Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Whole Year Through: KSL Advertising, 1937

The Whole Year Through: KSL Advertising, 1937

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 05, 2010

KSL is the flagship of the church’s broadcast system, home of the Tabernacle Choir’s “Music and the Spoken Word” and of General Conference. In 1937 KSL was proud of its 50,000 watts of power as well as of its in-house human talent. KSL was also a heavy supporter of the church magazines, taking the inside back cover of the Improvement Era most months.

I realize the print is rather small in these reproductions and is sometimes printed on colors. If you care enough to want me to type out the text of any particular ad, I’ll do that.


























  1. Wow. Back in the days before the internet.

    The layout on that first ad is making me feel a little seasick, but altogether it looks like a good advertising campaign. Clear logo, personalities, brand loyalty.

    Is that a picture of Earl Glade in the September ad? He was a missionary to Germany (Breslau), head of KSL for many years, instrumental in starting the Tabernacle Choir Broadcasts, and four-term mayor of Salt Lake City.

    Comment by Researcher — August 5, 2010 @ 7:37 am

  2. This surprised me. My impression of radio is what I see today, mostly local with a few syndicated programs. That KSL was listened to so widely (11 states) was new to me.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — August 5, 2010 @ 10:07 am

  3. Is that a bare female shoulder I see in the March ad? Scandalous!

    Comment by Bro. Jones — August 5, 2010 @ 10:15 am

  4. I enjoyed this. A few thoughts:

    In the March ad, the fact that every star was associated so strongly with a company sponsor (rather than a show) is interesting to me. Fred McMurray (later famous for Disney movies such as Follow Me Boys, Flubber, and the TV series My Three Sons) looks extremely young (top center)

    The General Conference ad is great. So many dress hats! As near as I can tell, the only uncovered heads are women, which are outnumbered at least 5-to-1.

    THe fade-outs in the collage in the June ad are also remarkable. Someone was a darkroom genius to cobble those together.

    And finally, the July and August ad had me stumped, until I remembered that back then, KSL was an AM station (as were all radio stations inthe ’30s). FM, even with repeaters couldn’t make it to Midway, but AM frequencies could…

    Comment by Clark — August 5, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

  5. Anybody recognize the organist in June? Richard L. Evans looked the way you’d expect, and I wonder if that’s a young Richard P. Condie directing.

    I remember hearing the KSL people in their promotional lines talking about their “50,000 watt clear-channel” station.

    And I also remember on clear winter nights, especially, picking up AM stations from all sorts of distant, exotic places. We could get KNX from Los Angeles regularly and KOLA from Oklahoma City sometimes. And some Denver station whose call letters I’ve forgotten.

    Those were the days, my friends.

    As to the association of the stars’ names with the sponsors’–I think the pattern back then was for one company to sponsor the entire program, and to have its name as part of the program name. It’s a little more primitive than calling your baseball stadium something like “Enron Field”–how’d that work out, Houston?–and “Energy Solutions Arena” is euphemistically better than “Nuclear Waste Dump Fieldhouse”. But it went from radio to TV–for example, as Ronald Reagan’s movie making career was ending, he became the host of the “General Electric Theater” on TV.

    Now we just have the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 5, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

  6. Still can get KSL 1160 here (north-central Colorado) after sunset. I occasionally catch a BYU game that way.

    The Denver station was probably KOA (our 50-thousand-watt-blowtorch).

    The reason that stations can be heard much farther away after sunset is that the solar radiation interference is then gone.

    Comment by Coffinberry — August 5, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  7. I looked at some pictures today, and think that the organist pictured in June must be Frank W. Asper.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 6, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

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