Cause and Effect presents:

cit sitting next to radio

The Story of WHER, America’s Pioneering, First All-Woman Radio Station

 

When Sam Phillips sold Elvis’ contract in 1955 he used the money to start an all woman radio station in Memphis, TN. Set in a pink, plush studio in the nation’s third Holiday Inn, it was a novelty—but not for long. He hired models, beauty queens, actresses, telephone operators. Some were young mothers who just needed a job. WHER was the first radio station to feature women as more than novelties and sidekicks. The WHER girls were broadcasting pioneers.

 

Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, Vietnam, and the death of Martin Luther King—the story of WHER follows the women who pioneered in broadcasting as they head into one of the most dramatic and volatile times in the nation’s history. “WHER was the embryo of the egg,” said Sam Phillips. “We broke a barrier. There was nothing like it in the world.”

 

From 1955 into the mid-1970s they ruled the airwaves with style, wit and imagination. WHER lasted through 1973, only two years after the National Press Club opened its membership to women.

 

Here’s to the women of WHER —Becky Phillips, Marge Thrasher, Janie Joplin, and Bettye Berger who have all passed on to that big radio station in the sky.

 

SOURCES:

The Kitchen Sisters

 

 

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    Cause and Effect    May 18th, 2024

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