Tyrone History Museum currently features WTRN radio display

The newest display at the Tyrone History Museum features photographs and memorabilia from Tyrone’s radio station, WTRN.
Titled, “Through the years with WTRN”, the display shows many pictures of past and present radio personalities.
The WTRN exhibit, shows over 80 current and past staff members from the past 51 years. From \\\”The Dairy Dip\\\” to photos of sportscasters and DJs, visitors will be sure to see many memorable faces.
Many of the pictures honor those who were associated with the radio station and have passed away, including Betty Simpson, Bill Moses, Tom Riley, Mark Westley, Bruce Wallace, John Eschbach, Big Gene, Johnny Knorr, Jerry Woodring, Glenn Daugherty, Tim Riley, William Robert Fuoss and Jack Swiderski, Jr.
There is also a special salute to Tyrone’s own Will Walk, whose radio career spans 67 years. The display begins with Will as a teenager in high school through 2006, when he will once again be at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park on Tyrone Community Day, interviewing dozens of folks.
As another special treat, visitors can see a wide variety of microphones that have been used throughout the years in the radio business. The showcase features microphones from the 1920s through the 1950s.
There are also many books and records on display, including those of Tyrone’s Fred Waring.
According to information available at the museum, radio broadcasting began in the early 1920s and the William F. Gable Department Store in Altoona brought radio to central Pennsylvania when WFBG went on the air in 1924.
In the late forties, Tyrone had a branch studio, operated by WRTA of Altoona, which was eventually discontinued.
Finally, by the mid-fifties, Tyrone had its own station.
An excerpt from “Tyrone of Today, Volume II” shared a glimpse at the early days of radio in Tyrone.
“Shortly after WTRN first began operations in the mid-fifties, the radio industry was undergoing significant changes because of the birth of television and WTRN was one of the first radio stations to foresee the future direction which radio would be taking.
“While the radio stations in Altoona were still clinging to the last vestiges of so-called ‘old-time radio’ with the soap operas and stories, WTRN pioneered with local disc jockeys and carried the innovation farther by introducing a first – Gretta Lynne Rorabaugh of Tyrone became the first ‘lady DJ’ and was heard five hours daily (playing records).”
The passage went on to explain other radio stations were not doing that yet.
Along with Rorabaugh, other DJs were broadcasting each evening direct from the Dairy Dip, a popular soft-serve ice cream place along Route 220, which catered to young people.
Currently, WTRN remains deeply involved in the community “through local editorializing, Tyrone area newscasts and through coverage of every local parade.
“Every spring the station broadcasts the Memorial Day parade and address at Soldiers Park and in the fall, Veterans Day finds a repeat of the broadcasting schedule. The Halloween parade, the annual Christmas parade and the firemen’s parade are all broadcast from the steps of the Post Office downtown, as well as from mobile units in the parade.”
Wherever there is a special event in Tyrone, WTRN will most likely be seen broadcasting live. Besides the parades, WTRN personalities can also be seen at Tyrone’s Community Day and the Labor Day picnic, not to mention the local sports coverage.
According to Cary Simpson, of WTRN, the current display at the museum offers a lot for visitors, including the many photographs of current and past employees and memories from the Dairy Dip days. It provides a glimpse of a truly unique part of Tyrone’s history.
The Tyrone History Museum is open Sundays and Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m.