December 11, 1943
The Whistler for one, a number of big musical shows like Hollywood Showcase, a number of quizzes, amateur shows and dramas, and are always readying new ones. Right now they have a Jane Plakens quarters-hour Ladies in Waiting, with Ellen Drew, Jane Pickens and Patay Moran coming up. WAPI, Birmingham, with Kimmy Willson, as program manager, is the latest addition to the radio sales type of program operation. This outlet is still building. It’s still too soon to look for results, but it is adhering to the modus operandi that has clicked in other towns. WBT, Charlotte, N. C., is perhaps the most interesting story of the lot. They had practically no professional talent in the community and a peculiar audience problem. The Carolinas are one place that people do not leave and do not move into. They are mentally, morally, socially and economically self-sufficient. Cotton, tobacco and furniture are their industries, and folk music—not hillbilly—is the prime favorite.
Carolinans want talent that they know, local people over out-of-staters. Announcers in these parts work seated, not standing. And stations have a maintenance problem because so much of the talent is a local citizenry that comes in from the fields to do a show and then back to the plow.
Local Boys Make Good
To provide this type of performer, WBT has Charles Crutchfield, with long and varied small-station experience in this area. He is also an expert in folk entertainment and has recruited talent from all parts of the surrounding territory. Typical are two local favorites. One is Grady Cole, a former with a Will Rogers type of humor. He romps all thru the schedules with anecdotes, stories and farm news. The other is the Johnson Family, five chicken breeders and dealers who do folk times, hymns and instrumentals. They drive up to the station with a truckload of chickens, park the truck, go do their above and then back to work.
The over-all approach is to weld the station to local tastes, find, build and stick with local favorites. And it’s paying off if this list of national advertisers is any criterion: Ethyl Corporation, Wildroots, Noxzema, Groves, Vicks, Major B. Vitamins, Flex-o-Glass, Ponds, Ward Bakingand Melville Shoe.
Radio sales in New York and on the Coast has doubled its program sales; elsewhere program sales have tripled. Re-stills are the answer, and these are the results.
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