Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Radio broadcasting pioneer and long time host of The National Farm and Home Hour.
1898-1990 | Artist: Joseph Allworthy (1892-1991)
Impact & Accomplishments
Radio pioneer Everett Mitchell was raised on a small farm east of Chicago. Gifted with an extraordinary singing voice, he was recruited to sing hymns at the services of two nationally prominent evangelists, Rodney “Gypsy” Smith and Billy Sunday, while still a child.
In 1925, he began to sing and announce on radio station WENR, Chicago, and soon hosted a local Farm and Home Hour. Within three years, he was appointed manager of WENR, where he laid the foundation for modern radio broadcasting. The innovative Mitchell was responsible for many broadcasting firsts: the first children’s holiday feature; the first remote broadcast; the first radio commercial; and the first on-air, national call to prayer, as he and the nation awaited word on Charles Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight.
In 1930, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) made Chicago its broadcasting hub and purchased WENR, assigning Mitchell to develop The National Farm and Home Hour, perhaps the first regularly broadcast national show. He communicated to millions of people daily.
On this show he developed his trademark phrase, “It’s a beautiful day in Chicago!,” to boost spirits during the Great Depression. Mitchell did half of his shows from farm locations, visiting forty-eight states and nearly fifty nations. Everett Mitchell’s career continued until 1967 and included television broadcasting as well. He retired to his Beautiful Day Farm.
Did You Know?
The National Farm and Home Hour was a variety show that was broadcast in various formats from 1928 to 1958. Aimed at listeners in rural America, it was known as "the farmer's bulletin board" and was produced by the United States Department of Agriculture with contributions from, and the cooperation of, various farm organizations (among them the American Farm Bureau, 4-H Clubs, Farmers Union, Future Farmers of America and the National Grange).
Mitchell took on the ''Farm and Home Hour'' in 1928 and became broadcasting`s de facto expert on agriculture. According to Richard Crabb, author of ''Radio`s Beautiful Day,'' about Mitchell, the radio host was ''sounded out by (President Franklin) Roosevelt to become secretary of agriculture during the New Deal. But he turned it down. He realized his field was in communications and he never swerved from it for 30 years.'' His mellifluous voice became an institution on radio. ''You knew it was Mitchell whether he was introduced or not,'' Crabb says.
Circa 1950s - Everett Mitchell, host ofThe National Farm and Home Hour.