WOAI's Debut Broadcast Takes Place on September 25, 1922

Photo: iHeartMedia

WOAI, the oldest radio station in San Antonio, signed on the air on September 25, 1922. Broadcasting over frequency 1190 AM using a 500-watt transmitter, the station was touted as one of the “first super powered stations in Texas” and was the brainchild of founder G.A.C. Halff. A popular story tells that Halff wished to carry out a promotional gimmick of giving away hundreds of small radios in connection with his business, and therefore he had to put a radio station on the air so that his customers would have something to listen to. Initial programming included a variety of information and also featured daily violin and piano selections.

WOAI increased its transmitter to 1,000 watts in July 1925. That year the station aired its first commercially-sponsored program that presented an orchestra performing Mexican songs. In 1926 the station increased to 2,000 watts and participated in the first successful chain broadcast with other stations across the United States. It joined the world’s first network, the National Broadcasting Company, on February 6, 1928. WOAI continued to increase its broadcasting power with a 5,000-watt transmitter in 1927 and the legal limit of 50,000 watts in 1930, making it the only 50,000-watt station in South Texas.

What Was Happening In 1922:

  • WOAI makes debut broadcasts on September 25, 1922.
  • Warren G Harding is President and introduces the first radio in the White House
  • Calvin Coolidge is Vice President
  • Pat Norris Neff was Governor
  • (O. B) Orlando Bacon Black was Mayor of San Antonio
  • Ralph Samuelson skis on water inventing what is called “water skiing”
  • The First US aircraft carrier, USS Langley, is commissioned
  • Readers Digest is born
  • The Prohibition was underway
  • The first successful insulin treatment of diabetes is made
  • The Lincoln Memorial is dedicated by former President Howard Taft
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is founded
  • Mussolini and his fascist dictatorship comes to power in Italy
  • The tomb of Tutankhamen is discovered
  • USAA was founded in San Antonio by a group of 25 U.S. Army officers
  • The Texas Valero Open is first played
  • Construction begins on Yankee Stadium
  • The Hollywood Bowl open-air music venue opens
  • Christian K. Nelson patents the Eskimo Pie ice cream bar in the United States
  • A U.S. Army balloon, C-2, is caught by a crosswind and blown into its hangar at Brooks Field. The escaping hydrogen ignites, destroying the aircraft.
  • The Ottoman Empire is abolished after 600 years

Consumer Prices In 1922:

  • Sears Homes – starting at $885
  • Cadillac sedan - $1,790
  • Ford sedan - $595
  • Tires - $10.90 / each
  • Bacon – 45 cents/lb
  • Bread – 5 cents/loaf
  • Coffee - 47 cents/lb
  • Newspaper - 2 cents
  • Toilet Paper – 6 cents/roll
  • Eggs – 39 cents/dozen
  • Oranges – 20 cents /dozen
  • Ivory soap - 20 cents/ 3 bars
  • Men’s haircut – 25 cents
  • Dry clean men’s suit $1.25
  • Ukelele - $7


Top Music Hits On Records In 1922:

  • "April Showers" by Al Jolson.
  • "Hot Lips" by Paul Whiteman's Orchestra.
  • "Love Her By Radio" by Billy Jones.
  • "Mister Gallagher and Mister Shean" recorded by. ...
  • "My Buddy" by Henry Burr.
  • "Oh, Is She Dumb!/Susie" by Eddie Cantor.
  • "On the Alamo" by Isham Jones Orchestra.
  • "Ory's Creole Trombone" by Kid Ory.
  • "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" by Isham Jones Orchestra
  • "Three O'Clock In the Morning" by Paul Whiteman's Orchestra
  • "Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo' Bye!)" by Al Jolson
  • "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" by Margaret Young

Top Films In 1922:

  • Nosferatu
  • Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler
  • Mali Twist
  • Robin Hood
  • Foolish Wives
  • Blood and Sand
  • The Loves of Pharaoh
  • Number 13
  • When Knighthood Was in Flower
  • Dr. Jack
  • Salomé
  • Sherlock Holmes

People Born In 1922:

  • Betty White (Actress)
  • Bea Arthur (Actress)
  • Christopher Lee (Actor)
  • Judy Garland (Actress)
  • Ava Gardner (Actress)
  • Stan Lee (Comic-book writer, publisher of Marvel Comics)
  • Doris Day (Singer, Actress)
  • Barbara Hale (Actress)
  • Telly Savalas (Actor)
  • Cyd Charisse (Actress)
  • Carl Reiner (Actor, director, writer and producer)
  • Darren McGavin (Actor)
  • Jason Robards (Actor)
  • Veronica Lake (Actress)
  • Jack Klugman (Actor)
  • Rory Calhoun (Actor)
  • Barbara Bel Geddes (Actress)
  • Blake Edwards (Writer)
  • Dorothy Dandridge (Actress)
  • Jacky Cooper (Actor)
  • Steven Hill (Actor)
  • Ruby Dee (Actress)
  • Red Fox (Actor, comedian)
  • Cid Caeser (Actor, comedian, musician, composer)
  • Richard Kiley (Actor)
  • Audrey Meadows (Actress)
  • Dick Martin (Actor, comedian, producer)
  • Bill Macy (Actor)
  • Paul Winchell (Actor, ventriloquist)
  • Louise Latham (Actress)
  • Norman Lear (Producer)
  • Gale Storm (Actress)

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