Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 3 Radio History

➦In 1913...columnist & TV panelist Dorothy Kilgallen was born in Chicago.  For 27 years she wrote a gossip column for Hearst’s New York Herald American, halfway through which time she achieved national fame as a panelist on Goodson Todman’s Sunday night TV institutuion, What’s My Line?  Beginning in 1945, she co-hosted a long-running breakfast radio talk show on WOR,  with her husband Richard Kollmar.  She died after an alcohol-and-seconal-fuelled heart attack Nov. 8 1965, just 12 hours after her weekly TV game show, dead at age 52.

➦In 1935...“Hawaii Calls” aired its first radio program from the Moana Hotel on the beach at Waikiki.  At its peak it aired on 600 radio stations around the world.  The series lasted more than 60 years.

➦In 1939…Chic Young's comic strip character "Blondie" became a radio sitcom, initially as a summer replacement for "The Eddie Cantor Show" on CBS. When Cantor did not return in the fall, "Blondie" continued on the air and bounced between several networks until 1950.

➜In  1940…In 1940, the legendary comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello debuted their own network radio show on NBC. After two years of wowing the audience of the Kate Snith Show the duo replaced Fred Allen for the summer months. In the fall of ’42 they began a seven year run with their own Thursday night show. In 1952 Abbott and Costello produced 52 episodes of one of the most successful and repeated programs in TV history.  A cartoon version of The Abbott & Costello Show followed in 1966.

➦In 1949...Actress Jan Smithers, Bailey Quarters on WKRP in Cincinnati, was born

➦In 1955...Tom Clay, a Buffalo DJ on WWOL-AM, staged a famous billboard publicity stunt in Shelton Squareconducts his famous Billboard stunt in Buffalo's Shelton Square.

Tom Clay
Clay in the 1950s was a popular radio personality in the Detroit area on WJBK-AM both as a DJ, and for his on-air comic characterizations. In the early 1950s Clay, using the pseudonym "Guy King," worked for WWOL-AM/FM in Buffalo, New York; on July 3, 1955, he conducted the stunt in which he played "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets repeatedly from atop a billboard in Buffalo's Shelton Square, an incident that led to his firing and arrest.  In the mid-1950s he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and was equally popular.

He was caught up in the payola scandal of the late 1950s, and admitted to having accepted thousands of dollars for playing certain records. After being fired from WJBK, Clay worked at the short-lived Detroit Top 40 station WQTE (now WRDT 560 AM) only to be fired again when the station changed format to easy listening music in 1961. After moving to Los Angeles and becoming a popular personality on KDAY and KRLA, Clay returned to the Detroit area and found work at CKLW in neighboring Windsor, Ontario, at the time one of the foremost Top 40 AM stations in North America.

Clay is best remembered for his single on Motown's MoWest label "What the World Needs Now Is Love"/"Abraham, Martin and John", a compilation of clips from the two popular records, interviews, and speeches of Jack and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King emphasizing tolerance and civil rights. It went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

Clay died of stomach and lung cancer at the age of 66, in Valley Village, Los Angeles, California in 1995.

➦In 1961...Dan Ingram did his first show on WABC 770 AM, New York. He filled in for Chuck Dunaway.

➦In 1971...Rock Hall of Fame rock singer Jim Morrison of The Doors died of heart failure. He was 27.

➦In 1972...Bob Crane went back to radio - but only for one week.

He was filling in for Dick Wittinghill - his former archrival on KMPC 710 AM in Los Angeles beginning July 5. Wittinghill and Crane battled it out for the morning ratings in Los Angeles from 1956 to 1965, when Crane left to star in “Hogan’s Heroes.”

➦In 1973...KMEN 1290 AM San Bernardino, CA broadcasts an “all-girl” day on Wednesday of this week. Guest DJ’s heard – Jackie DeShannon, Donna Fargo, Sylvia, April Stevens, Jean Knight, Carla Thomas and Maureen McCormick of the Brady Bunch.

➦In 1976...The Los Angeles comedy radio team of Hudson and Landry split.

Bob Hudson wanted to keep it together with their KFI 640 AM radio show, nightclub appearances and possibly more comedy records, but Ron Landry wanted to go into television as a writer and producer. Ron Landry says – “Doing this show was a lot of fun. We had five great years and, I think we did some interesting things in broadcasting.”

➦In 1978...Supreme Court ruled 5-4, FCC had a right to reprimand NY radio station WBAI for broadcasting George Carlin's "Filthy Words".

➦In 1983...KNX-FM – Soft rock in Los Angeles changes calls and format to KKHR (Hit Radio). Looks like it’ll be direct competition for KIIS-FM.

 Courtesy of airchexx.com.

➦In 1986...depression era singer and bandleader Rudy Vallee died following a heart attack at age 84. He had a succession of popular radio variety shows beginning in the late 20’s, introducing a succession of future stars. His biggest hit was the “Stein Song (University of Maine)” in 1930.

➦In 1986...It was announced that Howard Stern, the often controversial New York City DJ/talker, will be syndicated by DIR to other stations.

Stern, who joined rocker WXRK (New York) late last year, has seen his ratings rise from a 1.2 to a 3.4 and up to a 5.2 share in the recent ratings. “The Howard Stern Show” will mix music and talk equally. At WXRK, Stern plays about 6 songs per hour. The national show will be weekly only.

Stern is following a pattern with high-profile DJ’s and national weekly shows: Rick Dees at KIIS-FM, John Lander at KKBQ Houston and Scott Shannon from Z-100 all have national weekly shows, but Stern’s will present or lean heavy personality and will not emphasize the music.

➦In 1987...Tom Snyder will move from TV to radio this fall to host a national call-in talk show announced this week by the ABC Radio Networks. Look for it early September.

➦In 1993…Sports broadcaster (ABC, Superstars, Wild World of Sports, NBC, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, California Angels, Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Rams)/syndicated radio show host (Radio Baseball Cards)/Baseball Hall of Famer Don Drysdale died following a heart attack at age 56.

➦In 2014...the Sirius-XM radio team of Opie & Anthony was forever broken up, as the network fired Anthony Cumia for making a series of tweets following an alleged off-air incident with a black woman on the street. Cumia tweeted that he was punched by the woman while attempting to take a picture in Times Square. The tweets were described by Sirius XM as “racially-charged and hate-filled.”

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