The Milt Grant Show

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The Milt Grant Show was a Washington, D.C. teen dance party program aired on WTTG from 1956 to 1961. It was hosted by a former radio deejay, who recognized the untapped potential of the teen rock and roll music market, and convinced the management to let him host a dance party show - but only if he sold the advertising himself.

According to a Washington Post article, "each show began with Mr. Grant calling 'Hi, kids!' " 'Hi, Milt,' they answered.' " 'What's our favorite drink?' " 'Pepsi!' they shouted, in an early example of embedded advertising carefully crafted by Mr. Grant.' " "Milt Grant was one of the most important pioneers of early rock-and-roll in Washington," said Mark Opsasnick, a cultural historian and the author of Capitol Rock.'" "When he started his music show in 1956, there was nothing like it on the [local] airwaves."

"The introduction of both The Milt Grant Record Hop on local television [in 1956] and disc jockey Don Dillard's Record Club program on local airwaves via WDON were important milestones for local rock and roll. Both men brought rock music into homes of thousands and became local legends for bringing national stars to the Washington, D.C. area and raising record hops to heights of popularity never before attained. Through these and other on-air and in-person promotions, both men provided inspiration for local teen musicians by creating these outlets and sponsoring such events," states Opsasnick on page 67 of Capitol Rock.

According to Grant's Washington Post obituary, published May 3, 2007, "for five years, the Milt Grant Show was a runaway success and soundly beat the Philadelphia-based American Bandstand when the two shows ran head-to-head."

After the show was canceled in 1961 by new station management, Metromedia, who did not like the rock-and-roll programming, Grant entered a new phase of his broadcasting career when he formed a corporation that led to the launching of WDCA, Channel 20, in 1966 on the then-barren UHF band. Grant immersed himself in management and never again appeared on camera as a personality. Ironically, WDCA and WTTG are now commonly owned by the Fox Television Stations group.

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References[edit]

  • Schudel, Matt, "Milt Grant; Dance Host, TV Station Entrepreneur", obituary, Washington Post, Thursday, May 3, 2007, page B-7.