Monday, July 2, 2018

July 2 Radio History

➦In 1916...Radio personality Barry Gray was born, generally considered the father of the "Call-In" Radio format.

Initially a disc jockey, Gray was working for New York's WMCA radio station in 1945 when he, bored one evening with simply spinning music, decided to put the telephone receiver up to his microphone and share his conversation with the listening audience. The caller that evening just happened to be bandleader Woody Herman, one of the most popular celebrities of the day. This spontanenous live interview was such a hit with both his listeners as well as station bosses, that the talk radio format resulted. Gray subsequently began doing listener call-ins as well.

In 2002, industry publication Talkers magazine selected Barry Gray as the 8th greatest radio talk show host of all time.  Beginning in 1950 he ran for 39 straight years late-night on WMCA, then moved to WOR until his death Dec. 21 1996 at age 80.

➦In 1939…In 1939, The Aldrich Family debuted as the summer replacement for Jack Benny Sunday nights at 7 on NBC radio.

For the next 13 years the program would open to the sound of Mother Aldrich calling, “Hen-ree! Henry Aldrich!” Mrs. Aldrich was named Alice; Mr. Aldrich was Sam; Henry’s sister was Mary; Henry’s mischief-making friend was Homer Brown; and Henry’s girlfriend was Kathleen. The teenaged Henry was played delightfully by Ezra Stone who was then already in his mid-20’s.

The show moved to CBS from 1944 to 1946, then back to NBC until 1953.

➦In 1941...the lighthearted comedy-mystery The Adventures of the Thin Man, based on the Nick & Nora Charles movie series of the same name, debuted on NBC radio. Claudia Morgan delightfully played Nora throughout the ten year run, while Les Damon was the first of four radio actors to play Nick.

➦In 1945...The Marlin Hurt & Beulah Show made its debut on CBS radio.  Marlin Hurt had first introduced his Beulah character (a black maid) while a cast member of the Fibber McGee & Molly Show.

➦In 1946…Arthur Godfrey was signed by CBS Radio to host a weekly nighttime show called "Talent Scouts."

➦In 1951...Bob & Ray show premieres on NBC radio network.

Elliott and Goulding began as radio announcers (Elliott a disc jockey, and Goulding a news reader) in Boston with their own separate programs on station WHDH-AM, and each would visit with the other while on the air. Their informal banter was so appealing that WHDH would call on them, as a team, to fill in when Red Sox baseball broadcasts were rained out. Elliott and Goulding (not yet known as Bob and Ray) would improvise comedy routines all afternoon, and joke around with studio musicians.

Elliott and Goulding's brand of humor caught on, and WHDH gave them their own weekday show in 1946. Matinee with Bob and Ray was originally a 15-minute show, soon expanding to half an hour. (When explaining why Bob was billed first, Goulding claimed that it was because "Matinee with Bob and Ray" sounded better than "Matinob with Ray and Bob".) Their trademark sign-off was "This is Ray Goulding reminding you to write if you get work"; "Bob Elliott reminding you to hang by your thumbs".

They continued on the air for over four decades on the NBC, CBS, and Mutual networks, and on New York City stations WINS, WOR, and WHN. From 1973 to 1976 they were the afternoon drive hosts on WOR, doing a four-hour show. In their last incarnation, they were heard on National Public Radio, ending in 1987.

➦In 2012…Broadcasting executive Julian Goodman, president of NBC (1966-1974), died at age 90.

➦In 2015…Veteran CBS Radio News correspondent David Jackson died of cancer at 70.

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