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WVCH, 740am

April 4, 1948 - Present

Call letters stand for: "The Voice of CHester"

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One of the WVCH clocks that were likely a part of a radio advertising package and were seen in stores throughout the city with the advertiser's message around the bottom of the clock's face.
This clock hung in the front window of Bullock's Pharmacy, 720 Parker St. until the store was sold on December 31, 1964.
4/24/2001: Former announcer Earl Goodman confirms that the clocks were indeed a part of what was apparently a very successful advertising campaign.

Offices and studios were located in the Wolf Building on the Southwest corner of Market Square (3rd & Market Streets).

Announcers | Station History | Recollections

Follow this link to visit WVCH's web site.

Announcers & Staff: Chester "Tiny" Adams (Photo courtesy of Joan Shorter)

Don Baron, "Cousin Clem"

Bob Bocchino - 1

Bruce Davis (Elmer Long), formerly WIBG, WJBR and WDEL. - 1

J.R. Gach "Jay Roberts" (Part time, mid 1960's. Later broadcasted at WEEZ)

Earl Goodman (1952-1963)

Tom Harvey

"Then there was Tom Harvey, an "on-air" voice and manager during the Tisdale era. I believe Tom is also active in the station's management today." - 3

Joe Hayes (1949) broadcast 4:30 p.m. daily from Sears & Roebuck basement.

Bob Hibbert ( office manager during the 50's and I believe into the '60s.) - 3

Richard Kellman (66), a TV correspondent in the Buffalo NY area - 2

Jimmy Lynn, a very popular announcer in the '50's. - 3  

Roger McCabe "Sounds of Bluegrass" (1970's, 1-2:00 p.m.)

Tim McFarland, Senior Staff Announcer (February 1970 - summer 1978)

Joe Pyne (Signed the station on in 1948)

Will Regan. Will hosted the "Will Regan Irish Hour" on Saturdays and I [J.R. Gach] ran his board. - 1

Dave Shayer (62) of Wynnewood PA - 2

Jack Stant (Returned from service in the Army in 1953. Hosted "Melody Manor", 2-5 p.m. daily)

Frank Wayne

"I was one of the early announcers (Frank Wayne) there from 1950-1955 doing the AM wake up shift and the "Hi Ladies Show" from 10am-12. Also, just about everything else from sign-on to noon. This was, of course, before the station became an all Christian station, although there was a considerable amount of Christian programming even back then. I might also mention that I met my wife there in 1953 and married in 1954. Carolyn Spahr was Secretary and "day-book" preparer along with her other office duties at the time.

After my 5 years at WVCH, I went on to television at WPFH in Philadelphia for 2 years and some part-time work at WNRK, Newark, Delaware. Finally, moving to the DuPont Co, Wilmington/Newark, Delaware as an Audio-Visual Specialist and retiring after 31 years." - 3

Station History: Thanks to Jack Chambers, Jokerjak908@yahoo.com for sending along this news item:

Radio Station WVCH (The Voice of Chester) 740 am on the dial, was started by James Tisdale. It started broadcasting on April 4, 1948.  It’s slogan (and call letters) stood for “Voice of Chester”. It was in the Wolf Building, 3rd & Market.  The Station offices moved to Parkside on Edgemont Ave. about 1979.  It moved from Parkside about 1980-81 to its present location, 308 Dutton Mill Rd., Brookhaven, PA (located in a small building on a piece of ground on the south side of Dutton Mill Rd.).

It is still on the air as a Christian Radio Station.

Jack also recalls...

"You may remember they had a country music show on the air when county wasn't cool. Also, If my memory serves me correctly, WVCH served as the host for a combined broadcast back during Hurricane Hazel when the other local station got knocked off the air because of the storm.  I had the pleasure of speaking to the operations manager today. He told me he has been with the station 25 years, starting back when it was in the Wolf bldg. at Third and Market, Chester."

10/30/2002: More WVCH History from senior staff announcer and "Sounds Like Bluegrass" producer, Tim McFarland:

"My name is Tim McFarland , I was the senior staff announcer at W V C H from about Feb. of 1970 until about the summer of 1978. I had many good memories of the station, as a mater of fact Jim Tisdale gave me my first real break in commercial radio. I had just graduated from the Phil. Wireless Tech. Inst. after operating the schools FM radio station for close to three years. I sent a resume to the station and got a call from Jim himself. I soon found out that commercial radio was a different world than educational radio. I only knew him a very short time due to his passing away, but I will never forget the chats we had after the work of the day was done. When the new owner took over it was decided to leave the format pretty much the same but to make it a little more in keeping with the days adult easy listening. I later produced the "Sounds Like Bluegrass" program with Roger McCabe in my basement studio I had built. The show ran on the station every Saturday for about six months. We recorded it using the "original RCA console" W V C H used on the day the station went on the air in 1948. I still have the master tape of the first and the last program we did. Those were fun years. I am out of radio now but was able to do some freelance work for a while for the court system for the city of Phila., as well as a part time announcing job for W M G K. I now work in marketing for a German electronics company in Exton Pa., Well I enjoy the "Old Chester Pa " web site and just thought I would give a few tidbits of history that I knew of good ol " W V C H 740 Chester Pa." Keep up the good work." (timmcfrl@aol.com) 

8/22/2002: More WVCH history from J.R. Gach, JRGach@aol.com, who began his broadcasting career there in the mid-1960's:

"Other announcers (and at WVCH we were "announcers"... Jim Tisdale wasn't big on overt displays of personality) were Bruce Davis (Elmer Long) formerly WIBG, WJBR and WDEL. Bob Bocchino and Will Regan. Will hosted the "Will Regan Irish Hour" on Saturdays and I ran his board. 

One Saturday, Jim called and told us some big aircraft carrier was coming down the Delaware river (a few blocks behind the Wolf Building) and to open a window and do a description as the vessel passed. He claimed he'd made arrangements with the ship's Captain to sound it's steam whistle as it went by. So when Will's show ended at 1 p.m., and I finished reading the news, we both adjourned to the back of the control room/studio and described the event. Will never could get my name right and always called me "Gay Dash" instead of "Jay Gach". But, sure enough...as the ship floated by, the whistle blew. Who knows how Jim arranged that, but he was quite a broadcaster. 

Charles Robinson was the chief engineer and was one of Jim's pals from WIP, where Jim himself had been Chief Engineer before he built WVCH. The transmitter was on Dutton Mill Rd. in Brookhaven...a single, 3-legged self-supporting tower next to a stucco shack. 

I can still remember the "sign on/sign off" copy, read over a recording of what was supposed to be the bell in the old court house in Chester. I located the original disk in the record library, and found that it was actually a recording of London's "Big Ben" made at 33 1/3 rpm, but played back at 78!!! I don't think Jim wanted anyone to know that. 

Each broadcast day was numbered sequentially and was written into the daybook in pencil, to be erased and changed for the next day. I swear we used the same sheet of paper my entire 8 months at WVCH. Jim was always very, um...thrifty. At any rate, this is how it went... 

(Play bell cart up and under and read...) 
"With the ringing of the bell in the Old Court House on Market Square in downtown Chester, WVCH now (begins/concludes) its 7465th day of continuous broadcasting. WVCH operates on an assigned carrier frequency of 740 kilocycles with a power output of one-thousand watts. WVCH is located in the Wolf Building, downtown Chester, Pennsylvania and is owned and operated by James M. Tisdale. 

At sign-on, we'd start the day's programming and at sign-off wish everyone a pleasant evening and play the national anthem. One other thing. Jim was a pioneer in "cross-promotion" of OTHER radio stations, LONG before it was fashionable. Just before sign-off, we'd play a ten-second commercial reminding folks to tune their dials to KYW NewsRadio 1060 for news all night (since WVCH signed off at sundown). Way ahead of the days of ClearChannel, Infinity and clustered ownership. 

WVCH was my very first radio job and I'm still in the industry, working for ClearChannel at 50,000 watt 810/WGY in Albany, NY where I host afternoons. I'll always owe my career start to Jim Tisdale giving me my first break at WVCH. 

7/22/2001 Update:

"THE WOLF BUILDING, 3RD & MARKET, Chester, home of WVCH in the early days of the radio station, has been recently sold and is now RNCS, Inc. (Communications, Cabling, Fiber) This information has been forwarded to me by Marian, Mr. Jack Swerman's (AIA) secretary."

"Joker" Jack Chambers, jokerjak908@yahoo.com

Soon after WVCH went on the air, they were approached by a group representing Marcus Hook Baptist Church.  The church was interested in broadcasting their 11:00 Sunday morning service.  However, that time slot had already been purchased by a large Chester church.  With summer approaching, church asked to drop off for the summer months and return in September.  This opened the opportunity for Marcus Hook Baptist to take the Sunday morning slot and they have broadcast their morning worship service live on WVCH continually every Sunday since July 4, 1948.

For more details, visit the WVCH web site and follow the "History" link.

Recollections: 3/6/2007 recollection thanks to Sax Wyatt, Edward S. Wyatt, Landenberg, PA:

"I, also a ham radio operator, was at the studio handling the controls during that historic event [Hurricane Hazel coverage]. I think that broadcast may go down in history as the first "completely remote" radio broadcast...locally, at least. No satellites to beam back to the station!"

This recollection thanks to Bill Gorman, BG171@aol.com

"WVCH used to have a radio show broadcast from the Great Leopard Skating Rink on Saturday afternoons where you would hear songs from the live organ that was being played at the rink. Some of the kids would also be selected to sing along with the organ. I remember singing "Little GTO" and being quite thrilled about it. The organist back then was a lady named Shirley, but I can't remember her last name."

This recollection thanks to gpatterson9@home.com:

"John, I just recalled a radio show from the early 70's.   WVCH  am (The Voice of Chester) while at 3rd and Market hosted a one hour Bluegrass Show. It was called "Sounds of Bluegrass." The DJ was a young man from Upland named Roger McCabe. Air time was from one to two pm. A great selection of bluegrass at the time."

This first-hand report from Earl Goodman, elc@staffnet.com, former WVCH announcer:

"You may be interested to know that I was the announcer who rode with Jim Tisdale, and did the Hurricane Hazel broadcasts from Mr. Tisdale's car.  Tisdale was a well know Ham Operator, and a pioneer in the Broadcast Industry.  He received permission from the FCC to hook up his ham radio to the facilities of WVCH and broadcast reports live of the storm's devastation in Chester, and environs.

"Regarding the Country Music played on WVCH, a fellow by the name of Don Baron, who used a country accent, and called himself Cousin Clem played that music to a legion of followers.  Time frame 1951, I started there in 1952, and Don was already doing that format in the evenings as time allowed, WVCH was a daytimer, and signed off at sundown.  I don't know if it still does or not.  Also, interesting to note Joe Pyne, signed the station on the air, and then became America's formost talk radio host at WILM in Wilmington, Del.  Religious programming began at 9:00 A. M.- Monday through Friday, followed by music, in a soft vain i.e.: No Raucous Music."

In 1963 Earl moved on to the "big city" to work for WFIL Radio-TV in Philadelphia for the next ten years.  He then moved to Delaware and later to Virginia.  In 1989 he left radio (except for some voice-over work ) for a job with the County Government.   Earl retired in 1995.

Many thanks to the following for contributing additional information for this page:

1 - J. R. Gach, JRGach@aol.com, former WVCH and WEEZ announcer.

2 - Robert Bocchino, Haverford, PA

"I worked with both these men at different times at WVCH. Rich Kellman was at WVCH in the mid 1960ís before becoming a staff news person at WFIL. Dave, I believe was at WVCH in the early 1970ís."

3 - Sax Wyatt, aka Edward S. Wyatt, Landenberg, PA

If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about the history of WVCH, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

© 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 03/06/07