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KC Historical Women on the Radio

KC Historical Women on the Radio

March 5, 2020

March is Women’s History Month, which makes it an excellent time to revisit historical records, stories, and recordings. To do just that, I sat down with KCUR metro reporter Sam Zeff to chat with him about his podcast Archiver, which showcases Kansas City regional stories as originally broadcast by KMBC radio in the mid-20th century and now archived in the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His next episode focuses on the program, Women in the Store, which was targeted to housewives in the 1950s. Here’s what he had to say:

What inspired you to look into this topic?

Sam: I love old radio (well, all radio really), and as I was listening to those old KMBC clips, preparing for this series, I was surprised how prevalent women's programming and women on the air were at the radio station. KMBC was a leader in programming for women and putting women on the radio. 

What was the most surprising takeaway?

Sam: I was also surprised at how smoothly the broadcasts sounded. We take that for granted now because much of what we hear and see is pre-recorded. But then, everything was live. The announcing, the music, the commercials—everything was done live in the studio. It makes those live shots we did in TV seem pretty easy!

What can modern people learn by looking back at a topic like this? 

Sam: I think we forget that women have always held prominent positions in America. We hear from women shopping [in this episode of Archiver], but we also hear from women who helped found the LPGA and who helped create music programs in Kansas City public schools. 

Hear more from Sam Zeff about “Women in the Radio” at three different times across the metro. Check out those times and locations here.

Shannon T.
The Story Center

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