College Press Conference

This picture was taken sometime between October of 1954 and December of that same year. The four persons standing were college students. They participated in the WFIL-TV broadcast "College Press Conference." Three students are unidentified. However, the young lady in the black dress is Marciarose Shestack (a Broadcast Pioneers member). She became a television newscaster and for many years broadcast over Channel 3, KYW-TV in Philadelphia.

Seated are Shelly Gross and United States Congressman from Minnesota, Walter H. Judd, who stayed in Congress until 1963. Shelly was filling in for the regular host who was on vacation.

From 1952 to 1960, this program aired on Sunday afternoons. However from October 1953 to December 1954, there was also, a prime-time version (Mondays, 9 pm to 9:30) against CBS-TV's "I LOVE LUCY." This was a classic example of counter programming. The Sunday afternoon program changed to "College Press Conference." It used this title for only three months, from October of 1954 to the cancelation of the prime-time version in December of 1954. At that time, it went back to its original name, Junior Press Conference."

In a WFIL-TV advertisement, the station described the show this way:

America's leaders of tomorrow probe into vital world problems of today. Producer - Moderator Ruth Geri Hagy and a panel of college newspaper editors interview the world's foremost policy makers on Philadelphia's most provocative, issue packed program.

For awhile, the show was carried over ABC-TV. The prime time version was always on ABC-TV. Some of the Sunday afternoon broadcasts may have also been carried by the network. All versions, both network and local originated from the WFIL-TV studios at 46th & Market Streets in West Philadelphia. In April of 1953, the program aired at 2 pm. When Hagy wasn't available for the program, Broadcast Pioneers member Shelly Gross was one of the people who filled in for her. When Hagy was there, Gross was the announcer on the program.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Shelly Gross
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