Whitney Web Page -
Southbridge Recollections:

WESO and the "Storybook Lady" in the late 1950's - Jan Whitney

After Newton High School graduation, I began to think of a Radio School.  I went to Leland Powers Radio and Theatre School.  In those days, T.V. was not even thought of. The following year, I married Don Whitney, who worked for American Optical, which is what brought us to Southbridge.  Soon I became interested in the Radio Station, W.E.S.O.  In due time, I was hired and I started out doing commercials.  I was one of the woman’s voices.  In 1959 I did one for Chaffee Brothers shown below. The scripts were had written or typed as this one for the Chaffee Brothers, which was one of many I did at that time:


 

Then I became the Story Book Lady.  I loved that.  It was every Saturday morning for 15 minutes and was sponsored by Folsom Bread.  The head of WESO at that time was Ham Stuart, and my supervisor was Pete Richards. I found some pictures of the disc jockey (Lou Rogers) and secretaries in the office.  It was a fun experience and enjoyed doing it. Don would tape the story on his reel-to-reel tape recorder, and I would bring it to the studios for broadcast.
 

Here is an except from one of the scripts that I read to the children (and grownups) listening:

"Good morning, boys and girls.  This is your storybook lady.

Well, how are you?  It’s another Saturday and I’m so glad you joined me for our story hour.  It’s spring and tonight is the night we change our clocks to Daylight Savings Time.  You remind Mommy and Daddy, will you?  Tell them we push the hands ahead one hour.

Also – remind them “That April 25th is Cancer Crusade Night for Southbridge and Sturbridge.  Volunteers have been working very hard getting ready for that big night – men, women and young people have put in one of my favorite poems I had read to me when I was a little girl – quite a few years ago I must admit.

I hope you like it as much as I do.  It’s called The King’s Breakfast from the book, “When We Were Very Young.”

And now for our story – which is, Peter Rabbit...."
 

Inside the WESO studios in the late 1950's-
Lou Rogers pictured below


 


Photos from Jan Whitney

Esther Costa and WESO in the 1950s and 1960s

WESO Headquarters (291 Main St) in 1950's and today
 
 

Note their location in Southbridge (as shown in the letterhead at the top of this page) was above where Pizza Chef is now, at the corner of Main and Elms St. That is why the live WESO broadcast of the 1955 flood had the siren on the corner so audible. To download a sound file with this section of audio on it click here, and see near the bottom of this page.

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