Kenneth Lee Carpenter was a longtime TV and radio announcer, who was best known for being the announcer for singer and actor Bing Crosby for 27 years.
Born in Avon, Illinois, Carpenter was the son of Barlow Carpenter, a Universalist minister, and Clara Carpenter. He graduated from Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois in 1921, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Lombard College also is where Carpenter met his future lifelong wife, Betty.
Carpenter moved to Hollywood in 1929, one year after resolving to move there after listening to radio legend Graham McNamee call the Rose Bowl. Not long afterward, he became a staff announcer for KFI radio. As part of that job, Carpenter announced USC and UCLA football games for the Pacific Coast and the NBC radio networks from 1932 until 1935. In 1935, Carpenter announced the Rose Bowl for NBC radio. Carpenter became the color man for Bill Stern for all NBC-originated radio programming from Los Angeles from 1938 until 1942, which included the Rose Bowl. “Those Rose Bowl games were a big break for me, as they made me known to clients and advertising agencies in the East, so I had a jump on other local men when the big commercial shows started originating in L.A. in the mid-1930s,” Carpenter later said.
In 1936, Carpenter became Crosby’s announcer after Crosby began hosting the Kraft Music Hall radio variety program. Carpenter continued to announce for Crosby on various programs for the next 27 years. Crosby famously once called Carpenter “the man with the golden voice.” Carpenter also was known for ringing the chimes on many of Crosby’s shows.