Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 16 Radio History

In 1901...‘The Waltz King’ Wayne King was born. In early radio of the 1920`s his band was featured in half-hour`remote` broadcasts from Chicago`s Aragon Ballroom.  In the 1930`s he was heard on the networks in weekly half-hour broadcasts for Lady Esther cosmetics, a line he is credited with popularizing.  In the mid-40`s he was a summer replacement for the Jack Benny and Jimmy Durante programs.  The saxophonist and bandleader died July 16, 1985 at age 84.

Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen
In 1903...ventriloquist, actor and radio star (and father of actress Candice), Edgar Bergen was born. With his little wooden ‘sidekicks’ Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, he delighted audiences for decades.  He had a featured Sunday evening show first on NBC and then on CBS Radio from 1937 to 1955.  He died in his sleep following a performance in Las Vegas Oct 1 1978 at age 75.

In 1922...WDAF was started by the Kansas City Star in 1922. The official starting date is open to dispute, because the Star's broadcasting activities pre-dated WDAF.

On February 16, 1922, the Star used WOQ, the station of the Western Radio Company, to broadcast what the newspaper described as a "wireless telephone concert". The Star had just constructed radio studios at its building at 18th and Grand. In that evening's newspaper, the program appeared on the front page:

Courtesy of
The Star adopted the WDAF call letters May 16, 1922. WDAF bounced around various frequencies, traveling to 750, 730, 680, 820 and 810 kHz. WDAF moved to 610 kHz in 1928, splitting time with station WOQ. WDAF joined the NBC radio network before moving to 610 kHz, running both Red & Blue programs up until 1930, when they became a primary NBC Red affiliate.

It also had become the westernmost affiliate of the NBC Red Network. WDAF retained its NBC affiliation well into the 1960s.

WDAF changed its call letters KCSP on September 23, 2003, after moving the longtime country music format to the FM. Entercom still maintains the WDAF-FM call letters at 106.5. Today KCSP airs Sports Talk.

In 1929...KID-AM in Idaho Falls, Idaho, went on the air. Today the station airs a News/Talk format at 590 AM.

The station was first licensed under the call KGIO, and began broadcasting on December 3, 1928 on a frequency of 1320 kHz.  On February 16, 1929, the call was changed to KID, and the station began broadcasting under this call.  The station had moved to 1350 kHz by 1942 (likely in the March 29, 1941 changes, pursuant to the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement, that saw many stations raise frequency by 10 to 30 kHz), where it stayed for several years.  In 1950, the station changed from 1350 to its current 590 kHz frequency.

In 1935...Republican Rep. Sonny Bono of California, who went into politics after first catching America's attention as half of the married singing and TV comedy duo Sonny & Cher, was born. He died in a skiing accident on Jan. 5, 1998 at 62.

In 1955...In Odessa, Texas, Elvis Presley performed two shows at the senior high school. Local singer Roy Orbison was in the audience and remembered, "His energy was incredible. His instinct was just amazing."

In 1989...Investigators in Lockerbie, Scotland, declared that a bomb, concealed inside a radio-cassette player, was to blame for the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 the previous December. 259 aboard and 11 on the ground died.

In 2010..Voice-Over artist and former WHTZ 100.3 FM /Z100 personality.creative J.R. Nelson died from cancer at age 60.

J R Nelson
He started in 1965, WFOB in Fostoria, Ohio,  "I did everything the usual kid does, run the gospel tapes and all that kind of stuff. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was hired to do mornings at a station in Toledo."

Nelson worked at Top40 CKGM in Montreal in 1970-71. He also worked at KAKA Tulsa, KBEZ Kansas City, WGCL Cleveland, followed by stints at WGAR, WHK/WMMS.

Working for KAKC in Tulsa, is where he started my production company. "I did novelty songs for a car dealer, and these songs ended up being his advertising campaign. I did that same package for about ten car dealers across the country. I think the first station I ever did sweepers for was a little station in Clyde, Ohio."

In '80, he worked with Malrite and helped them set up KNEW in San Francisco, According to a 1993 with Radio&Production magazine, 'By this time, I was your basic, full-fledged cocaine addict. Then I had a mild heart attack. My parents had a little winter home down in Tampa, Florida, so I went down there, dried out, and went to work for a little recording studio there.

After a while, I got a call from an old boss of mine, Gil Rosenwald, saying they were buying this station in Livingston, New Jersey. The studios were in Livingston, New Jersey, but the transmitter was in Newark, and they were going to move to the Empire State Building. He wanted to know if I wanted to go work for them. I said, "Who's your PD?" He said, "Scott Shannon." Well, I knew Scott from Tampa, and Scott and I were two people just alike -- two stubborn, bull-headed people. The station was Z100, and we had a lot of fun."

"We were there for about three months before we actually signed the thing on, going through tapes, building the studios, etc.. I didn't want to be on the air. I was just going to do creative for them. Then, about a week before we were going to sign on Scott said, "Well, did you ever read news?" And I said, "I've never read news in my life!" and he said, "Well, you're going to start now." Oh, it was nice. It's your first time trying to be a news person, and where are you? In New York City. It's a humbling experience, but I only had to do news until we hired someone. Anyway, everybody did everything they had to do in the beginning. The production part to me was the most fun because we had a ball at that station."

In 2015...Lesley Gore, the teenaged singer of 60’s hits like “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and “You Don’t Own Me,” lost her battle with lung cancer at age 68.

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