Saturday, June 30, 2018

June 30 Radio History

➦In 1899...busy radio actor Santos Ortega was born in New York City.   In the early 30’s he served as foil for Frank Crumit and Julia Sanderson, ‘The Singing Sweethearts of the Air,’ and starred in Bulldog Drummond (1942-43), The Adventures of Nero Wolfe (1943–1944) and The Adventures of Charlie Chan (1947-48). Perhaps his most notable radio role was Commissioner Weston on The Shadow. Ortega was heard in the daytime radio serials Valiant Lady and Perry Mason, and lent his remarkable range of voice characterizations to other radio dramas such as Inner Sanctum, The Mysterious Traveler, Suspense, Casey Crime Photographer, The Eternal Light, The Columbia Workshop, The Big Story, You Are There, and X Minus One. For 20 years he played Grandpa on CBS-TV’s As the World Turns.

He died April 10 1976 at age 76.

Harry Wismer
➦In 1913...sportscaster/football owner Harry Wismer was born in Port Huron Mich.  After years as one of the premier football playbyplay broadcasters in US radio, Wismer embarked on a failed  ownership of the AFL’s New York Titans, who played their home games in the remains of the Polo Grounds. He died Dec 3 1967 of a cracked skull suffered in a drunken fall the day previous, at age 54.

➦In 1921…RCA, the Radio Corporation of America, was formed.
By 1926 the market for commercial radio had expanded, and RCA purchased the WEAF and WCAP radio stations and networks from AT&T, merged them with its WJZ (the predecessor of WABC) New York to WRC (presently WTEM) Washington chain, and formed the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).  GE used RCA as its retail arm for radio sales from 1919, when GE began production, until 1930. Westinghouse also marketed home radios through RCA until 1930.

➦In 1948...three scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories demonstrated their new invention to replace the vacuum tube — the transistor. John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work.

➦In 1952...CBS-TV debuted “The Guiding Light”. It was a daytime serial that had been on radio already for 15 years (as pictured), and continued on TV for 57 years more, concluding in 2009.

➦In 1961...Radio pioneer, Dr Lee De Forest, died at age 87.  He had 180 patents to his credit and named himself the "Father of Radio," with this famous quote, "I discovered an Invisible Empire of the Air, intangible, yet solid as granite."

Dr. Lee De Forest
In 1906 De Forest invented the Audion, the first triode vacuum tube and the first electrical device which could amplify a weak electrical signal and make it stronger. The Audion, and vacuum tubes developed from it, founded the field of electronics and dominated it for 40 years, making radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone service possible, among many other applications. For this reason De Forest has been called one of the fathers of the "electronic age". He is also credited with one of the principal inventions that brought sound to motion pictures.

He was involved in several patent lawsuits, and spent a substantial part of his income from his inventions on legal bills. He was indicted for mail fraud, but later was acquitted.

De Forest was a charter member of the Institute of Radio Engineers. DeVry University was originally named DeForest Training School by its founder Dr. Herman A. DeVry, who was a friend and colleague of De Forest.

➦In 1983...comedienne Mary Livingstone, who was born Sadye Marks in Seattle, grew up in Vancouver, then became Mrs. Jack Benny & got some of the best lines ever on his long-running radio show, died of heart disease at age 78.

➦In 1983...WPLJ 95.5 FM switched from AOR To Top 40.  In the Spring of 1983, the station began a transition from AOR to CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio). With word that a Top 40 format was coming to 100.3 FM, WPLJ moved further into a CHR direction. Though the station began playing artists like Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, Larry Berger stated that he did not make the decision to move to a CHR format until the last week of June, and WPLJ adopted a Rock-leaning CHR format on June 30, 1983.

From 1985...Jim Kerr on WPLJ...

➦In 1987...WYNY 97.1 FM, New York moved from a AC format to gold-based Country format as "Country 97".

The first song played was Dolly Parton's, "Think About Love."

The initial lineup included Mike Wade, Randy Davis, Jack Scott, Lisa Taylor, Mike McCann, Floyd Wright, Jay Michaels, Bill Rock and Jessica. "Dandy" Dan Daniel later joined the station, as well as Scott Carpenter and Carole Mason.

The PD was Michael O' Malley, who is currently a Country radio consultant.

Gale Gordon
➦In 1995...supporting actor Gale Gordon, who could be hilarious or serious on dozens of radio shows including Fibber McGee & Our Miss Brooks, and on TV in Our Miss Brooks, Here’s Lucy & Dennis the Menace, succumbed to lung cancer at age 89.

➦In music guitarist, producer and executive Chet Atkins lost his battle with cancer & died at his home in Nashville at age 77. Atkins’ recordings sold more than 75-million albums. He also played on such hit records as Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” and the Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up Little Susie.” As an R-C-A Records producer and executive starting in 1957, Atkins helped craft the lush Nashville Sound using string sections and lots of echo. He had a role in the careers of such stars as Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Charley Pride, Waylon Jennings and Eddy Arnold.

Bob Hastings and Joe Flynn
➦In Bob Hastings, best remembered as Lt. Carpenter on ABC-TV’s McHale’s Navy, and for the title role on NBC radio’s Archie Andrews, succumbed to prostate cancer at age 89.

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