Wednesday, January 30, 2019

January 30 Radio History

➦In 1918...David Opatoshu (January 30, 1918 – April 30, 1996) was born in New York City.  His father was the Yiddish writer Joseph Opatoshu.  He delivered the evening news in Yiddish on New York radio during the World War II years on WEVD.   In a span of 40 years guesting on TV he appeared repeatedly in Philco Playhouse, Studio One, Dr. Kildare, The FBI & Medical Center.  He died April 30 1996 at age 78

➦In 1927...WADO 1280 AM in NYC signed on as WGL.

This station was owned by the International Broadcasting Corporation. WGL president Colonel Lewis Landes stated on the inaugural broadcast, "The International Broadcasting Corporation's aim is to adhere to truth, to be free of partisanship, religious or political."

WGL was the first station to protest the frequency allocations of the Federal Radio Commission in May 1927. WGL was authorized to move to 1170 AM, but wanted to go to 720, occupied by WOR. When WOR was awarded the 710 frequency, both stations went to court, with WOR eventually winning the case. Finally in June 1927, WGL moved to 1020 AM and shared time with Paterson station, WODA.

In August 1927, studio manager Charles Isaacson announced one of the city's first attempts at local news coverage. WGL was organizing listeners to volunteer as radio reporters and call the station with breaking news stories.

On September 16, 1928, WGL changed calls to WOV and was sold to Sicilian-born importer John Iraci. The WGL call sign was then picked up by a Fort Wayne station, which uses them to this very day.

WOV's initial programming was aimed at a general audience, but by the mid-1930s, it strengthened its ethnic ties and expanded its Italian-language programming to fill the daytime hours. WOV soon became the dominant Italian voice in the Northeast through its affiliation with share-time station WBIL and Iraci's WPEN in Philadelphia.

The station was owned by WOV Broadcasting until 1959, when it was sold to Bartel Broadcasters, at which time the station was renamed WADO. During the day, WADO broadcast R&B music. At night, they ran Italian programming. By 1962, some Spanish programming was run on weekends. By 1963, the only English programming found on WADO was in Sunday religious broadcasts.

In 1964, WADO began broadcasting completely in Spanish from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Italian from 8 p.m. to Midnight. Overnight, Asian programming was run. By 1970, Spanish had replaced the Asian format.

➦In 1933..."The Lone Ranger" debuted on WXYZ radio in Detroit. The radio show conceived either by WXYZ (Detroit) radio station owner George W. Trendle or by Fran Striker,  the show's writer. The radio series proved to be a hit and spawned a series of books (largely written by Striker), an equally popular television show that ran from 1949 to 1957, comic books, and several movies. The title character was played on the radio show by George Seaton, Earle Graser, and Brace Beemer. Clayton Moore portrayed the Lone Ranger on television, although during a contract dispute, Moore was replaced temporarily by John Hart, who wore a different style of mask. On the radio, Tonto was played by, among others, John Todd and Roland Parker; and in the television series, by Jay Silverheels, who was a Mohawk from the Six Nations Indian Reserve in Ontario, Canada.

The show was picked up by the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network, and on May 2, 1942 by NBC's Blue Network, which soon became ABC. The last new episode was broadcast September 3, 1954. Recorded repeats of the 1952–53 episodes continued to be aired on ABC until June 24, 1955. George Seaton (Stenius) was the first voice of the Lone Ranger. Jack Deeds and Earle Graser followed in the role.

However, it was Brace Beemer who is best remembered as former Texas Ranger, John Reid. On radio he played the part of the black-masked Ranger, fighting for frontier justice, for thirteen consecutive years.  The program ran for 2,956 episodes and finished in 1955.

➦In 1969...The Beatles' rooftop concert was the final public performance of the English rock band the Beatles. On 30 January 1969, the band, with keyboardist Billy Preston, surprised a central London office and fashion district with an impromptu concert from the roof of the headquarters of the band's multimedia corporation Apple Corps at 3 Savile Row. In a 42-minute set, the Beatles played nine takes of five songs before the Metropolitan Police asked them to reduce the volume. The set was performed in the following order:

"Get Back" (take one)
"Get Back" (take two)
"Don't Let Me Down" (take one)
"I've Got a Feeling" (take one)
"One After 909"
"Dig a Pony"
"I've Got a Feeling" (take two)
"Don't Let Me Down" (take two)
"Get Back" (take three)

Footage from the performance was used in the 1970 documentary film Let It Be.

➦In 1978...The Mutual Broadcasting System began airing Larry King's overnight radio talk show.

➦In 1999...Radio announcer Ed Herlihy died at his home in Manhattan. He was 89.

In his early successes, few could recall his name or know what he looked like. But to moviegoers who saw the Universal newsreels in the 1940's, his was one of the voices that told of the Allies' early setbacks against the Axis powers, then of the successes that led to victory in 1945. His two principal competitors were his fellow announcer Harry Von Zell of Warner Pathe and the radio commentator Lowell Thomas of Fox Movietone News.

Ed Herlihy 1959
In 1947 Mr. Herlihy started his association with Kraft Foods on radio and continued it when the company sponsored the ''Kraft Television Theater'' on television in the 1950's. A dramatic offering, all of it done live, the show featured everything from Shakespeare to Rod Serling; it was at the center of what critics would come to call television's Golden Age.

During commercials for Kraft products (''Good food and good food ideas,'' Mr. Herlihy would say), audiences heard only his voice, a voice he said he tried to make sound friendly. It was an avuncular, next-door-neighbor, deep, mellow kind of voice, a digestive guide through the preparation of all manner of souffles, dips, marshmallow salads and fondues.

Educated at Boston College, graduating in 1932, he gained his first radio job in his home town, at Boston's WLOE. When he was hired by NBC in 1935, he decamped for New York, along with his friend, fellow Boston announcer Frank Gallop, who was hired by CBS. In their early days as network announcers, Herlihy and Gallop shared an apartment on West 45th Street. Herlihy was immediately successful in network radio, at that time in its sharpest ascendancy.

Herlihy's voice was also heard announcing myriad radio shows in the 1930's and 40's. Among them were ''America's Town Meeting,'' a public affairs program; ''The Big Show,'' with Tallulah Bankhead; ''The Falcon'' and ''Mr. District Attorney,'' both crime dramas, and ''Just Plain Bill,'' a soap opera about a small-town barber. Mr. Herlihy was also the master of ceremonies for radio's ''Horn & Hardart Children's Hour'' in 1948. He continued with the show on television.

In addition to his work for Kraft, Mr. Herlihy's early television credits included Sid Caesar's ''Show of Shows,'' ''As the World Turns'' and ''All My Children.'' When he worked for Mr. Caesar, he met Woody Allen, then a fledgling writer. Mr. Allen was so impressed with Mr. Herlihy's voice that he used him in some of his films in the 1980's, including ''Hannah and Her Sisters,'' ''Radio Days'' and ''Zelig.'' His other film credits included Martin Scorsese's ''King of Comedy'' and ''Pee-wee's Big Adventure.''

He was also the host of Recollections At 30, which was a special NBC Radio series created for the network's 30th birthday.

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