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Norm Bailey

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 the country.

Ted Williams and Leo Cloutier
Donn Tibbetts

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 Hampshire.

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.

Studio A
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