Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 11 Radio History

➦In 1900
.. broadcast journalist Lawrence E. Spivak was born in Brooklyn. He is best remembered as the host of NBC’s Meet the Press from 1965-75. Prior to that time he had been a member of the program’s panel of questioners, from the first Mutual radio broadcast in 1947.  He died of congestive heart failure March 9 1994 at age 93.

➦In 1911...sportscaster Russ Hodges was born in Dayton Tennessee. As longtime baseball broadcaster for the New York/S.F. Giants, he was at the mike for Bobby Thomson’s 1951 home run, the so-called ‘Shot Heard Round the World.’  “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”  Hodges suffered a sudden & fatal heart attack April 19 1971 at age 59.

➦In 1953...the all-black TV sitcom “Amos ‘n Andy,” which had begun on radio in 1929 with two white men playing all the parts, was driven from the air in the heat of the civil rights movement, for its so-called stereotypical characterizations.  This was the last time it was seen on CBS, though the radio series on which it was based ran until 1960.

➦In 1972...KRE-AM, Berkeley, California became KPAT-AM.

➦In 1985...WJW-AM, Cleveland, Ohio changed its call letters to WRMR-AM.

WJW broadcasting as WLBV in Mansfield, Ohio on November 13, 1926 under the ownership of John F. Weimer.    In 1928, the call letters were changed to WJW, reflecting the owner's initials.   By 1931, the station had been sold to Mansfield Broadcasting Association, and it was broadcasting at 1210 kHz with 100 watts.

WJW moved to Akron in 1932.  By 1936, the station was owned by WJW, Inc.   On March 29, 1941, WJW, like most stations around the country changed its frequency with the implementation of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. As of 1942, the station was broadcasting with 250 watts at 1240 kHz.

On November 13, 1943, William M. O'Neill purchased the station and moved it to Cleveland, with facilities in the Guardian Building (now the National City–East 6th Building at 619 Euclid). Marvin Cade signed on the station that Saturday and was the evening news announcer. On the 11 of June 1985, Marvin Cade was invited to sign off WJW Radio for the final time when it switched over to WWWE at 1100 kHz.

WJW became Cleveland's fifth radio station after WHK, WTAM, WGAR (AM) and WCLE.

The frequency was moved to 850 kHz, and power was increased to 5,000 watts. The station became an affiliate of the Blue Network, soon to be ABC. WJW also brought the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts to Cleveland. The station also featured news commentary by Dorothy Fuldheim, and for a short period in the early 1950s was home to a disc jockey called Soupy Hines, later known as Soupy Sales.

A young disc jockey named Alan Freed joined WJW in 1951 from WAKR in Akron, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, Alan began making broadcasting history with his shows in which he was known as the "Moondog." Freed played rhythm-and-blues music by black artists for a largely white teen-age audience. He is purported to have given the music the name by which it is known today – rock and roll.

In addition to his radio program, Freed also organized local concerts by early rock artists, called the Moondog Coronation Ball, which many consider to be the first rock concert in American history. The concert on March 21, 1952 at the Cleveland Arena turned into a riot when far too many listeners filled the hall, causing Freed to apologize on the air the next day.

Freed left WJW in September 1954 for WINS New York.

On July 3, 2001, WRMR was one of seven Northeast Ohio radio stations involved in a complex exchange between three radio companies. Although generally reported as a "frequency swap", in reality these seven radio stations mostly traded call signs along with their respective formats and staffs – all to facilitate the transfers of ownership of four of the seven stations. As part of this complex exchange, Salem Communications changed the WRMR call sign to WKNR; changed the station's format to sports radio; rebranded the station SportsTalk 850 AM.  In effect, this new WKNR 850 AM licensed to Cleveland became the successor to the previous WKNR 1220 AM licensed to Cleveland.

➦In 2003...veteran NBC and ABC television newsman & anchor David Brinkley died of complications from a fall at age 82.

➦In 2008…The U.S. Congress heard singer Nancy Sinatra plead for legislation requiring that all performers – not just songwriters – be compensated when their songs are played on commercial radio.

➦In 2014…Radio personality/programmer (KMPS-Seattle, KUPL-Portland) /Country Radio Hall of Famer Lee Rogers, a 40-year broadcast veteran who also made career stops in Minneapolis and Jacksonville, died following a stroke at 67.

Rogers worked in the radio business for more than 40 years. His first job in the Country format came in 1970 at KBAM in Longview, Wash.

His career includes stops at KMPS (Seattle, Wash.), K102 (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.), WQIK (Jacksonville, Fla.) and KCBQ (San Diego, Calif.).

Rogers retired from KUPL in 2009.

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