I Looked and I Listened, Ben Gross, 1954, pages 66-67:
It may amuse you to read a story which Bruce Reynolds, a popular actor and lecturer, told in my column. One morning in 1922, he saw an ad in the New York Times announcing that A.T.&T. was "considering" the acceptance of advertising on its radio station WEAF.
"I rushed downtown to the station and made them an audacious proposal," Bruce said. "I offered to buy all of WEAF's commercial time. They said they would consider it and, in the meanwhile, they'd be willing to sell me some fifteen-minute segments for one hundred dollars each. So I raced about the city trying to interest manufacturers and merchants in going on the radio but most of them laughed at me.
"Finally, however, I succeeded in signing Coty's Perfume, United Cigar Stores, Bossert Houses and several others. I made many thousands on the resale of time and broadcast four or five different products every night. It was a real bonanza."
Then A.T.&T. complained. Its officials said Reynolds' straight sales talks were too blatant. "Be more subtle," they suggested, "so that the listeners won't realize it's advertising."
"As a result," Bruce continued, "I hired people with names, such as Texas Guinan, to deliver the talks and to be more 'subtle' about it. But again the WEAF management said too many listeners were protesting and they finally put me off the air."
Now Bruce made the rounds of other stations, among them WOR. The Bamberger executives were horrified at his proposal. "Never!" one of them exclaimed. "We wouldn't prostitute our station by accepting outside advertising!"
"Next, I met a manufacturer of electrical machinery who owned station WAAM, also in Newark," said Reynolds. "I offered to bring my former WEAF advertising to him. The mere mention of this caused him to frown. He said he feared that using his outlet for commercial purposes might cause him to lose his license."
Then with considerable trepidation the WAAM owner asked that Bruce "sound out" one of the U.S. Department of Commerce radio inspectors who had his headquarters at the Customs House. The eager salesman met this official; they became friendly and one day Reynolds invited him to lunch at the Lambs Club.
"If you tune in WAAM and heard advertising on it, would the station lose its license?" he asked the inspector.
"Well," said that gentleman with a smile, "I may not always be listening."
A few days later, Bruce Reynolds' commercials became profitable features on WAAM. But for a considerable time thereafter the station owner refused to accept his pay in checks.
"He insisted on cash," Bruce said. "Once a week, as if we were two shady characters, we met secretly in the lobby of the Hotel McAlpin. There, in a secluded corner, first making sure that no one observed us, I passed to him an envelope filled with greenbacks. You see, he did not want any written evidence that he was selling time on his station!"