CBS Radio Mystery Theater - Target Audience

Target Audience

The program was pitched, at least initially, to an audience old enough to remember classic radio; Brown was a legend amongst radio drama enthusiasts for his work on Inner Sanctum Mysteries, The Adventures of Nero Wolfe and other shows dating back to the 1930s. Even young characters in early episodes of CBSRMT tended to have names popular a generation earlier, such as Jack, George, Phyllis and Mary. Many scripts, especially those by Ian Martin, showed a tin ear for 1970s youth slang ("Don't let her give you no run-around, dad!"; "I think bein' around here's gonna be kicks!"; "I dig a man who's far out!"). As late as 1981, Sam Dann's scripts included nervous or skeptical references to "women's lib", a term that was by then a decade out of date. In short, Brown made no attempt to broaden the program's appeal beyond the generation that had been raised on radio.

But the debut of CBSRMT, only a few months after the American Graffiti phenomenon, coincided with the 1950s nostalgia fad that swept young America between 1972 and 1978. Because radio mystery drama was reminiscent of that era, the program quickly developed a fan base among young listeners in addition to its target audience.

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