Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


WGI, 1914-1925


WGI began broadcasting as experimental radio station 1XE in 1914, and staked out a place in history as one of the first radio stations to go on the air in the United States.

Tufts graduate Harold Power, A1914, held a lifelong interest in radio, and after his graduation formed the American Radio and Research Corporation, which soon became known as AMRAD. Power bought land on the Tufts hillside, and built a 304-foot radio tower and studio. The government assigned Power's new station the call letters 1XE, as radio broadcasting was still considered experimental. When it went on the air, 1XE became one of the first two broadcasting stations in the United States.

By 1916, Power had begun broadcasting recorded music over 1XE. At that point, ham radio operators were the station's main listeners, as radio had not yet caught on. By the spring of 1921, however, radio was becoming more popular, and 1XE was the first station in the country to broadcast on a daily schedule. 1XE's programming included music, nightly police reports, and even bedtime stories.

In January, 1922, Power finally applied for and received a commercial license, and the station's call letters became WGI. By March, WGI was broadcasting the first radio newscasts in Boston, and was becoming quite a popular station. During the next couple of years, WGI expanded its programming to include local celebrities and politicians, and began airing the "Big Brother Club," a children's show that would have a forty-five year run on radio and, later, television.

Unfortunately, AMRAD, WGI's backing company, was relatively unprofitable. Although known for its technological innovations, AMRAD was seen as unreliable, and began to flounder by 1924. WGI, at that point trying to compete with upstart radio stations with corporate backing, could not afford the new equipment needed to remain a premier station. By 1924 it was lagging behind competitors and losing talent to other Boston stations.

In the spring of 1925, Power declared bankruptcy, and WGI went off the air in May. Although Power searched for new backers, WGI never went back on the air. Power eventually sold the AMRAD land back to Tufts. The radio tower, however, did receive further use, broadcasting the programming of WBET, the Boston Evening Transcript's station, in 1927, after the station realized that the tower's high elevation would help its low wattage signal reach larger areas.

Source: TW, WA1

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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