Saturday, January 21, 2017

January 21 Radio History

In 1919...actress/radio-TV host Jinx (Eugenia) Falkenburg was born in Barcelona Spain.  She was a movie actress & popular model before & during World War II , after which she and her husband Tex McCrary were hosts of “Meet Tex and Jinx” a local radio talk show they conducted from Peacock Alley in New York’s  Waldorf Astoria.  They also hosted NBC TV’s At Home show, while she was a regular on TV’s charades show Masquerade Party.  She died a month after her husband Aug 27, 2003 at age 84.

In 1927...the first opera broadcast on a national Radio network occured. Radio listeners in Chicago, Illinois heard music from Faust.

In 1935...WFI-AM in Philadelphia  merged with WLIT as WFIL.

WFIL was formed by a merger of two stations that were launched in 1922. One used the call letters WFI, the other was originally WDAR. Each was owned by a major Philadelphia department store; WFI was operated by Strawbridge and Clothier, while WDAR was run by Lit Brothers.

While operated independently of each other, the two were able to work out amicable share-time agreements (hundreds of other American stations at the time were unable to do so, and frequently engaged in "jamming wars"). Around 1924, WDAR applied for and received the custom call-sign WLIT. By the late 1920s, the two stations were working jointly on various programs, promotions, and sponsorship efforts. In 1935, the two operators agreed to merge with each department store having representation on the new board of directors.

The new call-sign became WFIL, a combination of the two previous identifiers (the fact that the new call letters were close to a phonetic spelling of "Philadelphia" was merely a happy coincidence).

In 1938...Legendary radio disc jockey Wolfman Jack was born Robert Smith. He died July 1, 1995 at 57.

Wolfman Jack
Smith was the younger of two children of Anson Weston Smith, an Episcopal Sunday school teacher, writer, editor, and executive vice president of the Financial World, and his wife Rosamond Small. His parents divorced while he was a child. To help keep him out of trouble, his father bought him a large Trans-Oceanic radio, and Smith became an avid fan of R&B music and the disc jockeys who played it, including "Jocko" Henderson of Philadelphia, New York's "Dr. Jive" (Tommy Smalls), the "Moon Dog" from Cleveland, Alan Freed, and Nashville's "John R." Richbourg, who later became his mentor.

After selling encyclopedias and Fuller brushes door-to-door, Smith attended the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, D.C. Graduating in 1960, he began working as "Daddy Jules" at WYOU in Newport News, Virginia. In 1962, he moved to country music station KCIJ 1050 AM in Shreveport, Louisiana as the station manager and morning disc jockey, "Big Smith with the Records". He married Lucy "Lou" Lamb in 1961, and they had two children.

Disc jockey Alan Freed had played a role in the transformation of black rhythm and blues into rock and roll music, and originally called himself the "Moon Dog" after New York City street musician Moondog. Freed both adopted this name and used a recorded howl to give his early broadcasts a unique character. Smith's adaptation of the Moondog theme was to call himself Wolfman Jack and add his own sound effects. The character was based in part on the manner and style of bluesman Howlin' Wolf. It was at KCIJ that he first began to develop his famous alter ego Wolfman Jack.

Wolfman Jack played the role of an all-night deejay in 'American Graffiti'
According to author Philip A. Lieberman, Smith's "Wolfman" persona "derived from Smith's love of horror flicks and his shenanigans as a 'wolfman' with his two young nephews. The 'Jack' was added as a part of the 'hipster' lingo of the 1950s, as in 'take a page from my book, Jack,' or the more popular, 'hit the road, Jack.'"

In 1946...“The Fat Man” began its 5-year run on ABC radio. J. Scott Smart, who played the portly detective, weighed in at 270 pounds in real life.

In 1978...The soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever reached number one on the album chart.

In 1989...Ted Nugent married his second wife, former radio traffic reporter for WLLZ-FM in Detroit, Shemane Deziel. They have a son together.

In 1997..."Colonel" Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager for 22 years (and briefly before that managed Eddy Arnold and Hank Snow) died following a stroke at 87.

In 1996...WYNY 103.5 FM NYC confirmed rumors that they were dropping country

In 1998...WNSR 105.1 FM BYC became WBIX “Big 105"

In 2004...FCC Chairman, Michael Powell, anounced his resignation - 2 years before his term was to be up.

In 2005...College DJ, Dave Plotkin, from Rollins College's WPRK-FM in Winter Park, Florida, set a record for the world's longest continuous broadcast by a single DJ. He stayed on the air for 110 hours.

In 2006...Country music singer Kix Brooks replaced Bob Kingsley as host of the syndicated radio show "American Country Countdown."

In 2010...WWRL dropped “Air America” format - 2010

In 2013...WRXP (now WNSH) 94.7 FM NYC becomes Country “NashFM”

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