The Golden Years of Radio 1935-1936
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(There are many more fascinating facts and stories beyond these headlines)
The Seasons
GOld Time Radio chronicles each of the 21 broadcast seasons, (September through June), from Network Radio’s Golden Age, 1932 to 1953.  The lengthy and informative profiles of each season are concluded with an exclusive review of their Top 50 Prime Time Programs, as determined by Crossly, Hooper or Nielsen rating services.).
Each synopsis links to the full and detailed article.

1935-1936 Season
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THE 1935-36 SEASON
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Major Edward Bowes, 61, took Network Radio by storm with his parade of amateurs on NBC in 1935 .
His Original Amateur Hour topped the Annual Top 50 seen at end of GOld Time Radio's profile of the 1935-36 season.

  • Network Radio ratings suffered their first general decline during the 1935-36 season and it was a big one.  The seasons’ Top 50 program average rating fell 7.3 points - a 36% loss of audience … The drastic drop in ratings was blamed on a change in methodology employed by Archibald Crossley’s Cooperative Analysis of Broadcasting, (CAB), surveys.   CAB pollsters no longer asked what families listened to during the previous day but within the past few hours.  
  • CAB’s change coincided with Clark-Hooper’s study, Yardsticks On The Air, published in September by the ANPA newspaper alliance. Based on the new Telephone Coincidental method, Yardstick’s findings cast doubts on Crossley’s high figures.  From a sampling of 400,000 random calls in the 1934-35 season, Clark-Hooper reported the rating of an average prime time program between 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. to be a mere 9.0!   
  • George Burns & Gracie Allen raised their half hour on CBS a minuscule 3/10th's of one rating point over 1934-35.  Yet, their tiny increase was enough to distinguish Burns & Allen as the year’s only Top 50 program to finish with a higher rating than the previous season … Crossley’s switch in interviewing and tabulating had little effect Major Bowes.  The ringmaster of amateurs lost less than half a point from his 1934-35 ratings and emerged with the season’s only program to finish in the 30's.  Prior to Crossley’s adjustments that pushed ratings down, Bowes’ Original Amateur Hour of September 8th scored a CAB rating in the mid-50's.  (Winners of that Sunday evening’s competition on NBC were Frank Sinatra The Three Flashes.  During the broadcast Bowes renamed the group The Hoboken Four.)  
  • After three months of being run over by Bowes’ first place NBC bulldozer, CBS shifted Eddie Cantor's ​Sunday show back to 7:00 p.m. in January.  But in doing so, Cantor ran up against Blue’s top rated show and the second  most popular program in the country, Jack Benny’s increasingly popular comedy series.  Benny easily topped - and twice doubled - Cantor’s ratings in their five months of head to head competition.  
  • Lever Brothers and its ad agency, J. Walter Thompson, left their mark on radio history when they transplanted Lux Radio Theater from New York and Blue’s Sunday afternoon schedule to Hollywood and Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on  CBS.  The show soon became Monday’s highest rated program, a position it would never relinquish during Network Radio‘s Golden Age by never straying from its format of movie adaptations, from CBS, or from Monday night at 9:00.  
  • Meanwhile, to replace its cancelled Fire Chief, (Ed Wynn), Texaco created one of the most expensive flops in Network Radio history.  It  spent $15,000 a week, to produce The Jumbo Fire Chief, beginning with writers Ben HechtCharles MacArthur and composers Richard Rogers & Lorenz Hart. Beloved comedian Jimmy Durante was the star of the show.  The Jumbo Fire Chief  had everything going for it - except listeners. The program never rose above single digits in the ratings.  It was outscored by both Fred Waring’s pop concerts on CBS and Helen Hayes’ anthology dramas on Blue.  The Jumbo Fire Chief was cancelled at mid-season.  
  • CBS took the season’s honors with 20 of the Top 50 most popular programs.  The upstart network won three of the nightly Top Ten races and tied for two more. Monday’s Hollywood based Lux Radio Theater and Friday’s Hollywood Hotel established CBS as the network for film stars and listeners responded in a big way.