Friday, March 13, 2015

Rev H.B. Rittenhouse on the Radio

Rittenhouse is a name that resonates in Philadelphia. Rittenhouse Square is one of five Philadelphia parks originally planned by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme. Originally called Southwest Square, Rittenhouse Square was renamed in 1825 after David Rittenhouse. Rev. H.B. Rittenhouse may or may not be related to the above. I suspect hes is. Regardless, his surname certainly wouldn't have hurt his prospects in radio. No surprise then he broadcast on at least nine different radio stations.

His book of gospel songs above mentions no call letters. H.B. had no home station of his own. He leased time where he could find it and advertised in local newspapers. One article describes him as preaching at the Church Of The Nazarene in Hagerstown, MD.  A movie-radio program guide from July of 1942, lists him on 930 WFMD-AM on Saturday the 11th at 3:15 PM and again at 8:00 PM. He did a Monday through Fridya slot on WFMD at 7:3- AM. The same document lists him at 8:00 AM simultaneously on WFMD-AM, 1090 WBAL-AM and 850 WEEU-AM. He also was working at 1300 WFBR-AM on Wednesdays. The January issue of the same magazine also has him on 550 WSVA-AM.

A 1942 program listing [here] lists him on 1450 WWDC-AM on Saturday October 10th at 11:15 PM. I also discovered a single clipping that he broadcast on WIBG-AM in 1945. Today WIBG lives in South Jersey on 1020. But back in the 1940s, it was on 990 in Philadelphia. Today WNTP occupies that slot on the dial. A 1943 issue of the Frederick News Post wrote "Rev. H. B. Rittenhouse Everyday 1 To P. M. 1240 On Your Dial." The calls aren't listed but then or now it'd be WJEJ-AM.
In 1960 he married Andy and Betty DeWitt, he was her uncle. He appears to have settled in Friendsville, PA in the 1970s. His name appears in numerous obituaries alive and officiating. I'm certain it was him as he officiated the funeral of Theodore Coddington in the same town in 1974, and Claudine M. McCullough in 1977, in 1985 at the funeral of Ritchey J. Kahl, and Cleda Blanche Coddington in 1989. His wife Betty Rittenhouse died in 2007 at the age of 81.