SYRACUSE — The early 1920s marked the birth of commercial radio across the world. While Pittsburgh’s KDKA is widely known (though often disputed) as the world’s first commercial station, Syracuse wasn’t very far behind. But to listen to WSYR today, you wouldn’t know the station has a big birthday this weekend.
The launch date of September 15, 1922 comes from our colleague Scott Fybush, who devoted his “Tower Site of the Week” column to WSYR a decade ago, when the station turned 80. He said today, September 15, was the day in 1922 when Clive Meredith signed-on WMAC for the first time. Six years later, transmissions would be relocated from Meredith’s property in Cazenovia to a new antenna atop the Hotel Syracuse, and WMAC’s call sign changed to WSYR.
Earlier this month, CNYRadio.com contacted Clear Channel Syracuse GM Joel Delmonico, Operations Manager Rich Lauber and WSYR Program Director Jason Furst to ask if they concur with that history, or if they had any information to the contrary. We also asked if there were any special plans in the works to celebrate WSYR’s 90th anniversary.
We received not a single response.
We have no reason to suspect Scott Fybush could have had the wrong date — after all, anyone who disagrees has had an entire decade to request a correction. Still, we hope there’s even the smallest glimmer of a chance that’s the reason WSYR’s current management would allow such a remarkable milestone in local broadcast history to pass without any fanfare, or even a modest acknowledgement.