WKBV started as a hobby in a Brookville salon

September 27 in history:

  • In 1066, the aptly named William the Conqueror and his army set sail from the mouth of the Somme for the Norman conquest of England.
  • In 1590, Pope Urban VII died 13 days after being chosen to head the Catholic Church, making his reign the shortest papacy in history.
  • In 1777, during the American Revolution, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, became the capital of the United States for a day after the evacuation of Philadelphia by Congress.
  • In 1822, Jean-François Champollion announced that he had deciphered the Rosetta Stone, the key to understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
  • In 1903, the wreck of the Old 97, an American rail disaster, occurred. It later became the subject of a popular ballad.
  • In 1908, production of the Model T automobile began at the Ford Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit. A first Model T museum is now nestled in the heart of Richmond’s historic depot at 809 N. Eighth St., with an impressive lineup of T models.
  • In 1942, the last day of Matanikau’s action on Guadalcanal, the US Marines narrowly escaped after being surrounded by Japanese forces.
  • In 1962, Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” was published, inspiring an environmental movement and the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
  • In 1998, the Google Internet search engine was conceived and this date was retroactively proclaimed as its anniversary.
  • In 2019, more than two million people took part in global strikes to protest against climate change in 2,400 places around the world.

On September 27, 1926, what began as a “play toy” in William O. Knox’s living room became an institution in Richmond with far-reaching consequences.

More from our past:Horses were harnessed to local news in 1887

Knox had obtained a permit to build a radio station, so he created a 100-watt signal strong enough to light a household light bulb.

Knox, a railroad telegraph, began broadcasting from his homemade television set in his living room in Brookville. He used his initials “WK” followed by “BV” for letters of appeal, which stood for Brookville: WKBV.

The station was his hobby.

The shows consisted of a few records, little ad lib talks, and Knox’s personal “good evening” to the neighbors. The early audiences numbered no more than a dozen or so, having reception platters that were in east-central Indiana at the time within reach. In the first three years, there were few regulations and only one advertisement. No inspector visited Knox station, but he sold an evening program for which he received $ 15 from some of the town’s businesswomen.

In 1929, the station moved to the Betsy Ross building in Connersville. Its first regular programming has grown to an extravagant six hours a day.

In 1933, he moved to the Westcott Hotel in Richmond, where it became the primary venue for Richmond Red Devil’s sports reporting.

Movie star Polly Bergen auditioned to sing on WKBV in 1943 after graduating from Richmond High School.  She then rose to fame in Hollywood and had her own TV show.  As an Emmy Award-winning actress, singer, and entrepreneur, she has found success in almost every media over half a century in show business.  His first professional concert was in Richmond on WKBV.

In 1943, a group of local businessmen moved WKBV to the annex of the Leland Hotel, where Richmond High School graduate Polly Bergen did her first 15-minute show. Polly’s parents lived on North Fifth Street roughly where the east entrance to the town building now stands. She would sit on her porch and sing as she liked. After her stint at WKBV, she left Richmond and found success in almost all entertainment media during a half-century career in show business. She rose from professional singer status to prominent Hollywood actress in the 1950s. She has performed onscreen with Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Joan Crawford, William Holden, and James Garner, to no avail. name a few.

WKBV also made the transition.

In 1953, the station moved to its present address at 2301 W. Main St.

Today’s WKBV does many cross-promotions and station events, including Indiana State Fair Band Day, Salvation Army Christmas news, and high school sports coverage. WKBV is home to the Cincinnati and Notre Dame Reds as well as University of Miami hockey. Programming includes sports talks on ESPN radio, with daily local news updates. Weather forecast is provided by Dayton’s WDTN-TV Channel 2.

On September 27, 1926 William Knox of Brookville, just for fun, began sending out radio signals with the WKBV (WilliamKnoxBrookVille) call letters.

The force of his emissions lit a 100 watt light bulb.

Since then, WKBV has grown into Central East Indiana’s premier signal for information and entertainment with broadcasts reaching nationwide.

Today is the station’s anniversary.

Contact columnist Steve Martin at [email protected]

Comments are closed.