National VOA Museum Honors Clyde Haehnle, Hosts Mike Reid Concert

May 10, 2016

Clyde Haehnle with one of the giant tubes from WLW-AM's 500,000-watt transmitter used in the 1930s.
Credit Provided by Clyde Haehnle

Veteran broadcasting engineer and executive Clyde Haehnle will be honored Friday when the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting names its new meeting and exhibit space Clyde Haehnle Hall.

Haehnle, 93, a VOA Museum board member, has been a huge supporter of the museum effort at the VOA's Bethany Relay Station, where he worked as a University of Cincinnati electrical engineering co-op for Crosley Broadcasting. Crosley built the facility in 1942-44 during World War II.

Haehnle Hall will be open for tours Saturday, May 21, for the monthly 1-4 p.m. third Saturday of the month open house at the VOA, 8070 Tylersville Road, West Chester Township. 

Haehnle is a walking history text and my go-to-guy for information about the VOA relay station, WLW-AM's 500,000-watt broadcasts (1934-39), and Crosley/AVCO Broadcasting's operations of WLWT-TV, WLW-AM and their sister stations.

The historic VOA building, 7080 Tylersville Road, West Chester Township.
Credit John Kiesewetter

After graduating from UC in 1948, Haehnle joined Crosley full-time as an engineer and eventually supervised the development of television stations, new AM transmitter technology and shortwave propagation engineering. He was vice president of engineering for AVCO Broadcasting (formerly Crosley) until 1976, when he became a R.C. Crisler Co. broadcast station broker. He helped form Jacor Communications (the parent for WLW-AM and WEBN-FM), which later became part of Clear Channel Communications and now iHeart Media.

The new Haehnle Hall is part of the $12-million National VOA Museum of Broadcasting effort headed by Jack Dominic, former WCET-TV executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Mike Reid
Credit VOA Museum

One of the first major fund-raising efforts will be a June 4 concert by Mike Reid, the only Cincinnati Bengals lineman to win a Grammy Award, with Carmon DeLeone and the New Studio Big Band, at the VOA. Tickets ($100 each) are available by calling the museum at 513-777-0027. 

The iconic 30,000 square foot VOA building once housed six high-powered transmitters broadcasting programming in 20 languages over 50 years (1945-1995). It will become a "historical center that will not only explain the significance of what happened there in the past, but how technology, honesty and the creative spirit… are still relevant today in spreading truth and providing encouragement globally to those seeking information without political bias," says the VOA Museum website. The VOA Museum will include related collections from Media Heritage's Cincinnati radio/TV archives and the Gray History of Wireless Museum antique radios.

Reid was the Bengals' first round draft pick (7th overall) in 1970 from Penn State. In five Bengals seasons, he went to the Pro Bowl twice (1972, '73) and was named to 17 various all-pro teams.

He won the 1984 Grammy Award for best country song for "Stranger In My House." 

A Who's Who of musicians from Alabama to Willie Nelson have recorded his songs, including: Prince, Tim McGraw, Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, Bonnie Raitt, Bette Midler, Wynonna Judd, Ann Murray, Marie Osmond, Tanya Tucker, Collin Ray, Anita Baker, Nancy Wilson, George Michael and Etta James.