The full obituary reads:
Newark Star-Ledger, Oct 8, 1986
Jack Poppele Jr., 88,
radio and TV pioneer
By Gordon Bishop
Jack Poppele Jr., a native of Newark who pioneered
radio and television in the 1920s and ‘30s, died early yesterday in the
Hospital Center at Orange. He was 88.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in the First Presbyterian and Trinity Church in South Orange.
Mr. Poppele’s career spanned the history of broadcasting, beginning in 1922 when Louis Bamberger, the department store founder, asked his inventive crystal set salesman to set up one of the nation’s first radio stations, WOR.
Mr. Poppele erected two poles on the roof of the Bamberger’s store in downtown Newark, strung a wire between them, and went on the air.
The “one-man radio station”, as he was known in the early days of wireless broadcasting, was credited with broadcasting the first show on Christmas Day. The handful of other stations around the country were off the air on holidays.
Mr. Poppele, who lived in South Orange, also worked closely with Allen B. DuMont, regarded as the father of commercial television.
Mr. Poppele founded Tele-Measurements in 1961 after a technologically prolific career with WOR radio and television as an electrical engineer, disc jockey and executive.
He launched broadcasting in New Jersey when such giants as Guglielmo Marconi, who developed the wireless, and Thomas Edison, who invented the phonograph, were establishing a new industry.
“You could say we were working on the same frequency or wavelength,” Mr. Poppele often remarked in reminiscing about the early days of radio and television. He also worked with David Sarnoff, founder of RCA, and knew the Morse family.
Mr. Poppele started out as a wireless and radio operator on passenger freighters in 1915 and then in the Army Transport Service during World War II.
President Eisenhower appointed him director of the Voice of America for two terms from 1952 to 1956 when the Soviet Union was “jamming the devil out of us.”
Mr. Poppele considered his most important contribution to radio to be the directional signal he developed with two teams of research scientists at Bell Laboratories in Whippany. The 50,000-watt transmitter, the world’s first, was erected in 1935 in Carteret at a cost of $350,000.
He was rewarded with a vice presidency and a seat on the board of directors of WOR.
Mr. Poppele organized and helped found the Television Broadcasters Association (TBA) and served as its president for six terms, from 1944 through 1950.
As chief executive officer of the TBA, he participated in drafting the engineering rules and channel allocations that serve as the basis of today’s TV broadcasting industry.
Mr. Poppele also participated in the first trans-Atlantic broadcast and went to Washington to set up Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural address. He also was credited with rigging up the first portable radio for the Dempsey-Tunney heavyweight championship bout in 1926.
Recently, he helped launch another breakthrough in broadcasting by making stereo available on AM radio. Stereo had been limited to FM frequencies.
Mr. Poppele is survived by his wife, ___, whom he met at Bamberger’s, where she was the store’s china buyer; three daughters, ___, ___ and ___; two sisters, ___ and ___; two brothers, ___, and ___; and four grandchildren.
webmaster note: in the interest of privacy, I have omitted the names of the next of kin.