Monday, March 6, 2017

March 6 Radio History

In 1905...Bob Wills, the man who originated western swing, was born near Kosse, Texas. Wills and his Texas Playboys, a swing band with country overtones, were a fixture for nearly 25 years on station KVOO in Tulsa, Oklahoma, beginning in 1933.  In April 1940, when Wills recorded his own composition, “San Antonio Rose,” the disc sold a million copies. Another version by Bing Crosby was also a million-seller. In December 1973, he attended his last recording session. Many of the original Texas Playboys and Merle Haggard were there, but during the session, Wills suffered a second stroke. He never regained consciousness, and died in May 1975 at age 70.

Abbott & Costello
In 1906...comedian Lou Costello was born in Paterson New Jersey. With partner Bud Abbott he produced some of the best comedy of the 1940’s & 50’s in movies, radio & TV.  Their ‘Who’s on First?’ routine is a memorable classic.  Lou died following a heart attack March 3 1959, three days short of his 53rd birthday.


1954...KE2XCC (93.1 FM), the station owned by Maj. Edwin Howard Armstrong, closes down for the final time at 9 PM.  Today 93.1 FM is occupied by WPAT-FM.

In 1959...Pioneer IV sent the furthest radio signal ever heard: 400,000 miles.

In 1967...singer Nelson Eddy, whose operatic-style duets with Jeanette MacDonald were big favorites in movies, on record and on radio in the 1930s and 40s, died after a stroke at age 65.

In 1981...Walter Cronkite stepped down as anchor of The CBS Evening News after 19 years. He was replaced by Dan Rather.

In 1983…The Country Music Television (CMT) network debuted on U.S. cable TV.

In 1995...the Howard Stern Radio Show debuted in Phoenix, Arizona on KEDJ-FM.

In 2002…Longtime Chicago radio personality (WLS, WCFL) 70-year-old Art Roberts, also remembered for his on-air stints in Milwaukee and Buffalo, died following a series of strokes.

Roberts, according his 2002 obit in The Chicago Tribune,  was known as Chicago's "hip uncle" for his work on AM radio in the 1960s and '70s. And to teenagers of that time he was a godsend for bringing them the rock 'n' roll stars they craved.

According to Jeff Roteman's WLS Tribute website,  his radio career began in Atlanta, Texas in 1953. In 1956, Art Roberts joined the legendary KLIF in Dallas. In 1959, Art worked in Buffalo at WKBW before joining WLS in 1961.

He was one of seven young, star disc jockeys hired by WLS to bring rock to Chicago. Roberts started in the early afternoon slot, then took over the popular 9 p.m. to midnight gig from Dick Biondi. He was known for telling bedtime stories about "the head that ain't got no body" and creating fictitious characters like "Hooty Saperticker," who wanted to go through life doing nothing.

Roberts stayed at WLS for 10 years before heading to San Francisco's KNBR in 1971, Other career stops included WCFL, WOKY, and KLUV. Art's final radio stop was KGVM in Reno in 1998.

In 2005...former BBC Radio 1 DJ, Tommy Vance, died. He originally came to fame during the 1960s as a DJ on British pirate station, "Radio Caroline" and BBC Radio 1. Vance began his radio career in the USA under the name 'Rick West'. He took the name 'Tommy Vance' at the radio station KOL in Seattle from a DJ who had failed to turn up after the station had heavily promoted and paid for expensive jingles which were already recorded.

While at KOL, Vance was recruited by the Top 40 programming consultant Bill Drake, to join his team of "Boss Jocks" at the emerging West Coast KHJ radio in Los Angeles (aka Boss Radio). Vance held the evening airshift at KHJ for several months in late 1965. During this period, it was alleged that Tommy decided to return abruptly to the UK, after running into an unresolvable problem with the U.S. immigration authorities, regarding being drafted for the Vietnam War.

In 2013...Alvin Lee, English rocker, died from complications from surgery at 68.

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