The seventh episode of Museum Access was devoted to the Museum of Broadcast Communications (M.B.C.) in Chicago, which aired on W.T.T.W. on Sunday, May 13, 2018. It is a four-story 65,000-square-foot facility (at 360 North State Street).
Producer-hostess Leslie Mueller interviews Television Archivist Steve Jajkowski in front of the Media Tower, a sculpture comprised of old television and radio equipment that one must pass before entering the National Radio Hall of Fame on the second floor. Over 200 people had been inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame by the time the show was recorded. Every year, a new batch of radio personalities, producers, directors, and writers get inducted in a ceremony on the fourth floor.
The M.B.C. has one of famous radio ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s two Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist dummies (the other being in the Smithsonian). In addition, the M.B.C. has McCarthy’s two pals Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker.
On the third floor is the exhibit Here’s Johnny: The Making of the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. It includes costumes from Caron’s skits, memorabilia, and clips from the late night talk/variety show, which was much more popular than the myriad late night talk shows that are on today.
Mr. Jajkowski also showed off a camera from the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon Debate held in Chicago. He also related the frequently cited story that people who watched the debate on television thought Senator Kennedy had won the debate, while those who listened to the debate on the radio thought Vice President Nixon had won.
Lastly, he showed Ms. Mueller the M.B.C. Archives, which are not open to the public. The tour of the archives included what appeared to be film reel cans piled on a pallet, tapes on a fixed shelving unit. He also showed her compact shelving units rolling apart. Compact shelving units are much more expensive for libraries and archives to acquire and install than bookcases, but they are worth it because they allow for the storage of much more material.
In the final segment, Ms. Mueller interviewed Bruce DuMont, Founder and President of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, in a working radio studio called the Paul & Angel Harvey Radio Center. Famed radio newscaster Paul Harvey (1918-2009) and his producer-wife, Lynne (“Angel”) Harvey (1916-2008), were advocates for the foundation of the M.B.C. W.G.N. donated the long desk where a radio personality can interview multiple guests. The Art Laboe Control Room is named after another radio legend, the disc jockey who coined the phrase “oldies but goodies.” Radio stations from across the U.S.A. can record live remote programs there. Mr. DuMont makes his syndicated radio show Beyond the Beltway there. Tony Lossano records his Lossano and Friends podcast there.
Figure 1 Credit: Photo courtesy of Museum Access. Caption: This is Paul & Angel Harvey Radio Center at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.