➦In 1915...Actor Harry Morgan was born Harry Bratsberg (Died at age 93 – December 7, 2011) His career spanned six decades.
Morgan's major roles included Pete Porter in both December Bride (1954–1959) and Pete and Gladys (1960–1962); Officer Bill Gannon on Dragnet (1967–1970); Amos Coogan on Hec Ramsey (1972–1974); and his starring role as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in M*A*S*H (1975–1983) and AfterMASH (1983–1984). Morgan appeared in more than 100 films.
Morgan also hosted the NBC radio series Mystery in the Air starring Peter Lorre in 1947.
➦In 1922...WBT Charlotte, NC signed-on.
The station actually dates back to December 1920, when Fred Laxton, Earle Gluck and Frank Bunker set up an amateur radio station in Laxton's home. Four months later, the station received an experimental license as 4XD. The trio decided to go commercial in 1922, and incorporated as the Southern Radio Corporation.
On April 10, the station signed on as the first fully licensed radio station south of Washington, D.C. WSB in Atlanta was the first station in the Southeast to actually broadcast, a month before WBT. However, the Commerce Department only authorized WSB to broadcast weather reports until it received its license a few months after WBT.
In 1925, the original owners sold WBT to Charlotte Buick dealer C.C. Coddington, who promoted both the radio station and his auto dealership with the slogan "Watch Buicks Travel." Coddington built a transmitter at a farm property he owned on Nations Ford Road in south Charlotte, where it remains today. He sold WBT to the two-year-old CBS network in 1929; CBS wanted to make WBBM in Chicago full time on 780 AM, which was a shared frequency with KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska and in order to do that they moved KFAB to 1110 AM. That was accomplished by directionalizing the signal of WBT. A series of power increases brought WBT to its current 50,000 watts.
New FCC regulations forced CBS to sell the station to Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, forerunner of Jefferson-Pilot, in 1945, though it remained a CBS affiliate.
For much of its history, WBT aired a variety of programming including news, sports, soap operas, and musical programs such as "Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks." Smith, best known for writing the song that became the Deliverance theme "Dueling Banjos", went to work at WBT at age 20 at the invitation of station manager Charles Crutchfield. He played guitar and fiddle for musical programs on WBT before getting his own show. Crutchfield believed that Charlotte, not Nashville, could have ended up being the country music capital because of the station's early "Briarhoppers" and "Carolina Hayride" shows, which may have inspired The Grand Ole Opry.
|WBT's Grady Cole|
WBT was the number one station in Charlotte for many years; among its employees were Charles Kuralt and Nelson Benton. But by 1970, WBT was down to number nine, and national advertising representative Blair Radio Network wanted ratings to improve. Jefferson Standard did not like the idea of change, but Blair enlisted Mel Goldberg to research what programming Charlotte needed. Even Crutchfield gave in, and WBT let go 28 staffers and spent $200,000 on changes that included new studios. It also canceled many programs that advertisers supported but which didn't attract enough listeners.
|WBT's H.A. Thompson|
WBT made changes to its format on December 10, 1990, hoping to attract more women. The station dropped James K. Flynn, Thompson and Tom Desio, generating numerous protests.
Lincoln Financial Group bought Jefferson-Pilot in 2006. The merged company retained Jefferson-Pilot's broadcasting division, renaming it Lincoln Financial Media. In January 2008, Lincoln Financial sold WBT-AM-FM and WLNK to Greater Media of Braintree, Massachusetts. It sold its three television stations, including WBTV, to Raycom Media--thus breaking up Charlotte's last heritage radio/television cluster. Greater Media had long wanted to expand into the fast-growing Charlotte market; its owner had wanted to buy WBT after hearing its signal at night on Cape Cod.
On July 19, 2016, Greater Media announced that it would merge with Beasley Media Group. Because Beasley already had the maximum number of stations in the Charlotte market with 5 FM's and 2 AM's, WBT-AM-FM and WLNK were spun off to a divestiture trust, eventually going to a permanent buyer.
On October 18, 2016, Entercom announced that it would purchase WBT AM/FM and WLNK, plus WFNZ. Upon the completion of the Greater/Beasley merger on November 1, Entercom began operating the stations via a time brokerage agreement, which lasted until the sale was consummated on January 6, 2017.
➦In 1930...WRAK 1400 AM Williamsport, PA signed-on. The FCC assigned the call letters.
➦In 1943...The Falcon radio series premiered on the NBC Blue Network, continuing on NBC and Mutual until November 27, 1954. Some 70 episodes were produced.
➦In 1967…The 13-day strike by the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists (AFTRA) ended.
➦In 1970…Effectively estranged from his bandmates, Paul McCArtney issued a press release indicating he was leaving The Beatles.
The press release took the form of a Q&A in which McCartney discussed his new solo album and, with Lennon's exit still being withheld from the public (for business reasons), matters pertaining to the Beatles' immediate future. While McCartney did not state that the group had broken up, he talked of his "break with the Beatles" and having no plans to work with the band in the future; he also ruled out the likelihood of ever writing songs with Lennon again.
On 10 April, The Daily Mirror reported on McCartney's departure from the Beatles under the front page headline "Paul Quits The Beatles". Newspapers around the world then interpreted McCartney's remarks as an announcement that the band had broken up
John Lennon was furious, especially since the breakup was announced a week prior to the UK release of McCartney's first solo album. When a reporter tracked down Lennon for his thoughts, he replied, "Paul hasn't left. I sacked him."
➦In 1978...Long John Nebel died (Born John Zimmerman; June 11, 1911). He was an influential New York City talk radio show host.
|Long John Nebel|
In 1962, WNBC offered Nebel more than $100,000 per year (if not a record sum paid to a radio personality at the time, then very nearly so) to begin broadcasting from their station, and he accepted the offer. He continued there until 1973, when WNBC, facing sliding ratings, decided to switch to a Top40 music format. After a protracted battle with station management, Nebel refused to change the content of his show and resigned from the station in protest.
Nebel was quickly hired by WMCA, where, from 1973 to 1977, he continued his program. In 1977, Nebel joined the Mutual Broadcasting System and Nebel's show went nationwide, replacing Mutual's national distribution of Herb Jepko's radio talk show.
Nebel's format paved the way for later radio hosts, including Art Bell, George Noory of Coast to Coast AM, Hilly Rose, Jeff Rense, and Clyde Lewis, all of whom have broadcast shows on paranormal topics. Colin Bennett called Nebel the Art Bell of his era.
➦In 1987...Canadian newsman and commentator Dick Smyth ended an 18-year run at CHUM-FM and walked across the street to CFTR-FM. Earlier in his career, Smythe was 20/20 news director at The Big 8 CKLW in Windsor-Detroit.
➦In 1998...Pioneering NYC Radio personality Eddie O'Jay, whose "Soul at Sunrise" was a fixture on WWRL and WLIB in the '60s, died.
His career began in 1951 as a Disc Jockey at WOKY in Milwaukee. From there, he went to WABQ in Cleveland, and WUFO in Buffalo, finally working my way to the "Soul at Sunrise" show on WWRL, WBLS and WLIB in New York City. After a distinguished 27 year career in radio in the United States, he expanded to include an internationally syndicated radio program on "Swazi Music Radio," in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1980.
He's been inducted into the Black Radio Hall of Fame.
While at WABQ, O'Jay discovered a group of five young beginners in the business called The Mascots from Canton and Masilon, Ohio. O'Jay was asked to manage and direct the group which took hi name, The O'Jays.
Wilson gained a huge reputation during the 60s and 70s as PD for WOKY Milkwaukee. He also EVP/Programming with the Bartell broadcasting and the Star Group. His background also includes a stint at KIQQ LA in the early ‘80s.
Rochelle Staab, Wilson’s secretary at WOKY Milwaukee, called him “a brilliant Top 40 programmer, a guy’s guy, a tough competitor, and a true friend and supporter”.
She shared his philosophy:
On programming radio: “Play the hits, talk dirty, watch the bottom line.”
On Vegas: “Always split aces and eights at the blackjack table.”
On horse racing: “Bet the closers at Santa Anita.”
- Retired sportscaster and former NFL coach John Madden turns 84.
- Singer/actress Mandy Moore turns 36.
- Oscar-nominated former child actor Haley Joel Osment, of The Sixth Sense, is 32. ("Calendar Extra" below.)
- Action-adventure movie actor Steven Seagal turns 69.