She was an up-front, real woman who rose from humble beginnings. Her daily live television show drew millions of viewers. Her mere mention of a product could turn it into a household name.
This may sound like Oprah Winfrey, but it's a description of Ruth Lyons, a pioneering broadcaster whose audience in 1960 equaled that of Winfrey's today. With a mix of sentimentality and caustic commentary she ad-libbed her way through commercials and interviews with Hollywood stars. She ruled a broadcast empire and a famous charity all the while maintaining that she was simply a normal housewife and mother who happened to have a radio show. National magazines labeled her "The most influential housewife in America."
Her fame was such that throughout the 1950s and '60s, tens of thousands showed up for her remote broadcasts and other personal appearances. 100,000 people tried to get tickets for a 1957 event in her honor.
Before Oprah: Ruth Lyons, The Woman Who Created Talk TV, is the first complete biography of this pioneering broadcaster and tough businesswoman. It includes her life story complete with fascinating events that even she didn't want the world to see. Follow Ruth through her days as a child growing up in Columbia Tusculum to her stretch on WLW, up to the death of her daughter. Find out who she was and how she became the hardest working and most philanthropic woman in the business.
Written by Michael Banks, author of Crosley; Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation.