In 1922…WHK-AM, Cleveland, Ohio, went on the air.
WHK began on July 26, 1921 when experimental station 8ACS signed on under a license obtained by Warren C. Cox in the name of Cox Mfg. Co. He broadcast on a wavelength of 200 meters (which translates to a frequency of 1500 kHz) from his home at 3138 Payne Avenue. Only about 1000 listeners were able to hear the first broadcast, and most of them were members of the Cleveland Radio Association. By 1922, licensees were barred from broadcasting on 200 meters, so Cox applied for a commercial broadcasting license.
|Organist Helen Wyant circa 1931|
The station broadcast at a wavelength of 360 meters (a frequency of 830 kHz) which was the standard broadcast frequency for entertainment radio stations at the time. The station started broadcasting on March 5, 1922 from facilities located in the rear of a Radiovox store at 5005 Euclid Avenue. By 1924, WHK broadcasts had moved to 1060 kHz.
Warren Cox sold the station to Radio Air Service Corporation in 1925. In the following years, the station facilities underwent a series of moves, including 5105 Euclid Avenue, the Hotel Winton at 1025 Bolivar Road (later the Hotel Carter), the Standard Building at St. Clair and Ontario, the top floor of the Higbee Company on Public Square, and Carnegie Hall at 1220 Huron Road. By 1927, the station broadcasts were heard at 1130 kHz, and the station was broadcasting with 500 watts at night. By 1928, the station was located in the Engineer's Building at 1370 Ontario Avenue.
|WHK transmitter room circa 1930|
On March 29, 1941, WHK like most radio stations changed its frequency as a result of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. WHK moved from 1390 to 1420 kHz, the frequency it occupies today.
In August 1946 WHK received one of the earliest experimental FM licenses, under the call W8XUB, broadcasting at 107.1 MHz. Upon receipt of a commercial license, the station became WHK-FM at 100.7 MHz, and later in 1968, WMMS.
United Broadcasting sold WHK in 1958 to Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation, which became Metromedia two years later. The new owners soon adopted a rock and roll Top 40 format.
By the early 1960s WHK was Top 40 powerhouse, adopting the slogan "Color Radio" and "Color Channel 14." The station soared with fast-talking deejays like Johnny Holliday, who broadcast from "the glass cage" at 5000 Euclid, and dubbed the station's echo-chamber reverberation its "stratophonic sound." The "Action Central" newsroom included young reporters Tim Taylor and Dave Buckel.
When The Beatles made one of their North American tours in 1964, WHK outmaneuvered rival KYW-AM to sponsor the Beatles appearance at Cleveland Public Auditorium on September 15, 1964. In the mid-1960s, the WHK DJs adopted the name the "Good Guys" and included Joe Mayer. On the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album, a doll wears a sweater emblazoned with "Welcome The Rolling Stones" and "Good Guys", a possible reference to the WHK DJs or maybe a reference to WMCA in NYC.
Late in 1967, WHK stopped rocking to become "The Good Life Station," with easy-listening music and phone-in shows aimed at older listeners. Possibly the biggest reason for the format change at WHK, was the pressure put on the station by newcomer WIXY, an AM station at 1260 which started playing top 40 music in 1966.
Metromedia sold WHK and WMMS in 1972 to Malrite Broadcasting of Ohio (later Malrite Communications), and Malrite moved its headquarters to Cleveland. WHK dropped the beautiful music and tried a modified Top 40 format briefly again in 1973, called Cover Hits and developed by consultant Mike Joseph. The station ended up settling on a country music format in 1974 featuring controversial morning show talk host Gary Dee and famed Cleveland disk jockey Joe Finan as the "housewife's friend" from 10 am to 2 pm, until the eventual format change in '84.
Another notorious personality, Don Imus, also returned to Cleveland in 1978 to do afternoon drive on WHK- one of the few times that he would ever host a non-morning drive position in his entire career. Imus had previously had a morning show on WGAR (AM) for 1½ years, ending in 1971, and lasted at WHK until September 1979 when he returned to WNBC in New York.
Unable to service its growing debt, Malrite exited the radio business by selling off all their stations to Shamrock Broadcasting (Roy Disney's family-owned broadcasting company) in 1993. Shamrock in turn spun off WHK and WMMS to OmniAmerica, headed by former Malrite executive Carl Hirsch, on April 1994. Shortly thereafter, on May 16, 1994, WHK adopted a sports talk format featuring Tom Bush, Les Levine, Tony Rizzo and Pat McCabe, and dubbed itself "The Sports Voice of the Fan."
In 1996, WHK was sold to Salem Communications, while longtime sister station WMMS was sold to Nationwide Communications – the first time ever the two stations operated under separate ownership
In 1938...Roy Acuff and his band debuted their morning radio show on WSM-AM Nashville.
In 1943…the "Blue Network" (eventually ABC Radio Network), premiered "Free World Theatre".
In 1982…Murray The K – 1010 WINS NYC, Died from cancer just before his 60th birthday. Kaufman's big break came in 1958 after he moved to WINS-AM to do the all-night show, which he titled "The Swingin' Soiree." Shortly after his arrival, WINS's high energy star disk jockey, Alan Freed, was indicted for tax evasion and forced off the air. Though Freed's spot was briefly occupied by Bruce Morrow, who later became known as Cousin Brucie on WABC, Murray soon was moved into the 7-11PM time period and remained there for the next seven years, always opening his show with Sinatra and making radio history with his innovative segues, jingles, sound effects, antics, and frenetic, creative programming.
Murray the K reached his peak of popularity in the mid-1960s when, as the top-rated radio host in New York City, he became an early and ardent supporter and friend of The Beatles. When the Beatles came to New York on February 7, 1964, Murray was the first DJ they welcomed into their circle, having heard about him and his Brooklyn Fox shows from American groups such as the Ronettes (sisters Ronnie and Estelle Bennett, and their first cousin, Nedra Talley), also known as Murray's "dancing girls".
The Ronettes met the Beatles in mid January 1964, just a few weeks before, when the Harlem-born trio first toured England (the Rolling Stones were the group's opening act). Murray got into the Nedw York’s Plaza Hotel after telephoning Ronnie of the Ronettes and asking her to pave the way and get him into the hotel to meet the Ronettes' new friends, the Beatles. Thanks to Ronnie, Murray got into the hotel and did his radio show from their Plaza Hotel room their first night in New York (there is a picture of "Ronnie" being interviewed by Murray the K, as Paul McCartney and George Harrison look on, in the hotel.
|Cynthia Lennon, John and Murray|
Murray also accompanied them to Washington, D.C. for their first U.S. concert, was backstage at their The Ed Sullivan Show premiere, and roomed with Beatles guitarist George Harrison in Miami, broadcasting his shows from there. He came to be referred to as the "Fifth Beatle," a moniker he said he was given either by Harrison during the train ride to the Beatles' first concert in Washington D.C. or by Ringo Starr at a press conference before that concert. His radio station WINS picked up on the name and billed him as the Fifth Beatle.
This historical recording features interviews with the Fab Four in early 1964. The interview was mailed out through the Murray the "K" Fan Club.