Monday, February 11, 2019

February 11 Radio History

➦1938…"The Big Broadcast of 1938" opened in theaters and introduced 'Thanks For The Memory' which would become the theme song for Bob Hope.  Hope co-starred with W.C. Fields, Martha Raye and Dorothy Lamour. Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin won the 1939 Oscar for Best Song for the song.
In the movie they song was performed by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross.

➦In 1940...  The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street is a musical variety radio program began on the Blue Network in 1940. The magazine Radio Life described it as "one of radio's strangest offsprings... a wacky, strictly hep tongue-in-cheek burlesque of opera and symphony." The series made an unknown regular vocalist named Dinah Shore a national recording and radio star.  The host was Milton Cross.

Milton Cross
He would say things like, “A Bostonian looks like he’s smelling something. A New Yorker looks like he’s found it.” The show combined satire, blues and jazz and was built around what were called the three Bs of music: Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues.

➦In 1941...Glenn Miller's 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' was released on RCA Records. It was originally recorded as a big band/swing tune and featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade. It was the first song to receive a gold record for sales of 1.2 million copies.

➦In 1949...The detective radio drawm 'Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar' aired on CBS Radio.  It aired until September 30, 1962 surviving five changes in the lead actor during its 13 year run.

➥In 1960...The Payola scandal reached a new level of public prominence and legal gravity, when President Eisenhower called it an issue of public morality and the FCC proposed a new law making involvement in Payola a criminal act, according to History.

What exactly was Payola? During the hearings conducted by Congressman Oren Harris (D-Arkansas) and his powerful Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight—fresh off its inquiry into quiz-show rigging—the term was sometimes used as a blanket reference to a range of corrupt practices in the radio and recording industries. But within the music business, Payola referred specifically to a practice that was nearly as old as the industry itself: manufacturing a popular hit by paying for radio play.

As the Payola hearings got under way in February 1960, the public was treated to tales of a lavish disk-jockey convention in Miami bought and paid for by various record companies. One disk jockey, Wesley Hopkins of KYW in Cleveland, admitted to receiving over the course of 1958 and 1959 $12,000 in “listening fees” from record companies for “evaluating the commercial possibilities” of records. Another DJ named Stan Richard, from station WILD in Boston, also admitted to receiving thousands of dollars from various record promoters, and though like Hopkins he denied letting such fees affect his choice of which records to play on the air, he also offered a vigorous defense of Payola, comparing it to “going to school and giving the teacher a better gift than the fellow at the next desk.” He practically likened it to Motherhood and Apple Pie: “This seems to be the American way of life, which is a wonderful way of life. It’s primarily built on romance—I’ll do for you, what will you do for me?” It was this comment that prompted President Eisenhower to weigh in on February 11, 1960, with his condemnation of Payola.

Dick Clark Testifies
But what explains the involvement of Congress in this issue? Technically, the concern of the Harris Committee was abuse of public trust, since the airwaves over which radio stations broadcast their signals are property of the people of the United States. However, 1960 was also an election year, and Rep. Harris and his colleagues on the Subcommittee were eager to be seen on the right side of a highly visible “moral” issue. Though it is widely agreed that the famous 1960 hearings on Payola merely reorganized the practice rather than eradicating it, those hearings did accomplish two very concrete things that year: they threatened the career of American Bandstand‘s Dick Clark and they destroyed the man who gave rock and roll its name, the legendary Cleveland disk jockey Alan Freed.

The Beatles in Concert, Washington DC
➦In 1964...The Beatles' first US live concert was watched by a crowd of 8,092 fans at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, DC.

The band had traveled from New York to Washington, DC early in the day by rail, as an East Coast snowstorm had caused all flights to be cancelled. Upon arrival at Washington's Union Station The Beatles were greeted by 2,000 fans who braved the eight inches of snow on the ground. They gave a press conference before visiting WWDC, which had been the first US radio station to play a Beatles record.

Also on the bill at the Coliseum were The Chiffons and Tommy Roe. However, The Chiffons were unable to make it due to the previous day's snowstorm. Instead, the opening acts were Jay & The Americans, The Righteous Brothers and Tommy Roe.

The Beatles took to the stage at 8.31pm, and performed 12 songs: Roll Over Beethoven, From Me To You, I Saw Her Standing There, This Boy, All My Loving, I Wanna Be Your Man, Please Please Me, Till There Was You, She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Twist And Shout and Long Tall Sally.

The group were performing in the round, and Ringo Starr's drum riser was turned 180 degrees after the third song by Mal Evans, to allow the audience behind them to watch the performance. This was repeated again after I Wanna Be Your Man, and following She Loves You they turned 45 degrees.

➦In 1994…Radio, TV, film Actor William Conrad died at age 73.

Conrad estimated that he played more than 7,500 roles during his radio career, including providing the voice of Marshal Matt Dillon in the radio version of 'Gunsmoke'.   At KMPC L-A, the 22-year-old Conrad produced and acted in The Hermit's Cave (circa 1940–44), the Los Angeles incarnation of a popular syndicated horror anthology series created at WJR Detroit

In January 1956, Conrad was the announcer on the debut broadcast of The CBS Radio Workshop, a two-part adaptation of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World which Huxley himself narrated.

➦In 2012…Singer, Actress Whitney Houston died at the age of 48. She has been cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. An L-A Coroner's report concluded Houston drowned accidentally and autopsy results revealed heart disease.  Chronic cocaine use was a contributing factor.

➦In 2013…Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member  Rick Huxley died at the age of 72, after suffering from emphysema for some years.  He was a founding member (1958-1970) of the Dave Clark Five.

Bob Simon - 2010
➦In 2015…Radio, TV CBS News correspondent Bob Simon died at age 73. He suffered  critical injuries in a car crash on the West Side Highway of Manhattan, NYC.

Click Here for more Historical Events that occurred on February 11.

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