Paul Gibson at Night


Included in the huge trove of Hartwest broadcast masters, was one group of reel-to-reel tape boxes with inked "Gibson at Night" on them.  We listened to a few, and they were what seemed to be talk radio programs by a fellow with a melliflous voice named Paul Gibson.  Weeks of research turned up a very limited amount of information for what was one of America's most successful talk show personalities.  We surmise that just as he had moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and then to Chicago, he was ready to go national with Harwest, with a new series that would be called "Gibson at Night."  However, he died quite suddenly, and we believe that these tapes are all that remain of a truly unique radio personality.

The biographical information, in its entirety, is as follows:

Chicago Tribune, December 24, 1966

“Paul Gibson, 53, one of the country’s best know[sic] radio personalities and most successful commercial talk broadcasters, died last night... [He] had a fabulous career that began at 14 as a newpaper copy boy in Los Angeles and saw him become one of the most successful salesmen in the history of American broadcasting.  In 24 years with radio station WBBM, he missed only two scheduled broadcasts, and at one time had more than 90 sponsors paying for his program.... he wa perhaps best known for his sometimes witty, sometimes caustic comments on women and marriage.  He himself had been married five times.  Each marriage ended in divorce.  After he went to work as a copy boy for the now defunct Los Angeles Record he became a crime reorter and latr a correspondent in Mexico and Latin America, during which he covere the Gran Chaco war between Bolivia and Paraguay.  He formed his own news syndicate in New York.  It collapsed when the banks were closed in 1933, and he went to California, became a salesman, and entered the construction field.  In five years his construction company ws the largest builder of homes in California.  Gibson got into the radio field by accident in Los Angeles when he and a CBS broadcastr there were having a barroom discussion about plumbing in a house Gibson was building for the broadcaster.  The bartender observed that they sounded so much alike they shoulded like one man arguing with himself.  The result was that the broadcaster signed Gibson to take over his morning show so that he himself could get more sleep.  Then Gibson had his own morning program in San Francisco.  He came to Chicgo when he decided he could do better in a larger city.  He started with WBBM at $75 a week and within a few years his income was in the six-figure bracket.  Despite his frequent barbs at women, thousands of them were his loyal followers....”  


"Paul Gibson (died 1965) was a broadcaster and sales representative for WBBM (AM) radio in Chicago from the 1940s until his death from cancer. He was primarily known as a lecturer, who would broadcast his opinions on multiple subjects as many as four times a day over WBBM. Gibson was one of the first broadcasters to take listener phone calls on the air in an early version of today's talk radio format. He also co-hosted a WBBM program in the late 1950s with Lee Phillip entitled The Lady & The Tiger, serving as a chauvanist antagonist to Phillip."
Time Magazine

Monday, Feb. 24, 1958

"Paul Gibson, 50, a breezy, blond-mustached one-man show, sings no songs, spins no disks, reads no news, conducts no interviews, but manages somehow to keep 23 sponsors happily shelling out for his 13 mellifluous hours a week over Chicago's WBBM. A self-styled "word jockey," Gibson just talks, about anything from sex to Sputniks. After 16 glib years on radio, he is now also talking on TV. "Don't bother to look at me," he assures fans on his 45-minute daily early-morning show. "I'll tell you if something is on-camera that you must see. Go ahead, take a shower, change the baby's diaper."

The only photograph of Paul was the one above, which we obtained from the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago; we used it for the Mr. FAT-W Audio CD covers. 

There are links below to for direct purchase of the CDs; the audio player below gives you an idea of what Paul Gibson sounded like.

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