Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Radio's Greatest Broadcasts

This cassette was released by the The Longines Symphonette Society record label. Nobody seems to know the year of release.  It's listed on Discogs here which proves it exists. The narrator is Frank Knight. As you might imagine I disagree with some of their picks, but the track listing is (supposedly) a list of Radio's Greatest Broadcasts.
     SIDE 1
  1. Introduction
  2. Famous Old Commercials
  3. Jack Armstrong
  4. The Lone Ranger
  5. The Shadow
  6. The Romance Of Helen Trent
  7. Famous Radio Flubs
  8. Pearl Harbor
  9. Manila Is Bombed
  10. VE Day
  11. FDR Dies
  12. Report From Nuremberg
  13. Eddie Fisher Interview
  14. Dempsey-Tunney "Long Count" Fight
  15. Whirlaway Wins The Derby
  16. Schmeling Defeats Louis
  17. Louis Defeats Schmeling
     SIDE 2
  1. John F. Kennedy Assassination
  2. John F. Kennedy Funeral
  3. Robert Kennedy At Democratic National Convention
  4. Robert Kennedy Assassination
  5. Senator Ted Kennedy At St. Patrick's Cathedral
Frank Knight was the voice of the CBS network and he served for 29 years as a newsman at 740 KCBS-AM. Born Frank Dale Leber in 1935, he also worked at XETRA  in the 1960s and actually lived until 2007. Adding his voice to any "best" radio compilation gives it an authentic vintage sound. But that's not the only reason he's on this tape.

Frank was also the announcer for a pre-recorded classical music program called the Longines Symphonette. It's first incarnation aired nightly on the Mutual Broadcasting System from 1943 to 1949. Then it moved to the CBS network until 1957 airing on Sundays at 2:00 PM. It was sponsored for all 14 years by the Longines watch company.  It was popular enough that it had it's own spin-off program "The Longines Choraliers" also on CBS which ran from 1949 to 1955 and also featured the voice of Mr. Knight.

Alan Cartoun the president of the Longines Watch Company, and his son of Fred used that popularity to start a record label based in new Rochelle, NY.  The Longines Symphonette Society specialized in releasing crap. It released recordings of classic radio programs (what we now call OTR) and also theme songs, mood music, tribute bands, and drek compilations by artists like Henry Mancini and the like. The company operated from the late 1960s until 1974 when they sold the business to WMG. It's notoriety probably peaked in 1969 when it was named in a Congressional investigation looking into deceptive marketing practices. More here.