Moon River (radio program)

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Moon River
Running time 15–30 minutes
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Home station WLW, Cincinnati, Ohio
Created by Ed Byron
Recording studio Cincinnati
Original release 1930 – 1972
Audio format Mono
Opening theme "Caprice Viennois" by Fritz Kreisler

Moon River was a long-running late-night American radio program which originated from WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. A combination of soft, "dreamy" music and romantic poetry set to organ accompaniment, the program aired from 1930 to 1972.


Described as "one of the few programs designed to put people to sleep" by onetime announcer Bill Myers,[1] Moon River was created by writer Ed Byron at the behest of WLW station owner Powel Crosley, Jr., who ordered the writer to come up with a poetry show which could accommodate the station's new organ. Retreating to a speakeasy with violinist Virginio Marucci, Byron sketched out some notes, including his original poem that opened the show. At one point, Marucci began playing Fritz Kreisler's "Caprice Viennois," a piece which Byron's poem brought to mind. Both the poem and the musical piece would open the program for its entire forty-two-year history.[1][2]

A show with a loyal following over the years, Moon River was canceled by WLW in 1953 in an effort to modernize the schedule, but revived the next summer due to continued listener outcry.[3] In the decade after the program's final broadcast in 1972, a series of Moon River concerts were held in Cincinnati which recreated the program in front of a live audience.[1]

In 1995, WMKV revived it, with Myers as narrator, for a four-year run.


Many performers passed through Moon River over the years. The following is only a partial list.


  • Bob Brown (the first narrator, c. 1930)
  • Don Dowd
  • Cecil Hale
  • Harry Holcomb
  • Jay Jostyn
  • Jimmy Leonard
  • Ken Linn
  • Bill Myers
  • Peter Grant
  • Palmer Ward
  • Charles Woods
  • Steve Ziegler



  • Charles M. "Pat" Gillick (the first organist, c. 1930)[1]
  • Lee Erwin (1933–1944)
  • Fats Waller (c. 1932–1934)


  1. ^ a b c d McCarty, Mary (April 1985), "The Dreamy Sounds of Moon River", Cincinnati Magazine, 18 (7): 13–14  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "magazine" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ Dunning, John (1998), On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 467–468, ISBN 0-19-507678-8 
  3. ^ "Radio: The Busy Air, Jun. 21, 1954", Time Magazine, 21 June 1954 

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