below and you can hear the recording by clicking here.

Charles Stanleigh Malotte (born September 5, 1901 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – died February 1973 in New York, New York) was the house organist for Alabama Theatre from 1936 to 1955.

Stanleigh Malotte came from a musical family; his father, mother, and brother were also musicians. He began violin lessons at six and began taking organ lessons from his church choirmaster at 12.

Malotte first became a theatre organist for Sid Grauman on the west coast, but later got a job with the Paramount/Publix chain and wound up working for Francis Falkenburg at the Olympia Theatre in Miami, Florida. Malotte was in Miami for approximately ten years, doing some work on radio as well as later working as organist at the Capitol Theatre. Falkenburg brought in Malotte from Florida shortly after Falkenburg transferred to the Alabama Theatre. Malotte's first performance at the Alabama was on May 27, 1937.

During his time at the Alabama, Malotte was well known for rewriting the lyrics of popular songs of the time with lyrics pertaining to current events, from the local to national levels. He also often selected music to be performed based on the movie being shown. He was also known to drink quite a bit, although some maintain this actually made him a better entertainer. Malotte also played the organ for WAPI-AM from their studios in the Protective Life Building.

In August 1947 Malotte left his organist job to become a morning disc jockey at radio station WWSW in Pittsburgh. On September 19, The Birmingham News published on its front page a lengthy letter by Malotte that was highly critical of Pittsburgh and its residents, calling them "dim-witted citizens—a race of robots—human refuse . . . with a complete absence of social consciousness . . . ." He was fired from his job by program director Fred Joyner the day the letter was published, although Joyner cited Malotte's failure to come to work twice that week as the cause. A few days later, the Alabama announced Malotte would be returning to its organ console on October 2.

After leaving the Alabama Theatre in 1955, Malotte was associated with the Hammond Organ Company. He also wrote material for television and commercials. Malotte later returned to his birthplace of Philadelphia. He died of a heart attack in New York City.

 

WBBM
Chicago, Il.
Wurlitzer Opus 1563 3 Manual Special
Also had 1929 Barton 3 manual with blower # 22890 and a 2 Manual Barton with blower # 18653

WBBM staff organist Milton Charles

 

KVOO
(Information furnished by Bill Rowland and Phil Judkins)

I may have told you but we have another mystery.  In the Spencer Turbine Co. shipping list it states that the blower that we now have at the Circle Theatre was originally installed at a theatre in Missouri and then that organ went to radio station KVOO here in Tulsa.  There is a railway express shipping label attached to the blower addressed to Wade Hamilton.
 
I  never heard of a pipe organ at KVOO although I had heard that the original Circle Blower was traded with another organ since one of them needed a single phase motor.  Harry Rasmussen who worked as an engineer at KVOO never mentioned KVOO having a pipe organ, although he was involved with organs in the twenties and thirties in Tulsa.  Unfortunately who do we ask?.
 
I suspect that the four-rank organ that belonged to Bob and Betty Weddle may have been the KVOO organ.  It had a single phase blower and had come from a church (Evangelical Temple) that was located at 12th and Boulder. (Building still there)  After Bob died, Betty sold that organ to Bob Maes in Kansas City who broke it up for parts.  It is likely the KVOO sold the organ to the church.

 

 

WBBR
Brooklyn, NY
Organ was Gottfried formerly from WHK in Cleveland (see notes below)

Edith White was the staff organist.

The following information was provided by Frank Muller

- WBBR was erected by the Watchtower Society (then International Bible Students) and began to broadcast in 1924
- The studio was first in Staten Island at the radio station.
- 1929 the studios moved to 122-126 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn. They were situated in a rear building near Furman Street.
- 1931 they installed there the Gottfried Organ formerly at WHK, Cleveland, OH
- With the erection of the motorway along Furman Street the Watchtower Society had to sell a stripe of 15 metres of their property with the consequence that the studio had to be knocked down. Therefore between 1948 and 1950 the WBBR studio moved back to Staten Island. It is unknown what happened to the organ.
- In 1950 they dedicated a new broadcast studio at 136 Columbia Heights which also served as a kingdom hall. The new studio was equipped with a larger concert organ with 1200 pipes. It was in fact the III-manual 15 ranks Austin op. 1788 which had replaced the old Gottfried organ at WHK, Cleveland, Ohio in 1931.
- In 1957 the Witnesses sold WBBR. The organ remained in the hall until 1960, when it was sold to St. Augustine Presbyterian Church in the Bronx, where it was situated at least until 2009, though unplayable.
 
For more info, see Watchtower magazine, 15th August 1950. There is also a 1954 PR film released by the Watchtower Society about their work which briefly shows the studio with the organist playing at the console and the grills of the pipe chamber behind the speaker at another occasion. 

 
WCAU
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wurlitzer Opus 1544 2/4 Style B Special
 

HAVEN OF REST STUDIO
Hollywood, CA
The following information is submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:

Haven of Rest Studio. The Haven of Rest religious broadcast had an art deco building done in a nautical motif. It had a 1921 style 210 Wurlitzer from the Apollo Theater opus 415. I never saw the organ but heard it on the air many times and it may still be there.

Also submitted by Tom DeLay: Indeed as Jack said, the basic organ was the Wurlitzer opus 415 from the Apollo Theatre--Hollywood--and added to by Dean McNichols and Lorin Whitney interests over the years.  When the organ was removed around 1985/86 or so, the organ had grown from the original 10 rank style 215 Sp to 16 ranks and had long since become a put-together organ and lost its original identity..

I know for a fact the organ is gone because Richard Villemin, my pipe organ service mentor, was the person with whom I discussed the Haven of Rest organ removal and the horrors of what was about to be done to it.  Richard passed on in October 1987.

 

KGDM
Stockton, CA.
Comment from Mr. Norm Howard Lehfeldt of San Francisco, CA.

The 3/7 Moller in the studios of KGDM in Stockton, CA. I have an interest in all things KGDM because it is the station which I favored with my radio debut in about 1949!

Note: the March/April, 1992 issue of Theatre Organ Magazine includes a letter, signed by Tom DeLay, describing this organ.

 
WCBS
New York, N.Y.
Kimball - Lew White's organ
 
WCCO
Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN

This long time CBS affiliate had a Wurlitzer 3 Manual Style 260 (Opus 2080) built in 1929. It was installed in the Nicollet Island Hotel studios near downtown Minneapolis.  It was then moved to the station’s new facilities on Second Avenue and South 7th. Street. Staff organists were Eddie Dunstedter and Ramona Gerhard. After being away for nearly five decades, the WCCO Wurlitzer is being restored to be installed in the Historic Heights Theater located in Columbia Heights, MN. There was an article written about the WCCO Wurlitzer in the Saturday October 2002 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
 

ROXY THEATRE STUDIO
New York, N.Y.

The following information is submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:

Roxy Theatre Studio, New York. The broadcasting studio in the Roxy, had. a two-manual, 8-rank Kimball organ built in 1927. I saw the organ just a day before the building was demolished. I believe that studio was used for many broadcasts and recordings and should perhaps have a place on your list.

 

WSOC
Charlotte NC

Organ programs originated from the Carolina Theatre with organist and station traffic director Paul Norris.

Click the photo of Paul to read his story as provided by Michael Johnston. (Article requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view). Acrobat Reader is available from www.adobe.com.

Paul Norris of WSOC

 

WHDH
Boston, Mass.

Information by Mr. Jack Bethards:
WHDH, Boston. This station had Kilgen opus 5465 of 1935, a two-manual organ. This organ was used on early Bob and Ray radio broadcasts and of course many others as well. I had lengthy correspondence and conversations with a musician who was on staff there who verified this instrument.

 

KFOX
Long Beach, CA.
(Information provided by Jim Spohn)

History/Disposition:
On December 28,1928, a 3/7 Robert Morton organ, Opus 2471 left the factory to be installed in the California Theatre in Glendale. In 1932, the organ was moved to the studios KFOX in Long Beach. It is uncertain when it was again moved from the KFOX location, but it later went to the Church of Latter Day Saints in Porterville, Ca.

In 1980, Jim Spohn purchased the organ and installed it in a studio in Bakersfield. Jim later purchased the Granada Theatre and installed the organ there where it is still playing.

Jim also has part of the KNX Columbia Square Hollywood organ at the Granada also.

According to the Junchen database, KFOX also had a MAAS 2/4

 

WDOD
Chattanooga, TN. (Contributed by Larry Davis)
had a style 150 Wurlitzer, Opus 1981, in the station's studio. Disposition of this organ is being checked out.

 

WPTF
(Originally WFQU and then WRCO and finally WPTF)
Raleigh, NC
2/6 Moller

House organist Kingham Scott, pictured with organ pipes, at the WPTF 2/6 Moller console

If you will permit, I’d like to add some info regarding (Raleigh, NC) WPTF.  About 1929 a 2/6 Moller was installed in their studios here.  Picture attached with house organist Kingham Scott pictured with organ pipes at the console.  Know nothing of the disposition of this Moller organ in 1938.
 
WPTF (Durham Life Insurance Company) built new studios (reputed to be a miniature recreation of RCA-NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Center, NYC) in Raleigh in 1938 at which time they purchased and installed the 3/7 Kimball (#7045) that was originally installed in the Richard Theatre, Ahoskie, NC, 1928.  Photo attached with console behind male quartet at one of two 9’ Baldwin concert grand pianos in Studio A.
 
It is my understanding that Kingham Scott continued to play and the organ was used well into the fifties, but no longer in regular use by 1956 when Frank Netherland became acquainted with it while a student at the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
 
Frank played the organ for over two years while at UNC and was offered the organ in 1958 when the station decided that it was no longer needed.  He purchased and moved it temporarily to the Roxy Theatre in Martinsville, VA where it was installed on the stage and remained until the theatre was razed in 1962 at which time he built his home in Stuart, VA where he then installed the Kimball.  It is still in the Netherland home.
 
I am trying to acquire other photos of it in its radio station home as well as its present location.  Be assured that I will share anything else that I discover with you.
 
Sincerely,

Bobby Clark
Raleigh, NC


 

 

KNBC
San Francisco, CA

Comment by Norm Howard Lehfeldt of San Francisco:

The station you list as KNBC should probably be listed as KPO. It did not become KNBC until 1949.It shared space with KGO, the Blue Network station in NBC's still standing building at Taylor and O'Farrell streets. Although the Taylor/O'Farrell building was sometimes called Radio City, I believe the building you call Radio City is probably the NBC studio at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. Before the Taylor/O'Farrell building was constructed NBC had leased space in a building at 111 Sutter Street. I don't think there was ever an organ there.

 

WOWO
Ft. Wayne, IN

Information furnished by Stan Krider:
Fort Wayne's radio station, WOWO had a 3/7(?) Page in its early studio. It escaped a fire at the radio station in 1929, and was then sold by the station in 1947.

Additional information submitted by John Scott:
At station WOWO in Ft. Wayne Indiana, some time after the pipe organ period, a Hammond was played weekdays by Jack Loos until 1958.  His style was dance band music, and I still have a 78rpm record that he made of "St. Louis Blues March".  Jack knew Ken Griffen and had him as a guest on Jack;s show at least once.

 

RADIO CITY STUDIOS (NBC)
San Francisco, CA.

Located at the 111 Sutter Street Studio on the 22nd Floor of the Hunter-Dublin Building (1929) Six rank, 2 Manual Robert Morton from the Don George Teaching Studios

1942: at the new 420 Taylor Street studios: Wurltizer (Opus 464) 210SP 19 rank 3 Manual. Original 1921 installation from the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

The following exerpt, written by Mr Jack Bethards, gives a picture of the relationships between local studios of network affiliates and the actual network production centers in large cities.

NBC Network, San Francisco. It is important to separate networks local station studios. In big cities they were often separate. Until 1927, NBC programs originated from KPO, their local red network affiliate. In 1927, NBC built a large network complex on the 22nd floor of the Hunter-Dulin building at 111 Sutter Street. From here they broadcast both on their red and blue networks (the local blue network affiliate was KGO and I don't believe it ever had a pipe organ.) In 1927, NBC bought an organ from the Don George theatre organ teaching studio and had it installed at 111 Sutter. It was a Robert-Morton two-manual, 6-rank job very highly unified. This organ was used on the famous network programs, One Man's Family and Paul Carson's Bridge to Dreamland. By 1935, most network production had moved to Hollywood. In 1942, the organ was sold to Charles Hershman, who removed it and re-installed it in 1944 with some modifications at St. Paul's Community Church in South San Francisco. It is currently being re-located to the Western States Museum of Broadcasting in Ashland, OR.


(Above: A 1929 photo of Elmer Crowhurst at the 6 rank Morton in the 111 Sutter Street NBC Studios. This organ provided the music for the long-running NBC serial "One Man's Family" and Paul Carson's "Bridge to Dreamland")

The following information on Elmer Crowhurst was provided by his grand-daughter:

Francis Elmore Crowhurst born 19 May 1890 Oakland, CA. He married Melva Amelia Pringle on the 10 of February 1911 in Seattle, WA. He hated the name Francis so he used Elmor instead, not sure why he left off the final e. But it was frequently misspelled as Elmer. When he was between engagements, he advertised in the trade papers using F.E. Crowhurst possibly to save the cost of the ad.

Mr. Crowhurst's grand-daughter interviewed her grandmother Melva Crowhurst in 1980 about her grandfather's musical history. This is what she related:
1914-1921 he played organ at the Imperial Theater, which is now United Artists Theater, S.F.
1920 for 4-5 weeks he played organ in the Mission Theater in Los Angeles – the movie was Rudy (Rudolph) Valentino & the Four Horsemen.
He then moved to the Pantages Theater (Vaudeville) and played piano, then a few more weeks at the Million Dollar Theater all in L.A.
The family then returned to S.F. Where he played with the Wally Lind Orchestra first at the Hof Brau restaurant on Market St at 4th, here he played both piano and organ. 1922 he played at the New Mission Theater for a few years. Grandma was proud that Mayor Rolfe and others stayed after the movie to listen to Grandpa play. 1923 The family moved to Santa Cruz to play at the New Santa Cruz Theater. (During this time he was offered a job in Honolulu but turned it down after he discovered he couldn't bring his car).

1929 He moved to radio work – first played on Charlie Marshall's Hillbilly Band (he played the Jew's Harp) and for One Man's Family at NBC radio. He played the Theme Music “Memory Lane”. Vera Vey played Barbara Jo Allen the little girl in Memory Lane. Baton Yarboro was an actor on OMF and ILAM. At the 3rd anniversary of NBC radio in S.F. Mel got to dance with Carlton E. Morse, who was writer of One Man's Family. He later married and he and his wife wrote “I Love a Mystery” together.

1930 or 31 – For 8 months he had a ½ hour organ concert at 11 to 11:30 pm, also on NBC radio, later the show became Paul Carson's Bridge to Dreamland.

Note: When he was playing at NBC (KPO) they did not have many good selections of saxophone solos so he wrote “Melva” a Volks Caprice type of waltz. He also played on the first Jaquard type player piano rolls that allowed style to be added to the music.

Francis Elmore "Elmer" Crowhurst in tux.

Paul Carson, composer of "Patricia" and organist for the One Man's Family program at undetermined console.

Click here to listen to Paul Carson playing One Man's Family program lead-in and closing

In 1942, NBC opened what was probably the most modern and perfect ra ever built at 420 Taylor Street. It also housed local stations KPO (later KNBC, later KNBR) and KGO. It was a modern-style building and still exists although the interior has been converted into office use. For studio B in that building they acquired, and Charles Hershman installed, the very fine Wurlitzer opus 2035 of 1929 from the Famous Players - Paramount Motion Picture Studio in Hollywood. This is the instrument mentioned in your Radio City Studios (NBC) citation. You mention the same instrument under KNBC, but KNBC never had a pipe organ of its own and should not be listed. (By the way, the NBC building was known as the Radio City of the West.) This organ was sold to Richard Simonton and installed with additions in his North Hollywood home.



WMBI
(Studion "B") 820 North LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL.

Original studions of Moody Bible Institute Ministries (1920's-1930's)
Although not in regular use, facility it still exists.

Information provided by Larry Kessler:

Two Manual Kimball, enclosed in one chamber
Analysis:
Open Diapason [large scale] at 8, 4, 2
Rohrflute unified at 16, 8, 4, 2
Bourdon 16 in Pedal [independent]
Viola and celeste 8
Vox Angelique and celeste 8
Nazard 2 2/3 [independent]
Mixture III [lightly voiced and I think independent]
Trumpet at 8, 4
Oboe at 16, 8 Chimes
Tremulant [Church — Theatre (toggle modifier)]

 

 

WLAW
Lawrence, Mass.
(Information provided by Jeff Weiler)
Wurlitzer Style "H" 1937 (OPUS 1347) 3 Manual
 
WKAF
Milwaukee, WI
Kilgen Opus 3740 2/4 installed 1926 (according to database, this organ was shipped but not accepted.)
 
WCFL
Chicago, IL
Barton 3/10 1923 Blower # 14240. Eddie Hansen was staff organist and Ralph Waldo Emerson recorded on this instrument.
 

KPO
San Francisco, CA.
KPO became KNBC, then later (sometime in the 60s, the call sign was
changed to KNBR, which it remains today.

The following information was submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:

KPO, San Francisco. KPO was affiliated with and later owned by NB early days it was owned by the Hale Brothers department store and later in partnership with the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. It's studios were on the sixth floor of the Hale Brothers department store building on Market Street. I believe their first organ was a Robert-Morton two-manual, 4-rank style 59. It was replaced in 1927 by a three-manual, 18-rank Welte. I got the specification for this organ from the original installation drawing in the Schoenstein files. It was moved to NBC in Hollywood in 1938.

 

KDKA 
Pittsburgh, PA. (The following items were contributed by Dr. Barry Henry)
Wurlitzer Opus 2231, a 3 manual Special.


Bernie Armstrong, staff organist, with the KDKA Wurlitzer

KDKA music staff gathered at the KDKA console.

 

KFRC
San Francisco, CA
Robert Morton 2 manual.
The following is an exerpt from a message received from Jack Bethards who is an organ builder as well as a radio historian.

KFRC, San Francisco. KFRC was owned by Don Lee, the California Ca. The Robert-Morton organ in your list was in the Don Lee building, but the only photograph of it shows it in the Cadillac showroom on the first floor. It may have been moved into the studios and used there, but I never heard about that. The main KFRC organ was installed, I would guess, when they modernized the studios in 1935. It was a three-manual, 19-rank (I believe) put-together job using parts mainly from the Murray M. Harris succession of companies. As I remember, it had American Photoplayer or Spencer and Murray M. Harris or Johnston chests among others. I believe the console was a Spencer. The organ was a terrible mongrel, but sounded very nice on the radio. It was maintained (and I believe installed) by a local firm, Martin and Fallis. It was later sold to a Lutheran church in the East Bay and then broken up for parts and replaced by a Möller organ.

 

WSMK
Dayton, Oh
1933 Wurlitzer Style "E" Sepcial (Opus 1750)
(had previously been incorrectly listed as a Style "R"

Note by the present owner of the organ, John Scott:

Thanks very much for all your work in compiling the info about  Radio Station organs.  As a person interested in this sort of history, I had thought of starting such a project myself.  I am glad to see that you included WSMK among the Ohio stations.  However,  I am curious as to your source(s) of information about Wurlitzer Opus 1750, since the listing as style R is not correct.  The Wurlitzer lists compiled by Judd Walton, updated in 1973, indicate that its designation should be Style E Special.  It was a special because it had an extra rank, and because it had a player.  I now own this organ, and the small relay for the player is still with it, because that small relay makes a nice pedestal for one of the switch stacks.

When I acquired Opus 1750 about 1970, I made a trip to Dayton with a friend, and we researched microfilms of Dayton newspapers in the 1927 period.  The Wurlitzer lists indicate initial shipment to "A New (LH Cox) Theatre".  What we found were articles and advertising for the Palace Theatre, LH Cox, Manager, which opened December 25, 1927.  Another interesting bit was that the theatre was for African-American patrons.  We then traveled out to the site and found the building still there, although without heat or electricity, and clearly doomed.  I took a color picture of the exterior, which I later had enlarged to an 8" x 10" size.  We were able to find an agent, who let us in,and with flashlights we saw the auditorium and a big hole in the wall on stage left where the single chamber organ installation had once been.

The Wurlitzer listings indicate Moby's Department Store in Columbus as the next stop for Opus 1750 before it reached WSMK.  However, I contacted noted Columbus organist Roger Garrett about that, and have a signed letter from him stating that to the best of his knowledge the Wurlitzer was never installed there.  He stated that he played a Moller at Moby's.

The Moby's thing, however does indicate another possible interesting article for T.O. mag, namely department stores that had organs.  Another one that I know of was the Herz store in Terre Haute, Indiana, which had a Barton of a few ranks; it later went to a church, and after that to an individual.

In my Email to you in early 2007, I mentioned a radio station organ in Toronto which I thought was a Casavant.  However, I have since confirmed that it was built by the Franklin Legge firm, another Canadian builder of some note.  An interesting sidelight about that is that the Legge organ was sold to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation at auction in 1923 from the Casa Loma mansion where our Canadian friends now have the Wurlitzer.

 
WNBC
New York, NY
Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. (1934, Opus 923) 3 manuals. 15 ranks. This organ is now in the Post Chapel of the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
WNBC also had a Wurlitzer 3 manual Special
 

KFI
Los Angeles, CA
Maas 2/4 organ

The following information was submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:

KFI, Los Angeles. KFI was the NBC Red affiliate owned by Earl C. Anthony, California Packard dealer, who also owned KECA, the NBC Blue affiliate. KFI had a Maas organ of two-manuals and 4-ranks. I saw that organ in the Vermont Street building and remember that the console was painted in the same institutional green color as the wainscoting of the studio! The building has been destroyed and I have no idea where the organ went. It is possible that KFI may have had an organ before this time in some earlier studio location, but I have never heard about it. I don't think that the Maas organ was installed early enough to have ever been used
on NBC network broadcasts. By that time, NBC had their own very large facility.

 

KTAB
San Francisco, CA.

The following was submitted by Tom DeLay: San Francisco station KTAB had a 2/3 Welte.  The station studio was located in the Pickwick Hotel, which still stands in the SF South of Market area. I have no idea what became of the organ

 

WKY
Oklahoma City, OK
KIlgen Opus 5281 originally installed in 1935. This is a 4/10 that was built for this station and later expanded to a 4/14. According to the database at theatreorgans.com, the instrument is still complete and in storage with plans to install it in the Oklahoma History Center.

T he following update was submitted by Max Gould:

The WKY studios were in the Skirvin Tower Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.  When the Kilgen four manual was no longer used by WKY radio, it was moved to the Municipal Auditorium and used there for a few years.  I understand that the instrument is complete and in storage awaiting installation at the Oklahoma Historic Center.
 
While organist at First Church of Christ Scientist in Oklahoma City, I played the Kilgen in the Municipal Auditorium Christian Science lectures.
It was/is a Kilgen theatre organ. From WKY, it went to the Civic Center, and thence to the Oklahoma History Museum.
A local hack was hired to install it, and it never played. It sits silent on display. There is some talk of a proper restoration in the not-too-distant
future. (from a follow-up post from Jeremy on Theatreorgans-L)


Ken Wright at the WKY organ

 

KMOX
St. Louis, MO.
KMOX had a 2/5 Kilgen Opus #3502 that was installed in 1926. Between 1926 and 1937, the instrument was enlarged to a 4/16 under a succession of jobs that were assigned opus numbers: 4443, 4577, 4816, 5225, 5302 and 5869.

Additional information from Terry Charles: Hi gang... When I was attending a Georgia college, I became involved with the Kilgen Organ from the
radio station in Louisville, KY.  It was installed in Covenant Presbyterian Church in Albany, Georgia. I was permitted unlimited use of it, tuned it a
couple of times and POOF -  graduated from college and never saw it again. A side note, going back - while in college, I was responsible for
Fred Pillsbury's KMOX  Kilgen to be installed in First Methodist Church in Cuthbert, Georgia. THAT organ, console and ALL of its pipework was
"junked" according my conversation with the organ company that built a new organ for that church just after I learned of it. QUESTION - did that
Albany Kilgen organ bite the dust? I cannot find a website for the church. TC

More from Terry:

Here's the interesting story about how the famed KMOX Kilgen came to rest in the Cuthbert Methodist Church, Cuthbert, Georgia.

I had "discovered" in the Covenant Presbyterian Church, Albany Georgia the almost twin to Fred Pillsbury's KMOX Kilgen, the 4/14 Kilgen from WFIL in Philadelphia (after all these years believing that organ was the WHAS Kilgen. Steven Frank substantiates it was really the WFIL Kilgen).  Now I have to look at your site and find the WHAS data.,  Anyway, the story - I wrote to Fred, described everything about the Covenant installation including the added, exposed copper positive.  I described the two large chambers under the choir loft floor area.  The organ spoke into a hallway sort of area, maybe 6-8 feet deep and the sound reflected upward.  I told him what he already knew by his own KMOX Kilgen, that the organ was a POWER house, with a huge scaled Tibia Clausa, 16' Post Horn and Oboe Horn.  The strings were gorgeous.  The trems did not work or were disconnected. A friend and I tuned it a couple of times while I was in college. Well, Fred wrote to me that he was very impressed with my keen interest in the Kilgen Organs, mentioned he was selling his KMOX Kilgen in preparation to install the Saint Louis Ambassador Wurlitzer.  I hadn't had the chance to write back when on a Saturday afternoon, my girlfriend, Carolyn Milner and I were seated in the town's only movie theatre when on the screen in little letters came the words "Terry Charles Come To The Box Office". Startled, I went as fast as I could and they gave me the phone... it was FRED! He again commented on my keen interest in the pipe organ and said "IF YOU CAN FIND A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION YOU MAY SELECT THE PLACE FOR MY ORGAN TO GO TO AND I WILL PAY FOR INSTALLATION." I'm sure I didn't sleep and my grades probably suffered... but I wasn't happy with the hierarchy of the College (which had a Hammond Model D I think it was) and ruled the college out immediately.  Trellis Case was the music professor at the college AND the organist at the Cuthbert Methodist Church of which I was a member.  So I told Trellis about the whole thing and we went before the board and they accepted the offer. The church had an old tracker organ in terrible condition.  When the organ came for installation it was summer and college was out for the time.  When fall arrived and I returned I found the installation a success in every way... except the console was SO big it had to be placed on the floor outside the choir loft. And then years later I returned to play it and I remembered it was LOUD... LOL And more years later, I was informed by friends in Cuthbert that the church has a new Greenwood Pipe Organ.  I immediately contacted them and was told ALL was junked... 

So, there you have it!

All the best,


Terry
www.kirkorgan.com


 

 
KPOF
Denver, CO
Robert Morton 2 Manual
 
WHIO
Dayton, OH
Wurlitzer Opus 394, a 160 3Manual Special installed in 1934. The instrument was originally installed in the Warwick Theatre of Kansas City in 1921.
 
WMEX
Boston, MA
1934 Wurlitzer Opus 1795 Style" B" Special
 

CFRB
Toronto Canada
Wurlitzer Opus 1743,  2/4

 

WNAC
Boston, Mass
Wurlitzer Opus 1742, 2/8 190

 

WKRC
Cincinnati, OH
Wurlitzer Opus 2643, 2/4 Style B Special

 

WTOC
Savannah, GA
Wurlitzer Opus 1578, 2/4 Style B

 

KMBC
Kansas City, MO
(Preliminary information indicated that a Wurlitzer 3 manual was at this station, however, according to the info below, the organ was a 3/10 Morton). Howard Ely was the organist, however P. Hans Flath was also a staff organist.

Click here to hear a sample broadcast of the KMBC organ featuring P. Hans Flath, organist.

Click here to hear a brief exchange between Flath and announcer Paul Taylor regarding dismantling of the organ.

Click here to hear a second show segment featuring Flath at the console. .

Message from Charlie Porter regarding KMBC and the above recording:

I have information concerning the KMBC studio organ in Kansas City, Mo.

Not only do I have info, but I have found in my archives the last broadcast studio transcription recording of the organ in Feb. 1951. This recording was loaned to me a number of years ago by the late Don Keilhack, who resided here in San Diego for a number of years, and moved back to his hometown of Kansas City. I copied these recordings onto a high quality TDK hi bias cassette tape (the best available) back in the early 90s. Don took his studio recordings with him when he moved back to KC. He personally new the (then) organist P. Hans Flath. Flath was a well known organist in KC for years. He opened the  Loew’s Midland Theatre “Wonder Morton“ in 1929, as well as a very respectable church organist. I have found a picture of Flath, courtesy of the University of Kansas, The Arthur B. Church KMBC Collection . Not sure what might have happened to those original recordings upon Don’s sudden demise, as I lost touch with him after he left SD. In my research at the University Website I found no existence of these particular recordings. Don was also an excellent theatre organist and copied Flath’s style. Being somewhat of a reclusive, he never really did public performances.

The organ at KMBC was a 3/10 Robert Morton Opus # 23450, not a Wurlitzer. It was an organ transplant from the Wade Hamilton Organ & Piano Studios in Tulsa, OK. installed there in 1929. See page 579 in the Encyclopedia Of The American Theatre Organ Vol. II. Not sure when KMBC acquired it, page 536 (same volume II) has a picture of Ann Reiling (no info on Ann) at the KMBC console in KC. That finish on the console looks to be a ugly thick textured finish. It was a faded almost Army green. Arrrrg!

Now this recording is of good fidelity, except for some LP surface noise. It has now been transferred onto CD. It could easily be “cleaned up” with today’s many digital programs available for computers. However, it is quite listenable and enjoyable. The announcer is Paul Taylor, and he identifies with the station call letters at the end of the late night ½ hour broadcast. But what makes this recording even more eventful and rare is Flath himself comes on at the end with Paul Taylor and they have a friendly exchange about the organs imminent removal, being sure to give the date of this historic broadcast. Apparently more recording was done after the broadcast that evening, as there is another person in the studio which you hear making a request of Flath. Could it have been Flath’s wife? There is even a short cipher noted several tunes later, but Flath plays it out. At the very end of the recording are two selections played at the pipe organ by Flath in the 3rd Christian Science Church of KC, accompanying an unknown soloist.

Sadly the KMBC organ was dismantled quickly as the old building was scheduled for demolition.  It was seen as not cost effective to re-install and  besides,  the new station had provided a new Hammond organ and grand piano in it's own studio room for Flath's broadcast. The Morton eventually found it’s final resting place in a barn, on a dirt floor, outside of Kansas City for over 30 years.

When it became available, time had taken it’s toll. What remained and salvageable, was rescued by a local member of our Theatre Organ Society of San Diego about 25 years ago. Wood crates with wood pipes had suffered major termite damage. The console was falling apart. But all was packed up and lovingly brought back to San Diego anyway to be parted out like an old junk car. The console was a basket case, but has been rebuilt and brought back to the beautiful original oak finish and is now playing in a home installation here of I believe about 20 ranks. Well there you have it. A real lost treasure!

Now I have also found your site with the recordings of famous broadcast organist, and this recording belongs with them, but I’m not sure who should receive this. If you can give me your address, I can forward this recording on to you. I can mail two, one for you and one for the archive site (Sounds Of American Organs). I also intend to contact the University of Kansas to see if they want a copy for their KMBC archives. I could be wrong, but in my research of their site I don't believe they have this recording. Many studio transcriptions pryor to 1951 seem not to exist.

 Thanks and best wishes from San Diego!

Charlie Porter

 

 
 

NBC Studios New York City
New York, NY
(Information provided by Wm. G. Chapman Curator of Organs USMA West Point, NY )
Community (Post) Chapel, West Point, NY Aeolian-Skinner Theatre Organ from: NBC Studios, New York, 1957.

 

Glen Pratt, Resident Staff Organist at NBC studios in New York. Console is unknown organ.

 

 

NBC Studios Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA.

The following was submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:

NBC Studios, Hollywood. The first stand-alone NBC Studio was buillt at 5515 Melrose Avenue right near the Paramount lot. It was a beautiful art deco building and still exists as a television studio. I don't believe it had a pipe organ. It is possible that they may have used the Paramount Studio organ for broadcasts since it was literally a walk-away. That may also be the reason that they acquired the Paramount organ for their San Francisco building since they may have been familiar with it. (The Melrose building had a very fascinating history. Radio grew so quickly that this 1935 building was obsolete by 1938. It was then used by KHJ and the Mutual Don Lee Broadcasting System, then by Capitol Records and later by a succession of radio and television stations.)

The 1938 NBC building was a magnificent plant with many large auditoriums It is certainly one of the finest studios ever built. Strangely enough, given the lavish expenditure on the property, it is surprising that they had a hybrid organ made up for their studio G. The basis of it was the KPO San Francisco Welte organ. To it was added a lot of Wurlitzer material to the specifications of Paul Carson. The organ was installed by Charlie Hershman and Henry Pope. Later, Charlie left the job and Henry Pope finished it along with his helper Will Knights. I met Henry Pope at NBC and I knew Mr. Knights as well. That organ was one of the most famous radio organs because it became the One Man's Family and Bridge to Dreamland organ after those shows moved from San Francisco to Hollywood. That organ was later acquired by Paul Michelson and I'm not sure where it is now. It has been well documented in the theatre organ magazines from time-to-time.

Henry Pope at the NBC Studio organ in Los Angeles

 

WLS
Chicago, IL
WLS had a 3/12 Barton with a straight console. It lasted into the fifties when ABC bought WLS and terminated the WLS original studios

WLS also had a 1928 Link 2/3 with blower # 21959

The following information is provided by Jon Habermaas:
Just visited your site about radio organs, great site. WLS and WENR shared the same frequency...WLS broadcasting during the day and WENR at night. WLS was owned by the Prairie Farmer Magazine and was primarily a farm station. One of its prime shows was the WLS Barn Dance Program which originated from the 8th Street Theatre in Chicago. The WLS Barton was on the air until the end of the station as a farm station and the organ was heard daily on a program called the Noon Show with Howard Peterson at the console. WENR was the ABC radio outlet in Chicago and came on the air at dusk with WLS signing off and WENR signing on with the first network program, "The Lone Ranger". ABC bought the Prairie Farmer magazine, I suspect to get a full time access to the frequency and that ended the WLS studio on Washington Blvd and the Barton was sold. From what I understand it languished and deteriorated in storage in a barn somewhere in Indiana never to be heard again. The WENR WurliTzer was installed in a studio in the Civic Opera Building where WENR had its' studios. It was a very popular organ with the artists and I understand also a favorite of Samuel Insull, who at that time owned the building and had offices on the floor above the WENR studio.

The Sunday funnies were also aired on WLS radio with Howard Peterson at the Barton.

WLS organist Ralph W. Emerson II at the console of the WLS Barton.
Seated at the microphone are Chester Lauck and Norris Goff, better known as radio's time honored characters

Lum 'N Abner.

Hear an original episode of Lum 'N Abner... Click here

 

WHAD
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Wurlitzer Opus 1579 2/5 R5 Special

 

WWVA
Wheeling, West Virginia
Wurlitzer Opus 1532 2/5 Style B Special

 

WIOD
Miami, Florida
Wurlitzer Opus 1466 2/7 EX

 

CKLA
Windsor, Ontario
Wurlitzer Opus 1483 2/5 Style B Special

 
WOR
New York, N.Y.
This flagship station of the Mutual Broadcasting Network had Wurlitzer Opus 1818, a Style "E" installed in 1935. This instrument was transplanted from the Terrace Theatre where it had been installed in 1927.
 
WHEC
Rochester, NY
(Information provided by Kenneth Evans)
Wurlitzer style 235 3/11, opus 411 Installed in WHEC's auditorium studio in 1934. (Opus 411 was originally in the Palace Theatre in Dallas, TX and was moved to the Coconut Grove at LA's Ambassador Hotel before reinstallation by Wurlitzer at WHEC.) The dedication at WHEC was by Ann Leaf on October 10, 1934. The first regular WHEC staff organist was Dick Hull and the last staff WHEC organist was Jerry Vogt. It was used in conjunction with several live variety organ solo programs originating from its studio until WHEC moved to new studios. It was then purchased by Dick Hull (WHEC's first staff organist) and moved to Denver, CO.
 

KFWB
Los Angeles, CA
Wurlitzer (This organ is believed to have been the Wurlitzer Opus 2022 from Warner Bros. Studio. According to George Wright, Buddy Cole's organ came from KMTR in Hollywood.) If anyone has additional informaiton on this, we would appreciate any update or correction)

The following is submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:

KFWB, Los Angeles. At one time, the KFWB studios were located on Brothers, Sunset Boulevard lot. I believe the main studio served both as a sound stage for picture recording and as a radio studio. I have one picture which shows it set up as an auditorium studio. This is Wurlitzer opus 2022 of 1929, a three-manual, 18-rank Wurlitzer. The organ was acquired later by radio actor, Joe Kerns, and put in his Hollywood home. (I don't know anything about the KMTR organ mentioned in your KFWB listing. I know Buddy Cole had a studio organ, but I'm not sure of its origins. I believe the KMTR organ should be listed separately.)

 

WHAS
Louisville, KY
(Information supplied by Timothy Jones)
WHAS, Louisville, KY, had a Kilgen which started out as a 3 manual 11 or so rank instrument. Over the years, additions were made by Kilgen bringing it up to a 4/17 I believe. At some point, the organ was sold and reinstalled in a local arena, Memorial Gardens, where it currently resides. It plays but is rarely used. Herbie Koch used to play the instrument when it was in the radio station.

This organ was Opus 5009 (1933). Additions were as follows:
5124 - Replace sax with clarinet on opus 5009. $212.00
5198- Replaced post horn with trumpet on opus 5009.
5212-Electrify Player piano owned by WHAS, add mandolin and make playable from organopus 5009. $300.00
5769- Enlarge existing organ, opus 5009; see also opus 7179. New console for opus 5769

Herbie Koch at the WHAS Kilgen console

 
KGER
Long Beach, CA
(Information provided by Ray Thursby)
Wurlitzer Special 3M, #2047, was sold from the factory to radio station KGER in Long Beach, CA in 1929. Sometime in the 1950s, it was sold to Bill Coffman and Bill Field, who kept it in storage for many years. It was later sold to an unknown individual.
 

WSPD
Toledo, Ohio
Wurlitzer Opus 1425 2/5 Style B Special

 

WTAM / WEAR
Cleveland, Ohio
Wurlitzer Opus 1099 3/15 Special

 

KMTR
Los Angeles, CA
(Information provided by Ray Thursby)
In 1928, the Capitol Theatre in Marshalltown, Iowa installed a 3-9 Robert Morton. This was later moved to radio station KMTR in Los Angeles, California. According to Dave Junchen's Encyclopedia of the American Theater Organ, it was either later moved to TV station KTLA in Burbank, CA or else it was listed as KTLA which was the parent station of KMTR (corrected per update memo). I have no information on that move. Regardless, it was purchased by Buddy Cole, who installed it in his North Hollywood, CA home. There, it was expanded to 12 ranks. When Cole built a new studio to house the former United Artists Theatre Wurlitzer (a 17-rank Style 260 Special), nine of the Morton ranks and their chests plus the Crysoglott were added to the Wurlitzer. The rest was dispersed.

The following is submitted by Mr. Jack Bethards:

(I don't know anything about the KMTR organ mentioned in your KFWB listing. I know Buddy Cole had a studio organ, but I'm not sure of its origins. I believe the KMTR organ should be listed separately.)

 

WMCA
New York, NY
Wurlitzer Opus 748 2/7 Style E

 

WMAQ
Chicago, IL
Wurlitzer Opus 309 3/13 Special

Wurlitzer Opus 309 shown in the WMAQ studio.
This organ provided the theme music for shows such as Kay Fairchild, Stepmother and the Amos N' Andy Show.

 

WHT
Chicago, IL (Studios in Wrigley Building)
(contributed by Larry Davis)
Page Organ 4 Manual, 15 Ranks (10 HP blower serial # 21042) Voiced on 15" pressure.
Organ is now in Stephenson High School, Stone Mountain, GA.
Previous to the Page organ, there was a Kilgen organ installed at this station. William Wrigley liked the sound of Page organs and replaced the Kilgen with the Page. He also installed a Page organ in his Catalina Island theatre off the coast of California.

In 1929, the WHT Page organ was relocated to the Michigan Theatre in Flint, Michigan.

 
WSUN
St. Petersburg, FL.
Estey E/3 OPUS  2830  FROM ALCAZAR HOTEL
 

KHJ
Los Angeles, CA.
Estey 2/16  OPUS 1699 (builder dated 1920)

The following information was submitted by Jim Lewis:
The Estey organ installed in KHJ was a two-manual instrument of around 13 ranks. It was originally installed in Estey's Los Angeles studio and when it was replaced by a larger organ, it was purchased by KHJ. KHJ later sold the organ to Forest Lawn Mortuary in Glendale, Cal., where it was installed in one of the three chapels. I played it a few times for funerals and remember that the felt of the pedalboard was shot and they made a terrific noise when pushed down. There was also a 16' Pedal Diaphone that was probably added to the organ when it was used on the radio. A few years ago, all of the pipe organs in the Forest Lawn chapels were removed and replaced by bottom-of-the-line electronic instruments.

 

 

WHK
Cleveland, OH
Gottfried 2 Manual of undetermined size.
This station also had Austin Opus 1788, a 3 Manual 15 Rank instrument that appears to have been built for this station in 1931.

Staff organist Helen Wyant at the WHK Gottfried console (Photo courtesy of Gordon Crook)
Helen Wyant was featured on an afternoon program titled "Matinee Memories" where she performed with Jimmy Ague, Don Dewhirst and Betty Schrimer.


Another view of the WHK Gottfried console as provided by Jim Lewis.

 

KMJ
Fresno California
(contributed by Tom DeLay)
The KMJ organ was soldt, intact, to Bob Kates in Berkeley, CA. Bob added 4 ranks to the organ when it was in his home, now comprising a 2/13. Bob made a few recordings on the instrument. In 1962, it was sold to the late Carsten Henningsen and installed in his Ye Olde Pizza Joynt in Haward/San Leandro, CA. In the late 1960s a 3 manual style 235 console was added to the Fresno State/KMJ organ and surplused the original 2m console. This console was not sent through a series of owners. From Carsten Henningsen, the original 2m Fresno console was sold to Warren Blankenship in Pacific Grove, CA. The console remained the property of Mr. Blankenship until his death in the late 1990s. The hybrid instrument owned by Mr. Blankenship (including the Fresno State/KMJ console) was donated to Nor Cal Theatre Organ Society based in Berkeley, CA. The Fresno console was then sold to local enthusiast Bob Coffin. He then sold the console to Dick Taylor who will use the console as parts.

 
WNEW
New York, NY
Marr and Colton 1928 Blower serial # 22362
 

WFIL
Philadelphia, PA
Kilgen Opus 5931, a 4 Manual 14 Rank organ installed in 1937. This appears to be an original installation and not a transplant from a theatre.

Information from Steve Frank stevenfrank@MAC.COM

When I lived in Albany from mid 60s-72 that was my main practice organ! I'll send you a private email with a picture. It was WFIL, Philadelphia, 1937 according to the current owner, Al Adair. He and I were both students of Jim Barnett, whose organ it was. He also acquired a number of Skinners and peppered the city with collections of pipework and various consoles (including the 1928 Grace Church, NYC Skinner)

When Covenant finally built their 'new' church building, the old building became Fellowship Hall. Jim removed the Kilgen and put it in a building downtown. It got vandalized for the copper wire! He died a number of years ago, and left it to Al.

In June, 2008, Al wrote me, "He never got it going, and it sat for years deteriorating.  The console is only a shell now; in fact I had to take it apart in order to get it out of the room.  The original entrance had been bricked up, so that I had to take it out in pieces through a small door.  The relays, wiring, etc. were a hopeless mess. I was planning to sell it this summer.  Of course, after all this effort to save it, I'd like to keep it intact.  Maybe there's someone out there who will take it on.  If there's no interest, maybe I'll piece it out.  It's in storage in Cincinnati."

Haven't been in touch in a while.

Interesting note, was the exposed Positiv division with some copper pipes that Jim had added. Made it authentic for my Bach

Steve

PHOTO BELOW: Steve at the WFIL organ once it had been moved to Albany, GA.


On Jul 28, 2011, at 12:06 AM, Terry Charles <hitidesin@YAHOO.COM> wrote:

When I was attending a Georgia college, I became involved with the Kilgen Organ from the radio station in Louisville, KY.  It was
installed in Covenant Presbyterian Church in Albany, Georgia.
I was permitted unlimited use of it, tuned it a couple of times and POOF -  graduated from college and never saw it again.

 

 

WGR 
Buffalo, New York
Wurlitzer Opus 1118 3/10 stated as a Style F
(contributed by Terry Hochmuth)

 

WWJ
Detroit, MI.
Estey  2/3  OPUS 2909  GRAND MINUETTE. There was a larger organ also as documented in the photo below. According to information supplied by Jim Lewis, it was Æolian-Skinner's Opus #942, built in 1936. It was later sold to the First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oaks, MI, in 1955. It has since been enlarged by Casavant, Moller, and in 1975 by Schantz Organ Company.

WWJ was first licensed in 1921 as WBL. On March 3, 1922, it was issued the new call letters of WWJ, The station was owned by the the publisher of the Detroit News.

A 1931 photo of a WWJ broadcast.

 
KFVD
Culver City, CA.
Kilgen 3/5  OPUS  4444
 

WKBW
Buffalo, New York

Wurlitzer Opus 2238 (last organ out) was originally shipped to the Rialto Theatre in Lockport, N.Y. It was then repossessed by Wurlitzer and installed in WKBW. In 1947, it was removed from the radio station and purchase by Transfiguration Catholic Church in Cheektawoga, NY (suburb of Buffalo). Terry reports that he purchased it in 1992 and removed it for installation in his office supply store. After an accident and fire in 1995, Terry sold it to Jerry Critser in Joliet who Terry believes still has it in storage. The organ was a 3/10 with a single stop rail console. Specs were: Main- Open Flute, Solo String, Celeste and Kinura swapped out with a church Quint. Solo- Tibia, Tuba, Vox, Orch. Oboe, and Kinura but the percussions were gone. The trap counter was also with the instrument but all of the traps had been removed and the holes stuffed with rags.

 
WEII
Boston, MA.
Estey 3/7 OPUS 2618  from Castillo Studio
 

WSPA
Spartanburg, SC
Moller 2/6   OPUS 6184

Submitted by Aubrey Calton of Forest City, NC.:

That organ is still in service  at Lattimore Baptist Church, Lattimore, NC. The church purchased the organ from WSPA in 1948 or 1949 . There is a date of 1933 on the organ which probably is the year installed at WSPA.
 
The Lattimore organ  was played for my wedding in 1954 and I have played it several times over the years and am giving a mini-concert there August 30th.
 
The organ has undergone a major renovation in the last 2 years, but the original console (outfitted with new keyboards & solid state switching) is in use as is the pipework. A harp was removed from service during the renovation.

 

 

WLW
Cincinnati, Ohio
(contributed by John Alford)

This station, owned by Powell Crosley, actually had three pipe organs including a Style B. The main organ. Wurlitzer Opus 1001 began as a Style H Special and was enlarged, including the addition of a three manual console in 1929. 

The organ was removed and relocated in the Shady Nook restaurant in Cincinnati. At some point, the restaurant closed and the owners had the power to the building cut off. Which disabled sump pumps and allowed the organ chambers to flood. The crew who removed the organ had to wear masks because of the mold that had formed. There was some question about how much of this organ was actually the WLW organ because of the various additions that had been made in 1929. John Alford obtained some of the pipe work at that time on the chance that they were actually the pipes used at WLW and played by Lee Erwin. During the time at the restaurant, however, the owner swapped out some of the ranks, which clouded the whole matter of what parts were from the original organ. At this time, the Shady Nook Restaurant is in bad condition. 

Pat Gillick seated at the WLW console in a 1932 photo.
Thanks to Dave Burns for the use of this photo

Another photo of the WLW studio. The "Moon River" program originated in this room.

 
WCLO
Green Bay, WI
Kimball 2 manual
 
WTPG
Raleigh, NC
Moller 2/6 OPUS 5792
 

WDAY
Fargo, ND
(contributed by Dave Knudtson)

3 Rank Barton that was played by Hildegarde Usselman Krauss who also played in theatres well into her 90's. The Barton  was later moved to a roller rink.  The station continued to utilize live organ music into the 80's first with a Hammond and later with a Conn.

 
WGBN
Chicago, IL
Page 3 manual (specs unknown) (disposition unknown)
 

KFPW
Ft. Smith, AR.
Kilgen 2/6  OPUS 5616

 
WTMJ
Milwaukee, WI
1929 Barton 3 Manual (Blower 3hp. Serial # 23331) 12" wp
 

WLAC
Nashville, Tennessee
(contributed by John Alford)

WLAC had a 4 manual 12 Rank Kilgen organ (Opus 6013-A-B). The owners of the station were Life And Casualty Insurance of Nashville. John is not sure about the total disposition of the organ, however, he presently has the post horn which is voiced on 15 inches.

Organist Al Bain at the WLAC Kimball organ
Mary Elizabeth Hicks was also a staff organist at WLAC
(Photo courtesy of Gordon Crook)

 

WJJD
Chicago, IL
Junchen's information is that Wurlitzer opus 1359, a III/11 originally built for the Drake Theatre, Chicago, was moved to WJJD's studios in 1935.

(contributed by Les Hickory)
Howard L. Peterson also did broadcasts from the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL. over WJJD

WJJD first put on the air in 1924 by J.J. Davies (WJJD) in 1924 at Moosehart, the Moose Club Children's Home, located north of Aurora, Illinois. It was reallocated to Chicago in 1941 and operated on "limited hours" from 1941 to 1980.

The first organ music broadcast over WJJD was the Geneva Marr and Colton 3/16. from the Arcadia Theatre in St. Charles, Il. The original Marr and Colton was a 3/10. Geneva made two modifications to the Marr and Colton with each organist hired after the first. There were two and Howard Peterson being the 3rd. The original Marr and Colton was installed over the summer of 1926 and was ready for the opening on Labor Day in September 1926. Nine months later the organist left and 2nd one wanted changes. 3 ranks and a piano were added to what was a cold air return and would have been a chamber if a larger organ would have been installed. A 2nd blower and relay were added in the basement next to the boiler in a room where the electric service entered the building. One year later Howard was hired. The Marr and Colton console was stationary in the pit. The pit was expanded, a whole dug and a cable lift installed and a new console build by Geneva and design by the theatre owner, who was an artist, was built and installed. Three more ranks were added and installed in the back of the theatre in what was a storage room in the booth area. The Geneva relay that was installed a year ago was added to and the wind from that blower was ran to the back of the house. No other changes were made to the organ after that. We don't know when Howard left, but do know that a Les Doyle played the organ either during WW2 or after. Then the organ was silent for many years until CATOE came in and I became the next paid house organist. 1974 to 1985..

 

WGN
Chicago, IL

Wurlitzer
This instrument started out as a 2/7 Wurlitzer. It was installed in the Drake Hotel.  It was repossessed from a band leader who defaulted on his payments and resold to WGN. When WGN built their studio in the Tribune Tower. They had Kimball rebuild the organ as a 3/10 adding 3 Kimball ranks. These were defined as Open Diapason with 16 foot extension being diapason and not a Diaphone as Wurlitzer would have done, a church style English Horn and a Clarinet. The organ had two consoles, one in the studio where the chamber was located and one in a remote studio on the first floor. The organist had to listen to the instrument through earphones in the remote studio.

When the organ was removed from WGN, the Kimball portions, including the console, were sold to a private individual, and the Wurlitzer portion was installed at Mundelein. The Kimball console and the 16’ Open Diapason were destroyed in a house fire in Wisconsin.

THE ABOVE INFORMATION, REGARDING THE WGN CONSOLE, WAS CORRECTED BY PAUL@ SZYMKOWSKI.NET ON 8/22/2010. PAUL REPORTS THAT HE HAS THE ORIGINAL CONSOLE AND IS IN THE PROCESS OF RESTORING IT. A further report from Jon C, indicates that the Kimball console was sold to Balcom and Vaughn, and that it ended up in Seattle.

A photo of the WGN console

The WGN organ was heard into the late 1950’s with staff organist Harold Turner providing program each Sunday morning called "Pipe Dreams". After Harold Turner retired, the organ was used infrequently if at all. (see comment from Walt Strony below)

One notable program that originated from WGN was the Hartz-Mountain program. Jon Habernaas recalls that the program featured live canaries in the studio that were trained to sing along with melodies played by an organist referred to as Gloria and violinist referred to as Gene. Jon tells us that the WGN organ survived much longer than most broadcast organs as it was a favorite of Colonel McCormick and was included in the move from the Michigan Avenue studios to the new broadcast facility on Bradley Court, which was located about a mile NW of the old Riverview Park location at Western and Belmont. The organ was removed from the Michigan Ave studio by Frank Wichlac and Associates and later installed by him in the new studio. Jon had the opportunity to work on the crew during both the removal and new installation. The organ was installed in the larger TV studio at Bradley Place and remained there until WGN-TV decided that the space occupied by the organ chambers could be better used to store the equipment used by the station for the Illinois Lottery. The organ was donated by WGN to the Archdiocese of Chicago which sent it to be added to the theatre organ in the auditorium at Mundelein. The original 7 rank Wurlitzer portion along with the Vibraharp was used and the Kimball portion rest of the percussions were sold to help defray the cost of the installation. The organ had a xylophone and bells  originally, but no traps.

To hear an authentic recording of the WGN organ, as it was heard on the Hartz-Mountain program, click here hartz_mountain_ show_1944

 

Additionally submitted by John Scott:
Your info about WGN is fine but incomplete.  After the TV era began, the Wurlitzer-Kimball was moved out of Tribune Tower to new studios at a suburban location in Chicago, where Harold Turner played it on both radio and TV.  At that location it was played by Turner as a featured concert at one of the national ATOS conventions.

An additional note from Walt Strony:

I am offering a correction / addition about the WGN Organ. I knew Harold Turner quite well and the Executive Vice-President of WGN, Alexander Field was a close friend. I was in contact with both of them (especially Al Field) until they passed away.

Al Field was an organ enthusiast and member of CATOE when I was young and just getting started as a theatre organist. When Harold retired, as you state, the organ wasn't used. There were calls from the public stating that they missed it. Al Field arranged for WGN to hire me to videotape some Christmas music. That music was aired several times in several versions, usually with another choir. To my knowledge, that was the last time the organ was played for broadcast. The director was Orlando White, a black man - so his name will forever be in my brain!

Supposedly the console still exists, having survived a fire, and it is in storage somewhere. (see note above indicating tha the console is now in Seattle WA.

 

KSTP
Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN.

This station had two organs.
A 1928 3 Manual Robert Morton (Blower serial #21291)
The station also had Wurlitzer Opus 1404, a 260 Special which came from the Paramount Theatre in St. Paul. The organ was donated to the Phipps Center in Hudson, WI by the Hubbard family. Staff organists were Leonard Leigh, Joan Beverly and Mrs. Ray Kroc.


The photo above is of Dr. Francis Richter at the console of the KSTP Robert Morton organ.
(Thanks to Jim Lewis for contributing this photo and identification)

 

 

WENR
Chicago, IL
Contributed by Doug Powers
Wurlitzer Opus 1659 3 Manual 10 Rank Special (Installed 1927)

WENR Chicago (known affectionately as "Weiner Radio" was a 50 kw station that shared time with WLS until 1954 when the station disappeared and WLS took the frequency full time.  WLS boradcasted in the daytime hours and WENR at night. The two stations shared the same transmitter site, and only the program lines were changed at the appropriate times of day.  WLS and WENR were the NBC Red and Blue affiliates in Chicago. (Information and photo below courtesy of Dave Burns). See the WLS listing on this site for more information

Console is owned by Doug Powers. It was said to have been played by Jesse and Helen Crawford regularly. This was a special console which was fully loaded with 72 tabs on each of two stop rails. The console has undergone modifications by Chuck Blair and finally Ken Crome. Some of the pipework was reportedly in the possession of Ron Rhode. The present console owner, Doug Powers, has converted it to operate a Walker Digital organ.

And here is another one of Irma Glen's publicity shots...

Photo courtesy of Gordon Crook

An advertising brochure from the WENR radio organ era.

 

NBC Merchandise Mart
Chicago, Il.
Wurlitzer 3 manual
This organ went to Colorado Springs where it was eventually broken up.

 

KJR
Seattle, Washington
1930 Estey Opus 2945  2 manual 3 rank OPUS 2945  GRAND MINUETTE
The organ was removed in 1939 and was transferred to the Bethany Lutheran Church in Warren, Oregon. Two ranks were added at that time. In 1947, it was enlarged to 12 ranks and went to the home of William Hubley in Seattle.

 
WCDA
Parsippany, N.J
Estey 2/3   OPUS  2829  GRAND MINUETTE
 

KOL
Seattle, WA
Kimball 3 manual 12 rank
KOL studios were located in the Northern Life Tower in downtown Seattle. A 3/12 organ was installed by Balcom and Vaughan in 1831 and was a combination of two organs: a 2/5 Kimball from the Frand Theatre and a 2/10 Wurlitzer from the Colonial Theatre. The organ was controlled by a Wurlitzer console that had been modified by Balcom to 3 manuals.

According to Eugene Nye, the organ was purchased by Don Myers in 1960 for $2000. It was stored but never inetalled. It was later sold to Dr. Gordon Potter of Portland, Oregon.

KOMO
Seattle, Washington
Wurlitzer Opus 1194 enlarged by Balcom and Vaughan to 3 Manual, 10 Rank

KOMO studios were located in the Skinner Building in downtown Seattle. The organ was installed by Balcom and Vaughan in September of 1939 and based around a 2/7 Wurlitzer from West Seattle’s Granada (Egyptian) Theatre. In 1961, B&V removed it and installed it in the Des Moines, Washington (suburb of Seattle) residence of Bennett Fisher, heir to the Fisher Flour Mills Co. The Fisher Family owned the majority share of KOMO Radio.

Mark Andersen of Artisan Instruments reports the following:

The KOMO organ is still around. We just finished rebuildign that organ and I did the inagural concert last weekend. It is now in the Fisher family home. The Fisher family owned KOMO and sold it to a Canadian Broadcasting company but they kept the organ for their home here. The rebuild of the organ includes enlarging it to 13 ranks. The chest and pipe work was done by Greg Smith using all Wurlitzer components and ranks. The new control system was done by Artisan. The organ will now be featured regularly on the weekly television show Crescendo and can be heard on line https://www.facebook.com/CrescendoTVShow
 

KMO
Tacoma, WA.
Robert Morton 2 manual 8 rank

A 1931 installation by Balcom and Vaughan based aroung a 2/4 Wicks manufactured Morton from Tacoma’s Park Theatre. In 1953, the organ was moved to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tacoma. In 1956, it was removed from the church and the current disposition is unknown.

 

KIT
Yakima, Washington
Wurlitzer / Balcom and Vaughan 2 manual 5 rank based on Wurlitzer Opus 835, a 2/4 originally from Portland’s Victoria Theatre.

KIT Radio first broadcast on April 8, 1929. It was the first commercial station in Central Washington. In 1939, Balcom and Vaughan installed a 2/5 Wurlitzer at the station that was based around a 2/4 Style B Wurlitzer (Opus 835). The organ was lost in a fire in 1961

KFPY
Spokane, WA.
This is a 1939 Balcom and Vaughan installation of a Wurlitzer 3 manual, 10 Rank which was originally Wurlitzer Opus 977. Opus 977 was first installed in 1924 in the Scheuster’s Theatre in Long Beach and then was relocated to the Arcade Theatre in Los Angeles in 1933.

In 1953, the organ was removed and Balcom and Vaughan installed it in Seattle’s Rolladium Skating Rink. 

 

KHQ
Spokane, WA.
Wurlitzer 2 manual 10 rank

The KHQ organ was another 1939 Balcom and Vaughan installation based around a 2/6 Wurlitzer Opus 792, which was originally installed Seattle’s Venetian (Olympic) Theatre. In 1963, the instrument found its way back to Seattle and was installed in the Kirkland residence of Ernie Manly.

 

KEX
Portland, Oregon
Wood  2 manual

 

KGW / KEX
Portland, Oregon
Wurlitzer 3 Manual 9 Rank
This instrument was originally a 1924 Opus 957 Style DX (2 chambers) which was installed in the Multnomah (Venetian) Theatre in the St. Johns District of Portland. In 1936, Balcom and Vaughn moved it to KGW / KEX Radio’s studio (NBC) located in the old Oregonian Building. Later that year, the console was modified to hold three manuals, and  three Gottfried ranks (an English Horn, a French Horn and a Clarinet) were added.


Glen Shelly at the KGW organ console

The following information on Glen Shelly was submitted by Tom DeLay:

Shelly specified for Wurlitzer many Pacific Northwest instruments including the 3/8 instrument once in the Capitol Theatre Salem, the 3/14 formerly in the Elsinore Theatre Salem, and the 3/10 Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay (nee Marshfield) OR (still in place.)  The present hybrid Wurlitzer in the Elsinore was owned and assembled by the Park Family and has no relation to the original Elsinore organ other than a couple ranks when the original organ was unfortunately broken for parts.

According to Bob Rickett, this was a very good broadcast organ and it was played for many years by Glen Shelley. In 1946, a fire at the studios damaged the console but not the pipe work. The insurance company sold the organ to Jerry Gilmore and two of the regulators made their way to Bob Rickett’s organ in Portland.

 

KOIN
Portland, Oregon
Robert Morton 3 manual 6 rank (Originally from the Astoria People’s Theatre and later in Seattle’s Olympic (Town And Country) Theatre. The KOIN installation by Balcom and Vaughan included a 3 manual console that was enlarged from a 2 manual Wurlitzer console by the Balcom and Vaughan firm. At that time, a Style D trumpet and a Wurlitzer Tibia were added.

KOIN radio started in 1926 in the basement of the original Heathman Hotel in Portland. The new Heathman Hotel was constructed in 1927, and KOIN eventually moved its studios to the new building. Between 1933 and 1939, several modifications were made to the mezzanine level to accommodate the expanding needs of the radio station. In 1935, the 3/6 Robert Morton organ was installed by Balcom and Vaughan in the new Heathman building studios. At that time, KOIN had a larger staff of musicians and entertainers than all other Portland stations combined.

In 1955, the organ was again moved to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oregon City. It was eventually broken up for parts by Mike Dillon, with the trumpet going to Dale Haskin and the Tibia to Bert Hedderly.

 

KXL
Portland, Oregon
Wood 2 Manual 9 Rank

This instrument was removed from the Oregon Theatre in Portland by the original manufacturer, William Wood and reinstalled in the studios of KXL in the Multnomah Hotel in Portland. According to sources, the Wood company repossessed the organ during the depression and sold it to KXL. After KXL moved, the hotel reportedly cut the main cable with an axe.  In 1940, the instrument was purchased by Bob Rickett and Jerry Gilmore of Portland for $250. Bob used the Tibia, Tuba and VDO Celeste (made by Gottfried) as additions to his  2/5 Wicks residence organ, and the remainder of the instrument was sold to Milton Hunt in 1940. Those parts were resold to Randall Olsen (Thompson?) in 1966 for $750.00.

 

CJOR
Vancouver, B.C.
Kimball 2 Manual 4 Rank

According to the Junchen opus lists, CJOR had a 2/4 Kimball. The install date and theatre of origin are unknown.

 

KNX
Los Angeles, CA
Wurlitzer 3 manual 11 rank Styke F Opus 1516 from the Capitol (Legion) theatre in Walla-Walla WA.

This is the original Wurlitzer Opus Walla Walla Legion (Capitol) theatre Wurlitzer that was installed in KNX by Balcom and Vaughan in 1937

Mr. Jack Bethards has kindly submitted information on KNX as follows:

KNX, Los Angeles. The organ you list for KNX should be listed und CBS-Columbia Square, Studio 4. This as a CBS network facility primarily and also housed their local affiliate KNX. Before that facility was built in 1937, KNX had its own studio down the street on Sunset that housed a three-manual, 10-rank Robert-Morton. That studio was taken over by KMPC subsequently and I'm not sure whether they kept the organ or not. It is now a restaurant and the organ is gone.

Supplement to Mr. Bethard's comment above: The original KNX studio on Sunset, later became a Spaghetti Factory restaurant. That has now closed and the building was demolished.

e.
Photo courtesy of Jim Lewis

Above: The 3 manual Robert Morton organ at the old KNX studio in Hollywood. The studio later became KMPC and then it was gutted to become an Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant. The facility has since been demolished.

.


The above photo shows Ivan Ditmar at what was thought to be the KNX Balcom and Vaughan console.. According to Tom DeLay, (see below), this is not the correct console for KNX. The original console, according to Mr. DeLay, would have looked more like the console shown at the top of this page.. We have left the above photo in place simply because it does show Mr. Ditmar.

 

INFORMATION ON KNX WAS FURTHER SUPPLEMENTED IN JULY OF 2011 WITH THE FOLLOWING FROM TOM DELAY :

I was again looking at your list of radio studio pipe organs and there is a conflict on the Los Angeles KNX (Columbia Square) organ.
 
I see Jack Bethards has correctly added some information regarding the CBS Columbia Square organ.  However, there is more to the story and likely far more than you will ever need!
 
First of all, KNX/CBS Columbia Square had a 2/5 Kilgen organ opus 4931, 2/5 installed in 1932. 
 
The photo you have showing Ivan Ditmar at the 3m "KNX" console isn't correct.  The KNX console is much more like the KOMO Seattle console with Ed Zollman, Sr. which you show near the top of your page.
 
In 1937, Balcom and Vaughn sold KNX/CBS Columbia Square Hollywood the style F 2/8 from Walla Walla, WA.  B &V rebuilt the original 2m F console into a 3m with rather simple somewhat crude moderne lines.  Two unit chests from the Kilgen were used to add a Gottfried English Horn and Gottfried Brass Trumpet.  The original style F Clarinet was removed and a Gottfried "Bell" Clarinet was put in the spot where the Wurlitzer set had been.  The Junchen list says this organ was a 3/11.  It was not.  It was a 3/10 but B & V did purchase the 3 ranks from Gottfried for this organ. 

(CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE DEDICATION PROGRAM OF KNX COLUMBIA SQUARE ORGAN IN 1937, WITH EDDIE DUNSTEDTER AT THE CONSOLE)
 
When KNX/CBS Columbia Square got rid of the organ, the console was sold to Marguerite Moore in Porterville, CA for her hybrid 3/18 organ.  The balance of the KNX organ was installed in the Filmore Presbyterian Church (now Filmore Bible Church.)  The two Kilgen chests were sold to George Wright for use in his Pasadena studio organ (that burned in 1970.)  To replace the Kilgen chests, Richard Villemin of Porterville added a Wurlitzer style 165 from the El Campanile Theatre Antioch, CA.  He placed the English Horn (where the 165 Vox Humana had been) and Brass Trumpet (where the 165 Trumpet had been) on this chest and retained the rest of the style 165 ranks.  With the B &V KNX console sold to Mrs. Moore, Richard Villemin installed a 3m Moller console from the Hillstreet Theatre in Los Angeles.  As far as I know, the KNX/Columbia Square organ is still installed in Filmore.  The Moore organ was donated to Fresno Pacific University in 1981 and installed there in 1982 where it and the B & V console remains.
 
Eventually, the 3/18 or 20 Wurlitzer from one of the LA sound-stage studios (can't recall which one right now) to replace the B & V adapted style F.  The 3/18-20 Wurlitzer was never installed at Columbia Square and was sold to Actor Joseph Kearns (Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace TV show in the early 1960s.) Upon Kearns' death in 1962, this organ was taken over by Robert Carson in the Kerns' home.  The organ has since been installed in the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, OH.
 
I realize this is far more info than you need for your radio organ page, but this is what I learned and experienced from working with the late Dick Villemin (1919-1987) and also in helping him service the former KNX organ in Filmore, CA. 
 
Tom DeLay
Salinas, CA

Supplement from Jim Lewis:

I really enjoy reading through your page on radio station organs. Attached is a photo of the 3/10 Robert-Morton that was in the KNX studios in Hollywood. This was before Columbia Square was built. This studio later became KMPC, then was gutted on the interior to become The Old Spaghetti Factory. It was demolished not long ago.

Regards,
Jim Lewis

 

 
WTAR
Phoenix, AZ.
Estey Opus 2831 2 Manual, 3 Rank
Organ was later moved to radio station KELW in Burbank
 

WWL
New Orleans, LA
2 manual pipe organ . Beverly Brown, an announcer with the station, was also the staff organist. New Orleans Saenger organist Ray McNamara also performed on WWL Radio. According to Tom DeLay, the console below is a modified Wurlitzer piano-organ console. See Mr. DeLay's note below:

Bev Brown at the WWL pipe organ.

(From Tom DeLay): The console shown for the 2m WWL New Orleans organ is a sawed off style 135 Wurlitzer piano console adapted as a 2m console with the piano removed.  I know the design well as I have an intact piano console organ in my living room!

 

BBC
London
(information provided by Ian McIver)
BBC Theatre Organ II was Foort's 5c/27 travelling Moller organ that was loaned by him during the war and installed first in Llandudno and later in Bangor (both in north Wales) before being purchased by the BBC after the war and installed in the Jubilee Chapel, Hoxton, London until its sale to the Netherlands in 1963.  It is now in Pasadena after a spell in a pizza restaurant.  

Crystalate Studios, Marylebone Rd, London, 1932,  - Wur 2/5 Op 1354 (a second-hand enlarged Style B - Tibia up to 2ft added - from USA) - that within about a year moved to Filmophone Strudios, Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, which in 1937 became Decca Studios,  –  used not only for recording but for many broadcasts by BBC (prior to installation of the BBC Theatre organ in 1936) and European commercial broadcasting stations

BBC Theatre Organ III was a 3/13 Wurlitzer from the Empress Ballroom, Manchester, which was installed in the late 60s in Playhouse, Hume, Manchester, where it remained for a decade or so before being sold and incorporated in the current instrument at the Assembly Hall, Worthing.

BBC organist Reginald Foort at Langham Place St. George's Hall.

 
Organist Bob Mitchell playing for a program on the Armed Forces Radio Service
 
One organist who eventually ended up in England after WW-II was Stanley Willie. He originally played at Radio NWDR in Hamburg, but was later appointed organist to the British Forces Network (British equivalent to our U.S. Armed Forces Radio Service) in 1946. Here is a photo of Willie at the NWDR organ. (Thanks to Gordon Crook for the NWDR photos)
Below: A colleague of Willie's was Gregor Gerhard, also shown here at the NWDR organ in Hamburg, Germany

 

THE FOLLOWING IS A TABLE LISTING ORGANISTS WHO PROVIDED MUSIC FOR RADIO SHOWS.
(Provided by The American Theatre Organ Society and Harry Heth)

ORGANIST
PROGRAMS OR STATIONS
Ed Bebko N.Y Radio
Al Bain WLAC Nashville Staff
Fred Beck WJJD Staff
Don Berger WSUN St. Petersburg, FL.
Elaine Blair WUSI Staff
Beverly Brown WWL Staff
Al Carney WCFL Staff, WHT Staff
Paul Carson NBC San Francisco studio, One Man's Family (Composer of Patricia, the program's theme), Bridge to Dreamland, I Love A Mystery.
Gaylord Carter Amos N' Andy; The Big Payoff; Breakfast In Hollywood; Bride and Groom; Glamour Girl; Hollywood Hotel; The Packard Show; Raffles; The Second Mrs. Burton, Jack Kirkwood Show, Phantom of the Organ.
Del Castillo Affairs Of Ann Scotland; Escape; Skippy Hollywood Theatre; Tell It Again;That's A Good Idea; T-Man
Milton Charles Straight Arrow; WBBM Staff
Sylil Chism Lum And Abner; One Man's Family
Al De Crescent Your Lucky Strike
Francis J. Cronin WNAC Staff
Francis "Elmer" Crowhurst KPO and NBC Sutter Street studios staff organist, Memory Lane program
Ivan Ditmars Escape; Make Believe Town, Hollywood
Eddie Dunstedter Comedy Of Errors; Escape; Let George Do It; Pursuit; The Lineup; Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. Dunstedter played the organ at CBS affiliate WCCO in Minneapolis.
Howard Ely Staff organist KMBC Kansas City
Elise May Emerson Lum And Abner
Ralph W. Emerson II Lum And Abner, KOY, WLS (Chicago), Lil' Abner
Lee Erwin NY Radio, Arthur Godfrey Time; Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, WLW Moon River Program, Boys Town, The Barbasol Man, Singin' Sam, WCKY Staff.
Mildred Fitzpatrick WBBM Staff
P. Hans Flath KMBC Staff
Dean Fossler Amos N' Andy (Also did Sherlock Homes program on a Hammond)
John Gart Adventure Parade; Big Town; Bright Horizon; Cloak And Dagger; Crime Does Not Pay, Adventures of Superman, Criminal Casebook, This Life Is Mine, Mr. Mercury, That's A Good One.
Ramona Gerhard WCCO Staff
Irma Glenn WENR Staff
Abe Goldman Grand Slam
Martha Green One Man's Family
Eddie Hanson WCFL Staff
Freddie Hause WBBM Staff
Porter Heaps WGN Staff
George Henninger Mystery Playhouse
Mary Elizabeth Hicks WLAC Staff
Hannah Jacobs WIND Staff
Marian Jordan Fibber McGee & Molly
Gordon Kibbe The Beulah Show
Chet Kingsbury Back Stage Wife; Special Investigator; The Whisper Men, The Second Mrs. Burton
Herbie Koch WHAS staff
Rex Koury The Croupier; Defense Attorney; Ellery Queen; I Love Adventure; The Lone Wolf, Gunsmoke*
Elbert Lachelle KFRC
Larry Larsen WGN Staff
Ann Leaf Doc Barklay's Daughters; The Fred Allen Show; Lorenzo Jones
Richard Leibert Big Sister; Stella Dallas; When A Girl Marries
Marian Payne Louisfell WCOU Staff
Stanleigh Malotte WAPI Staff
William Meeder Blackstone; Brave Tomorrow; The Magic Detective; Perry Mason; Worlds At War
Al Melgard WBBM Staff
Bob Mitchell Between The Bookends
Billy Nalle I Remember Mama.
Elwyn Owen Vic And Sade
Korla Pandit aka John Red, Juan Rolando; Chandu The Magician
Charles Paul A Brighter Tomorrow; Behind The Front Page; Chip Davis; Commando; City Desk; Ellery Queen; Murder At Midnight; My Son And I; Road To Life; The Shadow; This Is Nora Drake; Young Doctor Malone
Howard Peterson WGN / WLS Staff
Rosa Rio Between The Bookends; Cavalcade Of America; Court Of Missing Heirs; Deadline Dramas; Ethel And Albert; Front Page Ferrell; Lorenzo Jones; My True Story; The Shadow; Town Hall Tonight; When A Girl Marries
Murray Ross Colgate Sports Newsreel
Eloise Rowan Candy Matson, NBC San Francisco
Len Salvo WGN Staff
John Schrader WHAS in Louisville Staff
Kingham Scott Staff organist for WPTF, Raleigh, NC.
Preston Sellers WGN / WLS Staff
Glen Shelly KGW Staff
Hank Sylvern Nick Carter, Master Detective
Paul Taubman Frank Merriwell; True Detective Mysteries
Elise Thompson Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories; The Shadow
Harold Turner WGN / WLS Staff
Jack Ward The Big Guy; The Magnificent Montague
Lou Webb Vernon Crane's Storybook
Clark "Doc" Whipple Ma Perkins; The Light Of The World
Edith White WBBR Staff
Lew White Nick Carter, Master Detective
Louise Wilcher March Of Games
John Winters When A Girl Marries; Young Widder Brown (also did Adventures of Frank Merriwell prior to Paul Taubman)
George Wright Archie Andrews; The Big Guy; Nick Carter, Master Detective, KFRC
Helen Wyant Staff organist at WHK in Cleveland, OH. She was featured on a program called Matinee Memories.
Bernice Yanocek The Guiding Light
Uda Waldrop KPO
Harry Zimmerman WJJD Staff
Harold Zollman KFPC
   

* Veteran organist Rex Koury conducted an orchestra on the "Gunsmoke" radio programs. He was also the composer of the theme song used on the radio version, and of most of the internal snippets of music in the show. In the absence of a studio orchestra, Koury often used the theatre organ to provide music for rehearsals of the program. CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO LISTEN TO AN EPISODE WITH KOURY AT THE THEATRE ORGAN.


The following list of WLW organists was supplied by Stan Krider

Theatre organists for radio station WLW:

Thomas "Fats" Waller (1932 - 33; played the Moon River program anonymously because WLW did not want it known that the famous jazz organist was providing the quiet music)
Gene Perazzo (first Moon River organist)
Lee Erwin (earlier Moon River organist)
Gladys "Happy" Lee
Pat Gillick
Arthur Chandler, Jr. (A.K.A. "Jelly Sandwich)
Don Simmons
Burt Farber
Johanna Gross
Jack Saatkamp
Jessie Walker
Bert Little
Herschell Luecke (organist during the final "Moon River" program featuring Bill Myers, reader, and Ruby Wright, vocalist. Organ was a Baldwin Orgasonic in WLW's Studio E)
Cliff Lash

   

NOTE: In addition to the organists listed above, there were countless organists who conducted radio shows, featuring pipe organs, from local theatres. Bernard Carpenter, and J. Louis Sayre from the Imperial in Augusta and Bob Van Camp from the Atlanta Fox were names submitted by Larry Davis.

Jack Bethards submitted these names as well: These organists are likely to have played some pipe organ dates: Eunice Steel, Floyd Wright, Don George. Finally, Richard Purvis played for many years a regular broadcast from the Chapel of the Chimes mausoleum under the name Richard Irvin.

In Terre Haute Indiana the only local station until after WWII was little 250W WBOW (the BOW standing for Banks of the Wabash).  That station in the Hammond period featured organ music by Shirley Armstrong and, later, Leo Baxter.  Baxter led a local dance band that dated back to the 1920s, was on the station staff as Program Director, and for several years after WWII had three different 1/2 hour organ programs on weekdays. (Submitted by John Scott)

 

The following addendum has been supplied by Ian McIver. This is a listing of organs used in non-USA radio stations.
 

UNITED LINGDOM (all in London)
BBC Theatre Organ- St George’s Hall, Langham Place – Compton 4/24 (1936)
BBC Concert Hall Organ – Broadcasting House, Langham Place – Compton 4/34 (1933)*
BBC Studios, Maida Vale  - Compton 3/14 (1936)*
* Extension organs, but not theatre organs per se.
Filmophone Studios, West Hampstead, later moved to Decca Studios, also in West Hampstead – Wur 2/5 (1932) used for many broadcasts by BBC (prior to installation of the BBC Theatre organ in 1936) and European commercial broadcasting stations

NETHERLANDS
Hilversum – AVRO Studios - Standaart/Compton 4/18 1936
Hilversum – NCRV – Dekker 3/19 1927
Hilversum - NOS – Möller 5c/27 1963
Hilversum – VARA Studios – Standaart 3/11 1932 (replaced a 2/6 Standaart installed in the 1920s that went to the Rembrandt Theatre, Utrecht)

LUXEMBURG
Radio Luxemburg – Standaart 3/6, built in 1950 but never installed there – sent to Central Dancing and Night Club, Leewarden, Netherlands, instead in 1951.

GERMANY
Berlin – Haus des Rundfunks, Masurenalle – Oskalyd 3/- 1931
Berlin - Lindstörm-Konzern – Welte 2/8
Hamburg – Funkhaus (NORAG/NWDR/NDR) – Welte FunkOrgel 3/24 Main organist Gerhard Gregor

AUSTRIA
Vienna – Wien-Film Synchronhall auf dem Rosenhügel – Lenkwil Orgel 3/11 May 1943 Organists Horst Schimmelpfennig, Karl Eisele

AUSTRALIA
Sydney – ABC Theatrette – Aeolian pipe organ

There were non-theatre-style pipe organs in national broadcasting studios in Belgium, Denmark and France, and possibly other countries as well.

 

 

 

Special thanks to Jeff Weiler, Dr. Barry Henry, Tom DeLay, Ray Thursby, Larry Davis, Jim Spohn, Gordon Crook, and all of the people who submitted information and corrections to supplement my original informaiton.