Richard B. "Dick" Biddle WOWL-TV Endowed Scholarship
Richard B. "Dick " Biddle (1918-1994) grew up in New York state and at an early age moved to Shamokin, PA. with his mother Dora Biddle. He graduated from Bucknell University. At Bucknell he was on the track team, the wrestling team, the debate team and a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Mr. Biddle started his career as an announcer in Shamokin, PA. and subsequently moved to WIP in Philadelphia and from there to Wheeling, West VA. where he became known as “Uncle Richard” of the Wheeling Jamboree. The Wheeling Jamboree was the pre-curser to the Grand Old Opry for witch Mr. Biddle was offered an MC position but due to extenuating circumstances he could not accept. He was transferred to WLAY in Sheffield, AL in 1946 and fell in love with the area; he did a short stint in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham before returning to the Shoals to purchase his first station.
In 1952, he purchased WMFT AM 1240 and changed the call letters to WOWL “The Owl” and subsequently that Owl became a famous trademark in the Shoals Area. He also owned WGAD in Gadsden from roughly 1954 to 1957. In 1957 he built WOWL T.V. 15 which in the early days was a partial affiliate to all three networks until the early 60`s when it became an exclusive NBC affiliate.
Among the many accomplishments in his life was being the person responsible for the Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals area being recognized as “The Shoals”. In the beginning It was the Tri-Cities then The Quad-cities. Mr. Biddle being a natural born promoter pointed out to other city leaders that there were many other “tri” and “quad’ cities areas in the country and due to its river coastline and Indian history it should promoted as “The Shoals” a name that could stand out as a recognizable single entity. As the debate continued he began running station I.D.`s promoting WOWL T.V. 15 “At The Shoals” and that moniker stands for the area today.
Dick Biddle was also a leader in education. He served on the board of trustees at the University of North Alabama where he was the “father of the fraternity system”. Having been a Kappa Sigma member at Bucknell he started the first fraternity house at UNA with the Kappa Sigma House. The House is now named “Biddle Hall” in his honor. As alumni advisor for the University of North Alabama’s Kappa Sigma chapter he was given the international fraternity’s highest award, “Distinguished Service Commendation.” He is only the 21st recipient of the award in the history of Kappa Sigma, which is the oldest collegiate fraternity.
Recipients shall be full time students majoring in Communication.