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Waldberg Brown


Waldberg Brown

Waldberg BrownWaldberg Brown wore a lot of different hats.  He was known as everything from an orchestra leader to a turkey farmer, but for many years Brown was general manager of WDOK.  He was given a fiddle at age six and despite early aspirations to play baseball professionally his musical talents soon won out..  Brown first gained prominence with a 1919 newspaper article proclaiming, "Lorain Boy, 15, Leads 60-Piece Orchestra".  Brown trained and directed a grade school orchestra, but also won acclaim for leading the Liberty Loan and War Savings Stamp Drive along with other civic projects.   Brown was a hustler in the best sense of the word moving more than $14,000 in Victory Bonds, along with taking first honors in the War Savings Stamp speaking contest.  He also was awarded a first aid-button for helping with the influenza epidemic that had ravaged Northeast Ohio along with the rest of the country.     By 1924 he was heard playing his viola along with other students from the Cleveland Institute of Music on the earliest broadcasts of WTAM.  It came naturally to Brown, who was a music teacher while in his teens.  Among his students was 13-year old  Hal Waddell who would also go on to a radio career on WJW. 

Brown won high acclaim for his musical skills taking top honors at the age of 21 in the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs and the Ohio Music Teachers Federation statewide competitions. At this time he was still a student at the Institute of Music and a contract violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra.  But Brown enjoyed more popular musical trends as well.  In 1927 he was playing violin for Ev Jones Blue Flash Indians Group on WTAM, and the following year was heard on WHK as part of a string quartet.  Brown stayed in radio as a performer and soon made his way through the ranks for a long stay as general manager at WDOK.  In the 1950s he retired to a 50 acre farm in Avon Lake where he raised turkey and some cattle happily calling himself "Farmer Brown."

(Source:  Cleveland Press)

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