Bing Crosby Fan Base Gets Its Own Radio Show with Jack Boyle, Radio Host
His movies show a humorous side, but Bing Crosby is most known as the crooner extraordinaire to compare all others with. Contemporary pop stars and musicians in genres like jazz and big band play homage to him; Baby Boomers love him, still; but think of the loyalty one man has to The Bing, to have conceived of a radio show that’s been honoring him for three years. Jack Boyle, who undoubtedly knows more trivia about the singer than your average buff, has a certain joy when he talks about the radio show. It’s broadcast from upstate New York and streams worldwide.
Is there a resurgence in Bing Crosby’s music?
There is an unabatingly loyal audience for Bing Crosby both in the U.S. and especially in the U.K. This reality has not been reflected in the major entertainment media, which, with the onset of rock, failed to positively exploit the Crosby audience in their marketing, with the exception of the seasonal promotions at Christmas.
A recent PBS documentary on Bing featuring members of his family was helpful in generating renewed interest in his legacy, as well as the work of International Club Crosby (which publishes BING Magazine), and Bing Crosby Enterprises, which issues newly restored albums and films, and plays Crosby content 24/7 on Bing Crosby Internet Radio (bingcrosby.com).
How did your radio show come about?
I approached Bud Williamson, president of Neversink Media Group, about three years ago, and suggested the creation of a show featuring Bing’s songs with the title “Bing for the Seasons.” It was slated for Hudson Valley Public Radio’s JAZZ FM, which airs the first Sunday of the month at 7 pm ET, and the third Sunday of the month at 9 am ET, airing at 88.1 FM, 106.3 FM, 106.5 FM, streaming worldwide at HVPR.ORG, also at http://jazzfm.org/bing-for-the-seasons/.
Were there previous hosts?
No, I am the original and current host. I am also fortunate to have a wonderful producer, Gavin Burt, who assures a seamless broadcast.
What do you like most about his music?
His amazing ability to convey his vocal talent in a variety of genres including jazz, blues, Country Western, Irish, religious, Hawaiian, forays into French, German and Spanish language albums, even rock, with aplomb. Most of all, it is his compelling voice, which was in the higher range during his early years, and deeper, more mellow later on, with an almost mesmerizing timbre.
Add to this impeccable timing his on-target pitch, articulate use of language and expressive intimacy, and you have an incomparable artist whose influence on future singers was enormous.
How did you come to be interested in him in the first place?
Bing Crosby was a prevailing musical presence from birth. My dad listened to his radio shows, along with 50 million other listeners; there were the Golden Record issues targeted at youngsters like me; the Christmas albums; my older brother’s purchase in Canada of albums featuring songs by Bing in his many movie roles; and of course, the premier viewing of White Christmas at the movie theater in Malone, New York, along with “High Society” and other films. I was hooked.
Your favorite songs?
Too many to mention, but here a few: Dinah, Sweet Georgia Brown, My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms, Love Thy Neighbor, I’ve Got A Pocketful of Dreams, Just One More Chance, In the Land of Beginning Again, Autumn in New York (from the Seasons album), Do You Hear What I Hear and When A Child is Born.
Crosby was featured in many loving parodies like the 1936 cartoon “Bingo Crosbyana.” Do you know of any current homages to him in pop culture today?
Recent “duets” by major pop stars like Michal Bublé, Justin Bieber and others, with super-imposed images of Bing singing with them.
Talk about his body of work.
Bing made more studio recordings than any other artist. He had the most popular record ever: White Christmas. He had 368 charted records, most #1 hits (38), more than The Beatles (24), and Elvis (18). He was the #1 Box Office attraction five times (1944-48); in the top ten 15 times (1934-54). He won an Academy Award for Going My Way; he was a major radio star longer than any other performer from 1931-1954 (network), and 1954-1962 (syndication).
He changed radio from live performance to a recorded medium in 1946. He financed and popularized the development of tape, revolutionizing the recording industry. He created the first and longest-running celebrity pro-am golf tournament, and he was the central figure in the development of Del Mar Racetrack.
What kind of audience response do you get from the show?
Enthusiastic and growing 🙂
Have you ever spoken with a family member?
His son, Harry, some years ago, regarding a photograph of the family performing that I was happy to pass along to him. I have communicated with grandson, Phil Crosby, Jr., a terrific talent in his own right. Bing’s daughter, Mary Crosby, was nice enough to tape an introduction to my show, for which I am most grateful.
Being in the audience as he and his family members, along with Rosemary Clooney and Joe Bushkin, performed at the Uris Theatre in 1976.
Tell us about the International Club Crosby.
International Club Crosby is the world’s longest-running fan club. Its mission is to perpetuate the memory and legacy of Bing Crosby. I have been a dues-paying member for many years.
You are also an author?
I wrote a small tome, Sunset on the Tracks. Featuring historic photographs and family photos, it is a 1950’s memoir about my blessed childhood in a small town in the foothills of The Adirondacks. Fort Covington, New York, is now celebrating its Bi-Centennial. There is a chapter in the book recalling Bing as a musical backdrop in our home, and the opportunity to see him perform later in life.
Future plans for your Crosby mania?
I look forward to promoting and playing the music of Bing Crosby, whose voice was described by Louis Armstrong as “gold being poured out of a cup.”
Thanks for the opportunity!
For more information, visit http://jazzfm.org/bing-for-the-seasons/.
Photos courtesy of and with permission of Jack Boyle.
(c) Debbie Burke 2017