Friday, April 13, 2007

The Coca-Cola Top-Notchers

The golden age of radio also had a golden age of advertising. Most ads were live, most were part of program sponsorship and many were downright artful. Popular products funded and branded variety shows, barbershop quartets, and childrens shows. This was a first for coke, but not a first for radio. More here.

Coca-Cola made their entry into Network Radio programming in 1930. The Coca-Cola Top Notchers was a weekly variety show. It ran live for 30 minutes Wednesday nights. This was carried by the NBC Red Network at 10:30pm.
Popular New York Herald Tribune sportswriter and commentator Grantland Rice hosted the program. The top Notchers were a studio Orchestra that played big band standards. They are unrelated to the "Top-Notchers" that Edison recorded oin cylinsder 51234 to the best of my information. Great Podcast here.

Rice interviewd sports greats on the program, even Ty Cob made an appearance. Even then, Rice was a famous sportscaster. His fame grew to legend in his own lifetime. By 1954, College football's National Champion would be awarded a trophy that carried his name; the Grantland Rice Trophy.

But the program only lasted four months. Two recordings survive today: their 1st and 2nd episodes from March 19th & 25th of 1930. We know where at least the second program comes from as it contains a station ID break, for WEEI in Boston complete with an old version of the NBC chimes.