Do you know the story behind your station's call letters? If you do, you
ought to get in touch with Ira Tumpowsky. He's just retired from the Ad Council
and intends to dedicate his next few years to a book on call letters and what
According to Tumpowsky, some call letters -- like KDKA of the pioneering
Pittsburgh AM station -- mean nothing at all. They were just randomly assigned by the
government, he said.
But most calls tell something of the station's history or the community it
serves, he added. KTRH mean "Kome to The Rice Hotel," the hotel where the Houston
AM got its start, he said.
Many are mysteries or partial mysteries. For instance, Tumpowsky knows that
WMAQ of NBC's Chicago TV station stands for "We Must Ask Questions," but he
doesn't know why. "Was it a talk, call-in type of format?" he asked.
In any event, Tumpowsky would appreciate your call-letter stories.
His contact info: 25 Colony Road, Westport, Conn.,
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