Friday, January 6, 2017

January 6 Radio History

In 1838...Morse Code privately demonstrated

In 1939...Carleton E. Morse of One Man’s Family fame, introduced his second-best known radio creation, I Love a Mystery afternoons on NBC’s West Coast network.  It went national as a ni ghtly strip that October and ran for five years. A 30 minute weekly series titled I Love Adventure aired for 13 summer weeks in 1948 on ABC.  In 1949 ILAM was revived with a New York cast (including Tony Randall) and ran for 15 minutes nightly for the next 3 years on Mutual.

In Richard Widmark made his first radio appearance in "The Home of the Brave."

In 1957…Elvis Presley appeared for the third and final time on CBS-TV's "The Ed Sullivan Show." After receiving viewer complaints about Presley's first two appearances on the show and worried about getting more negative audience reaction because of Presley's pelvic gyrations, Sullivan demanded that the cameramen shoot Elvis only from the waist up this time. Presley sang seven songs: "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Peace in the Valley" (at the request of the network), "Too Much," and "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again." After the last of Elvis' performances, Sullivan attempted to prevent any further controversy by declaring:"I just wanted to say that this is a real decent, fine boy. We want to say that we've never had a pleasanter experience with a big name than we've had with you."

In 1969...Veteran NYC personality Joe O'Brien started at WNBC 660 AM. He died in a car accident in 2005 at age 90.

A Yonkers native, O'Brien began his career in 1935 when he got his first radio job with WMCA-AM in New York City. He worked at the station for 34 years and became one of the Good Guys team of disc jockeys in the late 1960's. They played Top 40 hits and became nearly as popular as the music they played.

They had the same clean-cut hairstyles, wore matching suits and worked together at record hops and personal appearances. They also sang as a group and released an album. During that time, Mr. O'Brien was the No. 1 morning man in New York City.

In 1970 he left for WNBC-AM, where he handled morning duties until he was replaced by Don Imus in 1972. Mr. O'Brien then went to WHUD in Peekskill, N.Y. He retired in 1986, but continued to do weekend specials for WHUD until 2000.

In 1971...WJRZ 970 AM sold to Pacific Southern.  It changed its call letters on May 16 of that year and became WWDJ, known on the air as "97-DJ", attempting to take on WABC and replace WMCA as the New York market's second Top 40 outlet.

For a brief time, program director Mark Driscoll began imaging the station as "9-J", giving rise to a recorded parody of the station called "Nine" produced by a group that included future disk jockeys Howard Hoffman and Randy West.

The station was hampered by a directional signal that covered Manhattan and parts of New Jersey well but suffered in the rest of the Five Boroughs and was virtually nonexistent on Long Island and western New Jersey. Eventually, FM competition from WCBS-FM and adult top 40 station WXLO (now WEPN-FM), and an evolution to adult Top 40 by WNBC (now WFAN), began to eat into WWDJ's ratings. In November 1973 it was ranked 15th in the Arbitron ratings.

In 1974...the CBS Radio Network debuted "Radio Mystery Theatre."

Bob LeMond
In 1980...the "1940's Radio Hour" closed at the St. James Theater in New York City after 105 performances.

In of the last surviving announcers of bigtime radio, Bob LeMond died of complications from dementia at age 94.

Beginning in the 1930’s he was a staff announcer at CBS .. and continued there well into the TV era, on such shows as Leave It to Beaver, The Red Skelton Show, Our Miss Brooks, My Friend Irma, Edgar Bergen’s Do You Trust Your Wife? and Life with Luigi.

In 2012...WFME 94.7 FM NYC (now WNSH) license changed from non-commercial to commercial.

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