Friday, December 28, 2007

Jesuits give up on radio

Here's another one that begins with a transcription disc I found in a thrift store. It was a translucent blue, slightly mottled transcriptions disc. It's Sacred Heart Program M-16-4913. Witten in pen on the label is a date "11/14/57 WISK." The choral is provided by Blessed Sacrament Womens Choir of Hollywood. I though that first the WISK notation referred to WISK-AM in Georgia, that seems unlikely.
Not surprising, the Jesuits also gave up on operating the seismographs of the world. It's an interesting clickish religious sect hell-bent on educating the ignorant heathens. Overall they've done much good. It turns out we infidels could use some learnin'.

They also ran a radio program. Notice that's in the past tense. The Jesuits of the Missouri Province voted to terminate their Sacred Heart program in November of 2005. It had been running without interruption for 66 years. It began way back on Nov. 18. Since 1939. It was a 15 minute radio program consisting of gospel music, and a short sermon. Many of these were done by the program's founder Reverend Eugene Murphy.

He was a Saint Louis University Jesuit originally stationed at Rockhurst University. Before he was sent to SLU, he lost his voice due to a severe illness. While hospitalized he was inspired to create a radio program for Sacred Heart. At SLU, he found 770 WEW-AM.
WEW-AM in St. Louis went on air in April of 1921 just weeks after KDKA-AM. It was founded by Saint Louis University meteorologist George Rueppel. He worked at several Jesuit colleges before SLU. He showed up at SLU in 1908. More here.

On Jan. 15 of 1939 Murphy began broadcasting Sacred Heart Programs. They broadcast hymns and Murphy sermonized. The program was distributed on phonodisc through 1988. I'll end with an interesting piece of radio arcana. Chucky Berry's first electric guitar was sold to him by a DJ on WEW-AM according to an interview by Don Menn in the book 'Secrets from the Masters."