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Jack DeWitt

July 8, 1986 OHC87 106 min.


Radio and television pioneer and inventor. Died January 25, 1999. Career active 1920s-1960s. Full name: John H. DeWitt, Jr. Pioneer of Nashville radio and television. Appointed chief engineer for WSM Nashville in 1932. He was instrumental in WSM’s growth from a 5,000 to a 50,000-watt station. Appointed president of WSM in 1947. Helped to launch WSM’s television station in 1950. Retired 1968. Made significant contributions as an inventor and was awarded the Legion of Merit for his World War II development of the proximity fuse for the Howitzer artillery piece.

Interview Summary

1986 July 8
(1 hour, 46 minutes)
Radio pioneer Jack DeWitt discusses the early years of radio, focusing on the early years of WSM Nashville. Discussion includes the development of his interest in radio; a history of early radio stations in Nashville; the start of WSM; early WSM staff; early WSM programming; early radio technologies; his work for Bell Laboratories as an engineer; appointment as chief engineer for WSM; the WSM broadcast tower; managing remote broadcasts; and comments on WSM’s coverage of the 1937 flood in Louisville, Kentucky.

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