In 1857...physicist Heinrich Hertz, who became the first person to broadcast & receive radio waves, was born.
To prove there really was radiation emitted, it had to be detected. Hertz used a piece of copper wire, 1 mm thick, bent into a circle of a diameter of 7.5 cm, with a small brass sphere on one end, and the other end of the wire was pointed, with the point near the sphere. He bought a screw mechanism so that the point could be moved very close to the sphere in a controlled fashion. This "receiver" was designed so that current oscillating back and forth in the wire would have a natural period close to that of the "transmitter" described above. The presence of oscillating charge in the receiver would be signaled by sparks across the (tiny) gap between the point and the sphere (typically, this gap was hundredths of a millimeter).
In more advanced experiments, Hertz measured the velocity of electromagnetic radiation and found it to be the same as light’s velocity. He also showed that the nature of radio waves’ reflection and refraction was the same as those of light and established beyond any doubt that light is a form of electromagnetic radiation obeying the Maxwell equations.
Hertz's experiments triggered broad interest in radio research that eventually produced commercially successful wireless telegraph, audio radio, and later television. In 1930 the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) honored Hertz by naming the unit of frequency—one cycle per second—the "hertz".
In 1907...actor & producer Sheldon Leonard was born in New York City.
He was an active supporting player in bigtime radio, portraying largely Brooklynesque characters. He had a recurring role on The Jack Benny Show (radio & TV) as a racetrack tout. In TV he was an ultra-successful producer, with I Spy, Make Room for Daddy, the Dick Van Dyke Show, the Andy Griffith Show, My World & Welcome To It, The Don Rickles Show, etc.
He died Jan 10 1997 at age 89.
In 1910...announcer Ken Roberts was born Saul Trochman in New York City. He is remembered for his huge body of work during the Golden Age of Radio, especially on The Shadow, It Pays to Be Ignorant, Quick as a Flash & Easy Aces, and for announcing the daytime TV soap operas The Secret Storm and Love of Life, each for a two-decade span.
During the 1930s and 1940s, at the height of the radio era, Roberts' voice appeared widely in live programming to introduce programs, moderate game shows and do live reads for commercials. Despite his Errol Flynn-like good looks and the frequent broadcasts featuring his voice, as often as several times each day, few listeners knew who he was or would have recognized him in public radio historian Jim Cox described Roberts' voice as neither "Yankee, Southern, Western or anything else". It was a voice that didn't "irritate anybody" and that "you just naturally liked to hear", making him "one of the leading lights of radio". Steve Beverly of The Daily Game Show Fix described Roberts as having "what executives called a golden throat", with a familiar voice that was one of broadcasting's most-recognized anonymous voices. He also found time to narrate dozens of theatrical movie trailers and "intermission" segments for traditional and drive-in theaters during the 1940s and 1950s.
In 1935, Roberts was one of the founders of the American Guild of Radio Announcers and Producers, one of the predecessors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)
He died of pneumonia June 19 2009 at age 99, five years after suffering a stroke.
In 1916...Ernst Alexanderson granted US patent for a selective tuning system.
In 1918...announcer Don Pardo was born in Westfield, Massachusetts.
He joined NBC full-time as an in-house announcer in 1944, remaining on the network staff for 60 years. The radio programs on which he worked as an announcer include Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator, the sci-fi shows X Minus One and Dimension X. During World War II, Pardo worked as a war reporter for NBC Radio.
For more than 30 years, Pardo was one of the rotating announcers on the KFOG San Francisco radio show "Ten at Ten", appearing at 10 a.m. and in syndication with Dave Morey on KFOG HD Radio.
In the early 1950s, he served as announcer for many of RCA's and NBC's closed-circuit color television demonstrations.
Pardo squeezed in many other assignments at NBC, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (until 1999), WNBC-TV's Live at Five and NBC Nightly News.
Pardo was the on-duty live booth announcer for WNBC-TV in New York and the NBC network on November 22, 1963, and he was the first to announce to NBC viewers that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas.
Best remembered as the announcer for the first 39 years of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ he uniquely scored a 70 year career as announcer for NBC Radio & TV. He was still making weekly flights from his Arizona retirement home to New York to work live on SNL when he died August 18 2014, at age 96.
|WOR's First Control Room|
The station initially operated limited hours, sharing time with two other stations, WDT and WJY, which also operated on 833 kc. WOR changed frequency to 740 kc. in June 1923 and shared time with WJY until July 1926, when WJY signed off for good and WOR received full use of the frequency. In December 1924, WOR acquired a studio in Manhattan.
On June 17, 1927, as a result of General Order 40, WOR moved to 710 kc., the channel it currently occupies (unlike most stations, it was not affected by NARBA). Later in 1926, WOR moved from its New York City studio on the 9th floor of Chickering Hall at 27 West 57th Street to 1440 Broadway, two blocks from Times Square.
|John B. Gambling 1930|
In 1941, the station changed its city of license from Newark to New York City. However, for all intents and purposes it had been a New York City station since it signed on, and had actually moved its studios across the Hudson two years after signing on.
|Election Coverage 1933|
There was an emphasis on news reports and talk programs, but music was played also, usually a blend of pop standards and adult contemporary tunes.
WOR played several songs per hour weekday mornings from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. They also played about a dozen songs per hour on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
The station was known for its detailed, 15-minute news reports on the hour. Noted newsmen such as Henry Gladstone, Harry Hennessey, John Wingate, Lyle Vann, Peter Roberts, and Roger Skibenes were the backbone of the news department.
|Bob and Ray (left)|
In 1954…ABC Radio's "Breakfast Club" program with host Don McNeill was first simulcast on TV. The telecast bombed, but the radio show continued for another 14 years, making McNeill network broadcasting's longest-tenured host at 35½ years, surpassing Bob Barker's 34 2/3 years and Johnny Carson's 29½ years
In 1956...Elvis Presley had his first hit in Billboard's top 10 with "Heartbreak Hotel."
By early 1981, WABC's cumulative audience was down to 2.5 million—rival WNBC, a perennial also-ran, was by this time beating them with 3 million. Fewer people were tuning into WABC, listeners who had switched to FM were not coming back, and, while still moderately successful, the ship was sinking. Jay Clark tried to improve the time-spent-listening.
(WABC 77 New York -Bob Cruz (unscoped) subbing for Dan Ingram - Dec 1978)
In March 1981, Bob Cruz departed, Dan Ingram went back to his familiar afternoon slot, and the team of Ross Brittain and Brian Wilson from Atlanta moved into morning drive. Ross and Wilson, as the show was known, was very information-oriented, playing exactly four songs in an hour except on Saturdays when they played the usual 12 or so songs an hour. A week later, the station also began airing a weeknight sports-talk show with Art Rust, Jr. from 7 to 9 pm. WABC's ratings by this point were mediocre and they were still going down.
Also, that March, WABC became the full-time flagship radio outlet for Yankees baseball games, a distinction the station carried through the end of the 2001 season. Jay Clark reasoned that Yankee baseball would bring back some listeners to the station and that they would recycle back into the music format, but not even the "Bronx Bombers" could save music on WABC.
In the fall of 1981, WABC dropped the remaining heavy-rock cuts and non-crossover urban hits. They began playing more oldies, as well as songs from the adult contemporary chart, and added an "advice" talk show with Dr. Judy Kuriansky from 9 pm to midnight on weeknights. Howard Hoffman and Sturgis Griffin exited at this point. By then, WABC was almost unrecognizable as a Top 40 station, the ratings were languishing, and rumors were rampant that the station would be changing its format.
In February 1982, WABC officially confirmed it would be going to an all-talk format that May.
In 1985...actor Alexander Scourby suffered a fatal heart attack at age 71. One of the great voiceovers/narrators, he is immortalized on the soundtrack of TV’s classic documentary about WWII, “Victory at Sea.”
He had first come to natiional attention as “Bill the Bartender” on Pabst Blue Ribbon commercials on early TV. He was Johnny Carson’s first sidekick (before Ed McMahon) on TV’s “Who Do you Trust,” and briefly Jackie Gleason’s announcer, before a year as Regis Philbin’s announcer on his local show in Los Angeles.
Nimmo also hosted a pair of short-lived network TV quiz shows.