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Mark Olds Papers

 Collection 0016-MMC
Mark Olds was a program director and general manager of several radio stations. He received a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1941. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the European theater from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of captain. He began his commercial radio career as an announcer. He first moved into a management role at KYW, Philadelphia. Olds was the longtime general manager of WWRL in New York, a prominent station catering to a primarily black audience. The Mark Olds Collection covers the years 1930 to 2009, with the bulk of the collection from 1968 to 1977. The collection documents Olds's work as a program director and general manager of various radio stations, but particularly WWRL. Materials in the collection include WWRL working documents, letters to the station, and anti-WWRL publications. The collection contains many materials, including clippings from some rare publications, on the subject of black radio in general. The collection also holds many clippings on the topics of payola and obscenity. Other notable papers include materials collected at WMAQ about pronunciation and an excerpt from Olds's unpublished memoir. A large quantity of audio tapes contain various productions from stations at which Olds worked.

Dates

  • 1930-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1968-1977

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research use.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials page for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

4.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Mark Olds Collection covers the years 1930 to 2009, with the bulk of the collection from 1968 to 1977. The collection documents Olds's work as a program director and general manager of various radio stations, but particularly WWRL in New York. WWRL, a station that catered to an African-American audience despite being managed mostly by whites, was the center of local controversy. Materials in the collection portray multiple points of view through WWRL working documents, letters to the station, and anti-WWRL publications. The collection contains many materials, including clippings from some rare publications, on the subject of black radio in general. The collection also holds many clippings on the topics of payola, the illegal practice of DJs taking favors for playing certain songs, and obscenity. Other notable papers include materials collected at WMAQ about pronunciation and an excerpt from Olds's unpublished memoir. A large quantity of audio tapes contain various productions from stations at which Olds worked.

Biography

Mark Olds was a program director and general manager of several radio stations. He received a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1941. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the European theater from 1942 to 1946, attaining the rank of captain. He began his commercial radio career as an announcer for stations WSAY, Rochester, KOLO, Reno, WNLC, New London, and WIP and WCAU, Philadelphia. He first moved into a management role at KYW, Philadelphia. One of his hires there was Phil Donahue. Olds was the longtime general manager of WWRL in New York, a prominent station catering to a primarily black audience. (See below for complete list of management positions.) After his retirement from broadcasting Olds taught courses in broadcast management at Fordham University from 1984 to 1991. Mark Olds died of a stroke at age 88 in 2009.

  • 1951-1955, Producer and Program Director, KYW, Philadelphia
  • 1955-1959, Program Director, KYW, Philadelphia
  • 1959-1962, Program Director, WNEW, New York
  • 1963-1964, General Manager, WINS, New York
  • 1964-1967, General Manager, WMAQ, Chicago
  • 1967-1968, General Manager, KATZ, St. Louis
  • 1968-1978, General Manager, WWRL, New York
  • 1978-1982, President, Riverside Broadcasting Company; General Manager, WWRL and WRVR, New York

Arrangement

Organized as two series:
Series 1
Papers
Series 2
Audio Tapes

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains audiovisual materials. Items that cannot be used in the Special Collections reading room or are too fragile for researchers require that a digital copy be made prior to use. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit.

Custodial History

Sally Wendkos Olds donated the papers of her recently deceased husband to the Radio History Society in May of 2010. The Society conveyed to Mrs. Olds that the materials were more appropriate to the Library of American Broadcasting. In August, Mrs. Olds donated the tape part of the collection directly to the LAB.

Related Material

A letter from Olds concerning the liberation of Dachau appears in the volume Lines of battle : letters from American servicemen: 1941-1945, edited by Annette Tapert, 1987. This book is available in McKeldin Library.

Processing Information

Materials arrived in no discernible order and were rearranged by station during processing. Materials were placed into acid-free folders and put into acid-free boxes.
Title
Guide to the Mark Olds papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Ashley S. Behringer.
Date
2013-02
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212