Although not well-remembered today, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, then-East Stroudsburg resident Howard Atwell was a popular radio announcer for WVPO radio in Stroudsburg. During the same period, his voice, so well known, blended with others as he sang with the Shawnee Choir.
Atwell entered the radio field in 1948 at the Stroudsburg station WHAB. The station, at the time, was owned by Harold Newman.
When WHAB was acquired by James Ottaway, The Daily Record publisher, Atwell remained on staff and the station became WVPO. He left in 1952 for WDOS in Oneonta, N.Y., another Ottaway station.
Those who remember Atwell may recall that he was not only a radio announcer and singer, but a licensed psychologist and psychology professor at East Stroudsburg University.
By 1975, after returning to the Poconos, his teaching career was in full force. Among his classes was a continuing education course that was defiantly a sign of the times – “Adjusting to Divorce and Separation.”
His presence was felt and his voice heard throughout the campus and community. As a member of the Faculty Singers, he was among the performers serenading the students and guests at the 1965 pre-graduation reception at the university, then known as East Stroudsburg State College.
Atwell, a baritone, also made appearances at public gatherings. One such event was as guest soloist at the 1961 performance of John Henry Maunder’s cantata “Olivet to Calvary,” presented by the Senior Choir of the Presbyterian Church of East Stroudsburg.
The achievements by the former radio announcer were numerous and included being named, in 1972, the eastern regional vice-president of Pennsylvania Mental Health Inc. In the position, Atwell dealt with local organizations, serving as a liaison to the state group.
On a less serious side, Atwell got an early start on his beard in 1968 as he prepared for the character he would be play during the East Stroudsburg Centennial in 1970. And a good beard it was, according to The Pocono Record.
Atwell died in 2002 at the age of 81.