Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 18 Radio History

➦In 1909...singer/actress Harriet Hilliard was born in Des Moines, Iowa.

Best known by her married name, Harriet Nelson, she sang with husband Ozzie Nelson’s band, and played “Junior’s” mother & other comedic roles on radio’s Red Skelton Show.  Her best-remembered role was the more than two decades she played the matriarch on radio & TV’s Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1944-66).

She died of congestive heart failure on October 2, 1994, at the age of 85.

Red Skelton
➦In 1913...comedian/clown Red Skelton was born in Vincennes Indiana.

He was a top radio and television star from 1937 to 1971. Skelton’s show business career began in his teens as a circus clown and went on to vaudeville, Broadway, films, radio, TV, clubs and casinos, while pursuing another career as a painter.  Some of his favorite characters on radio & TV were Clem Kadiddlehopper, Freddie the Freeloader, and Junior the Mean Widdle Kid.

He died of pneumonia Sept. 17 1997 at age 84.

➦In 1913...actor/announcer Marvin Miller was born at St Louis Mo.

Beginning in radio in St. Louis, he used his rich, baritone voice to forge a successful career in movies, on television, on stage, and as a recording artist. He is probably best remembered for his role as Michael Anthony, the man who passed out a weekly check, on TV`s “The Millionaire”.  Fans of Old Time Radio fondly remember his Signal Oil commercials and narration on the CBS series The Whistler.

He died of a heart attack Feb. 8 1985 at age 71.

➦In 1922...WHAS-AM Louisville signed-on.

Its first broadcast was on July 18, 1922. It was originally assigned the frequency of 350 kHz.. today is airs at 840 AM.

On May 16, 1925, the first live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby was originated by WHAS and was also carried by WGN in Chicago. The call of the Derby featured an announcer who watched from the windows of one of the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs.

On May 15, 1932, WHAS changed from being an NBC affiliate and joined CBS. At that time, WHAS operated on 820 kHz with 10 KW power, but the output was soon increased to 25 KW as authorized by the Federal Radio Commission.

During the 1937 Flood the station aired 115,000 messages. On March 29, 1941 the station moved to its current frequency of 840 AM and made a clear-channel station, both as a result of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement, which relocated the 840 clear channel allocation to Louisville from Toronto, where it was used by CBL. On March 30, 1970 WHAS began 24-hour operation.

The station was originally part of the local media empire ruled by the Bingham family, which also published Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times (now owned by the Gannett Company and merged in 1987) and operated television station WHAS-TV (which, following several mergers and transactions in subsequent years, is now owned by Sander Media and operated by Gannett). WHAS and its FM sister station, WAMZ (the former WHAS-FM) were acquired by Clear Channel Communications (which, as iHeartMedia, continues to own the stations to this day) in 1986 as part of the breakup of the Bingham family's media properties.

➦In 1953...18 year-old Elvis Presley walked into the Memphis Recording Service (later Sun Records) studios to record two songs, My Happiness and That’s When Your Heartaches Begin, as a birthday gift for his mother. The cost was $3.98. He also asked secretary Marion Keisker if she knew of anyone who needed a singer:
MK: “What kind of singer are you?”
EP: “I sing all kinds.”
MK: “Who do you sound like?”
EP: “I don’t sound like nobody.”

➦In 1964…Lots of Beatles/Radio noise. United Artists -the label which issued  the soundtrack to “A Hard Day’sNight” and Capitol Records - locked horns on the songs from the film. UA had the rights to the original soundtrack album which contains seven songs and instrumental music by George Martin. Capitol was going “all-out” to buck the soundtrack album. Capitol has the rights to issue singles off of the album.

UA rush released advance copies of the “A Hard Day’s Night” soundtrack album to radio stations and stores, after WMCA 570 AM New York got an advance copy and began playing it to their huge New York audience. Capitol issued a single disc by the Beatles, coupling the movie’s title song “A Hard Day’s Night” with “I Should Have Known Better.”

The Capitol album contained the seven picture songs and five new tunes, but will not be identified as a soundtrack album – only UA had those rights.  

WINS and WABC weren’t too happy about the “Hard Day’s Night” WMCA exclusive.

WINS got a Beatles exclusive from a special overseas source and began playing “Slowdown” by the Beatles soon after. 

The station said it was first to Millie Small’s follow-up record “Sweet William.”WINS also claimed to have “It Hurts To Be In Love” by Gene Pitney first.  WMCA, not a station to play dead,  debuted “Because” by the Dave Clark Five. WINS thought it had the record first, but with a major gaffe, saying “Because” was the newest Beatles record! (Mr. Pop Culture)

➦In 1964…Tom Clay departed from station CKLW 800 AM, serving the Detroit area. Both called it an amiable parting. Clay felt he was not doing enough on his show when not allowed to play the records himself (union rules). Clay’s nighttime slot was taken by Terry Knight from WTRX, Flint.

Knight would go on to become a recording artist with Terry Knight & The Pack . Their biggest hit was 1966’s “I Who Have Nothing.”) Knight would then go on to bigger and better things as the manager for Grand Funk Railroad .

➦In 1974…WKLS-FM in Atlanta changed to album rock this week.

➦In 1974… KNEW-AM in San Francisco changed to country

➦In 1974…Cousin Bruce Morrow departs WABC 770 AM New York to take the spot vacated by Wolfman Jack on rival WNBC 660 AM. 

Rick Sklar, head of  programming for ABC AM stations says he has narrowed a replacement down to four or five people.

➦In 1974…Don Imus,  WNBC 660 AM personality, was booked for six consecutive weekends at Jimmy’s in New York, following a recent record breaking 10-day stint at the club. His third comedy album is due out on RCA in September.

➦In 1984…KPLZ Seattle becomes the 11th station to license Mike Joseph’s “Hot Hits” phrase.

➦In 1984…Chicago Radio Arbitron Ratings… WGN-AM leads with an 8.8...Urban WGCI-FM is up to a 6.1...News WBBM  4.6...Easy WLOO – 5.6...B-96 (WBBM-FM) dips to a 4.6 from 5.0...WLS-AM dips to a 3.2 from 3.7...WLS-FM is up to a 3.5 from 2.9...WCLR (A/C) is up to a 4.1 from 3.4...Country WMAQ scores a 4.1...WLUP up from a 3.0 to 3.4...WLAK (Nothing but love songs) is down to a 3.2 from a 3.9.

➦In 1984…Programmer Randy Kabrich resigned from Doubleday’s WAVA Washington to form his own consultancy group.

➦In 1984…Capital Cities bought Metromedia’s KLAC 570 AM in Los Angeles.

➦In 1984…WGAR 1220 AM Cleveland goes Country.

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