Karl Bonawitz
WIP Radio Organist
circa 1924

The Radio Organ Has Its Day!

Karl Bonawitz, of WIP, Proves that Even an Organist Can be Popular

By Harry Aldyne
(reprinted from Radio Age Magazine, November 1924)

To Karl Bonawitz, Organist of Station WIP, goes the palm of victory for receiving the greatest number of popularity votes through the period between Aug. 16 and Sept. 15.

Incidentally, the great wave of sentiment in his favor made him not only victor for the month, but carried the popular musician to a point of vantage at the head of the list where is shown the standing of the candidates to date, from the beginning of the contest last July. But the real contest is only one quarter of the way through, and if history repeats itself, each thirty days will change the complexion of things decidedly before the final count is made.

Those who have not been following the RADIO AGE Popularity Contest, and therefore may not know what it is all about may be guided by the following: Clip the Popularity Contest Coupon from this and the back numbers of RADIO AGE and send in the name of your Radio favorite. You will take particular note that your candidate may be any person, or group of persons, in any way identified with the great radio industry.

Each month there will appear in the columns of RADIO AGE an intimate write-up about the candidate receiving the greatest number of votes during the thirty days of the second month preceding.

In the meantime, a careful record is being kept of the total number of votes received for each of the candidates, and at the end of the twelve month period the winner will be crowned king (or queen) of them all. So far, with the major contest only one quarter of the way through, The Duncan Sisters, Bill Hay and Karl Bonawitz have led the field for the month during July, August and September in the order named.

And here is Karl Bonawitz, the first organist we know of who ever walked away with a Radio Popularity Contest. Karl performs regularly from WIP, Philadelphia.

Karl Bonawitz - Organist, WIP, Philadelphia

Karl Bonawitz - Organist, WIP, Philadelphia
H. W. Arlin - Announcer, KDKA, Pittsburgh
Bill Hay - Announcer, KFKA, Hastings
Lambdin Kay - Announcer, WSB, Atlanta
John S. Daggett - Announcer, KHJ, Los Angeles
Jack Nelson - Formerly Announcer, WGN, Chicago
E. W. Tyson - Announcer, WWJ, Detroit
Harry M. Snodgrass - Entertainer, WOS, Jefferson City
"Hired Hand" - Announcer, WBAP, Fort Worth
Edward H. Smith - Director & Player, WGY, Schenectady
J. Remington Welsch - Organist, KYW, Chicago
Bert Davis - Entertainer, WGN, Chicago
Duncan Sisters - Entertainers, KYW, Chicago
"Husk" O'Hare's Orchestra - Entertainer, WLS, Chicago
Nicholis B. Harris - Entertainer, KFI, Los Angeles
Wendell Hall - Entertainer, WDAF, Kansas City
Jerry Sullivan - Director, Entertainer WQJ, Chicago

The above are some of the leaders, showing their relative positions and counting all votes from the beginning of the contest. How will they stand next month and who will receive the greatest number of votes through the coming months?

The December number of RADIO AGE will have a story about the candidate receiving the greatest number of votes from September 16th to October 15th. The November contest closes November 15th. December contest closes December 15th.

Will you be one of those to give your radio idol the fitting and lasting tribute he deserves by sending your vote to the Popularity Contest Editor of RADIO AGE? Do it NOW!

A Word About Bonawitz

Karl Bonawitz, or KB, as he is familiarly known by the hundreds of thousands of radio fans who have heard him over WIP, is one of the pioneer organists in radio broadcasting. The first organ recital was broadcast from the Germantown Theater, Philadelphia, on May 15, 1923, and during the following year and a half more than two thousand compositions have been played and broadcast through WIP, owned and operated by Gimbel Brothers, Philadelphia. Four thousand letters and cards and seven hundred and thirty telegrams have been received directly by Karl Bonawitz in appreciation of his unusual programs.

Bonawitz was born in Philadelphia in 1894, and studied organ, piano and musical composition in that city, in London and in Berlin. His broadcasts from WIP have entertained countless thousands of radio fans. "Bonawitz can make the organ talk" has been heard often from his listeners-in. The wonderful personality that Karl broadcasts with his music is not acted. He is that way all day long and all year 'round. Having "at his finger tips" one of the largest organs in the country, he is able to broadcast many interesting effects from WIP.

Perhaps one of the reasons why Bonawitz continues to draw most of the votes is the unusual co-operation Station WIP
is giving RADIO AGE in its popularity contest. Ether fans who listen in regularly to WIP's programs have been told to vote for their favorite, and almost unanimously they have lined behind the organist. Other stations, particularly KYW of Chicago and KFKX at Hastings, Neb., are doing the same thing, and as a result their announcers and entertainers are leading the field. This just goes to show what a bit of co-operation on the part of your favorite radio station can do. So ask your announcer to urge his listeners to vote for his entertainers, you fans! Every vote counts, especially when the contest is as close at it is at present.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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