Frank O. Sharp · 1966

In 1924, Radio Station WFBM became a reality – thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of three individuals: Clem Portman, John Tribby, and our next inductee – Frank Sharp.

This was quite an accomplishment because two prior radio stations for the Indianapolis area – WLK and WOH – had both folded – mostly because of lack of money. It was on election night, Nov. 4, 1924 that WFBM did its first broadcast. Election returns were announced, and the running mates were Calvin Coolidge and John W. Davis. Merchants Heat and Light Company owned the station and the first studios were in the Indianapolis Athletic Club on the 4th floor. Frank Sharp became the “remote engineer” as more programs were added to the schedule and he traveled around the city with his equipment to help broadcast such programs as Wheeler Rescue Mission, Christian Men Builders and eventually many stage shows from the Indiana Theater which was built in 1927. In 1930, Frank Sharp was appointed Program Director, a position he held for many years.

There is no other person in broadcasting in the state of Indiana who has developed more talent and garnered more respect than Frank Sharp. Such names as John Holtman, Don Hancock, Durward Kirby, Ken Ellington, Ned LeFevre and Gilbert Forbes are but a few of the broadcast professionals tutored by Frank Sharp.

After World War II, television came to Indiana and Frank Sharp spent many hours of time and research in helping to launch WFBM-TV which became Indiana’s first television station on May 30, 1949, and the first telecast was the famous “500” Mile Race.

In 1964, as part of the 40th Anniversary of the WFBM stations, Frank Sharp was honored. The stations presented to Butler University a scholarship fund in the original amount of $15,000, in his name, to provide a perpetual annual cash scholarship to an outstanding sophomore student for encouragement in his or her junior and senior years at Butler.

Without question Frank Sharp is the “Dean” among professional broadcast people in the state of Indiana, and it is with distinct pleasure that we welcome his name into the Broadcast Pioneers “Hall of Fame.”


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