Howard MillerShow Count: 160
Series Count: 1
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Died: November, 1994, Naples, Florida
Howard Miller, a Chicago radio personality from the 1940s through the 1970s, was extraordinarily popular as a pre-rock 'n' roll disc jockey and later as a controversial conservative radio commentator and TV talk-show host.
Over the last decade, his Miller Broadcasting has owned radio stations in Rockford, Geneva and Kewanee in Illinois and in Gainesville and Melbourne, FL.
"He had a showmanship and a charisma that blurted out through the radio," said political commentator Bruce DuMont, a friend and a former producer for Mr. Miller's radio show. "He did not have that mean-spirited atmosphere of some today. He grew up with his audience. He started as a major player in the pre-rock 'n' roll days of radio and records and got involved in people's growing interests in taxes, welfare cheats and crime. He created techniques such the `The People's Lobby.' It urged listener participation in the political process and has since been imitated by others such as Rush Limbaugh."
Mr. Miller was the son of Judge Harry B. Miller, a prominent Republican in the era of Mayor William Hale Thompson. A graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Mr. Miller served in the Navy in World War II and attended the Kent College of Law before finding a career in radio. He joined CBS as a staff producer in 1945 and then became program director at WIND for four years.
In the mid-1940s, he bought his first radio station, WGIL in Galesburg, and became the youngest radio station licensee in the country.
By 1949, Mr. Miller had a morning show on WIND and quickly dominated a new phenomenon that became known as "drive-time" radio. His patter and record spinning promoted singers and performers such as Patti Page, Pat Boone, Roger Williams and the Four Lads. By the mid-1950s, he was unquestionably the country's foremost disc jockey, and Time Magazine in 1957 called him "probably the nation's single biggest influence on record sales."
Mr. Miller had hoped to run for mayor of Chicago in 1959 and eventually made unsuccessful campaigns for Cook County sheriff and Congress.
Starting in the mid-1960s, he increasingly became the voice of conversatism on his morning WIND show. That came to a controversial end in April 1968 when he made remarks after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, commenting about the need to recognize the police and firefighters serving during the disturbances after the assassination. It came across, however, as an alternative to honoring King and caused the station to suspend Mr. Miller.
Mr. Miller subsequently joined WGN, where he did an afternoon show, and took his strong following with him.
His style saw him continuing to be flamboyant and controversial as he attacked protesters, hippies, dissidents and demonstrators while defending the police and political conservatives. He often proved willing to push the limits. He raised funds, for example, for police on the staff of State's Atty. Edward Hanrahan after they had been indicted for shooting and killing Fred Hampton and Mark Clark of the Black Panthers in their apartment on Dec. 4, 1969.
|Howard Miller Show
Show Count: 160
Broadcast History: Aired at 10:45 - 11:00 am
Sponsor: Wrigley's Spearmint Chewing Gum
Host: Howard Miller
Coming to you from the windy city Chicago, CBS and Wrigley's Spearmint Gum presents The Howard Miller Show. Hosted by Howard Miller and each day presenting one of the celebrated stars of the music world.