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WHER Scrapbook

Responses to the Lost and Found Sound Stories

1000 Beautiful Watts

The Lost & Found Sound piece on radio station WHER was one of the most moving, powerful, and well produced bit of radio journalism I have ever heard. I arrived home ten minutes before it ended, but remained in my car you:

Thank you for making the LOST AND FOUND SOUND program. It is exceptionally entertaining, in the driveway, riveted to the story.

Keep it up.

Gordon Currin

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Wow, I've been loving this series for months, sometimes lingering in the office after "quittin' time" because I can't bear to leave the radio. Today's piece on WHER really struck a chord because although I'm a lifelong Yankee from NY's Hudson Valley, my mother (also l-l-Y-f-NY-H-V) was with Welcome Wagon International from before I was born (even before she met & married my dad) till I was in college.

If you're not familiar with that company, it was started in the '20's or '30's by Thomas Briggs (of Memphis) and aside from him and literally a handful of males, was an all-woman company. Like WHER, the "ladies" (and they were and dressed the part in dresses, hats [you should have seen the hats!], gloves, coordinated shoes and handbags) were very much a part of the culture of the time BUT (also like WHER) they were doing something different and doing it well in a male world.

I'm proud to have been raised in my mom's office (at home and in the car) and think it gave me a leg up on the liberated times to come. What struck me about the "girl DJs" was, like my mom, they weren't doing it as part of a movement but because they liked it and were good at it, a situation which was all too rare 40 years ago. A detail that was reinforced as I listened today and remembered one local radio station, which had at least one woman in a position of authority in the early '60's because she was one of the ones Mom dealt with regularly in business.

So hats off to Memphis (bastion of southern rectitude and tradition?) and Sam Phillips and Thomas Briggs for founding companies which gave the "girls" a chance to show what they were really made of. I don't suppose any sound bites of early Welcome Wagon stuff exist but I would love to hear any that do. {It was a public relations business, using "hostesses" to sign up civic minded sponsors to supply "gifts" to the baskets which the hostesses then took to welcome new residents (or newlyweds or new mothers) to the community. However, it wasn't just a PR business but also community service oriented, including material from the town which would also be useful to the new resident.)

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