Monday, October 02, 2006

Sam Dickson gets blacklisted

Sam Dickson was one of San Francisco's best-known radio writers. He got his start in the early twenties at 1260 KYA-AM, (current calls KOIT-AM) writing shows that featured the station manager and the switchboard operator as principal characters. His program "Hawthorne House" was pretty popular. It was innocent enough, but it's not scripts that got him in trouble.

In 1929 Dickson conducted what ammounts to the first media penetration study. He did a survey for about radio advertising. Broadcast advertising was still very young and many who voiced objections to radio being put to such a use. It was still frequently argued that radio should be a subscription service.

Dickson's survey determined that 90% of the city's radio listeners didn't object to radio commercials. It also stated that almost all respondents claimed to patronized the few advertisers that were then on the air. The results got him blacklisted by every station in town.

Sam Dickson wrote under pseudonyms and for the national syndicators like NBC but in Frisco he was done. Eventually NBC discovered his true identity but his scripts for "Winning of the West" ,were so strong that he was allowed to remain as a staff writer. He continued with NBC as one of its most prominent writers up into the sixties, He also authored the book "SAN FRANCISCO IS YOUR HOME." available Here:

More here;

*Note KYA-AM is known for having had more owners than any other radio station in California. , most had the station for less 3 years and many of those less than one!