Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May 1 Radio History

➦In 1907...singer Kate Smith was born in Greenville Alabama.

➦In 1918...comedian/radio/TV host Jack Paar was born in Canton Ohio.

He started in radio, filling in for Don McNeil on The Breakfast Club, and as a summer replacement for Jack Benny.  Turning to TV he hosted two failed quiz shows (Up to Paar, Bank on the Stars) and did not make it big as host of CBS TV’s Early Show. He had a short-lived ABC radio daytime show before he was tapped to host NBC’s Tonight Show, where he quickly became a sensation.  He hosted Tonight for 5 years of providing the next day’s watercooler topics, before tiring of the nightly grind. In 1962 he switched to a weekly NBC variety series, an effort that was not a ratings success.

After a long period of ill health Jack Paar died Jan. 27 2004 at age 85.

➦In 1924...the first host of TV’s Jeopardy, Art Fleming  was born in the Bronx NY.  He appeared as supporting actor in hundreds of roles in episodic TV, and hosted a daily radio talk show on KMOX St. Louis from 1979-92.  He succumbed to pancreatic cancer April 25 1995 at age 70.

➦In 1931...Kate Smith, famed singer, began her Radio program on the CBS Radio Network.

Smith w/radio's The Aldriches 1938
Smith was a major star of radio, usually backed by Jack Miller's Orchestra. She began with her twice-a-week NBC series, Kate Smith Sings (quickly expanded to six shows a week), followed by a series of shows for CBS: Kate Smith and Her Swanee Music (1931–33), sponsored by La Palina Cigars; The Kate Smith Matinee (1934–35); The Kate Smith New Star Revue (1934–35); Kate Smith's Coffee Time (1935–36), sponsored by A&P; and The Kate Smith A&P Bandwagon (1936–37).

The Kate Smith Hour was a leading radio variety show, offering comedy, music and drama with appearances by top personalities of films and theater for eight years (1937–45). The show's resident comics, Abbott and Costello and Henny Youngman, introduced their comedy to a nationwide radio audience aboard her show, while a series of sketches based on the Broadway production of the same name led to The Aldrich Family as separate hit series in its own right in 1940.

 She died of diabetes June 17 1986 at age 79.

Here's clip of a show aired during WW2.

➦In 1957...Larry King broadcast on Radio for the first time.

Clip of Larry talking about radio...

➦In 1957...WBBR changes call letters to WPOW, NYC.  The religious talks and placid string and organ music of WBBR disappeared, and the new station embarked on a series of changes that would repeatedly make it something of a pioneer in New York area radio.  Offices and a closet-sized studio for WPOW at 41 E. 42nd St. in Manhattan, but most of the broadcast operation remained at the Staten Island transmitter.

➦In 1972...the Mutual Black Radio Network debuted.

The network igned on May 1, 1972 with 32 affiliates, including flagship New Jersey station WNJR, KCOH Houston, KWK St. Louis, and WIGO Atlanta. It was an easy start-up: vice-president Stephen McCormick said all he had to do was hire the staff - 15 black newsmen, six editors, supervisors and salesmen. The news director was Shelton Lewis, once of New York's WPAT; working with him in New York was Robert Nichols, Joe White and Gerald Bentley. Staffing the Washington bureau was Ed Castleberry, Larry Dean, John Askew and Abby Kendrick.

The network fed five-minute news and sports broadcasts hourly from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, some 100 programs a week. By June 1972, the 32 affiliates had grown to 55; by September, there were more than 80.

Among MBN's program offerings: "Dr. Martin Luther King Speaks," a weekly 20-minute program produced by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference featuring excerpts from Dr. King's speeches, along with comments of black leaders such as Jesse Jackson, Ralph Abernathy, and Benjamin Hooks; and "The Black Experience," a daily feature profiling black Americans and their contributions to American life.

➦In 1975...Beer Barrel Polka by Bobby Vinton was #33 and Shaving Cream by Benny Bell was #30 on AT40 w/Casey Kasem on this date in 1975. Now that's variety!

➦In 1976...Jonathan Schwartz did his last show on WNEW-FM.

Schwartz worked at New York's WNEW-FM from 1967 to 1976, followed by stints at WNEW, WQEW, and currently WNYC-FM. Schwartz also served as programming director for XM Satellite Radio's now-defunct High Standards channel, and later appeared on Sirius XM's Siriusly Sinatra and '40s on 4 channels. His last Sirius XM program was on August 2, 2013.

Schwartz is best known for his two four-hour-long weekend broadcasts on WNYC-FM, The Saturday Show and The Sunday Show, which comprise about half talk and half an eclectic mix of music. Both week-end broadcasts are simulcast on wnyc.org. Beginning September 15, 2012, The Saturday Show has been heard in the evenings, while The Sunday Show is heard in the afternoons, New York time; The Saturday Show is recorded on Saturday afternoons, and a live stream of it can also be heard via The Jonathan Channel, as well as original programs recorded Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings.

Here's an audio clip from Sept. 2013, Schwartz talks about the old WNEW-AM and personality Ted Brown:

In his talk during the shows, Schwartz will discuss many famous pop songwriters and singers, and jazz artists.

➦In 1982...First WCBS-FM NYC Top 20 Countdown (1966).

Joe McCoy
The Countdown debuted during the tenure of Joe McCoy as program director. In 1981, began to gradually shift its focus to the 1964–1969 era, but would also feature a more pre-1964 oldies than most other such stations. The station continued to also feature hits of the 1970s and some hits of the 1980s while cutting future gold selections to one per hour.

Also in the 1980s, after WABC 770 AM and later WNBC 660 AM abandoned music in favor of talk, WCBS-FM began employing many disc jockeys who were widely known on other New York City stations (and sometimes nationally), most notably Musicradio WABC alumni Ron Lundy, Dan Ingram, Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, Chuck Leonard and Harry Harrison, as well as Dan Daniels and Jack Spector.

➦In 1984...orchestra leader/arranger Gordon Jenkins died of ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease’ at age 73. He had been very active in network radio, scoring for the series Mayor of the Town, The Man Called X, Al Jolson, Jack Carson & Dick Haymes, to name just a few. He also worked as musical director at Decca & Capitol Records where he recorded with some of the top stars of the day, including Frank Sinatra & Nat Cole.

➦In 1988...the man who played “Fibber McGee” on network radio for more than a quarter century, Jim Jordan, died at age 91.

➦In 1997...the Howard Stern Radio Show debuted on KIOZ-FM, San Diego, California.

➦In 2006...Seattle’s  KSLY 92.5 FM closed down their Adult Top 40 format at noon with Semisonics’s “Closing Time.”  Then the call letters changed to KQMV (MOVIN’); its first song was The C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now.)”

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