Fulton Lewis: Old Time Radio Star

Fulton Lewis: Old Time Radio Star - OTR World
Fulton LewisFulton Lewis, Jr.
(April 30, 1903 in Washington D.C. – August 20, 1966 in Washington D. C.) was a prominent conservative American radio broadcaster from the 1930s to the 1960s. Lewis was born into influential circles in the nation's capital. He remained close to the circles of power all his life (President Herbert Hoover and his wife attended the wedding of Lewis and Alice Huston, who was the daughter of former Republican National Committee chairman Claudius Hart Huston) He was an indifferent student; he attended the University of Virginia for three years (where he was a member of the Virginia Glee Club and wrote the music for that school's official fight song, The Cavalier Song). He dropped out of UVa, but soon after enrolled in the George Washington University Law School. He also left that institution when he obtained a reporting job with the Washington Herald newspaper. He found his niche in news reporting, and within three years was the paper's City editor. During that time he met and courted his future wife. Lewis left the Herald to join Universal News Service, run by the Hearst family. Between 1933 and 1936 Lewis wrote a newspaper column called "The Washington Sideshow" which was syndicated by King Features. His radio career began when he volunteered to fill in for a vacationing news reporter. The head of Washington AM radio station WOL was impressed with Lewis' "on-the-spot" reporting and offered him a full-time position. His commentaries were broadcast nationally by the Mutual Broadcasting System. Lewis' commentary program (presented as a "news" program, but which allowed him to choose his topic and to give his opinions in depth) ran from 7:00-7:15 p.m. Eastern time, five days a week. His audience liked Lewis' folksy broadcasting style. At his commercial peak, Lewis was heard on more than 500 radio stations and boasted a weekly audience of sixteen million listeners. His signature closing was "That's the top of the news as it looks from here." He also transitioned briefly to television in the early 1950s but the format of his program did not appeal in that medium, so he returned to radio for the remainder of his career. Lewis was a conservative commentator who supported Barry Goldwater for President, supported limited government and federalism, and opposed liberal leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnsonand their policies. He first made his mark by opposing the New Deal policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (although he initially admired the man upon his first election), and as the world lurched toward World War IIin the late 1930s he strongly supported the America First Committee, along with famed aviator Charles Lindbergh in their efforts to keep the US out of what he considered "the European War". He strongly opposed FDR's re-election in 1944, and also the election campaign of FDR's successor Harry S Truman in 1948. After the war Lewis was avidly anti-communist, and strongly backed Senator Joe McCarthy. He was one of the first broadcasters to expose Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as the communist spies that the Venonapapers proved they were, although he was later accused of antisemitism as well.[6] Even after McCarthy was disgraced nationwide, Lewis continued to strongly champion him, and this did much to reduce his nationwide radio audience and appeal. He continued on air, however, until his death in 1966, after which his son Fulton Lewis III kept the broadcast running for another twelve years.

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