Radio Stamps & QSL Cards
A hobby called DXing traces its roots to the earliest days of radio. Basically, people would listen for faraway radio stations, then write a note to the station with some details of what they heard. In many cases, the station would send back a confirmation. The hobbyists would see how many of these confirmations they could collect.
The earliest form of confirmation sent by radio stations in the 1920s was a "Verified Reception Stamp." The Ekko Company of Chicago, Ill. was the first company to create these stamps, although other companies soon created copycat stamps. Radio stations saw the stamps as a potential way to determine the size and location of their listening audience.
Here are some versions of WOWO stamps, produced by the PM Bryant Company of Chicago and American Bank Note Co.:
The PM Bryant Company was out of business by 1927, and it turned out that the stamps were essentially a marketing fad of the 1920s. They were soon replaced by QSL cards, a much more efficient and convenient way for radio stations to promote themselves.
Here is a copy of the first known WOWO QSL card. It was sent to a listener in Toledo, in January, 1926. WOWO had been on the air a mere nine months!
Here is an extraordinarily rare 1932 WOWO QSL card sent to a listener in Massachusetts, courtesy of former WOWO Program Manager Chris Witting:
This is not exactly a QSL, but a 1948 WOWO promotional postcard.
Here is a 1961 WOWO QSL sent to a listener in Sweden.
This version was used for much of the mid-1960s and was occasionally revised as staffers changed.
This WOWO QSL card was first used in October 1967 and remained unchanged until at least the mid-70s.
WOWO's massive 50,000 watt signal covered 28 states, several provinces of Canada and many other parts of the globe! Courtesy of former WOWO Chief Engineer Dave Snyder, here is an internal memo compiled by the WOWO Engineering Dept in 1970:
If you have a QSL card that you would be willing to scan and share, please contact us!
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