William L. Klein and the Germania Broadcast
Much of the history of both William L. Klein and the Germania Broadcast is ably and knowledgeably summarized by Egmont Sonderling in his write-up, "A Tribute to the Founder of the Germania Broadcast (1952)". The program ran from 1927 to the beginning of the 1970s. It survived the Great Depression and WWII. It also survived continual changes in technology and methods of communication. Radio, in the mid-to-late Twenties, was the Internet of its day. Things needed to be worked out. Hosting a regular program in a foreign language for example, was an innovation -- something that needed special permission from regulators in Washington.
Popularity of the program was immense. It had what nowadays might be termed 'spin-offs'; this included everything from Summer Festivals attended by tens of thousands of Chicagoans to annual Group Trips to Europe whose purpose (among other things) was to explore new music and bring it back to America. The program remained an institution throughout the Fifties and Sixties though by this latter date its audience of German-speaking listeners slowly began to diminish. Mr. Klein continued to broadcast the show if only for two hours on Sundays, through the early Seventies.
Creation of the Germania Broadcast Website
This site is dedicated to the memory of both the broadcast and its founder, William L. Klein. It has been put together thanks to the efforts of Mr. Klein's sons and daughter, Leo, Julius and Regina, their mother and Mr. Klein's wife, Marilyn L. Klein, as well as audio digitization help from Bob Wayne. Material for the site initially was based on the "Anniversary Album", produced in 1952 in honor of the program's 25th Anniversary. We also included and will continue to include other photos, brochures, and newspaper and magazine articles as they turn up. This very much is a work in progress.
Audio files came from reel-to-reel tapes that William Klein kept. They were either of important broadcasts, important events connected to the program, or related tapes of family events. It is an interesting collection -- in quite frail condition -- that we are slowly digitizing and intend to make available to the public on this site.
Leo Robert Klein