In the papers of Bill Edwardsen . . .

Special Collections in Mass Media and Culture contains the papers of Bill Edwardsen. A first inventory of the papers recently revealed a wealth of photographs of pop culture figures.

Bill Edwardsen, a disc jockey who worked from 1949 into the new millennium, loved the music and entertainment of his heyday. He had a personal collection of over 6,000 records from big bands, 1950s crooners, and Broadway tunes. He attempted to play “his kind” of music for the rest of his career, and thanks to a later nostalgia movement, was rather successful in his quest.

Edwardsen refused to play rock. And country. And he didn’t like talk radio either. And he didn’t want to switch from records to tapes. This aversion to change caused him to twice leave a stable, popular post in search of a chance to play the kind of music he liked.

Edwardsen believed strongly that a disc jockey should get out of the studio to promote and improve his work. In addition to appearing at over a hundred local events per year at the height of his success, he traveled to conduct interviews with celebrities, pseudocelebrities, and anyone who might have something interesting to say. He kept a labeled collection of snapshots of himself with these figures. The photos date from the 1970s, during Edwardsen’s time at WQBK-AM, Albany. It is unclear where Edwardsen interviewed his guests, but the same sofa is visible in the Hope, Channing, and Rivers pictures. The pictures are somewhat bent with age.

Bob and Dolores Hope and unidentified dog

Cab Calloway

Carol Channing

Ed McMahon

Joan Rivers

Phyllis Diller

Post written by Ashley S. Behringer, Student Assistant

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