Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20 Radio History

In 1902...Nathan Stubblefield demonstrated ship-to-shore broadcast to multiple receivers in Washington, DC.

He made public demonstrations of voice and music transmission to five receiving locations on the courthouse square in Murray on January 1, 1902, witnessed by at least 1,000 people, apparently using voice frequency transmission through earth conduction, to a radius of one-half mile.

Stubblefield with wireless phone
Later he demonstrated wireless telephony in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 1902, where voice and music transmissions were made over a third of a mile from the steamer Bartholdi to shore. He demonstrated wireless telephony as well in Philadelphia on May 30, 1902 to a distance of a half mile.

He joined wireless inventor Archie Frederick Collins and stock promoters in the Collins Wireless Telephone Company. In December, 1909 Collins Wireless Telephone Company became a part of the Continental Wireless Tel. & Tel. Company, with A. Frederick Collins as Technical Director. Stubblefield resigned as a director in December 1911, because of what he described in a letter as their sometimes-fraudulent stock promotion practices. The other principals of the company were later convicted of fraud.

Back home in Murray, he continued to experiment with wireless telephony, using large circular conduction coils to transmit voice frequencies to receiving stations. In 1903, he could transmit 375 feet without earth connections, using induction. In 1904, he could transmit 423 yards.

The total wire required for the transmitting and receiving coils was of a greater length than what would be required to simply interconnect the transmitter and receiver, but the invention would allow mobility.

On May 12, 1908, he received U.S. patent 887,357 for his Wireless Telephone, using the voice frequency induction system. He said in the patent that it would be useful for "securing telephonic communications between moving vehicles and way stations". The diagram shows wireless telephony from trains, boats, and wagons. In foreign patents he showed wireless telephony with cars. However, there is no indication that he was using voice-modulated continuous high frequency waves, as used for radio today.

In Ozzie (Oswald George) Nelson was born in Jersey City NJ.

He & wife Harriet Nelson were regulars on the Red Skelton radio show, before he developed The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for ABC radio from 1944 to ’54. It developed quite a following & moved to TV from 1952 to ’66.  As son Rick Nelson became a recording star in real life, the program focussed more on him, ending each show with a performance.

Ozzie died of cancer June 3, 1975 at age 69.

In 1908...the future president of CBS Dr. Frank Stanton was born in Muskegon Mich.

Instrumental in the development of television he served as chief executive at CBS for 25 years beginning in 1946.  With company founder William Paley he built Columbia into a communications powerhouse.

He died in his sleep Dec. 26 2006 at age 98.

In 1922...WIP-AM, Philadelphia, went on-the-air.

Founded by Gimbels department store, the station first went on the air on as Philadelphia's first commercial radio station with the call sign WIP, which people mistakenly think stands for "Wireless In Philadelphia," "We're In Philadelphia" or "Watch Its Progress." In fact, WIP was a call sign randomly issued by the federal government.

In 1938, the station began a full 24 hour a day broadcast schedule and used the slogan "Philadelphia's Pioneer Station." In 1940, the station was granted a power increase to 5,000 watts and the transmitter site was moved to Bellmawr, NJ. The previous tower at 21st and Hamilton was dismantled and the property sold.

Wayne Cody
From the begining, one of the most popular personalities on the station was children's show host "Uncle Wip." While Uncle Wip was portrayed by several people, one of the longest running was Wayne Cody. By 1933, Uncle Wip's "Kiddie Club" had over 500,000 names on its list, and over 750,000 by 1941. In addition to making numerous appearances, some of Uncle Wip's other activities included an Aviation Club, a "Toyland Parade" and a "Drum and Bugle Corps."

In 1958, WIP AM and FM were sold for $2,500,000 to WIP Broadcasting, Inc., a new syndicate headed by Benedict Gimbel, Jr., the station's former General Manager.

In 1960, the Metropolitan Broadcasting Division of Metromedia, Inc., owned by John W. Kluge, purchased WIP AM and FM for $2,700,000. This essentially ended any connection the station had with the Gimbel family or retail concern. On May 11, 1961, WIP's licensee name was changed to the parent company name, Metromedia, Inc.

In 1935...the Lucky Strike Hit Parade premiered on NBC, featuring the top 15 tunes of the week.  The show would be a Saturday night radio staple for the next 24 years…second in longevity only to Grand Ole Opry.

In 1965...B. Mitchel Reed did last show at WMCA NYC.

He was known as "The Fastest Tongue in the West," for the speed in which he spoke to his audience. He left KFWB for WMCA in his home state of New York on February 7, 1963. He soon became part of a team of disc jockeys known as "The Good Guys," among them Jack Spector, a fellow alum from Boys High School in Brooklyn who had graduated two years ahead of him.

By 1965, Reed decided to return to Los Angeles. His last show at WMCA was on March 20. Thousands of his fans cheered him at the airport upon his departure. Many fans who were thrilled of his return greeted him when he arrived in LA. This ushered in his second stint at KFWB and The Wide Wide Weird World of BMR.

In 1972...actress/singer Marilyn Maxwell died after a heart attack at age 50.  She was a radio singer before signing a film contract with MGM, singing & being ogled on the Abbott & Costello radio show. She was most famous as the blonde bombshell (read “whistle bait”) on Bob Hope’s many USO tours around the world.

In 1974...newscaster Chet Huntley, a veteran of west coast radio before co-anchoring the nightly Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC TV, died of lung cancer at age 62. He had started his radio career at KIRO Seattle after graduating from the University of Washington in 1934.

In 1989…After 37 years with the program, Dick Clark announced his intention to discontinue hosting "American Bandstand" on ABC-TV.

In 1989…Bandleader (for Arthur Godfrey's radio and TV shows)/arranger/record label founder (Cadence) Archie Bleyer died of the effects of Parkinson's disease at the age of 79.

In 2005...Ted Brown, Personality WOR, WMGM, WNBC, WNEW NYC, died.

In 1953, Ted Brown began working at WNEW 1130 as an air-personality. He worked there off and on and at one point he worked at WMGM playing rock and roll. He returned to WNEW and then worked at WNBC from the late 60s to the early 70s. At that point he went back to WNEW as afternoon drive air personality. He moved to mornings in 1978. When WNEW began evolvng in 1979 from Adult Contemporary to Adult Standards/Big Bands by 1981, Ted remained.

He continued working at WNEW until 1989 when he semi-retired. In the 1990s he helped host New York Giants football games on WNEW. From 1993 to 1995, Ted worked middays at WRIV, a standards station in Riverhead, New York and on WVNJ 1160 Oakland, New Jersey playing standards and big bands from early in 1996 to about 1998 when he suffered a stroke. He signed-off his show with the phrase "Put on the coffee Mama. I'm coming home."

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