Now, transmitting 50,000 watts from three massive towers at Rutherford, Radio WOR started with less power than a microwave 100 years ago.

For the first few months the WOR relied on a tiny transmitter with a power of 250 watts. Its broadcast center was a dark corner of the sporting goods section of the Newark department store.

WOR was just a novelty.

“It was a group of the first radio stations to air retailers,” said Rich Phoenix, a former radio operator and current president of the New Jersey Radio Museum. “They saw the potential and benefits of radio for sale.”

In the case of WOR retailing was Bamberger’s. The store’s owner, Louis Bamberger, has embraced the new technology in front of his rich turntables. He and Walter Moler, his director of public relations, had a plan to profit from the then-open AM bandwidth, Phoenix said.

Milton Burle was one of many guests who were featured on WOR in Golden Age Radio.

“WOR was unusual in that Bamberger sought to make his radio station attractive to both the Philadelphia and New York radio markets,” Phoenix said.

To begin with, Bamberger commissioned his new radio salesman, Jacob Popel, to set up the station.

Ash, who built his first wireless radio as a teenager, was something of a radio prodigy. He served in World War I as a radio technician and almost single-handedly launched WOR from a wire stretched between two poles that he propped up on the roof of a department store. Within months, they were replaced by a 200-foot-wide antenna array and massive WOR advertising. Eight months later, WOR became the first American station to be heard in London.

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