Radio: The Open-End Game

Radio City's executive eyebrows, the hypersensitive seismographs of the broadcasting industry, were twitching excitedly. Cinemactor Ronald Colman's new transcribed show, Favorite Story, was having its premiere over Chicago's WMAQ. To many a radioman it sounded like an early, diffident mumble of an earthquake that might upset the whole map of U.S. commercial radio.

Transcribed shows had Big Radio—NBC and CBS—worried. Big Radio's power has always rested chiefly on its near-monopoly of famous entertainers. Last fall, Bing Crosby fled the fold. He recorded his weekly show, sold it to 208 ABC stations—and over the head of at least one big network to some...

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