Happy Birthday CBS

92 years ago, The Columbia Broadcasting System, CBS was born. It began as United Independent Broadcasters Inc., established in Chicago by New York talent agent Arthur Judson in January of 1927. Three months later, the Columbia Phonograph Company became an investor, rebranding the network as the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System (CPBS). A year later the network was sold WCAU station owners Isaac and Leon Levy and a partner, Jerome Louchheim. William S. Paley, an in-law of the Levys, was named president and promptly shortened the network’s name to the Columbia Broadcasting System.

By 1931 CBS had 400 employees and 79 affiliates, including an innovative partnership with auto dealer and broadcaster Don Lee, that gave the network access to the west coast of the United States before AT&T completed construction of its nationwide long distance network.

With Paley at the helm, CBS grew to become second only to David Sarnoff‘s National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in size, ultimately stealing many of that network’s top acts, creating a well regarded news operation under the guidance of Edward R. Murrow and incorporating television when the medium became economically viable after World War II.

Here are a few of the notable programs from CBS radio’s golden age. Some were broadcast on other networks during the course of their run:

Edgar Bergen – Charlie McCarthyChase & Sanborn Coffee, Coca-Cola, Richard Hudnut(1937) – 1954
Amos ‘n’ AndyPepsodent, Campbell Soup, Rinso, Rexall1928 – 1960
Smilin’ Ed’s Buster Brown GangBuster Brown Shoes1929(?) – 1953
Bing CrosbyCremo, Chesterfield, Woodbury, Kraft, Philco, GE,others1931 – 1956
Tommy Dorsey OrchestraRaleigh, Kool, Nature’s Remedy, others1934 – 1946
Lights OutIronized Yeast, Energine, Snow White Bleach, Eversharp1934 – 1947
Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost PersonsBi-So-Dol, Kolynos, Chesterfield, Proctor & Gamble1937 – 1955
Glenn Miller ShowChesterfield Cigarettes1939 – 1942
Adventures of Ellery QueenBromo Seltzer, Anacin1939 – 1948
Adventures of The Thin Man, TheWoodbury, Post, Pabst, Heinz1941 – 1950
The Inner SanctumCarters, Colgate, Bromo Seltzer, Mars1941 – 1951
Duffy’s TavernShick, Sanka, Ipana1941 – 1952
WhistlerSignal Oil1942 – 1955
SuspenseRoma Wines, Autolite, Philip Morris, Marlboro, Kellogs1942 – 1962
Molle Mystery TheatreMolle shaving cream1943 – 1954
Adventures of Sam SpadeWildroot1946 – 1951
EscapeRichfield Oil, Ford1947 – 1954
Jeff Regan, Investigator1948 – 1950
Yours Truly, Johnny DollarUsually Sustained, Wrigley1949 – 1962
GunsmokeChesterfield, L&M, Post Cereals, Buick1952 – 1961
Crime ClassicsSustained1953 – 1954
Have Gun, Will TravelSeveral1958 – 1960

In 1974, the company shortened its name to CBS, Inc. When Westinghouse Electric Corporation bought the company 21 years later the corporate entity became CBS Broadcasting, Inc. and ultimately CBS Corporation.

Viacom gained control of the assets in 1971. Various incarnations operated the CBS Radio network until 2017, when the radio division was sold to Entercom.

Here’s a video look at CBS radio and television logos from 1927 through 2018.



Outta My Mind…

It is said that “Marriage is essentially two people pushing down the top of the kitchen garbage so they don’t have to take it out.” Here’s a tool to facilitate more marital bliss in that space. Via Mashable.

Do social media apologies work? We’re constantly reading about stars and companies who have offended the teeming masses, generating a viral storm of negative responses.  Here are 5 examples of corporate mea culpas that did.

Today in History:

1949, The Chinatown telephone exchange officially closes. At its height, there were over 3,000 phone numbers associated with the exchange. The all-female staff had to memorize every one because it was considered impolite not to request a person by name when calling.

1965, A memory from Lyndon Johnson’s inaugural party. Can you name the stars in this photo? Looks like Ann Margaret, Johnny Carson and Barbara Streisand. Those were the days.

1970, The 1st commercial Boeing 747 flight takes place. Pan American World Airways flies from New York City to London in 6½ hours. The airline, which pioneered overseas travel, struggled to compete domestically and filed for bankruptcy protection on January 8, 1991.

1973, Roe vs Wade is decided by the US Supreme Court, legalizing most abortions. It’s been one of our most divisive issues ever since.

1983, A new 24-hour music video network MTV began broadcasting to a select group of cable customers in LA. When the network launched nationwide in August, “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first music video shown. (Video)

1994, American actor and singer Telly Savalas dies of prostate cancer aged 72. Best known as  Detective Lt. Theo Kojak in the television series of the same name, he also was super villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘ . “Who loves ya, baby?”

In the Studio Today:

1959, Buddy Holly makes his last recordings, alone in his New York City apartment with an acoustic guitar. ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’, ‘Crying, Waiting, Hoping’, ‘That’s What They Say’, ‘What To Do’, ‘Learning The Game’ and ‘That Makes It Tough’ are overdubbed posthumously and later released by Coral Records.

1963, The Drifters record “On Broadway“. While the band is most associated with original lead singer, Clyde McPhatter, it was  Clara Ward Singers alumnus, Rudy Lewis who was at the microphone for the session. The tune would get a second life when a Hungarian speaking DJ queues it up in a Radio Free Europe TV spot. (Video)

1963, Gerry & the Pacemakers cut the tracks for “How Do You Do It“, their first chart single. They were the second act to sign with manager Brian Epstein, who linked them up with Beatles producer George Martin. They had a brief prime under Epstein, 1963-1966, but came back together in 1972 and still tour to this day. (Video)

Much More Music:

What’s your favorite Journey tune? According to iHeart, it’s “Don’t Stop Believin‘” featuring the soaring voice of birthday boy Steve Perry. The live concert performance we link to has been viewed over 77 million times on YouTube. I bet you know the words 🙂 (Video)

Happy Birthday to: Sam Cooke, 1931 (d.1964); Bill Bixby, 1934 (d.1993); Joseph Wambaugh (Cop Writer) 1937; Addie Harris (The Shirelles), 1940 (d.1982); John Hurt, 1940 (d.2017); Steve Perry (Journey), 1949; Teddy Gentry (Alabama), 1952; Linda Blair, 1959.

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ~Plato

Today’s Music Video:  On this date in 1966, The Beach Boys went into Gold Star studios to record ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’, which would be the opening track on their forthcoming album Pet Sounds. The musicians present on the day were The Wrecking Crew including Hal Blaine on drums and Carol Kaye on electric bass.

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit