Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23 Radio History

Paula Winslowe, William Bendix
In 1910...versatile radio/TV supporting actress/voicist Paula Winslowe was born in North Dakota. She is remembered as the wife of the principal, Mrs. Martha Conklin in Our Miss Brooks on both radio and television. She played the long-suffering wife Peg Riley in NBC radio’s The Life of Riley, and had feature roles on radio in Big Town and Broadway Is My Beat.  On the big screen she voiced the part of Bambi’s mother (1942).

She died March 6 1996, two weeks short of her 87th birthday.

In 1922...KMJ-AM, Fresno, California began broadcasting.

KMJ was originally owned by the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation. It was later acquired by the McClatchy Newspaper Company in 1925. It is also the 38th oldest licensed, and continuously operated radio station in the United States.

KMJ operated on a number of other frequencies between 1925 and 1932; some of the frequencies used included 820 and 1350 kHz.

McClatchy was intent on improving the signal, and competed with KTAB in Oakland for a new frequency (580 kHz), which was being made available by the newly created FCC.

Eventually, they were awarded the new channel, and KMJ moved to 580 kHz in 1932, operating with 1 kW non-directional from a building rooftop in Downtown Fresno.

In 1936, a new 5,000-watt non-directional transmitter site was constructed, which utilized a 5/8 wave antenna, and was located 5 miles east of Fresno, at the northeast corner of the Kings Canyon Road and Fowler Avenue intersection.

In 1941, Hammer Field (which later became Fresno Air Terminal) was constructed, as a training base for the Army Air Corps. The KMJ tower was directly in line with the runway, and the Army wanted the site relocated.

The site was then moved some 16 miles west of Fresno, the existing tower was unstacked and moved as well; however, it was only 660 feet in height. The remaining 330 feet were stored on the site, with the intention of creating a directional array, altough World War II interrupted the project and it never resumed.

The extra portion was eventually moved to Sacramento, and used in the construction of the KFBK transmitter site in 1945.

Today, KMJ-AM operates on the regional channel 580, with 50Kw and a directional antenna array.

From 1925 until 1987, KMJ was owned by McClatchy Company, who also owned KFBK in Sacramento, KBEE in Modesto, KERN in Bakersfield, and KKOH in Reno. McClatchy Newspapers also owned three daily newspapers in Fresno, Sacramento, and Modesto. In 1953, McClatchy signed on KMJ-TV on channel 24. The television station would be sold off in 1981 to become KSEE.

In November 2006, KMJ and its sister stations KFPT (AM), KWYE (FM), KSKS (FM), KFJK (FM), KOQO (FM), and KMGV (FM) were sold by CBS Radio to Peak Broadcasting, for $90 million.

In March 2009, Peak Broadcasting replaced the KFJK Jack FM format on 105.9 FM, with KMJ-FM; it is a partial simulcast of KMJ-AM.

In the fall of 2012, Premiere Radio Networks exercised a termination clause and ended its relationship with both the AM and FM KMJ stations. As of January 1, 2013, all Premiere-controlled syndicated shows were moved to Clear Channel-controlled stations in the greater Fresno area. From 6:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, KMJ-AM broadcasts all live and local talk shows.

On August 30, 2013, a deal was announced in which Townsquare Media would purchase Peak Broadcasting, and then immediately swap Peak's Fresno stations, including KMJ, to Cumulus Media in exchange for Cumulus' stations in Dubuque, Iowa and Poughkeepsie, New York. The deal is part of Cumulus' acquisition of Dial Global. Peak, Townsquare, and Dial Global are all controlled by Oaktree Capital Management. The sale to Cumulus was completed on November 14, 2013.

In 1922...WEW-AM, Saint Louis, Missouri began broadcasting.

Chief Engineer Gordon Sherman 1933
Saint Louis University established the station 9YK around 1912, using Morse code to communicate seismological and weather information. George E. Rueppel, assistant director of the Meteorological Observatory at SLU, worked with 9YK before he founded WEW in 1921. Audio transmissions began at 10:05 a.m. on 26 April 1921; the first voice heard was SLU president Rev. William Robison. The station received radio license #560 to broadcast on 618.6 kHz (wavelength 485 meters) as WEW on 23 March 1922;  KSD had been licensed on March 8.

The station has claimed to have broadcast the first quiz show, Question Box Hour, in 1923.

The station later moved to 833 kHz (360 meters). In April 1927 it was changed to 1210 kHz then 850 kHz; and changed in 1928 to 760 kHz, which was moved to 770 kHz on 29 March 1941 when NARBA took effect.

In 1938...CBS Radio newsman Christopher Glenn was born in New York City.  He not only voiced many hourly newscasts, he was the longtime anchor of the CBS World News Roundup, the oldest newscast in the world.  He retired in February 2006 and succumbed to liver cancer later that year (Oct. 17) at age 68.

Ralph Edwards
In 1940...the unique game show “Truth or Consequences” was first heard on radio. The Ralph Edwards-produced program was also hosted by Mr. Edwards throughout a 16 year radio run and into TV, before Jack Bailey, then Steve Dunne, and eventually a young Bob Barker took over. The radio show was originally heard on only four CBS stations; but 4 months later NBC picked up the show, where it eventually grew into the most popular of all radio game shows.

Bud Collyer
In 1950...the game show “Beat the Clock,” hosted by radio’s Superman, Clayton ‘Bud’ Collyer, premiered on CBS-TV, a Mark Goodson/Bill Todman production.

In 1955...Elvis Presley auditioned for CBS TV’s “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” singing “Good Rockin’ Tonight.” Producers considered his performance weak and rejected him for the show.

In 1973...American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN)  radio and TV signed off permanently after serving the American fighting men and women for many years in Vietnam. During that time over a thousand military personnel served at one of the many in-country sites

In 2009...former WABC-AM NYC and ABC Radio newsman, George Weber, was discovered stabbed to death in his apartment. NYPD found gay porn pictures scattered about and it was labeled a "crime of passion".

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