Who Knew? Now artistically abandoned, the Crosley Building once housed the 'Nation's Station'

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is home to many fascinating facts, offbeat oddities, and "I did not know that," moments. With that in mind, WCPO asks "Who Knew?"

Detroit has Motown. Memphis has Stax. The Tri-State its own claims on music greatness. Not only was Cincinnati the birthplace of legendary record label and studio, King Records, the city was the site of the nation's leading radio station. Its home was in the Crosley Building.

What is it? Crosley Building, once home to the most powerful radio station in the country
Where can I see it? 3401 Spring Grove Avenue, Camp Washington
Who knew? Richard Von Nida, Cincinnati Heritage Programs docent

While driving southbound along I-75, many may notice a prominent building located along of Spring Grove Avenue. What now sits in artistic abandon once housed the nation's leading radio station, Crosley, which originated in the building erected in 1928. The station still exists today; listeners know it as WLW.

Q&A with Richard Von Nida

1. How did Crosley become the most powerful radio station in the country?

The FCC granted Crosley the right as an experiment of 500,000 watts in 1934. This station was given the call sign WLW and was referred to as the "Nation's Station" since its reach was so vast. It carried the widest range of any U.S. radio signal. The limit today is only 50,000 watts.

2. What music was played on the channel?

Crosley broadcasted early jazz and country music. At the time these genres were called "Race" and "Hillbilly" music, respectively. The 500,000 watts made otherwise local artists known on the national level. Performers, entertainers and advertisers flocked to Cincinnati to be on the radio.

3. How many artists did Crosley promote?

On any given day, it would have 40 to 50 regular musicians and 75 Hillbilly (Country) musicians working in their studio.

4. How did this influx of music influence Cincinnati?

The wave of artists made Cincinnati the leading city of recording music, rising in popularity before Detroit or Nashville.

5. What is the future of the Crosley Building?

Word around town is that the building may be soon converted into loft apartments. Editor's Note: In May, The Cincinnati Business Courier reported that Core Redevelopment of Indianapolis has a plan to convert the Crosley Building into apartments. 

MORE

Connect with WCPO Contributor Paige E. Malott on Twitter: @Paigetastic01 , and check out her blog CincyWhimsy.com

Check back next week for another edition of "Who Knew?" If you have an tip, idea or question email: holly.edgell@wcpo.com.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.