Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Suppertime Frolic

In 1940 they advertised 1130 WJJD-AM as "The Largest Independent radio Station in the Nation."It was probably even true at 20,000 watts over Chicago. Some announcers left WLW for slots at WJJD. They claimed the radio station was founded by the Loyal Order of Moose.. that might have been true as well. They did a lot of public service programming which was important to their image.. Unsurprisingly their sports programming was wildly more popular. But what has proved the most enduring was the Suppertime Frolic.

Billboard dismissed the program as "...a popular program for rural consumption, patched up to sell a number of products, most of them patent medicines." Ouch. It had been founded by A&R man Ken Nelson later famously of Capitol records. Early on it was hosted by announcer and emcee Uncle Ervin Viktor, the program was panned by city press.
The program aired Monday through Saturday from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

In 1935 DJ Randy Blake (aka Harold Weinstein) joined the program as a sacred singer. He had previously been at WBBM and felt the pull of hillbilly music. By 1941 he was officially it's host. The program went on to have the Kasapar Sisters, Patsy Montana, Red Foley, Lonnie Glosson, the Cumberland Ridge Runners, Jimmy Dale, Les Paul (as Rhubarb Red), The Kentucky Mountaineers, Bob Atcher and Bonnie Blue Eyes and others as entertainers.  Randy didn't leave the program until 1957, when he moved to WLW. excepting a short stretch in 1948 when he served in WWII, he hosted the program for 22 years.

But after WWII most of the live talent was gone. Randy just play3ed Country Western Disc Jockey. So it was no surprise when Blake took the program with him to WLW and moved it's time slot to 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM, Tuesday through Sunday. The days changed, but the program got shorter. The name quickly changed to "The Randy Blake Show." I get the impression it didn't last long.