Did You Know: Valley Broadcast Museum Highlights Industry History

August 16, 2013

Wallace and Ladmo, Dick Van Dyke, Jack Clifford, Al McCoy. These are the stories and people you can learn about at a broadcasting museum.

museum One of the rooms of the House of Broadcasting museum. It is decked out with equipment and framed photos on the wall. (Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez-KJZZ)

KJZZ's Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez explored the unique place located in the Valley.

Broadcasting in Arizona began with an AM station in the 1920s. By the late 1940s and early 1950s, television and FM stations in the Valley hit the airways. Did You Know the broadcasting museum in Scottsdale chronicles the industry in the state?

“You can walk through here and realize not only the history of broadcasting in AZ, but realize the importance that broadcasting has played on the shaping of this valley,” said Maurie Helle.

Helle  is a board member of the House of Broadcasting, Arizona’s radio and television museum. It is located on the second floor of a jewelry gallery on 5th Avenue in Scottsdale.

”It’s big and it’s like four rooms of an apartment that once was an apartment," Helle said. "Yeah, we don’t have a bathroom, but we have a lot of stuff."

exhibit The Wallace and Ladmo exhibit at the museum named after the children's program. (Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez-KJZZ

The cozy place is filled with all kinds of broadcasting memorabilia, photos, newspaper clippings, instruments and production equipment.

“This really has a lot of the old equipment that we used. The old radio consoles, the old switchers for television,” Helle said.

As we walked from room to room, Helle highlighted moments in local broadcasting history. He pointed to photos of Dick van Dyke who once co-owned a Phoenix AM station, KOOL-TV, which was co-owned by western film star Gene Autry. And at an outfit and a photo of Mary Jo West, the first woman to anchor a newscast in Phoenix.

He then walked over to a display of the Wallace and Ladmo Show, one of the longest running children’s program that filled Arizona airways for 35 years on Channel 5.

“They were lucky enough to have not only Bill Thompson but Ladmo and then the multi-talented Pat McMahon. It’s amazing to have that kind of talent in three guys," Helle said. 

equipment Old broadcast equipment fills the rooms at the House of Broadcasting Museum. (Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez-KJZZ)

Helle has also been in broadcasting for more than 50 years, producing and directing news, commercials and programs in the Valley. So if you are lucky enough to get someone like him to give you a tour, you might just get a story you never heard before.

As he pointed to a photo with Linda Carter he said, “As a matter of fact it was…I was judge when she was vying for Ms Arizona. I talked the judges into making Ms. Arizona," Helle explained. "She went on to win Miss U.S.A., and then she went on to win Miss World."

"You are the reason why," I said.

"That’s right. Totally unknown to anybody, and she became Wonder Woman," Helle said.

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