One of the first stars at WKBR
was Norman E. Bailey (left), who started in December,
1947. He came from WKXL Concord, NH, and had previously worked in the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Toronto newsroom; CKTB St. Catherine's,
Ontario; and WCAX Burlington, VT.
Norm Bailey started at a salary
of $240/month base, plus $45/month in talent fees. By 1956 he was earning
more than $17,000/year (plus $2,000 Christmas bonus).
In 1951 Bailey attracted front
page headlines when he got arrested while trying to cover a Manchester
high school football game. The publicity forced the city to grant non-exclusive
broadcast rights for future games. Bailey spent ten years at WKBR and
was a major local celebrity.
Another of the on-air stars during
WKBR's first decade was Leo Cloutier with his popular "Spotlight
On Sports" feature. While Leo covered sports in every season his
first love was unquestionably baseball. He was a close personal friend
of Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams, a man not known for being overly
fond of members of the press.
For many years, Cloutier was a
columnist for the NH Sunday News and he founded the Union
Leader's annual winter baseball banquet, making it the largest in
Another popular record spinner
was Manchester native Donn Tibbetts (left), who
spent 1949-50 in Manchester before heading north to Granite
State's WTSL Lebanon, NH where he served as program director. As a young
man, Tibbetts served as regional administrator for the American Society
of Disc Jockeys.
Yet another veteran of WTSL and
WKBR was John Gambling, the second generation of the infamous WOR dynasty.
His autobiography, "Rambling With Gambling - The First Fifty
Years," fondly details the early days of his career in New
The studios and offices were supposed
to be built on the second floor of a four-story office building at 742
Elm Street in downtown Manchester. But three months before air it was
discovered that the south and west walls were structurally unsafe.
Originally, only the transmitter
building was to be located at 155 Front Street, but a decision was made
to move the entire operation there. To save on construction costs, half
the foundation of the former Olivet Church was used to support the building.
Studio A featured a high ceiling
and an "observation balcony" for important clients to watch
the shows they sponsored. Later the second floor space was used as an
office and this room contained FM automation equipment.
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From Mars Productions