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American Broadcasting Company ABC header art

From Lifesavers to Disney: ABC Radio Network Broadcasting -- Just In Time for The Golden Age. The FCC-dictated 'Divorcement' of NBC Blue from RCA's two-network National Broadcasting Company Allows Life-Savers Magnate Edward J. Noble to form the 3rd Network of 'The Big Three' -- The American Broadcasting Company'

So it was, that on October 12, 1943, 'NBC Blue' became The ABC Network, purchased for $8,000,000 by conservative businessman Edward J. Noble, Developer of Life-Savers candies. Noble, a self-made millionaire and owner of the Rexall Drug Store chain had made his fortune in LifeSavers candy. Feeling that "Blue" was not the best name for a broadcast network it was suggested that a name beginning with "A" be chosen so the network would show up at the beginning of alphabetical listings. Thus the American Broadcasting Company was born. Although Noble was an astute businessman, he knew nothing of the broadcast industry and by the early 1950s, ABC was in serious dire straits.

'Life-Savers Car' Advertising Promotion, ca. 1931
'Life-Savers Car' Advertising Promotion, ca. 1931

Though the youngest of the major national networks, ABC went on to become one of the 'Big Three' to make a successful transition to television. ABC was the product of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. NBC had operated two-parallel networks for almost 15 yrs, and very successfully, as well. This caught the attention of the Justice Department, who alledged that RCA Corporation (NBC) was specifically employing the two parallel Networks (referred to as the 'Red' Network and the 'Blue' Network) in a conscious effort to stifle competition in the fast growing network radio and radio advertising markets. RCA Corporation (NBC) was ordered to 'divorce' itself from the 'Blue' Network, which at the time consisted of three wholly owned radio stations, and over 200 network affiliates.


Transitional logo from The Blue Network to ABC circa 1944

American Broadcasting Company early logo circa 1946
American Broadcasting Company early logo circa 1946

ABC Network is Slow to Relinquish 'Blue' Network Name Recognition.

ABC retained 'The Blue Network' name for about 3 yrs in some markets, primarily for continued name recognition. This created a problem for Golden Age Radio collectors. Most collectors who are aware of the timing of the transfer of NBC Blue to ABC tend to retain the 'Blue Network' desgination on shows that ran both before and after the changeover. Many collectors now find ABC programs during the period 1943 - 1947 labelled either ABC or The Blue Network. In this case, use the broadcast date(s) to resolve the network source(s).

ABC's Key Stations became KGO San Francisco, KECA Los Angeles, WENR Chicago and WJZ New York
ABC's Key Stations became KGO San Francisco, KECA Los Angeles, WENR Chicago and WJZ New York

Adding even further to Golden Age Radio collectors' confusion is the fact CBS's flagship station since its inception was WABC in New York. The call-sign and name were finally changed to WCBS in 1945, more than a year after the creation of the American Broadcasting Company. ABC's flagship station 'WJZ' in New York, then assumed the 'WABC' call-letters and name thereafter.

ABC Radio, Hollywood ca. 1944
ABC Radio, Hollywood ca. 1944



ABC Milestones: Acquisitions and Mergers

1942: The NBC Blue network was reincorporated as The Blue Network Inc. by RCA in anticipation of its being spun off under FCC orders.

1943: The Blue Network Inc. was purchased by Edward Noble, of Lifesavers fame, in 1943 for about $8 million. He bought the rights to the name American Broadcasting Company in 1945 from George Storer.

1953: Merged with United Paramount Theatres Inc. (spun off from Paramount Pictures Corporation in 1950) after a 20 month set of FCC hearings which, combined with the Paramount Pictures/Dumont Network issues, determined the future of television for 30 years.

United Paramount Theatres logo

1962: United Paramount-American Broadcasting Company, Inc. changed its name to American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. and adopted the now-famous circle logo.

1986: Acquired by Capital Cities Communications becoming Capital Cities/ABC Inc.

1996: Acquired by The Walt Disney Company.

By 1948 ABC was touting a prize-winning line up of Radio features
By 1948 ABC was touting a prize-winning line up of Radio features

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Known More for its Great Success in Television, ABC Inherited Some of the Finest Talent In Network Radio. ABC Cash Cow WXYZ Detroit produces some of the most enduring and popular Programming in Radio History

'WXYZ became part of the ABC Network and a Key Station for Detroit

The Lone Ranger', 'Challenge of the Yukon', and 'The Green Hornet' were all produced locally in WXYZ Detroit's own studios. Intially distributed via the earlier Mutual Broadcasting System, once struggling ABC assumed control of the station, it continued to build upon WXYZ's incredible pool of talent, immediately spinning off several of its most popular syndicated radio shows into its early Television Programming under ABC Television. Brace Beamer's The Lone Ranger became "The Lone Ranger" of The Golden Age of Television, starring Clayton Moore as 'The Masked Man', and Jay Silverheels as his loyal sidekick, Tonto. And Challenge of the Yukon yielded Richard Simmons' 'Sgt Preston of the Yukon', yet another long-running early Television success for ABC.

The writing and producing genius behind these extraordinary and enduring successes was the team of WXYZ Owner George Trendle and legendary radio writer Fran Striker.

Legendary Writer Fran Striker, circa 1930
Legendary Writer Fran Striker, ca 1930


A Hall of Fame Family: ABC's Paul Harvey  . . . The Rest of the {ABC Radio Success} Story

ABC acquired yet another gifted writing and producing team from one family alone--the Paul Harveys. And what a team it was--and is still to this day. Radio News Icon Paul Harvey, his wife Lynne 'Angel' Harvey, and his son Paul Harvey Aurandt together produced the the longest-running and most popular series in radio history, 'The Rest Of The Story'. With Lynne Harvey producing, Paul Harvey, Jr., writing, and Paul Harvey as the Voice of The Rest of the Story, this one syndicated show alone catapulted ABC Radio into the top three radio networks in radio history. And as an extrarodinarily well deserved honor, landed the entire Paul Harvey family into the Radio Hall of Fame: Paul Harvey inducted in 1990 as a Newscaster, his wife Lynne "Angel" Harvey as a Producer in 1997, and son Paul Harvey Aurandt in 2001 as Writer.

Addendum 1: We're sad to report the passing of Lynne Harvey on May 3, 2008, of leukemia. Mrs. Harvey's contribution to Radio stands as one of the most significant in American Communications history.

Addendum 2: Paul Harvey joined Lynne Harvey this morning, passing on February 28,2009 from natural causes. Paul Harvey was a giant in Radio, who remains one of Radio's great pioneers. We'll all miss him. Driving across America won't be the same without him.

News Broadcasting Legend, Paul Harvey News Broadcasting Legend, Paul Harvey
1918 -2009

Paul and Lynne Harvey hold the street sign named in Paul's memory, November 16, 1988
Paul and Lynne Harvey hold the street sign named in Paul's memory, November 16, 1988

Producer Lynne 'Angel' Harvey
Producer Lynne 'Angel' Harvey
1916 - 2008
Writer Paul Harvey Aurandt
Writer Paul Harvey
Aurandt


Brace Beemer (often misspelled as 'Beamer' in radio logs and on transcriptions), the Original Lone Ranger
Brace Beemer (often misspelled as 'Beamer' in radio logs and on transcriptions), the Original Lone Ranger
The Green Hornet Official Badge
The Green Hornet Official Badge
Challenge of the Yukon Official Pin
Challenge of the Yukon Official Pin

ABC Radio Christmas Shows from The Golden Age of Radio


Christmas On the Blue Network, from Dec 25, 1944


Challenge of the Yukon #0829, 'A Friend In Need'


Paul Whiteman's All-Star ABC Christmas Party
from Christmas Eve 1946