Radio stars (June 1933)

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RADIO STARS COME- BACK Culver Service From the top of the heap, Norman Brokenshire slid right down to the bottom and then faded com- pletely. But he came back! By ROBERT EICHBERC (Above, left) Broken- T HEY never come back !" shire as he looks as That's what people say. you read this. (Cen- But Norman Brokenshire ter, left) With Ruth has proven that there are excep- Etting, the sob- tions to every rule, songbird. (Left, be- Here is a story of a man who low) Norman Bro- rose to the top of his profession kenshire discussing and then, falling into its sloughs, a script with come- sank into oblivion only to rise dian Tom Howard. again through grit, ability, and a woman's love. Not so many moons ago, "Broke," as his friends call him, tramped the streets wondering where his next meal would come from. Not many moons ago, the word was spreading from man to man among those who matter in the broadcasting business that he was through. "Unreliable," they called it. Without a friend— save the one whose love saved him from himself—he started to fight his way back. That fight nearly broke his heart. The story really begins with his first job in a little Canadian school house back in 1907. It paid him $25.00 a year, and he had to walk three miles a day to tend to his duties. His father, a minister, was also the school teacher. When his father got a call to go to Massachusetts, young Norman, of course, went along. He got a job in a shoe factory there, and at the outbreak of the World War, enlisted in the infantry. When he returned, he took a course at Syracuse University, and then came to New York. Every Sunday he read the Help Wanted ads in the papers. One day, in 1923, he saw a call for radio an- nouncers up at old WJZ, then located in Aeolian Hall. HE answered it—and found himself one of a mob of four hundred ambitious young men, all eager to break into radio. An audition was held, and Broke was the one selected to fill the job. He became AON, for in those days announcers were not known by name to the audiences, and all announcers were identified only by this sort of lettered code over the air. (Continued on page 50) 21