Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 29 Radio History

In 1891...Thomas A. Edison patented "transmission of signals electrically" (radio).

Wendell Niles, Marilyn Monroe 1952
In of the prominent announcers of bigtime radio & early TV Wendell Niles was born in Twin Valley Minnesota.

On radio he worked on The Bob Hope Show, Adventures of Philip Marlowe & The Man Called X, among many others.  He teamed with Steve Allen & June Foray on a mid-40’s Mutual quarter-hour ‘Smile Time’.  His TV credits include Truth or Consequences, Let’s Make a Deal, Colgate Comedy Hour & It Could Be You.

He died March 28 1994 at age 89.

In 1945...Sheb Wooley recorded four songs for Bullet Records at the studios of WSM Radio, the first commercial recordings made in Nashville.

In 1945...The mystery voice of "Mr. Hush" was introduced to the audience of the radio show, "Truth or Consequences", which was hosted by Ralph Edwards.

Ralph Edwards
Born in Merino, Colorado,  Edwards worked for KROW Radio in Oakland, California while he was still in high school.  Before graduating from high school in 1931, he worked his way through college at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a B.A. in English in 1935. While there, he worked at every job from janitor to producer at Oakland's KTAB, now KSFO. Failing to get a job as a high school teacher, he worked at KFRC and then hitchhiked across the country to New York, where, he said, "I ate ten-cent ($2 as of 2014),  meals and slept on park benches".

After some part-time announcing jobs, he got his big break in 1938 with a full-time job for the Columbia Broadcasting System on WABC (now WCBS), where he worked with two other young announcers who would become broadcasting fixtures - Mel Allen and Andre Baruch.

It was Edwards who introduced Major Bowes every week on the Original Amateur Hour and Fred Allen on Town Hall Tonight. Edwards perfected a chuckling delivery, sounding as though he was in the midst of telling a very funny story. This "laugh in the voice" technique served him well when 20th Century Fox hired him to narrate the coming-attractions trailers for Laurel and Hardy movies. He later used the conspiratorial chuckle frequently when surprising someone on his programs.

In 1940, Edwards created the game show Truth or Consequences, which aired for 38 years on radio and television. Contestants were asked to perform (often ridiculous) stunts for prizes of cash or merchandise.

In 1958...the first radio broadcast from space occurred when the voice of President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "To all mankind, America's wish for Peace on Earth & Good Will to Men Everywhere".

In 1963...WMCA 570 AM first station in New York to Play “I Want to Hold Your Hand " at 12:50 PM.  Across town, 77 WABC plays the song an hour later.

Throughout the 1960s, WMCA would continue to beat other radio stations on most Beatles' promotions, scoring firsts, causing headaches in particular for rival WABC - most notably when Capitol Records printed a photograph of the "Good Guys" line-up - on the back of a limited edition record sleeve for the single, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (Side 2: "I Saw Her Standing There"). WMCA's Good Guys were also featured at both of the Beatles' concerts at Shea Stadium, on August 15, 1965 and on August 23, 1966.

WMCA Good Guys: Johnny Dark, Joe O'Brien, Jack Spector, B. Mitchel Reed. Harry Harrison
WABC responded in different ways, scoring a success during the Beatles' second New York visit in August 1964 - when the band stayed at the Delmonico Hotel, rousing thousands of teenage fans into a frenzy - while broadcasting from one floor above the Beatles' rooms.  WABC later went against its own music policies, promising promoter Sid Bernstein that it would play a new group he was handling before any other New York City radio station - if it could get exclusive access to the Beatles. WABC never added records "out of the box" - but it did for Sid Bernstein when it played The Young Rascals' "I Ain't Going To Eat Out My Heart Anymore" - before other radio stations.

Since WABC knew WMCA already had a relationship with the Beatles, with tapes of the group promoting the station - what could WABC do to achieve the same? In August 1965, WABC came up with what it thought was a brilliant idea - issuing "medals" called "The Order of the All-Americans" - tied to its own DJs.  The strategy was to present the medals to each of the Beatles the next time they were in New York. Everything was set. The goal was to get each Beatle to comment on the "medal" - and then to get each to say the station's call letters, "W-A-B-C." These in turn could be used in station IDs and promotions, etc. - thus matching WMCA's success at getting the Beatles to promote WMCA and its Good Guys. But WABC's plan backfired. The station got its interviews, but none of the band's members would utter WABC's call letters. According to Beatles' historian Bruce Spizer, manager Brian Epstein ordered the Beatles to stop "giving away valuable promotional spots to radio stations for free."

In 1980...the Mutual Broadcasting Service cancelled the "Sears Radio Theater" program.

In 1985...Phil Donahue and a Soviet radio commentator hosted a special program called the "Citizens’ Summit" via satellite Television.

No comments:

Post a Comment