Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18 Radio History

Walter O'Keefe
➦In performer/songwriter Walter O’Keefe was born in Hartford Connecticut.  He started in vaudeville and became a Broadway performer. By 1937 he was filling in for such radio stars as Walter Winchell, Edgar Bergen, Don McNeill and Garry Moore. He became the long-time master of ceremonies of the NBC game show Double or Nothing and was a regular on that network’s Monitor series.  He was the host for the first Emmy Awards ceremony in January 1949. O’Keefe has a star for his radio achievements on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He died of congestive heart failure June 26 1983 at age 82.

➦In age 20, Christian radio pioneer Theodore Epp was converted to a living faith. In 1939 he founded  the “Back to the Bible Broadcast,” an evangelistic Radio Program which still in recent years was heard on over 600 stations around the world.

➦In 1937...FCC issued first FM construction permit to W1XOJ, Boston. Station signs on in 1941 as WGTR (General Tire & Rubber).

John Shepard
W1XOJ signed on from Asnebumskit in 1939, the result of a partnership between Yankee Network owner John Shepard and FM inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong to explore the potential of inter-city FM networking. Programs were fed from the Yankee studios in Boston to Asnebumskit, and were picked up from there at stations on Mount Washington, N.H. and in Meriden, Connecticut. Other programs were picked up at Meriden from Armstrong's W2XMN in Alpine, N.J. and carried through Asnebumskit to Mount Washington.

In 1941, W1XOJ became commercial outlet W43B, with 300 kW ERP (50 kW TPO) on 44.3, as a sister to Boston's WNAC and WAAB. Two years later, Yankee moved WAAB to Worcester to escape the FCC's new anti-duopoly rule. While WAAB and W43B were nominally sister stations, they were never operated jointly (W43B was treated as a "Boston" station and operated from Yankee's Boston studios), and Yankee soon sold WAAB to new owners.

Edwin H. Armstrong
W43B eventually took new calls WGTR, moving to the new FM band on 103.1 and then on 99.1. In October 1948, the Yankee Network moved its FM operations to Boston, on the new WNAC-FM 98.5. WGTR's license was transferred to Eastern Radio, which apparently operated the station with “Transit Radio”, providing programming heard in city buses. The 1951 Broadcasting Yearbook shows WGTR once again under the ownership of the Yankee Network, but operating from the same 34 Mechanic Street address as WAAB, by then under Olin Company ownership.

WGTR faded from the scene completely within a year or two, as WAAB flirted with television. By 1961, WAAB was in the hands of Waterman Broadcasting, and when its new FM signal signed on that fall, it was as a simulcast of the full-service AM station. The simulcast lasted until 1967, when WAAB-FM split off from the AM with a stereo beautiful music format. In 1969, WAAB-FM became WAAF, adopting a freeform rock format at 107.3 FM that later evolved into album rock under new owner Southern Massachusetts Broadcasters.

A power increase in 1970, to 16.5 kW at 780 feet above average terrain, gave WAAF a commanding signal that could be heard across most of Massachusetts, as well as large portions of eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, southern New Hampshire and southern Vermont.

➦In 1959...Bartell Broadcasting purchased WADO 1280 AM NYC

➦In 1961...Dan Daniel started at Top40 WMCA 570 AM.

Dan Daniel
He started as a disc jockey at age seventeen on Armed Forces Radio with the US Navy. His first commercial job was at KXYZ in Houston in 1955 and he then worked at WDGY in Minneapolis before moving to WMCA in 1961.

He started on the graveyard shift overnight but from 1962 to 1968 he played the top 40 hits from 4 pm to 7 pm — the evening drive home slot.  The station produced a survey of the current sales in New York record stores and Dandy Dan gave the countdown of the week's best sellers every Wednesday in this late afternoon slot.  From 1968 to 1970, he did the early morning drive-to-work slot before leaving WMCA after nearly nine years; his final broadcast was on 11 July 1970.

Dan was heard coast-to-coast on NBC Radio's "Monitor" in the summer of 1973.

He subsequently worked on WYNY-FM where he hosted the mid-day slot and later morning and afternoon drives. He then did a stint at WHN playing country music before returning to WYNY-FM. Finally, he moved to WCBS-FM in 1996. He retired from WCBS on December 31, 2002.

WMCA transitioned to talk in 1970, bringing an end of the “Good Guys” era.  It did well until rivals WOR and WABC flipped to talk through the early 1980s.   Salem Communications bought WMCA in 1988, which started the current Christian radio format.

➦In 1984...TBT...Flashback From R&R...

➦In 2014...announcer Don Pardo, for 37 years the booming voice of NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live, who had a seven-decade career that began in the glory days of NBC radio, died in his sleep at age 96. 

Pardo began his association with NBC in New York in 1944, six years after his debut on WJAR Radio in Providence.  In the early days of TV Pardo forged a career as a game show announcer, working on Jeopardy, Winner Take All, Three on a Match, Call My Bluff, Jackpot and the original Bill Cullen-hosted Price Is Right,

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