Topic: RE: PHILADELPHIA
On May 13, 1963, Dave Kurtz, then an engineer with Philco Electronics, turned on the master switch of WDVR-FM in the Barker building at 18 W. Chelten Ave. in Germantown. Within four months, the station's mix of "familiar music" such as Mantovani, Percy Faith, and Lawrence Welk made it the number one FM station in Philadelphia. At this time, the world was dominated by AM radio. Few FM stations had ever shown a profit, nor were they able to compete with AM stations in ratings, advertisers, or recognition. Indeed few people had FM radios, or ever bothered to listen to FM. Most car radios, even in new cars, were equipped with "AM only" radios, and sales were slow for FM sets in general. AM was considered "real broadcasting" and FM was considered "hobby broadcasting." With few listeners, and even fewer dollars, a small number of FM stations were beginning to experiment with recently approved stereo broadcasting. Their stereo schedules usually totaled no more than a few hours a week. WDVR started an industry trend by broadcasting in stereo 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This was not the only groundbreaking event undertaken by Kurtz and business partner Jerry Lee. WDVR became the first FM station anywhere to gross $1 million a year. The station also created the first big money giveaway in radio ($101,000), and the first professional TV spot to promote radio.