A Tradition for Central
Arthur Lynch & Lee Lynch
1937-- The Beginning
The little radio station at Tuscola was beckoning new talent to
"come up and work." Lee Lynch took them up and started a weekly
news show, billing himself as the Coles County Reporter.
Lee Lynch was a very
popular and well known radio announcer and later
Illinois State Representative for Coles County
The Coles County Reporter Tradition Starts
employer, newspaper publisher, Benjamin Weir, of the Charleston
Courier hit the ceiling. Lee resigned the Courier
and moved to the Daily News to work for a new
publisher, John Rardin. This is the first example in Coles
County, Illinois of a newspaper writer switching to the new wireless
medium, and getting in trouble for it. No doubt local stations
all over the country had to compete with the printed medium. A
little competition for any business is good! Even when the second
Coles County Reporter would do her early morning programs, the Courier
editor would listen in and "borrow" her headlines. Here's some
photos and stories of these interesting pioneers of local radio news
reporting: Lee Lynch and Louise (Lynch) Taylor. Their
careers would run from 1937 through the late 1960's.
Lee Lynch, Charleston (Coles County) Native
Moves from Print to the New Radio
"Coles County Marches On"
News was personal!
Local news reporting during the early
years seemed to be very personal. People's lives were a showcase
and even if a listener didn't know who the person was, they could
celebrate or mourn with them just like they would if they were related
or friends. The Depression ruled many lives during the 1930's,
and then the "Big War" would rule during the first half of the
40's. There was no TV to distract families and listeners.
Family, church and the radio were major elements in this period's
family life and entertainment in Central Illinois.
News & Events
will show more of Lee's News Columns
Golden Age of Radio
Let's start this journey of the dynasty of the Lynches
of Charleston, Illinois, with the pre-radio generation.
This family had connections with
news reporting and radio from the earliest days. The Story starts
about 1897 with the career 0f Art Lynch.
Arthur was a
living history reference of the city of Charleston.
One thing different about his
philosophy and delivery of news, was that of maintaining a neutral
stand on issues. Editorials would not be his personal feature, as
with the other newspapers of Charleston at the time (the Daily
News and the Plain Dealer)
Arthur Lynch's longevity
alone would amaze the average early retiree. Art would start
gathering news for the Charleston Courier in 1901. In a 1945
Eastern State News interview Art Lynch told the story of how he helped
build "Old Main," the original building of the present Eastern Illinois
University in 1896. Art had a near fall from the high walls and
decided a more grounded occupation would be safer. Art would
witness Tom & Alex (fire horses of the new Charleston Fire
Department), as well as the start of of Eastern State College. He
was originally hired by C.L. Lee, Charleston Courier publisher
in 1901, to "go up to the railroad depot to see who was coming
and going." For ten years he would report on daily happenings in
Charleston. He would then move to the position of City Editor and do
that until his death in 1951.
News Gathering "Family Tradition" would
start with Arthur Lynch at the turn of the 20th Century. He would
become City Editor for the Charleston Courier for fifty-one years.
His son, Lee would work with newspaper news
throughout his career, but would break into radio at WDZ in the 1930's.
(3rd from left in back row with the white shirt and tie) seen listening
to important matters at Charleston City Council meeting of
sometime around 1910. Reporting requires field work to gather
news while it happens.