Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sunshine News

We have all asked ourselves why the news is all most exclusively bad news. I have recently read of a news program that aired only good news. Sadly it no longer exists. Even more sadly references to it are few and spare. Totally stumped on further research I am posting all three hoping for a little reader participation. The first quote comes by way of a book I didn't expect to have anything to say about radio. Saul D. Alinsky wrote Rules For Radicals in 1971, updating and combining some of his earlier writing. In a foot note he mentions a program on 1410 KRML-AM.
"In one of America's Shangri-Las of escape from the world as it is, Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, on the coast of the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, radio station KRML used to broadcast the Sunshine News —which headlines the positive, only the good news of the world!  Intellectuals, who would scoff at Sunshine News, are no exception to the preference for already formulated answers."
Our next quote is from The Hammer Of The Lord: Signs Of Hope by Colin Morris. It was printed in 1974. Morris is a an English Methodist minister who helped form the United Church of Zambia. He was also a regular speaker on the BBC Radio 4 program "Thought for the Day." The program is still running today, though without Mr. Morris. He's 82 now and apparently still alive. He was still authoring books as recently as 2007. His quote is as follows:
"What makes station KRML interesting is that until recently, and right up to the present day for all I know, its declared policy was to broadcast only what it termed "Sunshine News." Every morning an announcer with a happy-happy voice would open the transmission with the words 'Here is the good news of the world!' and proceed to read a bulletin from which all mention of wars, tragedies, and disasters was rigorously excluded and in particular death was out"

The last quote comes by way of Mr. Alinsky again. This time in an earlier book, The Professional Radical: Conversations With Saul Alinsky. It was printed in 1970, and he probably was in the process of writing his  "Rules" book  at the time. It is perhaps even the source of the quote at the start of the post.
"I've got a little house near Carmel, which is really a Brigadoon fantasy place where people go to get away from everything. Well, for years radio station KRML gave Carmel a special morning news report called the sunshine news, only the good news! And boy, they had to stretch to get it. This middle-class, Madison Avenue hygienic approach to life is frightening."
In sum all I know is that it was on KRML-AM, very positive, and aired in the mornings and was broadcast for an unknown period of time in the late 1960s to early 1970s. The lack of information tells me that there is no way it was syndicated. The station was acquired by Samuel and D.R. Salerno in 1968. Prior to that it was owned by KRML Inc. as it had been since 1965. They had a license for a KRML-FM on 101.7 which was then not yet on air.  I had assumed the program aired on KRML-AM but it's possible it was on the FM side. We cannot assume they were a pure simulcast at any time. Before them the Carmel Broadcasting Co. owned the station from 1960-1965. They had purchased it from the original licensee, the Seaside Electronic Association,  in 1957 under the original calls KTEE-AM.

What we have there is a string of independent owners that only box in the time frame of the Sunshine News to between 1960 and 1970. It may have aired later than that but not earlier. I did also find a news service in a 1939 directory. WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee had just signed up for programs from the Sunshine News reporter. They were one of 28 stations carrying the program. The 1940 Broadcasting yearbook lists it as a set of 10 minute programs of that branding sponsored by the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company out of Long Island City. they were plugging their product... Sunshine Biscuits. The product and the program predate the references by 20 to 25 years. I can't connect the two with any confidence.