Maurice Webster (1913-2001), veteran CBS radio executive, began as a radio announcer at KVI in Seattle in 1932 before moving to KNX in Los Angeles in 1937. He was 21 and featured in Broadcasting magazine as one of the three youngest network radio announcers in the country. He was named general manager at KCBS in San Francisco in 1958 and, in 1961, became vice-president and general manager of radio spot sales at CBS. This collection covers his professional activities from the 1930s to the 1980s, primarily the 1930s to 1940s. Materials document early professional radio broadcasting at local radio stations and include photographs, scripts, clippings, and scrapbook pages.
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This collection consists of scrapbook pages, photographs, two bound volumes of scripts, correspondence, and clippings documenting the professional radio broadcasting career of Maurice (Maurie) Webster from the 1930s to 1970s.
Biographical / Historical
Maurice Webster was born in Gibbon, Nebraska in the spring of 1916. His family moved to Tacoma, Washington to make a better life. As a senior at Stadium High School he studied speech, drama and debate. In 1932 at the age of 16 he became one of the youngest radio announcers at KVI Tacoma and later become the station's chief announcer.
While continuing working at KVI, Maurice went on to study at the College of Puget Sound and in 1937 accepted a position at CBS, Los Angeles during their first week of CBS ownership. There he was an announcer, writer and director until July 1941 when he entered the Navy as an ensign.
For 2 years he was with naval intelligence in Los Angeles and later transferred to Harvard University to direct the Technical Radio Instruction Deptartment at the Navy's Communication School as a Lt. Commander. After the war he remained in the Naval Reserve and in July 1952 was named Commander and was a Captain at the time he retired from the Navy. After the war he returned to KNX-CBS where he remained for 21 years eventually becoming General Sales Manager of Stations and the Radio Pacific Network.
In 1956 Maurice was promoted to Station Manager of KCBS radio in San Francisco. He became involved with numerous community projects and is credited with organizing and starting "plant a tree week" which won awards and enhanced San Francisco. In 1961 he received a special commendation from the White House for "Viewpoint Around The World" a feature during which KCBS radio listeners heard the viewpoints of the average citizen from 20 foreign countries. It was also during this time as General Manager that KCBS gained national recognition as the world's oldest broadcasting station.
A promotion in 1961 to VP, General Manager of CBS Radio Spot Sales brought Maurice to New York City where he again worked with many stations, groups, associations and organizations in promoting radio as a strong advertising medium.
After Maurice retired from CBS he formed The Webster Group, a consulting company and traveled throughout the country speaking to stations, groups and organizations promoting the strength and advantages of radio advertising. He became the guiding force and organizer/ manager of NYMRAD (New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association). Shortly thereafter, with his son Scott, he formed The Radio Information Center (RIC) in 1979 and it became one of the very first, if not first, company to heavily rely on computerized radio data which was personally designed and programmed by Scott.
In 1988 Maurice was made a chapter member of the Northwest Pioneer Broadcasters where "Members are those who have made significant contributions to the art of broadcasting and were involved in the profession 30 years ago." Many awards and honors have been given to Maurice for his service as President of IRTS (International Radio and TV Society), recognition from the governor of New York and the many radio stations he helped and assisted over the years. He passed away while still doing what he loved - promoting radio and is fittingly buried in the Friars Club cemetery in Valhalla, NY.
*The above is a biography supplied by the donor with minor typographical revisions by Jen Wachtel.
This collection was donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by Maurice Webster's daughter, Susan Rebentisch, in 2 groupings in 2019.
This collection has been minimally processed. Aside from some rough groupings of similar material, the collection came to the Libraries in no particular order. The processing archivist loosely arranged files by date, topic, and format, however, there is overlap among dates and formats
The entire collection was rehoused in acid-free folders which were then labeled. Scrapbook pages were removed from their original binding and rehoused in acid free folders.
Oversize items, including brochures, certificates, and photographs, were placed in a separate box. The entire collection was re-boxed.