Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May 9 Radio History

➦In 1929...WJW-AM, Cleveland, Ohio began broadcasting.

Alan Freed
The station was a staple of the Cleveland airwaves for more than 40 years under its original call letters of WJW.

The station was started in Mansfield, OH as WLBV sin 1926 under the ownership of John Weimer.  The call letters became WJW in 1928, reflecting his initials. He sold it in 1931 to Mansfield Broadcasting Association.

WJW moved to Akron in 1932.  William O’Neill purchased the station in 1943 and moved it to Cleveland.  The station moved from 1210 kHz to 850 kHz and increased its power to 5,000 watts.

During its history, WJW aired Alan Freed's "Moondog" rock'n'roll show.

O'Neil sold WJW on 17 Nov. 1954 to Storer Broadcasting, which teamed it with its local television operation, WXEL.  Storer dropped the ABC radio affiliation in 1957 to become independent, although the station later had a brief affiliation with NBC before becoming independent again.

During the 1960s the "Ed Fisher Show" was immensely popular during a 10-year run, as was the station's adult contemporary format of news, talk, and jazz. Sold to Erie Broadcasting in the fall of 1976, WJW began to highlight talk shows and adult popular music. It had begun separate FM programming in 1965 on a station that eventually passed into separate ownership as WGCL.

WJW was sold 1986 to Booth American Broadcasting, at which time it exchanged its long-familiar call letters for WRMR. In 1990 Booth sold the station to Independent Group Ltd., a local group that owned WDOK.

Today, the station's call sign is WKNR and airs sportstalk. The station now has 50Kw-Day, 5Kw-Night.

➦In 1932...WFLA/WSUN, Clearwater, FL, tested first directional antenna in the U.S.

➦In 1937…Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy started their own radio show on NBC, just a few months after they had debuted and been a big hit on Rudy Vallee's radio program. Under various sponsors and two different networks, the show continued on the air until July 1, 1956. Here's audio from a 1944 show...

➦In 1942...pioneering NBC radio announcer/sportscaster Graham McNamee died at age 53, of a brain embolism suffered after he’d been hospitalized with a streptococcus infection.

➦In 1958…Angry that his radio station employer did not back his defense after he was charged with inciting a riot at a recent Boston show, Alan Freed resigned from 1010 WINS in New York City, claiming his bosses refused to "stand by my policies and principles."

➦In 1958...announcer Bill Goodwin, who was a regular for more than 10 years on the Burns & Allen Show (radio & TV) & for over a decade on the Bob Hope radio show, died at age 47 following a heart attack.

➦In 1985...actor Edmond O’Brien, who began on bigtime radio as private investigator Johnny Dollar, and played the title role on the NBC-TV legal drama Sam Benedict, died at age 69 of Alzheimer’s disease.

➦In 1990…Pauline Frederick, a network news reporter (ABC Radio, 1946-53; NBC Radio and TV (1953-74) for nearly 30 years, died following a heart attack at age 84.

➦In 2012…In 2012, Boston radio sportscaster Carl Beane, for the previous nine years the public address announcer for the Red Sox at Fenway Park, was killed in a single vehicle car crash at age 59.

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