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A Station Manager At Age Nine

Willard on WRC-TV in 1955 This article originally appeared in the Washington DC edition of TV Guide, March 26 - April 1, 1955.

Willard Scott has had his bright brown eye on the broadcasting field from the time he was eight and watched Eric Sevareid do a newscast in 1942. During the program he wormed his way into the control room, and a career was born.

In his Alexandria, Va., neighborhood he organized a group of 15 boys into a radio club which was active from the time they were 9 until they were 15. The club broadcast to 20 neighborhood homes within a radius of 180 feet of the installation, a miniature transmitter operating with a phonograph oscillator. The club netted about $25 a month in commercial revenue from neighborhood businesses. They further increased their income by passing the hat to occasional audiences of parents when they gave performances with puppets and rented film. Admission price was a war savings stamp which they added up to the purchase of war bonds.

There was considerable talent in this group of boys; several are now announcers, one a producer with the Voice of America, another a ceramics designer, and another is studying to be a rabbi.

Scott was active in radio during high school years, having started in 1947 with a Saturday school news report on an FM station. For the past four years he has been associated with WRC, at the same time carrying a 15-hour philosophy and religion course at American University. During his first two years with the station he served as a page on weekends; the last two he has worked as a performer.

Scott has natural charm and a buoyant manner. In spite of his tom-foolery on WRC-TV's Afternoon, this 6-feet 3-inch, 225-pound youngster is a serious-minded performer who obviously intends to let little divert him from his profession. The Army is waiting for Willard when he gets his degree in June and he intends to take his chances with the draft. But his long-range plans for a career remain in broadcasting.

TV Guide cover with Gale Gordon and Eve Arden

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