Max Cole, the Voice of Riverside, Honored
Posted on Riverside Blog July 07, 2006
For those of you who don’t know or may not remember WRVR, they were the call letters for a radio station once owned by The Riverside Church. The station began broadcasting on January 1st 1961 at 12 noon as an inaugural member of a newly formed non-profit Educational Radio Network. It was one of the seeds planted for what we now know of today as National Public Radio.
The Voice of Riverside - 1/1961 to 4/2006
WRVR was charged with "the responsibility of serving the tastes, interests, needs and desires of the people of the Metropolitan New York City Area… presenting information, fine arts, religious and educational programming." By all standards, as a media innovator for the religious community, Riverside Church was at the top of its class. The words of the then Senior Minister, Robert Mc Cracken, captured the spirit of those times. "Christianity is concerned with every province of human life. The church should weild a broad cultural influence and endeavor to lift the whole level of the life of society…Our radio station is a pioneering venture with this as an objective."
Due to illness Max Cole did not attend Sunday's service. His service to the church recently ended on April 1, 2006 when he finally accepted that he was unable to perform his duties to his own very high standards. His words to one of the Riverside technicians that day were “ I just can’t do this anymore.. I’m exhausted.”
In addition to voicing the Sunday Worship Service Max was also the jazz impresario at WRVR. His "Just Jazz" and "More Jazz" were very popular programs with the WRVR listening audience. He also covered Dr. King's "I have a Dream" speech in 1963 and was very proud of the station’s commitment to social justice. He vividly remembers the day an WRVR reporter was kicked out of a secret KKK meeting for having a tape recorder.
The Riverside Church thanks Max Cole for his enduring spirit and the love and dedication he brought to his work