Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31 Radio History

➦In minister Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was born in Bowersville Ohio. For 54 years (from 1935 to 1989), Peale hosted the weekly radio program The Art of Living.  He was best known for the best selling book The Power of Positive Thinking.  He served as mentor to televangelist Robert Schuller. He died Dec 24, 1993 at age 95.

➦In 1908 host Don Ameche was born Dominic Felix Amici in Kenosha Wisconsin.  The movie star was first a star of bigtime radio.  His radio credits include Betty & Bob, Grand Hotel, First Nighter, The (Battling) Bickersons, & the Charlie McCarthy Show.  On TV the Frances Langford-Don Ameche Show ran one season.  In 1992 he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.  He died of prostate cancer Dec. 6 1993 at age 85.

➦In 1943...another comic strip came to radio, as Archie Andrews was heard on the Blue Network for the first time. Archie, Veronica and the gang remained on network radio for some nine years.

➦In 19??..Longtime former Philadelphia and NYC Radio Personality Ross Brittain was born.

More recently he was at CBS Radio's WOGL 98.1 FM in Philly and he's also worked in Atlanrta, New Orleans, Cleveland and Hartford as well as NYC.  In 1982, Brittain was cohost of the first morning show Ross & Brittain on WABC as a Talk station.

In 1984, he teamed with Scott Shannon on the Z100 Morning Zoo on WHTZ 100.3 FM.

Confer RTI Ross Brittain Guest Faculty Profile from National Radio Talent System on Vimeo.

Brittain is a former Billboaard and Radio&Records "Personality of The Year".

Mary Margaret McBride
➦In 1949...a crowd of 35,000 people paid tribute to radio personality Mary Margaret McBride at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. McBride was celebrating her 15th year in radio.   Her popular radio shows spanned more than 40 years. In the 1940s the daily audience for her housewife-oriented program numbered from six to eight million listeners. She was called "The First Lady of Radio."

McBride first worked steadily in radio for WOR in New York City. In 1937, she launched on the CBS radio network the first of a series of similar and successful shows, now as Mary Margaret McBride.

She interviewed figures well known in the world of arts and entertainment, and politics, with a style recognized as original to herself. She accepted advertising only for products she was prepared to endorse from her own experience, and turned down all tobacco or alcohol products.

She followed this format in regular broadcasts on CBS until 1941,  NBC (where her audience numbered in the millions) from then until 1950,  ABC from then until 1954,  NBC again until 1960, and The New York Herald Tribune's radio broadcasts with a wider audience via syndication.

➦In 1958...guitarist Dick Dale introduced “surf music” for the first time when he played  “Let’s Go Trippin” at a concert in Balboa Calif.

➦In 1966...filming began on The Monkees TV sitcom. Starting on NBC in September the weekly series chronicled the misadventures of a struggling rock band.

➦In 1999...77 WABC-AM, New York, presented "WABC Rewound" where the news/talk station broadcast airchecks from its glory days when it was a Top 40 formatted music Radio station. At first, WABC's early days in the 60s as a Top 40 station were humble ones.

Top 40 1010 WINS was the No. 1 hit music station and WMCA, which did a similar rock leaning top 40 format, was also a formidable competitor, while WABC barely ranked in the Top Ten. Fortunately for WABC, the other Top 40 outlets could not be heard as well in more distant New York and New Jersey suburbs, since WINS, WMGM, and WMCA were all directional stations.

WABC, with its 50,000-watt non-directional signal, had the advantage of being heard in places west, south, and northwest of New York City – a huge chunk of the growing suburban population – and this is where the station began to draw ratings.

Early in 1962, WMGM, owned by Loew's, which then owned MGM, was sold to Storer Broadcasting. Upon its sale, WMGM reverted to its original WHN call letters and switched to a middle of the road music format playing mostly non-rock artists such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Andy Williams.

Sam Holman was the first WABC program director of this era. Under Holman, WABC achieved No. 1 ratings during much of 1962, after WMGM reverted to WHN. By the summer of 1963, WMCA led the pack among contemporary stations, with WABC at No. 2 and WINS slipping to third place. It has been said, but is difficult to verify, that WMCA dominated in the city proper, while WABC owned the suburbs. This would be consistent with WMCA's 5,000-watt directional signal.

GM Hal Neal hired Rick Sklar as WABC's program director. He would go on to become a member of the Radio Hall of Fame and be credited as one of the pioneering architects of the Top 40 format.

Under Sklar, the station went to the shortest playlist of any contemporary music station in history. The number one song was heard about every hour during the day and every 75 minutes or so at night. The other top 5 songs were heard nearly as often. Other current songs averaged once to twice per airshift. The station played about 9 current hits per hour and several non-current songs. The non-currents were no more than 5 years old and the station played about 70 of them in total.

Through the years, WABC was known by various slogans, "Channel 77 WABC" and later "Musicradio 77 WABC". Due to the high number of commercials each hour, WABC played no more than two songs in a row and there was frequent DJ talk and personality between every song. The station averaged 6 commercial breaks per hour but they were no more than 3 ads in a row. Often the air personalities delivered live commercials in their own humorous style, so that listeners would consider the spot part of the entertainment.

➦In 2001...actress/radio-TV hostess Arlene Francis, best known nationally as a regular panellist on CBS TV’s What’s My Line?, died at age 93. Sadly her last years were clouded by Alzheimer’s disease.

➦In 2015…After 24 years as the program's host, Bob Schieffer moderated the CBS-TV Sunday morning news program "Face the Nation" for the final time, his retirement ending 46 years with CBS News.

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