An Indiana broadcast pioneer and one of the first commercial female disc jockeys in the United States has passed away. Vincennes native Ann Wagner Harper, who was inducted into the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1985, was 92.
Harper began her broadcasting career as a vocalist with WHAS radio in Louisville in 1944. The next year, she returned to Vincennes and worked for the Brokhage Department Store after promoting an idea to have music and daily special announcements playing throughout the store. She joined WAOV radio in 1946 and hosted the "Silver Lining Time" show.
In 1947, Harper moved to Indianapolis to sing with the Art Berry’s Orchestra at the Columbia Club and perform as a vocalist on "Annie’s Almanac" on WIBC radio. She ventured into television in 1949, performing in a musical called "Circle B Ranch" on WFBM TV. She went on to perform on her own show, "Ann and Sue" on the station and earned the TV News Vocalist Video Award in 1951.
Harper was the first female disc jockey in Indiana, hosting WFBM radio’s afternoon show, "Make Mine Music" and its morning show, "Party Line." After retiring from radio and television, she earned a degree from Butler University. Harper would later join the school as a professor of radio and television, become chair of the department and manage the school’s radio station, WAJC.
Services are set for Wednesday, October 19. Harper’s husband, Charles, passed away in 2004 after 49 years together.