Blue Network

NBC Blue NetworkNBC BlueBlueNBCNBC RadioNBC-BlueNBC-Blue NetworkABCABC Radio Networkbasic Blue
The Blue Network (previously the NBC Blue Network) was the on-air name of the now defunct American radio network, which ran from 1927 to 1945.wikipedia
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NBC

National Broadcasting CompanyNBC-TVNBC Television
Beginning as one of the two radio networks owned by the National Broadcasting Company, the independent Blue Network was born of a divestiture in 1942, arising from anti-trust litigation, and is the direct predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC)—organized 1943–1945 as a separate independent radio network and later TV broadcaster.
On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided their respective marketing strategies: the "Red Network" offered commercially sponsored entertainment and music programming; the "Blue Network" mostly carried sustaining – or non-sponsored – broadcasts, especially news and cultural programs.

NBC Radio Network

NBC RadioNBCRed Network
This first broadcast on November 15, 1926 marked NBC's de facto formation of the NBC Red Network from the WEAF network assets, using WEAF as the "key station"; this network in eventual popular image tended to broadcast the most popular entertainment programming.
Along with the NBC Blue Network it was one of the first two nationwide networks established in the United States.

WTEM

WRCWRC-AMESPN 980
When RCA commenced operations of WRC, Washington on August 1, 1923, the root of a network was born, though it did not operate under the name by which it would later become known.
NBC's other radio chain, the Blue Network, had no affiliate in the national capital until RCA entered into a lease agreement with WMAL in 1933.

RCA

Radio Corporation of AmericaRCA RecordsRCA Astrospace
The Blue Network dates to 1923, when the Radio Corporation of America acquired WJZ Newark from Westinghouse (which had created the station in 1921) and moved it to New York City in May of that year. The fact that David Sarnoff, the head of RCA, was involved in these discussions indicates the high level at which this proposal was given consideration.
NBC formed two radio networks that eventually expanded nationwide: the NBC-Red Network, with flagship station WEAF, and NBC-Blue, centered on WJZ.

WFAN (AM)

WFANWEAFWFAN-AM
Nevertheless, the WJZ network sought to compete toe-to-toe with the AT&T network, which was built around WEAF (today's WFAN).
The company decided to keep the Red Network, and it was rebranded as the NBC Radio Network after the Blue Network was divested to Edward J. Noble, which was later renamed the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

WABC (AM)

WABCWJZWABC-AM
The Blue Network dates to 1923, when the Radio Corporation of America acquired WJZ Newark from Westinghouse (which had created the station in 1921) and moved it to New York City in May of that year. A slightly later example of cooperation came on the evening of Sunday, December 1, 1929, when the famed "Laird of the Music Halls", Sir Harry Lauder, appeared on a coast-to-coast hookup that originated from KFI in Los Angeles (later an NBC Red station, but at this time part of NBC's West Coast "Orange Network"), but was distributed by WJZ, which, as noted, was the key station of the Blue Network; advertisements suggest that certain NBC Red stations, as well as stations in the Orange Network, supplemented the network. "TWO BIG NETWORKS: The network to be used for the first concert will consist of a combination of chains of stations affiliated with WEAF and WJZ, New York. It is also announced that this opening Victor program inaugurates a new chain system to be operated by the National Broadcasting Company, with WJZ as the "key" station. This new chain, which will be known as the "blue" network, will allow simultaneous broadcasting from WJZ through WBZ, Springfield and Boston, KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago. For broadcasting of the first program, therefore, the "blue" network will be joined with the "red" network, as the WEAF chain is designated, as well as other stations in various cities. Following the New Year's night program, the concerts will be given bi-monthly, through the "blue" network " Noble was forced to divest himself of New York station WMCA, which he had owned since 1940, but his American Broadcasting System, Inc., the entity formed to be the parent of the Blue Network, acquired WJZ, additional stations in Chicago and San Francisco, as well as land-line leases, certain studio facilities and leased studio facilities, and the affiliation system.
A second network, known as the NBC Blue Network, with WJZ as the originating station, debuted on January 1, 1927.

The Magic Key of RCA

RCA Magic Key
At least as late as January 1939, in spite of the fact that by this time NBC was seeking to differentiate the images of its NBC Red and NBC Blue networks (see below), it would still arrange for special, joint broadcasts, such as a special two-hour presentation of "The Magic Key of RCA" musical program (normally an NBC Blue program, sponsored by RCA's Victor records division) entitled "Salute to 1939."
It was on the NBC Blue Network from September 29, 1935, until September 18, 1939.

The Collier Hour

A description of this broadcast is contained in a 1930 pamphlet put out by the Enna Jettick Shoe Company; Enna Jettick sponsored the first of Lauder's performances that night on its "Enna Jettick Melodies" show, which was followed later by another performance during the time ordinarily used by The Collier Hour.
The Collier Hour, also known as Collier's Radio Hour, broadcast on the NBC Blue Network from 1927 to 1932, was radio's first major dramatic anthology.

WBZ (AM)

WBZWBZ radioWBZ-AM
The core stations of the "Radio Group" were RCA's stations WJZ and WRC; the Westinghouse station WBZ, then in Springfield, Massachusetts; and WGY, the General Electric station in Schenectady, New York. "TWO BIG NETWORKS: The network to be used for the first concert will consist of a combination of chains of stations affiliated with WEAF and WJZ, New York. It is also announced that this opening Victor program inaugurates a new chain system to be operated by the National Broadcasting Company, with WJZ as the "key" station. This new chain, which will be known as the "blue" network, will allow simultaneous broadcasting from WJZ through WBZ, Springfield and Boston, KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago. For broadcasting of the first program, therefore, the "blue" network will be joined with the "red" network, as the WEAF chain is designated, as well as other stations in various cities. Following the New Year's night program, the concerts will be given bi-monthly, through the "blue" network "
This paved the way for the station to become a charter affiliate of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) on November 15, 1926, carrying the WJZ-originated NBC Blue Network beginning on January 1, 1927.

Lux Radio Theatre

Lux Radio TheaterLux Summer TheatreHuntington Hartford Theatre Hollywood
On occasion, shows would make brief stops at NBC Blue before moving elsewhere, such as the Lux Radio Theatre (1934–35) and Will Rogers' program (1933), both of which would move to CBS.
Lux Radio Theatre, sometimes spelled Lux Radio Theater, a classic radio anthology series, was broadcast on the NBC Blue Network (1934–35) (owned by the National Broadcasting Company, later predecessor of American Broadcasting Company [ABC] in 1943 /1945); CBS Radio network (Columbia Broadcasting System) (1935-54), and NBC Radio (1954–55).

Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel

Beagle, Shyster, and Beagleof the same nameoriginal Marx Brothers radio series
The marquee show in this cycle was Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, which starred Groucho Marx and Chico Marx.
The series was originally broadcast in the United States on the National Broadcasting Company's Blue Network beginning November 28, 1932, and ended May 22, 1933.

Five-Star Theater

Five Star Theatre
During the 1932–1933 season, Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso) sponsored an unusual program, the Five-Star Theater, which each weeknight presented a show in a different format.
Five-Star Theater (also written as 5-Star Theater) is an American radio series that premiered on Monday, November 28, 1932, on NBC's Blue Network, sponsored by the Standard Oil Companies of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Louisiana and the Colonial Beacon Oil Company.

America's Town Meeting of the Air

America's Town Meeting
In a similar vein, one of the Blue Network's longest running programs was America's Town Meeting of the Air, a current-affairs discussion program.
America’s Town Meeting of the Air was a public affairs discussion broadcast on radio from May 30, 1935, to July 1, 1956, mainly on the NBC Blue Network and its successor, ABC Radio.

KFI

KFI-AMKFI 640 AMKFI AM 640
A slightly later example of cooperation came on the evening of Sunday, December 1, 1929, when the famed "Laird of the Music Halls", Sir Harry Lauder, appeared on a coast-to-coast hookup that originated from KFI in Los Angeles (later an NBC Red station, but at this time part of NBC's West Coast "Orange Network"), but was distributed by WJZ, which, as noted, was the key station of the Blue Network; advertisements suggest that certain NBC Red stations, as well as stations in the Orange Network, supplemented the network.
From the time of its inception in 1926, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) operated two networks, the Red Network and the Blue Network.

Jack Benny

The Jack Benny ProgramBennyThe Jack Benny Show
Bob Hope (in 1935 and again in 1937), Jack Benny (in 1932), Fibber McGee and Molly (in 1935), and Information, Please! (in 1938) are all examples of shows that debuted on the Blue Network before eventually transitioning over to larger audiences on the Red Network.
With Canada Dry ginger ale as a sponsor, Benny came to radio on The Canada Dry Program, on May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing for six months until October 26, moving to CBS on October 30. With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.

The Voice of Firestone

Firestone HourHoward BarlowThe Firestone Hour
She points out, with some justice, that NBC Red also broadcast a number of high-brow programs such as The Voice of Firestone, The Atwater Kent Hour, and the Cities Service Concerts.
The program was sponsored by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and aired on the "Blue Network" of NBC Radio on Monday nights at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time from its 1928 inception.

Walter Winchell

WinchellWalter Winchell’s JournalWinchell, Walter
Both Lowell Thomas and Walter Winchell's news programs were also broadcast over the Blue Network. While the Blue Network did lose a few programs to NBC, such as Quiz Kids and Duffy's Tavern (more shows that debuted or had a previous run on the Blue; see Lackmann, op. cit.) and the NBC Symphony Orchestra (Lackmann, op. cit.), it did retain one highly rated show, the Jergen's Journal with Walter Winchell, which managed to compete successfully with NBC's powerhouse Sunday night lineup (it was the 11th-ranked program for all of 1943–1944, and Blue's only program in the top 20).
He switched to WJZ (later renamed WABC) and the NBC Blue (later ABC Radio) in 1932 for the Jergens Journal.

KDKA (AM)

KDKAKDKA-AMKDKA radio
"TWO BIG NETWORKS: The network to be used for the first concert will consist of a combination of chains of stations affiliated with WEAF and WJZ, New York. It is also announced that this opening Victor program inaugurates a new chain system to be operated by the National Broadcasting Company, with WJZ as the "key" station. This new chain, which will be known as the "blue" network, will allow simultaneous broadcasting from WJZ through WBZ, Springfield and Boston, KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago. For broadcasting of the first program, therefore, the "blue" network will be joined with the "red" network, as the WEAF chain is designated, as well as other stations in various cities. Following the New Year's night program, the concerts will be given bi-monthly, through the "blue" network "
Westinghouse, along with RCA and General Electric, was a co-founder in 1926 of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), which created two national radio networks: the NBC Red Network and the NBC Blue Network.

KYW (AM)

KYWKYW radioKYW Newsradio 1060
"TWO BIG NETWORKS: The network to be used for the first concert will consist of a combination of chains of stations affiliated with WEAF and WJZ, New York. It is also announced that this opening Victor program inaugurates a new chain system to be operated by the National Broadcasting Company, with WJZ as the "key" station. This new chain, which will be known as the "blue" network, will allow simultaneous broadcasting from WJZ through WBZ, Springfield and Boston, KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago. For broadcasting of the first program, therefore, the "blue" network will be joined with the "red" network, as the WEAF chain is designated, as well as other stations in various cities. Following the New Year's night program, the concerts will be given bi-monthly, through the "blue" network "
In 1927, Westinghouse affiliated its four radio stations (KYW, KDKA in Pittsburgh, WBZ in Springfield, Massachusetts and WBZA in Boston) with the National Broadcasting Company's (NBC) NBC Blue Network, which originated from station WJZ in New York City, which had been transferred from Westinghouse to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1923.

Al Pearce

The Al Pearce ShowThe Happy-Go-Lucky Hour
This point can said to be reinforced firstly by a memorandum dated September 18, 1935, in which the Blue complained about its lack of access to broadcasts of the World Series, and secondly by a letter dated shortly after that, on October 5, 1935, which is a communication from Hearst Radio complaining that Amos 'n Andy and the Al Pearce programs had been moved from the Blue Network to the Red Network, and complaining in general about the weakness of the Blue's programming.
The musical-variety show scored such a success in San Francisco from 1928 until 1932 that it moved to the Blue Network on January 13, 1934, airing Saturdays at 6 p.m. until September when the 30-minute series split into two 15-minute shows heard Mondays and Fridays at 5 p.m. It continued in those timeslots until March 29, 1935.

Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts

Metropolitan OperaMetropolitan Opera radio broadcastradio broadcasts
Along with the NBC Symphony Orchestra broadcasts, the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts were part of the "crown jewels" of NBC Blue.
The live radio broadcasts were originally heard on NBC, and became a staple of its Blue Network.

American Broadcasting Company

ABCABC-TVABC Network
Beginning as one of the two radio networks owned by the National Broadcasting Company, the independent Blue Network was born of a divestiture in 1942, arising from anti-trust litigation, and is the direct predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC)—organized 1943–1945 as a separate independent radio network and later TV broadcaster. Noble was forced to divest himself of New York station WMCA, which he had owned since 1940, but his American Broadcasting System, Inc., the entity formed to be the parent of the Blue Network, acquired WJZ, additional stations in Chicago and San Francisco, as well as land-line leases, certain studio facilities and leased studio facilities, and the affiliation system.
ABC launched as a radio network on October 12, 1943, serving as the successor to the NBC Blue Network, which had been purchased by Edward J. Noble.

Duffy's Tavern

Ed Gardner's Duffy's Tavernshow of the same name
While the Blue Network did lose a few programs to NBC, such as Quiz Kids and Duffy's Tavern (more shows that debuted or had a previous run on the Blue; see Lackmann, op. cit.) and the NBC Symphony Orchestra (Lackmann, op. cit.), it did retain one highly rated show, the Jergen's Journal with Walter Winchell, which managed to compete successfully with NBC's powerhouse Sunday night lineup (it was the 11th-ranked program for all of 1943–1944, and Blue's only program in the top 20).
Duffy's Tavern is an American radio situation comedy that ran for a decade on several networks (CBS, 1941–42; NBC-Blue Network, 1942–44; and NBC, 1944–51), concluding with the December 28, 1951, broadcast.

WMCA (AM)

WMCAWMCA-AMWMCA Radio
Noble was forced to divest himself of New York station WMCA, which he had owned since 1940, but his American Broadcasting System, Inc., the entity formed to be the parent of the Blue Network, acquired WJZ, additional stations in Chicago and San Francisco, as well as land-line leases, certain studio facilities and leased studio facilities, and the affiliation system.
In 1943, it was acquired by the Straus family when Edward J. Noble acquired the Blue Network and its owned-and-operated stations from NBC, including WJZ (now WABC) in New York; the Blue Network would later be renamed the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

David Sarnoff

David SarnoffBrigadier General David SarnoffGeneral Sarnoff
The fact that David Sarnoff, the head of RCA, was involved in these discussions indicates the high level at which this proposal was given consideration.
NBC had by that time split into two networks, the Red and the Blue.