A Buffalonian right from the start, Mary Brady joined the staff at WEBR as a switchboard operator after graduating from college in 1946. She always loved music and began to work with the record librarian on a part time basis, but when that librarian left the station in 1947, the job was offered to Mary. In those days, Mary recounts, we would pull half-hour segments of music by artists like Guy Lombardo or Sammy Kaye. We also had a subscription service and took afternoon shows from the Mutual Network.
In the 1950’s, the station’s morning host started adding time, temperature, and news items and within a relative few years, the half hour segments and network service were gone. They were replaced by disc jockeys and more music-centered programming. Bob Wells used his afternoon show to develop the Hi-Teen Club, where area teens could dance to Rock’n Roll records or live music. The Hi-Teen show was the model for Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.
Record promoters, like Jack Reilly and Frankie Nestro, stopped by the station on a weekly basis to talk about music and occasionally bring a star to the station.
As music taste and programming changed, Mary had to track down the new music and make it available. Music went from the relatively short Sing Along with Mitch era to the longer-lived easy listening Sound of the City years to contemporary, and then rock. Music was always changing, but it was always in good hands with Mary.
Mary’s career spanned the end of the fabled Golden Age of Radio through the transition to easy listening and contemporary. She often had to develop her own cataloging systems, and when a harried production director would run into the library to ask for a specific piece of music or something that sounds like something else, she could point, name an album, and say blue jacket, second side, on the 3rd shelf in that cabinet, and be right.
When Western New York Public Broadcasting purchased the signal, news and talk took the place of the contemporary format and Mary, who had always programmed the music on the 94.5-FM side in addition to WEBR-AM, began helping Peter Goldsmith develop an entirely new library for WNED-FM’s.
While she retired in 1999, Mary continues to volunteer, answering phones during membership drives on WNED AM & FM.