Friday, July 24, 2009

Milkman's Matinee

The Milkman's Matinee started out in 1935 running 2:00 AM - 7:00 AM. It was an all request program on WNEW-AM. It's host Stan Shaw ran the whole show with an engineer and an assistant named John Flora who really just made coffee. People sent him requests via Western Union telegram and he read them on air. He was a Kansas City native, an Ex-psychology teacher and an ex-orchestra leader. Now he played records.

In 1939 Time magazine described it's listenership thusly:
"Dunkers in all-night coffee pots and diners, cabbies dozing on the late-trick hack lines, night watchmen, charwomen, belated motorists, bakers, lighthouse keepers, lobster-trick pressmen, the boys in the bars and all the other sun dodgers standing the great night watch in Manhattan and all along the eastern seaboard have one companion that never goes to sleep on them. "
The program ran six nights a week, and bridged the overnight gap that made 1130 WNEW the first station to run 24 hours a day. It was the golden era of the DJ. In 1940 the long-standing ASCAP dispute had ended and music again reigned on the airwaves. In response to the success of Milkman's Matinee similar shows popped up all over America. On KJBS (for example) it was the Alarm Klok Klub.

Art Ford took over the program in 1942, then in 1954 Jack Lazare took over the program.. In 1960 Bob Howard took over Sunday nights but Lazare kept the week. In 1961 Lazare moved to 1010 WINS-AM leaving the Milkman's Matinee in the lurch. They moved up the Dick Partridge Program and scooted back the slot to 1:00AM to 6AM.

It signed of November 30th 1984. The enigmatic character tallboyyyy posted the sign off audio on Youtube.