Mary Louise Brady, retired music librarian for WEBR-WNED Radio and a member of the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame, died Friday (April 18, 2014) at the age of 89. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Wednesday, April 23, at 9:30am at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 263 Claremont Avenue, Town of Tonawanda. Her family will receive friends Tuesday from 4 to 8pm at the C. Mertz and Son Funeral Home at 911 Englewood Avenue.
Ms. 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. When that librarian left the station in 1947, the job was offered to Mary. “In those days,”Â 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 1950s, WEBR’s programming was more music-centered, with Ms. Brady overseeing the record library. 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.
Ms. Brady met with record promoters, like Jack Reilly and Frankie Nestro, who stopped by the station on a weekly basis to talk about music and occasionally brought a star.
As music tastes and programming changed, Mary had to track down the new music and make it available. Music went from the “Sing Along with Mitch” era to the easy listening “Sound of the City” years and finally to contemporary and rock. Music was always changing, but it was always in good hands with Mary.
Ms. Brady’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”Â 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 at AM 970. So, Ms. Brady began helping Program Director Peter Goldsmith develop an entirely new library for WNED-FM’s classical service at 94.5FM.
After she retired in 1999, Ms. Brady continued to volunteer, answering phones during membership drives on WNED.