DUDLEY SHAW

FATHER OF KOMA RADIO
by Graham Pugh
 
  Sources for this biography include the 1930 United States Census; 1940 United States Census; The Oklahoman Newspaper; Polk City Directories and Internet publications.


 
  Dudley Shaw was born in Illinois in 1885. He attended elementary and high school in St. Louis, Missouri and completed his education at the Armour Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois.

Upon completion of his education, he became associated with the Western Electric Supply Company of St. Louis and held several engineering positions in the oil and construction industries.

Dudley Shaw


Mr. Shaw and his wife Elsie came to Oklahoma City in 1921, first living at 425 W. 6th Street. Soon thereafter, he founded the National Radio Manufacturing Company (1922). The company initially manufactured radio equipment at a facility located at 406 North Hudson Avenue, but in 1925 operated radio station KFJF as a commercial broadcasting entity.

KFJF Radio grew to be a major player in the radio industry with a signal that could be heard as far away as New Jersey (according to one account). Mr. Shaw served as engineer and spokesperson for the station.
During his association with the radio industry, Dudley Shaw urged President Calvin Coolidge to federally regulate radio. Shaw, backed by other prominent broadcasters, helped motivate the government to form the Federal Radio Commission, the forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Shaw retained his engineering position with KFJF Radio throughout a series of ownerships. In 1932 changes were imminent and a proposal to change the station call letters to KOMA was made. The proposal also called for the removal of transmitting equipment from the Nicoma Park site. The proposed actions were legally contested in a suit by Mr. G.A. Nichols (of Nichols Hills fame), however the suit was later dismissed.

Radio station KOMA went on the air for the first time on Friday, October 28, 1932. Mr. Shaw served as engineer for a brief period and then retired from the radio industry. He then became a salesman.

An example of a radio manufactured by the National Radio Manufacturing Corp., Circa 1923
In 1935, after an unfortunate divorce, Mr. Shaw founded the Shaw Laboratories Cement Block Manufacturing Corporation, 125 – 127 E. Main, Oklahoma City. The company later became known as the Fireproof Housing Corporation with Mr. Shaw serving as Vice President. This did not prove to be a successful venture and in 1941 he took employment in the construction trade as a steam fitter.

Mr. Dudley Shaw passed away at the age of 58 years on March 31, 1943. He had no children.