Radio stars (July 1933)

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RADIO STARS greeting; die message of good will and good cheer. And if the birthday jjuest happens to l)c ninety years young: or over, lie or she has special mention. The greeting jjoes out to "A young lady of ninety- two of Akron. Ohio. - ' or to "A Civil War veteran of ninety-six of Brookline, Massachusetts." And' if the guest is a hundred years or over—and you would he surprised how many there are who have reached the century mark—the name itself is read over the air. and the Cheerio family shouts. "Hip. hip, hooraj.'" But there is something else that is a by-product of these greetings to those of ninety and over, and that is that the listeners of sixty and seventy begin to feel like two-year-olds. A daughter wrote: "We used to think our mother was old. But now we don't any more— because of Cheerio." There are some hard-boiled listeners who say the Cheerio program is a lot of blah-blah sentimentality. All right, to those persons, it is. But ask a certain manufacturer what happened to him when he tried to interfere with thai sentimentality. You see. the manufacturer wanted some time on the air to advertise his product. On eleven Middle West stations he was given the last fifteen minutes of Cheerio's half hour and Cheerio's pro- gram was cut correspondingly. THEN came the fun. The Cheerio audience rose up in arms. It deluged that particular company with telegrams, letters, telephone calls—all saying prac- tically the same thing: "If you don't give us back our Cheerio, we'll boycott your product." "Help!" said the manufacturer to the powers of NBC. "Give me some other time, quick." And we'll wager he'll prefer tackling a bunch of wildcats to interfering with that "sentimental" Cheerio audience again. The question might be asked: Why didn't that manufacturer offer to spon- sor the Cheerio time? The reason is that Cheerio has made it known from the start that he feels the commercial element would interfere with the pro- gram's purpose. For the same reason he insists upon remaining impersonal. He feels he can do most good by entering the homes of his listeners not as a definite personality, named and pictured, but as a spirit—a spirit of helpfulness, of cheer and com- fort and inspiration. He is not, as some have said, trying to build up a great big mystery about himself and so achieve publicity. And he has been so consis- tent in this attitude that even skeptics are beginning to believe him. In March. 1930. was founded the Order of the Ked C. For one week—the seventh to the fourteenth—in the month of 'March, you can see a Red C in the windows of many homes. (Incidentally, there was one in a window of the White House in that week of 1031, when Her- bert Hoover was president.) Those C's stand for Cheerio. 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