In 1876…Alexander Graham Bell filed an application for a patent for the telephone.
In 1894...Comedian and radio/TV host Jack Benny was born Benjamin Kubelsky on this day in 1894. He died December 26, 1974 at 80.
|A young Jack Benny - undated|
Benny's long radio career began on April 6, 1932, when the NBC Commercial Program Department auditioned him for the N.W. Ayer agency and their client, Canada Dry, after which Bertha Brainard, head of the division, said, "We think Mr. Benny is excellent for radio and, while the audition was unassisted as far as orchestra was concerned, we believe he would make a great bet for an air program." Recalling the experience in 1956, Benny stated that Ed Sullivan had invited him to guest on his program (1932), and "the agency for Canada Dry ginger ale heard me and offered me a job."
With Canada Dry ginger ale as a sponsor, Benny came to radio on The Canada Dry Program, on May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing for six months until October 26, moving to CBS on October 30. With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.
Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934. He continued with sponsor General Tire through the end of the season. In October, 1934, General Foods, the makers of Jell-O and Grape-Nuts, became the sponsor strongly identified with Benny for ten years. American Tobacco's Lucky Strike was his longest-lasting radio sponsor, from October, 1944, through to the end of his original radio series.
|Life magazine ad - April 1949|
In 1913...Hall of Fame baseball announcer Mel Allen was born. He died June 16, 1996 at 83.
Despite his reputation as a quiet and even reclusive politician, Coolidge made use of the new medium of radio and made radio history several times while President. He made himself available to reporters, giving 520 press conferences, meeting with reporters more regularly than any President before or since.
Coolidge's inauguration was the first presidential inauguration broadcast on radio. On December 6, 1923, he was the first President whose address to Congress was broadcast on radio. Coolidge signed the Radio Act of 1927, which assigned regulation of radio to the newly created Federal Radio Commission.
In 1924...The National Carbon Company became the first network sponsor of a radio program, "The Eveready Hour".
In 1940...MBS, Mutual Broadcasting System, presented the premiere broadcast of the radio play, "The Adventures of Superman."
In 1946...ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), built at the University of Pennsylvania, was unveiled as the world's first general-purpose electronic computer.
In 1971...WABC 95.5 FM becames WPLJ.
The station went on the air on May 4, 1948 under the call sign WJZ-FM, and in March 1953, the station's call letters were changed to WABC-FM following the merger of the American Broadcasting Company with United Paramount Theatres. As most FM stations did during the medium's formative years, 95.5 FM simulcasted the programming of its AM sister station.
At the start of 1968, ABC split its radio network into four distinct components, one of which was dedicated to FM radio. The following year, WABC-FM and its sister stations–KABC-FM in Los Angeles; WLS-FM in Chicago; KGO-FM in San Francisco; WXYZ-FM in Detroit; KQV-FM in Pittsburgh; and newly acquired KXYZ-FM in Houston–began carrying an automated, youth-oriented, progressive rock format known as Love.
On February 14, 1971, the station's call letters were changed to WPLJ, chosen after Allen Shaw noticed the letter combination as the name of a song on the 1970 Mothers of Invention record, Burnt Weeny Sandwich. The song, "W-P-L-J", was originally performed by the Four Deuces in 1955 and stood for "White Port and Lemon Juice". On the air, the station hired John Zacherle, Vin Scelsa, and Michael Cuscuna (from WMMR and WXPN in Philadelphia) as personalities.
In September 1971, Allen Shaw and ABC Programming Executive Bob Henaberry designed and pioneered the very first AOR (album oriented rock) format on WPLJ, playing only the best cuts from the best selling rock albums with a minimum of disc jockey talk. The slogan of the station was "Rock 'N Stereo". The station would play the music of artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Elton John, Deep Purple, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, David Bowie and The Allman Brothers. The station would also play pop songs from artists such as James Taylor, Stevie Wonder and Carly Simon. The station was different from Top 40 stations (such as co-owned WABC) in that they played more album tracks. The audience ratings shot up dramatically, and WPLJ became New York's most listened-to FM rock station for most of the 1970s.
In 1980...Walter Cronkite announced his retirement from the “CBS Evening News”, and Dan Rather was announced as his replacement, scheduled to step into his shoes the following year. And that’s the way it was.
In 2001...Last “Jukebox Saturday Night” on WCBS 101.1 FM