Progressive Broadcasting System

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The Progressive Broadcasting System (PBS) was a short-lived radio network of the early 1950s. "[C]atering to smaller radio stations,"[1] the company had hoped to affiliate with around 1,000 radio stations in the United States which did not already have affiliation agreements with the "Big Four" national radio networks of those days: NBC, CBS, ABC, & Mutual, as well as LBS, second in size to Mutual.

Time announced the company's formation on September 4, 1950. Broadcasts began November 26, 1950.[2]


Progressive planned to offer programming for 10 hours of the day on as many as 350 radio stations. At a press conference August 10, 1950, Progressive President Larry Finley told reporters, "Advertising will be local, except for the night programs, and there will be no network option time."[3] The network's flagship station was KGFJ in Hollywood.[3]

Two hundred stations were needed for the network to break even. However, only "about 100 stations" joined, and the network folded at the end of its schedule on January 31, 1951.[4]


After "nearly two years of planning and organization," PBS had capitalization of $1,500,000 and was incorporated in California.[5]

Executives of the network included Miller McClintock, chairman and chief executive;[6] Larry Finley, president; Donald Withycomb, executive vice president; Edgar H. Twalmley, vice president in charge of the eastern division; Robert B. White, vice president in charge of the central division;[5] B.B. Robinson, vice president in charge of finance;[7] Kolin Hagar, eastern district manager;[8] and Nat Linden, chief of production.[9]


Billing its offerings as "The world's greatest daytime network radio programming,"[10] PBS made programming ("aimed primarily at the housewife"[5]) available to affiliates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.[11] Programs offered were much like those of other networks, "including an array of soap operas, quiz shows, children's features, variety shows and audience participation programs."[3]

Public service[edit]

On December 15, 1950, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed "the existence of a state of national emergency."[11] Afterward, PBS officials sent a letter to approximately 60 agencies and departments of the federal government saying that "its program lines [would be] kept open until 11 p.m. and offering those evening hours to the government for any messages or programs which PBS can take to its member stations in support of defense and emergency activities."[11]

Initial program lineup[edit]

The following is the lineup of programs with which PBS launched its operation.[3]

Program Star Length Days
Grand Motel (soap opera) Marc Lawrence 15 minutes Monday - Friday
This Is Mine (soap opera) Barbara Britton 15 minutes Monday - Friday
Betty Carr, Detective (soap opera) Hope Emerson 15 minutes Monday - Friday
Cindy (soap opera) Jeanne Cagney 15 minutes Monday - Friday
Taylored Lady (fashion news) Estelle Taylor 30 minutes Monday - Friday
Mary Grove At Home (home economics) Mary Grove 15 minutes Monday - Friday
My Secret Desire (audience participation) Ann Dvorak 30 minutes Monday - Friday
Mel Tormé Time (music) Mel Tormé 30 minutes Monday - Friday
Our Best to You Tom Hanlon 30 minutes Monday - Friday
Hart of Hollywood (studio tours) Maurice Hart 30 minutes Monday - Friday
Great American Quiz Hal Sawyer 30 minutes Monday - Friday
Bar None Ranch Cottonseed Clark 30 minutes Monday - Friday
Movietown News Charlotte Rogers 15 minutes Monday - Friday
Uncle Remus (children's stories) Jimmy Scribner 15 minutes Monday - Friday
World of Sports Lou Nova 15 minutes Monday - Friday
Young Ideas Harry Von Zell 30 minutes Saturday
The Old Skipper Captain Hix 15 minutes Saturday
Club Time Bob McLaughlin 3 hours Saturday
Mindy Carson Show Mindy Carson 15 minutes Saturday
Vic Damone Show Vic Damone 30 minutes Saturday
Hugh Said It Hugh Herbert 30 minutes Sunday
Progressive Music Stan Kenton 30 minutes Sunday
Connie Haines Entertains Connie Haines 1 hour Sunday
Mel Torme Time (Sunday Version) Mel Tormé 1 hour Sunday
Frankie Laine Show Frankie Laine 2 hours Sunday
Page Pages You Page Cavanaugh 30 minutes Sunday


  1. ^ "Network of Small Stations Planned". Janesville Daily Gazette. August 11, 1950. p. 1. Retrieved September 5, 2015 – via open access
  2. ^ "(WLIO ad)". The Evening Review. November 20, 1950. p. 21. Retrieved September 5, 2015 – via open access
  3. ^ a b c d Coville, Gary (November 2011). "Now You Hear It . . . . Now You Don't". Radiogram. 36 (9): 8–13.
  4. ^ "New Radio Network Suspends Operations". The Plain Speaker. February 1, 1951. p. 14. Retrieved September 5, 2015 – via open access
  5. ^ a b c "PBS Opening" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 9, 1950. p. 28. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Personals . ." (PDF). Broadcasting. January 15, 1951. p. 71. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Name Robinson" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 18, 1950. p. 78. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Allied Arts" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 6, 1950. p. 71. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Air-casters" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 11, 1950. p. 56. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  10. ^ "PBS ad" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 9, 1950. p. 19. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  11. ^ a b c "PBS Defense Plan" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 28, 1950. p. 28. Retrieved 6 September 2015.