Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 4 Radio History

In actress Isabel Randolph was born in Chicago.

In her mid-40’s she hit comedy gold playing Mrs. Uppington for seven seasons of NBC radio’s Fibber McGee and Molly show, a snooty personna she would recreate in movies.  She starred in the late-30’s radio soap opera Dan Harding’s Wife, and in the 1940’s had a continuing role in One Man’s Family.  In the early days of TV her credits include Our Miss Brooks, The Andy Griffith Show, Meet Millie, The Abbott & Costello Show, and Perry Mason.

She died Jan. 11 1973 at age 83.

In 1915...longtime newscaster Alan Jackson was born in Hot Springs Arkansas.

He was the head anchor at CBS Radio News for over twenty-five years beginning during the Second World War, reading the 6:00 PM national evening news (then the network’s main news program) and anchoring coverage of many of the major news headlines of the day. He anchored the CBS News coverage of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, and of V-E Day in May 1945. He is believed to have been the first to announce the assassination of JFK in 1963.

Alan Jackson retired from CBS in or before 1981.

Deanna Durbin "Something In The Wind" 1947
In 1921...Actress/singer Deanna Durbin was born Edna Rae Durbin in Winnipeg.

She had a short but successful film career, retiring at age 29 just at the start of the TV era.  However she has genuine radio credentials as a singing star of the popular Eddie Cantor Show.

Having retired to France she died there in April 2013 at age 91.

In 1923...WEAF radio began broadcasting the "Eveready Hour". It was a variety show.

In 1932...The famous opening was heard for the first time. “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press!” The Walter Winchell Show, later The Jergens Journal and still later, Kaiser-Frazer News, was first heard on the NBC Blue network.

Winchell kept that gossip show going on the radio for 23 years.

In of America’s great radio soap operas made the leap to the big time. Ma Perkins moved from WLW Cincinnati to the NBC Red network. The show proved to be so popular that, for a while it was carried on both CBS and NBC simultaneously!  Virginia Payne played the title role throughout the show’s 27-year run.

In 1944...In Nashville at the WSM Radio studios, Eddy Arnold recorded four songs, including "Cattle Call," at his first recording session.

In 1944...Beach Boys drummer, keyboardist and songwriter Dennis Wilson was born on this day in 1944. He drowned on Dec. 28, 1983 at 39.  Dennis Wilson interview with Pete Fornatale on WNEW-FM, New York City, November 1976.

In 1954...the song “Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes topped the charts and stayed there for 7 weeks.

In 1954...Billboard magazine reported that the New York Supreme Court had denied radio disc jockey Alan Freed any further use of the nickname "Moondog." Freed had been sued for infringement by New York street musician Louis T. Hardin, who claimed prior ownership of the nickname.

In 1957...Because of the furor created by Elvis Presley's recently released Christmas album, radio station CKWS in Kingston, Ontario plays the album in its entirety, opening the phones to public comment. Most listeners approve of the album.

In 1965..."Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)" by The Byrds hit number one on the pop singles chart.

Harry Wismer
In 1967...nationally-known sportscaster Harry Wismer died at age 54. His career began at WJR Detroit; he went on to do radio play-by-play of Notre Dame and Washington Redskins football.  He was a charter owner of the AFL, with the New York franchise (Titans) that became the Jets.

But he died broke, from a combination of depression, cancer & alcoholism ..following a fall.

In 1967...WCBS 880 AM expands "All News" format to midnight.

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, WCBS had evolved into a Middle of the road (MOR) music and personality format, which included limited talk programming. Personalities included legendary morning host Jack Sterling, Bill Randle and Lee Jordan. Like many MOR stations at the time, WCBS did mix in softer songs by rock-and-roll artists, as its ratings at the time were ordinary compared to the higher ratings at WOR and WNEW, both of which also had MOR formats and more distinct identities. Through it all, the variety show "Arthur Godfrey Time" remained a weekday mid-morning staple.

Eventually, WCBS gained a foothold in local news coverage (WOR and WNEW's strengths) bolstered by its standing as CBS's flagship radio station.

William S. Paley
During the 1960s, CBS chairman William S. Paley was concerned about the station's low ratings, and that concern started a process that would lead to the creation of a news radio format that would become known as "Newsradio 88". This format debuted on August 28, 1967.

Initially, the station ran news in the drive time periods but maintained an MOR format during the midday and overnight hours, and within a couple of years, it ran all-news programming for much of the broadcast day except for overnights. "Newsradio 88" began its transformation into an all-news format in 1970, when the overnight American Airlines-sponsored Music Till Dawn ended in January of that year, and completed the process in 1972, when Godfrey's weekday morning variety show came to an end. The station built a reputation as an all-news powerhouse during the 1970s, and has continued with an all-news format to this day.

In 1970…Frank Reynolds co-anchored the "ABC Evening News" with Howard K. Smith for the final time. Reynolds commented on the switch saying, "Due to circumstances beyond my control, the unemployment statistics rose yesterday." Harry Reasoner, formerly of CBS News and "60 Minutes," replaced Reynolds.

In 1989...Howard Hoffman and Stephanie Miller first show at WQHT

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