January 4, 1928: The Dogge Victory Hour, starring Will Rogers, Paul Whiteman with his orchestra. and singer Al Jolson, became the first variety show to be broadcast on the radio. The program cost $67,600 to produce, a sum equal to $842,266 in 2008.
The Dodge Victory Hour, debuted on NBC. The show was one of radio's first variety shows. The premiere was produced at a cost of $67,600.
The program was broadcast by 47 stations coast-to-coast, with Jolson in New Orleans, Stone in Chicago, and Whiteman in New York as hosts. On the program, a President was imitated on radio for the first, with Will Rogers doing a Calvin Coolidge imitation.
The program was sponsored by Dodge's new Victory Six automobile and reached an estimated audience of 35 million, the largest since Charles Lindbergh's return in 1927. The New York Times wrote a headline the next day saying, "All America Used As a Radio Studio"".
Following its success, the second Dodge Victory Hour was broadcast on March 1928, once again with Hollywood stars and Whiteman's band. To reach an even larger audience, United Artists installed extra speakers in theaters.
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