Broadcast Pioneers Member Marciarose Shestack
Screen capture from "College Press Conference"
Monday evenings at 9 pm, most everyone was watching "I Love Lucy" in the fifties. ABC-TV didn't have a lot of money at that time, but did want to offer network programming to its affiliates. So it created an inexpensive program aired at intelligent viewers. It's what we in the business call counter programming. It was called "Junior Press Conference," sometimes entitled, "College Press Conference." The host of the program was Ruth Geri Hagy. The announcer on the series was former Broadcast Pioneers President and former Chairman of the Board Shelly Gross. One of the young panelists was Marciarose. By the way, while CBS was airing "I Love Lucy" and ABC aired "College Press Conference," NBC-TV was presenting a doctor show called "Medic" starring Richard Boone.
From 1952 to 1960, this program aired on Sunday afternoons. However from October 1953 to December 1954, there was also the prime-time version.
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 were 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. 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. Former President and former Chairman of the Broadcast Pioneers, Lew Klein directed and produced many of these broadcasts.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Marciarose Shestack
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