Saturday, October 31, 2015

November 1 Radio History

In 1880...sportswriter Grantland Rice  was born in Murfreesboro Tennessee.  He was with the NY Herald Tribune when he was pressed into service as a broadcaster; he was at the mike for the first World Series game to be aired (KDKA 1921) and the first complete World Series (WJZ 1922.) He died July 13 1954 at age 73.

In 1894…Billboard Advertising, a 10-cent trade publication dealing with billboard advertising, began publication. After a few years, it started to focus on the entertainment shows advertised by billboards, and by the 1930s Billboard, as it came to be known, was covering radio and sales of a new medium, juke box records.

In 1937..."Hilltop House" first aired on CBS Radio.

In 1937…"Terry and the Pirates," a radio serial based on the popular comic strip, debuted on NBC's Red network. The show continued until 1948 with a two-year hiatus between 1939 and 1941.

In 1946...The following ad appeared November 1 in the NY Times heralding a change in call letters from WEAF to WNBC.

In 1955...The R&B group the Famous Flames entered Macon, Georgia radio station WIBB to record a demo of their first song, "Please, Please, Please." The result, featuring lead singer James Brown pleading into a single microphone while standing on an overturned wooden Coca-Cola case, was rejected by several record labels before finally being picked up by Cincinnati-based Federal Records, a subsidiary of King Records.

In 1959...WOV-AM in NYC changes call letters to WADO.

This station was launched as WGL on January 30, 1927, and was owned by the International Broadcasting Corporation. WGL president Colonel Lewis Landes stated on the inaugural broadcast, "The International Broadcasting Corporation's aim is to adhere to truth, to be free of partisanship, religious or political."

WGL was the first station to protest the frequency allocations of the Federal Radio Commission in May 1927. WGL was authorized to move to 1170 AM, but wanted to go to 720, occupied by WOR. When WOR was awarded the 710 frequency, both stations went to court, with WOR eventually winning the case. Finally in June 1927, WGL moved to 1020 AM and shared time with Paterson station, WODA.

On September 16, 1928, WGL changed calls to WOV and was sold to Sicilian-born importer John Iraci. The WGL call sign was then picked up by a Fort Wayne station, which uses them to this very day.

WOV's initial programming was aimed at a general audience, but by the mid-1930s, it strengthened its ethnic ties and expanded its Italian-language programming to fill the daytime hours. WOV soon became the dominant Italian voice in the Northeast through its affiliation with share-time station WBIL and Iraci's WPEN in Philadelphia.  Eventually, the station moved to its current 1280 AM spot.

DeeJay Peggy Lloyd (undated)
The station was owned by WOV Broadcasting until 1959, when it was sold to Bartel Broadcasters, at which time the station was renamed WADO.  The station was sold to Command Broadcasting in 1979. In 1986, Heftel bought the station, and over the next three years, moved to a Spanish language adult contemporary and talk format. By the early 1990s, WADO was a Spanish news and talk station.

In March 1996 they bought WPAT and put a Spanish MOR format there. In 1997, Heftel restructured into Hispanic Broadcasters. They sold WPAT to Multicultural, and acquired WNWK from Multicultural. The brokered shows from WNWK went to WPAT and WCAA went to a Spanish Tropical format. WADO remained News and Talk.

In the 1990s the FCC began to entertain the idea of power increases n the formerly regional channels like 1280. Application was made to raise day power from 5,000 watts on two towers to 50,000 watts on a four tower system. This remained on file, and was periodically amended as the ownership changed. In 1998 the FCC granted a CP for days at 50,000 watts. While planning the rebuilt site, DoE David Stewart hit on the idea of a night power increase using the proposed extra day towers. CP was granted for 7,200 watts.

In 2002, Hispanic Broadcasting was sold to Univision, making WADO and WCAA Univision-owned and operated stations

In 1993...Atlantic Radio - a conglomerate of 20 radio stations - became American Radio Systems.

CBS Corp. completed the $2.6-billion acquisition of American Radio Systems Corp.'s 98 stations in 1998.  At the time, Mel Karmazin, chairman and chief executive officer of the CBS Station Group, commented: "The acquisition of American Radio is financially and strategically attractive for CBS. This investment will significantly strengthen CBS's position in the fast growing radio industry.  It will enable CBS Radio to expand into new top 50 markets and increase its position in its existing major markets.  American Radio's stations are located in very attractive radio revenue growth markets where the Company expects to further consolidate its position."

Charlie O'Donnell
In 2010...popular TV announcer and LA radio DJ Charlie O’Donnell, who worked the Wheel Of Fortune, The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game, American Bandstand and the Gong Show, died in his sleep of heart failure at age 78.  He also had announced the American Music Awards, the Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards.

O'Donnell, a native Philadelphian, began his career as a teenager at WCHA in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. In 1956, he worked as program director at WHAT, a 250-watt R&B station in Philadelphia, where he discovered and launched the career of future Philadelphia radio legend Hy Lit.

When WIBG became top-40 in 1957, O'Donnell was named news director. In 1958, he became the sidekick of Dick Clark on WFIL-TV's afternoon dance program, American Bandstand. This led to several stints as a disc jockey on Los Angeles radio (most notably on legendary Pasadena station KRLA, 1964–67), and later as news anchorman and staff announcer on Los Angeles television station KCOP-TV. KCOP was the home of The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough during its initial syndicated reigns. He is also featured on the Simon and Garfunkel song "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night" as the news announcer.

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