BW – EP85: From Hoboken to Eternity—Frank Sinatra’s Radio Career (1935-1955)

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In Breaking Walls episode 85, we spotlight the radio career of Frank Sinatra. We’ll find out how a brash, skinny kid from Hoboken, New Jersey became one of the most popular and influential music artists of the 20th century, selling more than 150 million records worldwide, winning an academy award for Best Supporting Actor, and using radio to launch it all.


• How Sinatra’s Difficult Birth Affected The Rest of His Life
• Growing Up In Hoboken
• Not Interested in School, Interested in Singing
• WAAT, WNEW, WOR and the Rustic Cabin
• The Hoboken Four
• Early Hustling
• Harry James and Tommy Dorsey
• Sinatra’s Popularity Explodes
• Going Solo
• Success on CBS during World War II
• Marriage, Infidelity… and more infidelity
• The Havana Conference
• Problems with Sponsorship
• The Decline Begins
• Ava
• Losing His Voice
• Bottoming Out
• The Slow Rise
• Maggio and an Oscar
• Rocky Fortune
• A Reborn Sinatra

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The reading material used in tonight’s episode was:
• The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio by John Dunning
• Why Sinatra Matters by Pete Hamill
• Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan
• The Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Radio – by Christopher H. Sterling

Lots and Lots of interviews in today’s episode:

• Frank Sinatra was with: Walter Cronkite in 1965; Johnny Carson in 1976; Arlene Francis in the early 1980s; and Larry King in 1988

• Nancy Sinatra was with: Walter Cronkite in 1965 and Larry King in 1995

• Chuck Schaden interviewed Ken Carpenter And Carroll Carroll. Both of these conversations were recorded on February 17th, 1975. To listen to many complete interviews Chuck conducted throughout his career, please go to

• Bob Eberly was with Arnold Dean. Hear that full interview and many others at

• Jo Stafford was with Matthew Feinstein for Jo Stafford’s “Ballad of the Blues”

• Gary Moore and Andre Baruch spoke to Westinghouse in 1970.

• Les Tremayne and Jack Brown were featured from their 1986 history of radio called “Please Stand By”
Too much music to credit it all here, but Frank Sinatra: A Voice on Air – was incredibly helpful with finding additional research audio

I’d also like to thank Walden Hughes and John and Larry Gassman. Listen to their shows on the Yesterday USA radio network.

Frank Sinatra’s appearance on Fred Allen’s show in 1937 comes via Jerry Haendiges. Visit his site at I’ve been visiting since 2002.

A Special Thank you to:
Ron Baron
Ryan Kramer
Christian Neuhaus
Aimee Pavy
Rebecca Shield
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