by Jim Bates


I grew up the Vailsburg section and, as a young boy, I got my first glimpse of television in 1947. Before TV, we had the radio on constantly. The station which was usually on was WAAT which broadcast out of Newark. One show in particular comes to mind "Requestfully Yours" with Paul Brenner hosting. He was one of the original DJ's and would take phone-in requests, and play them for a grateful audience.

Well, television caught on, and the shows we used to listen to on the radio were now regular series on TV Jack Benny, The Life of Riley, etc.

Eventually WAAT faded into obscurity. One day in the mid 80's I was working at my part-time job at Macy's in Toms River, where I sold electronics. An older couple came in to buy a stereo radio, and when the wife handed me her Macy's credit card, it read "Mrs. Paul Brenner". I immediately said to Mr. Brenner "You hosted a radio show in Newark when I was growing up". He protested that I was much too young to remember such a thing, but when I started to sing his theme song, he was convinced, and was touched that someone remembered him from back then. He was older and now confined to a wheelchair. He spearheaded a campaign which put heavy fines on those who parked in a handicapped parking space which was reserved for the disabled.

Mr. Brenner died a few years later, but before that happened, whenever he came into Macy's, always stopped by my department to say hello, and to share memories of the Good Old Newark we all remember fondly.

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