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Philco Radio Time

Philco Radio Time was an old-time radio radio series starring entertainer Bing Crosby. The series ran over ABC Radio with episodes airing from October 16, 1946–June 1, 1949.[1][2] The series also was syndicated for a period of time over the Armed Forces Radio Network.

Philco Radio Time
Philco Radio Time advert.jpg
Other names The Bing Crosby Show
The Bing Crosby Program
Genre Musical variety
Running time 30 minutes
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Syndicates ABC
Armed Forces Radio Network
Starring Bing Crosby
Peggy Lee
The John Scott Trotter Orchestra
Announcer Ken Carpenter
Bob Murphy
Glenn Riggs
Kenny Delmar
Written by Charles Tazewell
Bill Morrow
Larry Clemmons
Al Lewis
Directed by Murdo MacKenzie
Produced by Bill Morrow
Recording studio Hollywood, USA
Original release October 16, 1946 (1946-10-16) – June 1, 1949 (1949-06-01)
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 108
Opening theme Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)
Sponsored by Philco
see below

The series is also known for being the first pre-recorded radio program aired on the major USA radio networks. For the first season, the shows were recorded on disc, but beginning with the series' second season, the show began using Ampex tape recorders for their broadcasts.[3][4]

The program was usually recorded in Hollywood and was sponsored by the Philco Corporation.[5]

Contents

Show originsEdit

Starting in 1931, singer and entertainer Bing Crosby had had many appearances on radio as a solo performer before Philco Radio Time. In January 1936, Crosby moved from CBS Radio to NBC working as the master of ceremonies for the Kraft Music Hall. In June 1945, with the ensuing accompaniment of much legal wrangling, Bing Crosby terminated his almost, ten-year association with the Kraft Foods Company, leaving himself free to choose another sponsor. He declined other offers in favour of a deal with the Philco Corporation of America which, apart from the financial considerations involved, afforded the appealing convenience of pre-recording his broadcasts. He was obliged to honour an agreement with Kraft which required him to appear in thirteen more shows, the last of which was broadcast in May 1946 but then, on Wednesday October 16th 1946, ‘'Philco Radio Time' - The Bing Crosby Show’, opened on the ABC network and (according to the publicity of the time), Wednesday, became ‘Bing’s Day’.[6]

OverviewEdit

Unfortunately, after a promising start, Philco began to lose its audience. This occurred during a three-year period when Bing, in spite of the criticisms levelled at the time, was still, consistently, the cinema’s biggest box-office draw and was still racking up outstanding record sales, including five more million-sellers. Many theories have been propounded for the slump in ratings - loss of voice, loss of spontaneity, loss of sound quality, etc., but in fact, the whole of the radio industry was declining worldwide as a form of entertainment. The public, perhaps, were in pursuit of a more sophisticated distraction than the medium which had served them so well and often been their sole comfort during the war years. Live entertainment was back. Theatres closed for the duration had re-opened their doors; international sporting events could be seen again. The cinema was, naturally, still booming and most significant of all, television had returned, flexing its muscles in preparation for an overwhelming victory as the most popular in-home entertainment.[6]

Season oneEdit

Philco Radio Time premiered on Wednesday October 16, 1946 on the newly formed American Broadcasting Company. Bob Hope was the program's first guest.[7]

The program had an audience rating of 16.1 during the season which made it one of the network’s top shows but left it outside the top twenty. Fibber McGee and Molly again topped the Hooper ratings with 30.2 but they had to share the position with The Pepsodent Show starring Bob Hope.

The series faced immediate problems during its first season having to do with its recording process. The first season of Philco Radio Time was recorded onto 16-inch diameter lacquer-coated aluminum disks. This made editing the show difficult, but not impossible. The actual broadcast was an edited version of the live performance shipped to radio stations on two discs with detailed instructions on when and how to play them. Unfortunately, many people complained that the sound quality was inferior to a live broadcast.

Sound engineer Mary Howard suggested that part of the problem was the local radio stations:

Season twoEdit

Crosby continued to pioneer in radio broadcasting during Philco's second season. To address complaints about the audio quality of the first season of recorded broadcasts, the program brought in Ampex magnetic tape recorders and machines, becoming the first to do so. Beginning with the program's second-season premiere on October 1, 1947, Philco Radio Time pre-recorded all of their programs on to tape.[9] Not only was the audio quality much improved, but tape was more easily edited than disks.[10] The audience share for the season was 16.8 which enabled the programme to scrape into twentieth place in the Hooper ratings. The Fred Allen Show was in top place with 28.7 and the Kraft Music Hall (with Al Jolson as host) reached eleventh position with 21.4.

Season threeEdit

The third and last season of the program premiered on September 29, 1948. Several "firsts" were made during this season of the program. The first 33rpm long-playing record changer was introduced to the public through this program. Also the first ad for Philco television sets were also broadcast through this program.[11] Finally, the Ampex tape recorders facilitated the first use of canned laughter in radio broadcasting, according to audio engineer John T. Mullin.[6] On show number 93, broadcast February 16, 1949, comedian Bob Burns was getting excessive laughter from some improvised lines. The lines were cut for broadcast, but producer/writer Bill Morrow had Mullin save the laughs and insert them in a later program.[6]

Philco Radio Time attained an audience share of 15.7 for the season. It reached nineteenth position in the Hooper ratings. The top evening program was the Lux Radio Theater with 28.6. The last episode of the program aired on June 1, 1949 and in September Crosby started on The Bing Crosby – Chesterfield Show.

SponsorsEdit

The series went through several different sponsors throughout its three-year run. Below is the list of all the sponsors of the radio program:

RatingsEdit

Season Rank on ABC Rating References
1946-1947 12 16.1 [12]
1947-1948 10 16.8
1948-1949 13 15.7

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Definitive Philco Radio Time Radio Log". Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  2. ^ "PHILCO RADIO TIME". www.bingmagazine.co.uk. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ "AFRS Basic Music Library Plus Philco Radio Time (Sounds of Yesteryear, 2013)". Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Bing Crosby". www.xminusone.com. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  5. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography - part 2c Radio - Philco Radio Time. 16 October 1946 to 1 June 1949". BING magazine. Retrieved February 6, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d Pairpoint, Lionel (2000). And Here's Bing. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  7. ^ Grudens, Richard (2003). Bing Crosby: Crooner of the Century. Celebrity Profiles Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 1575792486. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Philco Radio Time 1946-47". www.stevenlewis.info. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  9. ^ Sterling, Christopher; O'Dell, Cary (February 9, 2011). The Concise Encyclopedia of American Radio. Routledge. p. 561. ISBN 1135176841. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Philco Radio Time 1947-48". www.stevenlewis.info. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Philco Radio Time 1948-49". www.stevenlewis.info. Retrieved March 12, 2015. 
  12. ^ "The 25 Highest Rated Programs During Radio's Golden Age Blue Network/American Broadcasting Company". www.old-time.com. Retrieved March 12, 2015.