Radio Waves: 11/15/19

Remembering the CBS Radio Mystery Theater

I was just shy of eleven years old when one of my favorite radio productions I ever heard made its debut. It was a CBS Radio production heard nationwide on CBS downed and operated stations], locally on KNX (1070 AM).

I am speaking, of course, about the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. Himan Brown, a longtime producer from the Golden Age of radio with a variety or programs under his belt (I am told he produced over 30,000 episodes of programs during the era) somehow convinced CBS to try out a new series of programs. Not repeats, but all-new episodes. The Radio Mystery Theater made its on-air debut in January of 1974.

The program was meant to appeal to an older audience that grew up with old-time radio, but it ended up attracting many younger listeners like me who happened to be sampling the nighttime radio offerings. It was me who ended up introducing my parents to the program, who would listen occasionally as we drove somewhere at night … I, on the other hand, would listen almost nightly.

I absolutely loved the show, the sound effects, the host E. G. Marshall (Tammy Grimes in its last season), and the true theater of the mind that developed in my young brain. 

To this day I can remember the sound effect used in the opening of the program, a large squeaking iron gate that opened to let us “in” to hear the program.

I am not sure, but I think the show ended up appealing more to those my age than the older generation out was intended to reach; now of course I am older than the original target audience was back then. Regardless, for its nine-year and 1,399 episode run, the program was one of the most highly-rated hours of the KNX broadcast day.

While the program is no longer available on the air, you can find it on, of course, the internet. Head over to www.cbsrmt.com, and you’ll find a short history of the show, actor biographies and a list of the RMT episodes in which they appeared, information on the show’s writers, a complete episode guide and much more.

Oh, yes … and every episode of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater ever produced. Pleasant dreams, hmmmmmm?

Hall of Fame

Just in time for the end of their 30-year run, longtime KROQ (106.7 FM) morning men Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter were inducted into the 2019 Radio Hall of Fame. Other inductees included former KIIS-FM (102.7 FM) star Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton, syndicated sports talk host Jim Rome, and the woman who got me hooked on late-night advice talk radio, Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Oh, yeah, and some guy named Ryan Seacrest, aka the modern Dick Clark, who seems to do everything on radio (and television) well.

John Tesh, New York’s Harry Harrison and Detroit’s Joe Madison rounded out the list of inductees for the class of 2019, presented by the nonprofit organization that exists to honor those individuals who have contributed to the development of the radio medium throughout its history in the United States.

It was the 31st year of the awards, with the event tasing place in New York City’s Gotham Hall on November 8th.

Toy Drive

KCSN (88.5 FM) will host its annual toy drive on December 7th from 1 to 4 p.m. at the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant, 16320 Raymer Street in Van Nuys. Donations will go to LA Family Housing which will give toys to families and children who are less fortunate or homeless.

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