Museum of Broadcast Communications

The Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) is an American museum, the stated mission of which is "to collect, preserve, and present historic and contemporary radio and television content as well as educate, inform and entertain through our archives, public programs, screenings, exhibits, publications and online access to our resources."[1] It is located in Chicago, Illinois.

Museum of Broadcast Communications
Location360 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates41°53′00″N 87°37′30″W / 41.883352°N 87.625126°WCoordinates: 41°53′00″N 87°37′30″W / 41.883352°N 87.625126°W

The museum's locations (1987–present)

The Museum of Broadcast Communications was founded in 1982 but didn't open until June 1987 in the River City condominium complex, located at 800 S. Wells St. It remained there until June 1992, when it moved to the Chicago Cultural Center. The MBC then left the Cultural Center in December 2003, with plans to open in a new building of its own at 360 N. State St. in 2005.[2] Subsequently, construction of the new MBC experienced various delays and setbacks, with construction stopping in 2006 and the half-completed building slated to be sold in December 2008, which MBC founder and president Bruce DuMont blamed on a lack of $6 million in state funding that had reportedly been promised to the museum three years earlier.[3]

On November 7, 2009, DuMont announced that funding for the museum from the state of Illinois had finally been obtained and that construction would begin once again.[4] Seven months later, Governor Pat Quinn stated that Illinois would give the MBC a capital grant of $6 million to help complete its construction.[5] (In December 2009 the MBC held a construction fundraiser in Oak Park, Illinois, where DuMont was living at the time.[6] The event's headliner was Bill Jackson, the creator and host of the children's program The BJ and Dirty Dragon Show, which aired on Chicago TV from 1968 to '74, originally as Cartoon Town.[7])

The new 62,000-square-foot MBC was back under construction in 2010. It was set to include expanded areas for collection development, two exhibit galleries, and working radio and television studios.[8] The State of Illinois set a deadline of May 2011 to finish basic interior work and landscaping, but because of cold weather, the museum was given a 30-day extension on its original April 30 deadline.[9]

After being dormant for eight and a half years as a brick-and-mortar destination, the museum reopened in its new location at 360 N. State St. on June 13, 2012, exactly 25 years after it first opened its doors. (Technically, the National Radio Hall of Fame gallery, located on the second floor of the museum, had been open to the public since December 1, 2011.)[10] The pre-opening ceremony on June 12 included actors John Mahoney (Frasier) and Betty White (The Golden Girls) and newscaster Hugh Downs (20/20).[11]

According to a February 2011 press release centered on the MBC's partnership with Cleversafe to provide online access to its archives, roughly 70,000 registered users and 4.5 million unique visitors had accessed the MBC's 400,000 online videos between 2009 and early 2011, and more than "240,000 visitors from across the country are projected for the [museum's] first year of operation."[12] However, museum attendance "dropped drastically, from 225,000 annual visitors when MBC was at the Cultural Center and free to 7,300 last year at the current entrance fee of $12," reported the Chicago Reader in May 2015. "Then in 2013, what DuMont describes as a 'server crash' destroyed access to the 10 percent of the museum's archive of radio and television programming that had been digitized and made available to the public for free."[13]

In December 2012 Crain's Chicago Business reported that the MBC "now owes less than $3 million on a mortgage held by Pepper [Construction, the contractor for the State St. facility] and has arranged another three years for paying down that debt."[14] (The Chicago Reader had previously reported, in November 2009, a mortgage total of $4.79 million "that'll come due in 2011.")[15] More than four and a half years later, in July 2017, Crain's revealed that the MBC's mortgage deadline had been pushed back from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017, and that as of August 2016 the museum "owed $2.5 million to Pepper Construction"; furthermore, "the museum posted $53,674 in ticket revenue" in 2015 along with "an operating deficit of $561,331, according to its tax filing for that year, the most recent available."[16] Four weeks later Crain's reported that Pepper Construction had granted the MBC another year to pay off its debt, extending the mortgage deadline to December 31, 2018.[17]

In September 2017 the MBC announced the debut of "Saturday Night Live: The Experience," a 12,000-square-foot exhibit acquired from Premier Exhibitions that was set to open the following month and run through the end of 2018. "It's a grab for the gold ring," MBC president Bruce DuMont told the Chicago Tribune. "I think it's going to dramatically change the museum for the better. We're very excited about it. There's going to be more attention, more traffic, more buzz about the things we do here."[18]

On March 2, 2018, media blogger Robert Feder reported that the museum was "looking to sell two floors of its four-story building at 360 North State Street." "We simply are looking at options to improve the future educational and entertainment experience for our patrons," said MBC board chairman Larry Wert. "Any proceeds would put the institution on a solid financial foundation."[19] Wert, Tribune Media's president of broadcast media, was elected interim chairman of the MBC board in October 2016,[20] less than two months after Bruce DuMont announced that he planned to retire as the museum's president.[21] (Until Wert became the interim chairman of the board, the position had "been vacant since 1995 when the late Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. stepped down after 11 years," wrote Feder that October.)

However, shortly after DuMont made his announcement in August 2016, the website Chicagoland Radio and Media reported, "Officially, DuMont is voluntarily retiring from the MBC, claiming the decision is entirely his own, although in reality, there is far more behind it," including alleged financial mismanagement; additionally, DuMont would "remain at least until a successor has been found and begun in the MBC President role. This could take up to a year."[22] DuMont's final two-year term as president ended on December 31, 2017,[23] without a successor in place, but on March 19, 2018, Robert Feder reported that Julian Jackson, formerly the vice president of design at the Milwaukee Public Museum, had been named the MBC's new executive director.[24]

Nearly six months later, on September 17, Feder reported that the MBC's board of directors was close to finalizing a deal to sell the museum's third and fourth floors to Fern Hill, a real estate development and investment firm. "Sources said the agreement will net $6 million, to be used to continue operating the museum and paying down debt — especially a $3.7 million mortgage held by Pepper Construction Co.," Feder wrote.[25]

National Radio Hall of Fame

Until October 2017, when "Saturday Night Live: The Experience" opened, the second floor of the museum was the location of the National Radio Hall of Fame (NRHOF) gallery. The NRHOF has been affiliated with the MBC since 1991.[26] (The museum was also home to the American Advertising Federation's Advertising Hall of Fame from 1992 to 2000.[27])

See also


  1. ^ "Our Mission". Museum.TV. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  2. ^ Storch, Charles (December 11, 2003). "Broadcast Museum on hiatus for move". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  3. ^ Dahlman, Steven (April 13, 2010). "Museum still waiting for state money to finish new State & Kinzie home". Loop North News. Marina City Online. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Construction of broadcast museum resumes". Marina City Online. 13 June 2010. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  5. ^ "Governor Quinn To Announce $6 Million Capital Grant for Museum of Broadcast Communications" (Press release). Illinois Governor News Network. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  6. ^ Dwyer, Bill (November 24, 2009). "Oak Park child porn suspect on electronic monitor; Columbia College prof released into father's custody". Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  7. ^ Wilson, Matthew (December 8, 2009). "Mayor of 'Cartoon Town' visits downtown Oak Park". Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  8. ^ Dahlman, Steve (21 March 2011). "Broadcast museum unrolls floor plans". Marina City Online. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  9. ^ "Broadcast museum moves offices into new building". Marina City Online. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  10. ^ "Radio "Hall of Fame" gallery opens to public". Loop North News. December 6, 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  11. ^ Johnson, Steve (June 13, 2012). "Museum of Broadcast Communications opens doors". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Chicago-Based Museum of Broadcast Communications Continues With Cleversafe". February 28, 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  13. ^ Isaacs, Deanna (May 5, 2015). "Has the Museum of Broadcast Communications finally found its frequency?". Sun-Times Media, LLC. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  14. ^ Marek, Lynne (December 17, 2012). "Broadcast museum reaches deal to help pay mortgage". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communication, Inc. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  15. ^ Isaacs, Deanna (November 17, 2009). "Long-Awaited Broadcast Museum State Grant Almost, but Not Quite, a Done Deal". Chicago Reader. Chicago Reader. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  16. ^ Bertagnoli, Lisa (July 1, 2017). "Is it curtains for Museum of Broadcast Communications?". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communication, Inc. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  17. ^ Bertagnoli, Lisa (July 31, 2017). "Museum of Broadcast Communications gets a lifeline". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communication, Inc. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  18. ^ Johnson, Steve (September 6, 2017). "Major 'Saturday Night Live' exhibit opening in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  19. ^ Feder, Robert (March 2, 2018). "Robservations: Cara Carriveau exits WSHE". Robert Feder. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  20. ^ Feder, Robert (October 11, 2016). "Larry Wert named interim chairman of broadcast museum". Robert Feder. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  21. ^ Feder, Robert (August 25, 2016). "Robservations: 'WGN Morning News' gets primetime showcase". Robert Feder. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Museum Of Broadcast Communications Seeking To Replace Bruce DuMont". Chicagoland Radio and Media. August 29, 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  23. ^ Feder, Robert (November 29, 2017). "Robservations: Bruce DuMont retiring from broadcast museum". Robert Feder. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  24. ^ Feder, Robert (March 19, 2018). "Robservations: Tronc execs get richer while Tribune cuts staff". Robert Feder. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  25. ^ Feder, Robert (September 17, 2018). "Broadcast museum to downsize with sale of top two floors". Robert Feder. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  26. ^ Kening, Dan (June 9, 1992). "Improved Signal: Reopened Museum Of Broadcast Communications To Sharpen Its Focus On Radio". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  27. ^ Crain, Rance (January 15, 2001). "Museum leaves Hall of Fame without a place to call home". Advertising Age. Retrieved 20 September 2016.

External links

Beyond the Beltway

Beyond the Beltway, hosted by Bruce DuMont, is a nationally syndicated political talk-radio show based in Chicago. It airs 7-9 PM (ET) every Sunday on more than 30 terrestrial stations and Sirius XM Satellite Radio (POTUS Channel 124) as well as online at In February 2015, Beyond the Beltway was removed from the lineup of Chicago's 50,000-watt WLS 890 AM, the show's flagship station since November 1992, and picked up by WCGO 1590 AM, a 10,000-watt station based out of Evanston, Illinois.It is videotaped live at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which DuMont founded in 1987, and is shown at various times throughout the week, including Mondays at 11 PM, on CN100 in the Chicago area; the televised version of Beltway was also broadcast on WYCC, Chicago's secondary PBS station, on Sunday nights from 1996 until the station went off the air in 2017. Beyond the Beltway made headlines in March 2012 when DuMont challenged Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum for criticizing President Obama's stance on prosecuting child pornographers.

Bill Todman

William Selden Todman (July 31, 1916 – July 29, 1979) was an American television producer and personality born in New York City. He produced many of television's longest running shows with business partner Mark Goodson.

Bruce DuMont

Bruce DuMont (born June 18, 1944 in New London, Connecticut) is an American broadcaster and political analyst based in Chicago, Illinois. He is the host of Beyond the Beltway, a syndicated talk radio show that airs on more than 20 stations around the United States. The program, which began in 1980 as Inside Politics, also airs a televised version on Chicago's secondary PBS station, WYCC. From 1987 to 2006 DuMont was the host of Illinois Lawmakers, a television show covering legislative news that originated from the State Capitol in Springfield during the months of the year when the Illinois General Assembly was in session.

Beyond the Beltway celebrated 30 years on the radio in June 2010. Four months later, DuMont recycled the title of Inside Politics, using it now to refer to the televised version of Beyond the Beltway. (It has since reverted to its original title.)

DuMont got his start in broadcasting as a producer for WGN 720 AM in 1968. He interrupted his radio career to make an unsuccessful run for a seat in the Illinois Senate in 1970, then returned to WGN, this time as a producer for Howard Miller, a controversial radio personality. DuMont gained his first on-air radio experience at WLTD, now WCGO, in Evanston, Illinois, a 1,000-watt AM station at the time. It was at WLTD that he became nationally known for his investigative reporting on subjects such as Watergate and the CIA.DuMont then began to focus on producing news and documentaries for local television. A documentary about teenage suicides for WBBM-TV earned him an Iris Award from the National Association of Television Programming, while another documentary, this one about censorship in public libraries, earned him the Golden Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. He then worked as a producer for Chicago's primary PBS station, WTTW, heading up its broadcasts of the 1983 mayoral debates between Mayor Jane Byrne and her challengers, Richard M. Daley and Harold Washington. DuMont also produced WTTW's Chicago Tonight, and his on-camera work began in 1984 as the program's anchor for both the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention.

DuMont is the founder and president of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which began development in 1982. The MBC opened in June 1987 inside the River City condominium complex at 800 S. Wells St. in Chicago, then relocated to the Chicago Cultural Center five years later, where it remained until December 2003. After eight and a half years of delays related to construction and financing, the MBC reopened in its new location at 360 N. State St. on June 13, 2012.He was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1992 to 1998.DuMont is the nephew of Allen B. DuMont, founder of the DuMont Television Network, the first commercial television network. He was married to Kathy Osterman from May 1, 1992, until her death from cancer on December 8, 1992.

Frazier Thomas

William Frazier Thomas (June 13, 1918 – April 3, 1985) was a Chicago television personality. Although Thomas wrote nine children's books, he was best known for creating, hosting, writing and producing the long-running children's television program Garfield Goose and Friends on WGN-TV.

Gigglesnort Hotel

Gigglesnort Hotel is a syndicated children's television program which aired starting in 1975 and ran for 78 episodes, until about 1978. It was hosted by Bill Jackson, previously the host of several Chicago-based children's programs, including Clown Alley and The BJ and Dirty Dragon Show. The program was set, as the title implies, at an old hotel, where Jackson's role was a desk clerk. The program featured many of the characters from the previous show, including Dirty Dragon, the Old Professor, Weird, Old Mother Plumtree, and several others, such as the hotel's owner, Old Man Gigglesnort, who were created just for the program.The show was widely praised by critics, and became one of the highest rated children's shows in WLS-TV history. It was syndicated in 1978, airing in several markets nationwide as well as Canada, Italy, and Saudi Arabia.Jackson made a final appearance for a presentation for the Museum of Broadcast Communications, "Saturday Morning with B.J. and Dirty Dragon: Bill Jackson, Live in Person—One Last Time", in December 2009, saying this would be his last time appearing as a performer. In 1995, he donated all his original puppets to Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications.

Horace Newcomb

Horace Newcomb held the Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabody Award in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia from 2001 through June 2013. Prior to this, he was a member of the Board of Jurors from 1989 to 1995.Newcomb is the author of TV: The Most Popular Art (Doubleday/Anchor, 1974), co-author of The Producer's Medium (Oxford University Press, 1983), and editor of seven editions of Television: The Critical View (Oxford University Press, 1976–2006). In 1973-74, while teaching full-time, he was also the daily television columnist for the Baltimore Morning Sun. From 1994-96 he served as Curator for the Museum of Broadcast Communications (Chicago) with primary duties as editor of The Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television (Taylor & Francis, 2nd edition, 2004), a four- volume, 2,600 page reference work containing more than 1,200 entries on major people, programs, and topics related to television in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The MBC Encyclopedia of Television is the definitive library reference work of first record for the study of television. Newcomb is also author of numerous articles in scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers.

His research and teaching interests are in media, society and culture and he has written widely in the fields of television criticism and history. Recent lectures in Italy, Taiwan, Norway, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Korea, Switzerland and China have focused on cultural exchange and international media industries.Newcomb received the B.A. from Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi in 1964. He studied as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and University Fellow at the University of Chicago, receiving the M.A. in 1965 (General Studies in the Humanities) and the Ph.D. in English (American Literature), 1969. He taught at colleges and universities in Iowa, Michigan, Maryland, and Texas before joining the Peabody Award at the University of Georgia in 2001.

Jay Sandrich

Jay Henry Sandrich (born February 24, 1932) is an American television director; he is son of film director Mark Sandrich.

Linda Ellerbee

Linda Ellerbee (born August 15, 1944) is an American journalist who is most known for several jobs at NBC News, including Washington, D.C. correspondent, and also as host of Nickelodeon's Nick News with Linda Ellerbee. Her work on NBC News Overnight was recognized by the jurors of the duPont Columbia Awards as "possibly the best written and most intelligent news program ever."

List of surviving DuMont Television Network broadcasts

The DuMont Television Network was launched in 1946 and ceased broadcasting in 1956. Allen DuMont, who created the network, preserved most of what it produced in kinescope format. By 1958, however, much of the library had been destroyed to recover the silver content. Most of whatever survived was loaded onto three trucks and dumped into Upper New York Bay in the mid-1970s. Since then, there has been extensive research on which DuMont programs have episodes extant.

Due to the possibilities that various unknown collectors may be in possession of programs and/or episodes not listed here, and that the sources below may actually hold more than what is listed (for example, through a mislabeled film can), this list is very likely incomplete.

For a list of program series aired on DuMont, see List of programs broadcast by the DuMont Television Network.

National Educational Television

National Educational Television (NET) was a United States educational broadcast television network that operated from May 16, 1954 to November 4, 1982. It was owned by the Ford Foundation and later co-owned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It was succeeded by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), which has memberships with many television stations that were formerly part of NET.

National Radio Hall of Fame

The National Radio Hall of Fame (NRHOF) is a United States organization that was created by the Emerson Radio Corporation in 1988. Three years later Bruce DuMont, founder, president, and CEO of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, assumed control of the Hall, moved its base of operations to Chicago, and incorporated it into the MBC. It has been described as being dedicated to recognizing those who have contributed to the development of the radio medium throughout its history in the United States. The NRHOF gallery was located on the second floor of the MBC, at 360 N. State St., from December 2011 until October 2017, when the traveling exhibit "Saturday Night Live: The Experience" was installed on the second and fourth floors. In September 2018 the MBC's board of directors was reportedly close to finalizing a deal to sell the museum's third and fourth floors to Fern Hill, a real estate development and investment firm, according to Chicago media blogger Robert Feder, which would leave the MBC with just the second floor in terms of exhibit space.

News program

A news program, news programme, news show, or newscast is a regularly scheduled radio or television program that reports current events. News is typically reported in a series of individual stories that are presented by one or more anchors. A news program can include live or recorded interviews by field reporters, expert opinions, opinion poll results, and occasional editorial content.

A special category of news programs are entirely editorial in format. These host polemic debates between pundits of various ideological philosophies.

In the early-21st-century news programs – especially those of commercial networks – tended to become less oriented on "hard" news, and often regularly included "feel-good stories" or humorous reports as the last items on their newscasts, as opposed to news programs transmitted thirty years earlier, such as the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. From their beginnings until around 1995, evening television news broadcasts continued featuring serious news stories right up to the end of the program, as opposed to later broadcasts with such anchors as Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Diane Sawyer.

Roy Brown (clown)

Roy Thomas Brown (July 8, 1932 – January 22, 2001) was an American television personality, puppeteer, clown and artist known for playing "Cooky the Cook" (also Cooky the Clown) on Chicago's Bozo's Circus.

Spotlight (TV channel)

Spotlight was an American premium cable television network that was founded by the Times Mirror Satellite Programming Company unit of the Times Mirror Company, and owned as a joint venture with Storer Communications, Cox Cable and Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI). The channel's programming focused mainly on theatrically released motion pictures, with the only scheduling deviation being of monthly specials previewing films set to air on the channel.

Sydney Newman

Sydney Cecil Newman, OC (April 1, 1917 – October 30, 1997) was a Canadian film and television producer, who played a pioneering role in British television drama from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. After his return to Canada in 1970, Newman was appointed Acting Director of the Broadcast Programs Branch for the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) and then head of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). He also occupied senior positions at the Canadian Film Development Corporation and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and acted as an advisor to the Secretary of State.During his time in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, he worked first with the Associated British Corporation (ABC, now Thames Television), before moving across to the BBC in 1962, holding the role of Head of Drama with both organisations. During this phase of his career, he was responsible for initiating two hugely popular television programmes, the spy-fi series The Avengers and the science-fiction series Doctor Who, as well as overseeing the production of groundbreaking social realist drama series such as Armchair Theatre and The Wednesday Play.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications describes Newman as "the most significant agent in the development of British television drama." His obituary in The Guardian declared that "For ten brief but glorious years, Sydney Newman ... was the most important impresario in Britain ... His death marks not just the end of an era but the laying to rest of a whole philosophy of popular art."In Quebec, as commissioner of the NFB, he attracted controversy for his decision to suppress distribution of several politically sensitive films by French Canadian directors.

The Defenders (1961 TV series)

The Defenders is an American courtroom drama series that ran on CBS from 1961 to 1965. It was created by television writer Reginald Rose. Original music for the series was scored by Frank Lewin and Leonard Rosenman.

Thomas Murphy (broadcasting)

Thomas S. Murphy (born May 31, 1925) is an American broadcast executive, and was chair and chief executive officer of Capital Cities / ABC, Inc. until 1996. Together with fellow Capital Cities executive Daniel Burke, Murphy engineered the 1986 acquisition of the American Broadcasting Company in 1986 for $3.5 billion. Murphy and Burke, who served as President and Chief Executive of ABC until 1994, are credited with increasing the profitability and efficiency of ABC.

Wheel series

The terms wheel series, wheel show, wheel format or umbrella series are applied in the broadcast television industry to television series in which two or more regular programs are rotated in the same time slot. Sometimes the wheel series is given its own umbrella title and promoted as a single unit instead of promoting its separate components.

The most successful example of a wheel series on American television was the NBC Mystery Movie, which debuted in 1971 on NBC and ran for seven seasons. Three of the shows in the rotation, Columbo, McCloud, and McMillan & Wife, were among the most successful shows on American television in the 1970s.


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