FORT MYERS, Fla.- A local woman is paying tribute to her late mother, who worked as a newscaster on WINK radio during and right after World War II. Gail Krauss even has some of the wire copy and bulletins that her mother read on-air.
"My mom was Ruth Bond, and she was a pioneer in so many ways," said Krauss. "She came to Fort Myers from Ohio to be with her husband, my dad, who was stationed at Buckingham air field. Ruth had taught speech in Ohio and she applied at WINK radio for a job. They hired her mostly for one reason: She did not have a southern accent!"
Bond was one of the first women on the air in Southwest Florida. From 1944 through '46, she read news copy from the clattering Associated Press teletype machine. She worked in a studio with no air conditiong and no fan. They were not allowed, because they made too much noise.
"She said it got really hot in that studio, but they had to deal with it," said Krauss.
Bond died recently at age 93. Her family members found the wire copy when going through Bond's belongings.
One item announces "a new and terrible weapon, the atomic bomb, which has been unleashed on Japan." Another piece of faded copy announces the end of the war, the surrender of Japan.
Krauss says her mother worked for WINK during a major hurricane in 1944.
"She was in charge of the place that day, and she was told to shut down the station to save the valuable equipment. She did so, and was so proud that WINK radio would be saved from damanage. Then she walked home," Krauss told WINK News.
Ruth Bond and her husband left this area in 1946 and moved back to Ohio. But Krauss says, her mother often talked of her radio years at WINK.
"She enjoyed being here. She was part of the war effort, working for WINK, and telling people what was going on," Krauss said.