A web site established to honor the centennial of Alan Scott's birthday
December 18, 2009

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Alan Scott

December 18, 1909-January 22, 1978

Text to the right courtesy of Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia

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Read the entire article.

In the late 1920s and early 30s, radio was still finding its own way. Everything was done live. Scott was plunged into work that required him to be newsman, commentator, weatherman, host, disc jockey, and sportscaster. Sports events had to be relayed from the stadiums to the studio, and Scott found a way to simulate the type of play-by-play commentary that we now take so much for granted.

alan scott at the microphone in a pensive mood

But it was commentary where Scott was in his element. His politically progressive messages struck a cord with his listeners, but often angered those who were the targets of his acerbic eloquence. He was instrumental in getting city workers covered by medical insurance, another part of modern life that we take for granted. Several times Scott found himself at odds with those in authority. Then Mayor S. David Wilson once threatened to have Scott arrested on some charges that were never explained. Once, in the late 1930s, Scott complained about the quality and safety of the city’s drinking water.

“It’s a disgrace and it’s dangerous,” he said in a broadcast. “And that’s how it will remain unless you demand that something be done about it.”

The response was so powerful that the city’s postal service contacted him, begging him to tell his listeners to stop their letter-writing campaign to City Hall. They weren’t able to handle the volume.

“Certainly it was the all-time record number of letters in response to either a radio or TV broadcast in Philadelphia,” said legendary anchorman (and Broadcast Pioneers member) John Facenda. “Only someone with Scotty’s magnetism could have brought it off.”