Monday, March 02, 2009

Dark Fantasy, Pt. 1

Originally published in the February, 2009, Old Radio Times.(

Dark Fantasy: WKY’s Contribution to NBC Programming
Bret Jones
Copyright © 2008

During the height of radio drama broadcasts, shows originated from urban areas where technology, actors, writers, and production staff were the best available. For NBC, programming was carried by the network from New York, Chicago, and Hollywood. But for a one season run of twenty-six weeks, NBC broadcast the horror anthology series Dark Fantasy, which came from WKY in Oklahoma City.

WKY was started by two radio hobbyists, E.C. Hull and H.S. Richards, who started broadcasting under the call letters 5XT in the spring of 1921. The station’s location was in Hull’s garage at his house in Oklahoma City. The living room was converted into a “studio” and the duo started in the radio broadcasting business. As of 1921, WKY was among three commercial stations west of the Mississippi River; the other two were in Detroit and Kansas City. The station would eventually be purchased by The Oklahoma Publishing Company.

Within a short period of time WKY became Oklahoma’s premiere radio station with studios in the Skirvin Tower near downtown Oklahoma City. In 1941 WKY staff auditioned the horror series Dark Fantasy. According to The Oklahoman: “…WKY will demonstrate that it has reached full maturity by inaugurating a series of programs Friday on the NBC red network…”(Oklahoman, 11/13/41) The article professed: “Friday night it will become the first station outside of New York, Hollywood and Chicago from which a dramatic production has been originated for the national chain.” The show was presented over more than 125 stations.


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