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The Story Behind Bing Crosby's NBC Strike, Departure, and The Birth of Transcription on ABC

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station description Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of Ame…
Breaking Walls
Duration: 14:13
This is a snippet from Breaking Walls Episode 96: Halloween On The Air (1943 - 1953)

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In 1945 Bing Crosby decided that he wanted to pre-record his NBC Kraft Music Hall program. Although transcription had existed since the late 1920s, NBC and CBS forbade their use for prime-time network
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This is a snippet from Breaking Walls Episode 96: Halloween On The Air (1943 - 1953)

___________

In 1945 Bing Crosby decided that he wanted to pre-record his NBC Kraft Music Hall program. Although transcription had existed since the late 1920s, NBC and CBS forbade their use for prime-time network shows.

NBC and Kraft refused to budge. Crosby walked out. In the fall of 1945 The Kraft Music Hall went back on with comic Frank Morgan, pianist Eddy Duchin, and the Charioteers. Crosby declared his contract null and void. Kraft insisted they had options which ran until 1950. The sponsor took Bing and agency J. Walter Thompson to court.

The walkout would last seven months. A settlement brought Crosby back for the final thirteen weeks of the season.

In the midst of this Walgreen Drugs Stores sponsored a transcribed 45th Anniversary special on CBS at 10pm on June 18th, 1946. The program was one of the network’s first transcribed shows to be heard from coast to coast. It starred Bob Hope with talents including The Andrews Sisters, Frank Morgan, Harry Von Zell, Rochester, and Ginny Simms. The program cost $62,000 to produce. The Walgreen’s special was proof that transcription could be viable if the networks would allow it.

With Bing finishing his Kraft obligation he was now a free agent. The American Broadcasting Company quickly signed the star, announcing that they had no qualms with pre-recorded shows. They announced a to-be-titled musical program with a weekly budget of $35,000.

Now they just had to find a sponsor.
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