Mutual video chat
Mutual's original participating stations were WOR–Newark, New Jersey, just outside New York (owned by the Bamberger Broadcasting Service, a division of R. Macy and Company), WGN–Chicago (owned by WGN Inc., a subsidiary of the Chicago Tribune), WXYZ–Detroit (owned by Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting), and WLW–Cincinnati (owned by the Crosley Radio Company).
The network was organized on September 29, 1934, with the members contracting for telephone-line transmission facilities and agreeing to collectively enter into contracts with advertisers for their networked shows.
In 1929, a group of four radio stations in the major markets of New York City, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Detroit organized into a loose confederation known as the Quality Network.
Five years later, a similar or identical group of stations founded the Mutual Broadcasting System.
Its business structure would change after General Tire assumed majority ownership in 1952 through a series of regional and individual station acquisitions.
For the first 18 years of its existence, Mutual was owned and operated as a cooperative (a system similar to that of today's National Public Radio), setting the network apart from its corporate owned competitors.
In January 1937, ownership of WAAB was consolidated with that of another Boston station controlled by Shepard: WNAC was flagship of the Yankee Network, a circuit of New England radio stations whose membership partially overlapped with that of Colonial.
Yankee flagship WNAC had been an affiliate of CBS Radio, changing affiliation to NBC Red later in 1937 when CBS purchased WEEI in that city.
Mutual changed hands frequently in succeeding years—even leaving aside larger-scale acquisitions and mergers, its final direct corporate parent, Westwood One, which purchased Mutual in 1985, was the seventh in a string of new owners that followed General Tire.
Attempts at establishing cooperatively owned radio networks had been made since the 1920s.