Society & Culture:History
Grady Cole and the Johnson Family Singers - Dec 25, 1950 excerpt
In this holiday post, a (very) short glimpse into holiday programming as heard on local and regional radio.
This is an excerpt from a 15 minute transcribed program originating at WBT in Charlotte, NC on December 25, 1950 and carried on a regional segment of the CBS Radio Network.
The excerpt starts of with a brief introduction from announcer Grady Cole before the Johnson Family sings “Silent Night”. We have more remarks from Grady before the Johnson Family does the theme song of the show as Grady puts in a pitch for the sponsor, Quaker Corn Meal.
Grady Cole was a legend in North Carolina broadcasting. As a young newspaper reporter, he started doing a program on WBT in Charlotte in 1930. The following year, he accepted a job at the station and was on the air for 30 years, retiring in 1961. Cole was on the air in the mornings for a couple of hours for WBT, and did the farm report and other programming throughout the day. In the 1980s, a popular public venue was named after him.
By the way, you can hear Grady Cole's hilarious 1950s "manure spreader" blooper at the BT Memories site.
The Johnson Family Singers were a popular and gospel singing group from Randolph County, North Carolina. (The Southern Folklife Center at UNC has several of their recordings, scripts, and other materials.). They were on WBT with regular shows starting in the early 1940s. This program was broadcast just a few months before their contract with Quaker Oats ended, along with their regular series on WBT. You can read a tribute to Grady Cole by one of the Johnson Family Singers in a book about the group.
Our little bit of local Christmas radio was transferred from an original one-sided 12” lacquer. The other two parts of the broadcast don’t survive.
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