Edmund A. Chester

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Edmund Albert Chester, Sr. - (June 22, 1897 October 14, 1973) - was a senior Vice President and executive at the CBS radio and television networks during the 1940s. As Director of Latin American Relations he collaborated with the Department of State to develop CBS's "La Cadena de Las Americas" radio network in support of Pan-Americanism during World War II. [1] He also served as a highly respected journalist and Bureau Chief for Latin America at Associated Press and Vice President at La Prensa Asociada in the 1930s. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]



During the course of a journalistic career which ranged over two decades, he assumed a central role in the development of a viable international radio transmission network linking the United States of America with the developing nations of South America and Central America for the CBS network from 1940 through 1949. [7] As Director of Short Wave Broadcasts for CBS he supervised the creation of this vast shortwave service which was widely known throughout South America as the Network of the Americas (La Cadena de las Americas). [8]

He assisted William S. Paley and high level diplomats from South America in the development of the intricate broadcast standards which would serve as the foundations for this vital information link during the turbulent World War II era. He also collaborated with his counterparts in Europe during the post World War II era in order to coordinate the creation of new technical broadcast standards and the expansion of the broadcast network which linked the two continents. [9] [8]

His endeavors were not limited to the technical development of CBS' worldwide broadcasting capabilities. As CBS' Director of Latin American Relations Mr. Chester worked in concert with the Department of State, the United States Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA) and Voice of America while supervising the development of news and cultural programming for live broadcasts to North America and Latin America from the CBS broadcast studios in New York City. These imaginative cultural initiatives served to foster benevolent diplomatic relations and high level cultural exchanges throughout South America as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's support for Pan-Americanism during the 1940s. [10] Popular programs such as Viva America showcased professional musical talent of the highest caliber in live concert and were supervised by the Department of State and the Office of Inter-American Affairs during the tenure of Nelson Rockefeller. [2] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

He presented prominent musicians from both North America and South America for extended appearances on these broadcasts. Included among these artists were: Alfredo Antonini (American orchestral conductor); [17] Juan Arvizu (Mexican "Tenor with the Silken Voice"); [18] Nestor Mesta Chaires (Mexican tenor aka "El Gitano De Mexico"); [19] Eva Garza (Mexican songstress); [20] [21] [22] Terig Tucci (Argentine composer/arranger); [13] John Serry, Sr. (American concert accordionist/composer), [23] Elsa Miranda (Puerto Rican vocalist) [24] and members of the CBS Pan American Orchestra. [25]

As World War II evolved, the shortwave broadcasts which were transmitted over Chester's "La Cadena de Las Americas" grew in popularity and scope throughout Latin America. Initially broadcasts only lasted for seven hours each day. By 1945, Chester successfully developed the network to broadcast high quality entertainment and news programming over 114 affiliated radio stations in twenty Latin American nations. [26]

In later years (1948), Mr. Chester emerged as the Director of News, Special Events and Sports for the CBS Television Network. During this period he assumed a central role in coordinating the integration of the vast CBS radio network with the evolving television division. [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]

In the course of supervising CBS' historic live television coverage of the proceedings of the United Nations General Assembly in November 1949, Mr. Chester demonstrated an enduring commitment to the lofty professional standards for excellence in broadcasting which served as the hallmark of the entire CBS network for decades to come. [32]

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  1. Dissonant Divas In Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda Deborah R. Vargas. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2012 ISBN   978-0-8166-7316-2 p. 152 -153 Edmund Chester and "La Cadena De Las Americas" on google.books.com
  2. 1 2 Time, June 1, 1942
  3. Time, March 2, 1942
  4. Time, November 11, 1940
  5. The New York Times, October 16, 1973, pg. 46
  6. Current Biographical Yearbook Volume 2. H. W. Wilson Co. New York, 1941 p. 148 Edmund A. Chester CBS Director of Foreign Broadcasting - biography on books.google
  7. The New York Times, May 4, 1948, pg. 50
  8. 1 2 In All His Glory: the Life And Times of William S. Paley. Salley Bedell Smith. Random House. New York, 2002 p. 18 ISBN   978-0-307-78671-5 William S. Paley, CBS, Edmund A. Chester on books.google
  9. Current Biographical Yearbook Volume 2. H. W. Wilson Co. New York, 1941 p. 148 Edmund A. Chester CBS Director of Foreign Broadcasting - biography on books.google
  10. Dissonant Divas In Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda Deborah R. Vargas. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2012 ISBN   978-0-8166-7316-2 p. 152-153 Edmund Chester, CBS, Franklin Roosevelt and "La Cadena De Las Americas" on google.books.com
  11. The New York Times, January 8, 1941, pg. 18
  12. The New York Times, January 1, 1942, pg. 27
  13. 1 2 The New York Times, January 18, 1942, pg. 27
  14. The New York Times, May 10, 1942, pg. sm10
  15. The New York Times, February 28, 1943, pg. X9
  16. The New York Times June 9, 1946, pg. 49
  17. 1 2 The New York Times, November 5, 1983, pg. 34
  18. The New York Times, May 5, 1941, pg. 32
  19. The New York Times, April 23, 1944, pg. x5
  20. The New York Times, January 23, 1944, pg. x9
  21. The Strachwitz Frontera collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings- Eva Garza Biography on frontera.library.ucla.edu
  22. Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda Deborah R. Vargas. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2012 p. 155-157 ISBN   978-0-8166-7316-2 Eva Garza and Viva America on google.books.com
  23. A Pictorial History of Radio, Settel, Irving, Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, New York, 1960 & 1967, pg. 146, Library of Congress #67-23789
  24. Billboard - Banana E.T. Proves Good Eating for Elsa Miranda Billboard, February 2, 1946, p. 4 Elsa Miranda and the radio show Viva America on books.google.com
  25. Media Sound & Culture in Latin America. Editors: Bronfman, Alejanda & Wood, Andrew Grant. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, 2012, Pg. 49 ISBN   978-0-8229-6187-1 books.google.com See pg. 49
  26. Dissonant Divas In Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda Deborah R. Vargas. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2012 ISBN   978-0-8166-7316-2 p. 153 Edmund Chester and "La Cadena De Las Americas" on google.books.com
  27. The New York Times, July 3, 1948, pg. 26
  28. The New York Times, July 1, 1949, pg. 38
  29. The Origins of Television News In America - The Visualizers of CBS in the 1940s Mike Conway. Peter Lang Publishing. New York. 2009. p. 255 ISBN   978-1-4331-0602-6 Edmund Chester - CBS Television Director of News on books.google
  30. Radio Daily Volume 44 Radio Daily Corporation, 1948 Edmuind Chester named to direct CBS News Special Events on books.google
  31. As It Happened: A Memoir William S. Paley. Doubleday, New York. 1979 p. 375 Edmund Chester - Director of CBS News on books.google
  32. The New York Times, November 4, 1949, pg. 50