FIRST, THE LEGAL STUFF . . .

This is a not-for-profit tribute site dedicated to fan and educational use. (In other words, I'm not making a dime on this!)

It is not associated with, nor endorsed by, Cumulus Media, Westwood One, CBS, Amway, 3M Company, General Tire and Rubber,
or any other company either currently or previously associated with the Mutual Broadcasting System.

The logos, images and sounds on these pages belong to other people and/or companies - not to me.
Their use on these pages do not constitute a commercial or for-profit use.
No challenges to copyrights or ownership are either implied or inferred.


Now, a word from our sponsor: WHY??

Why put together a tribute site to an also-ran network that no longer exists?

The answer really lies in the explanation. This, you see, is the result of some forty years of fascination and research.

I've been fascinated with Mutual since the mid-'70s; back then, the Mutual affiliate in Seattle (where I grew up) was KIRO, which would air two drive-time newscasts weekdays, the bottom-of-the-hour newscasts and "Wide Weekend of Sports" on the weekends, and Herb Jepko's "Nitecap" show overnights. There was something intriguing about how Mutual sounded - so much different than the other networks. There was a crispness, a faster pace, almost a swagger in its sound; besides, there were those goofy tones in the commercial breaks, too.

Through the 1960s, Seattle's Mutual station was "Country KAYO." I have vague memories of hearing the Mutual newscast at half past each hour. But in 1969, KAYO dropped Mutual and signed up with the American Entertainment Radio Network (one of ABC's four demographic networks started in 1968).

Mutual would appear sporadically up and down the dial after that; I stumbled briefly onto Fulton Lewis III's commentaries around 1974 on KBLE; then I became a regular KIRO listener and my fascination started.

My research began some 40 years ago when I came across a one-page synopsis on Mutual in a 1960 book about radio and tv news - it said Mutual was trying to overcome "a mountain of bad publicity and financial difficulties." From there, I found a 1959 Business Week article titled "Radio Network Pulls Out of Jam," which told the story of Mutual's slide to bankruptcy (you'll find much of it in "1957 - 1959: On the Edge"). I've wanted to know the "before" and "after" to that story ever since. So I've done a lot of research of magazines and trade journals, and found that the development of radio ownership and network affiliation rules in the 1940s are due in large part to Mutual's very existence. But I've also wanted to share what I know - and, hopefully, learn even more.

So, why do this website? The answer, in short:

a) because I've been interested in Mutual since I was a teenager;

b) because there is little information about Mutual on the internet, and some of it (actually, a lot of it) is incorrect;

c) because I have researched the network thoroughly over the years, and this is a good way to share what I have learned;

d) and because Mutual's story is a fascinating one that deserves to be told.

Besides, e) everyone needs a hobby; this is mine.

I have tried to be fair and factual. While I strive for accuracy, I can goof up. Any errors are my responsibility; PLEASE contact me with any corrections. A link to my e-mail is on every page.


GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

While I have written the story of Mutual found in these pages, this site would be nothing if not for the invaluable contributions of a number of people, including but not limited to:

>>JEFF MISSINE Jeff has been a steady contact, supplying information and good wishes.

PHIL GRAY Until recently, Phil owned a radio station in central Oregon. Like Jeff, he has been a reliable fan and contributor, and through his efforts, there will be more to come.

DICK ROSSE A Mutual mainstay from the 3M days until the end, Dick has been a steady source, along with BOB MOORE, with views from inside the network.

Last, but NOT Least . . .
>>JIM GUTHRIE
Jim was the first one to contact me after this site went active in 2009. He has been a constant source of material, knowledge, and inspiration. Suffice it to say this site would be nothing without his contributions.

There are more names I will add in the future. If I didn't mention you here, fear not; I deeply appreciate your efforts on behalf of this site.


The Approach

To be honest, Mutual's behind-the-scenes battles were more interesting than much of its on-air product. I've included some information of Mutual's programming (and there's plenty of audio in the "Audition Booth"), but the focus here is on Mutual's almost never-ending struggle to stay alive - much of which has so far been documented only in the archives of trade journals such as Variety, Broadcasting, and Advertising Age.


One last note: is it Mutual, or is it MBS?

You'll see both used in these pages. While the letters "MBS" were almost never used on the air, the network used both interchangeably in its print advertising through the mid-1960s. But from that point on, it was either "Mutual Broadcasting System," "Mutual Radio," or just "Mutual" - both on and off the air. I've used the same pattern here.


Now . . . ON WITH THE STORY!!

To return to the Mutual Tribute Site home page, click here.

To return to Kenneth Johannessen's home page, click here.