Saturday, May 16, 2020

May 16 Radio History

➦In 1925...the first live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby was originated by WHAS Louisville  and was also carried by WGN in Chicago. The call of the Derby featured an announcer who watched from the windows of one of the famous twin spires of Churchill Downs.

➦In 1929...the anthology crime series True Detective Mysteries began its almost 30 year run, debuting on CBS radio, though its most popular years (1944-58) were on Mutual.

True Detective Mysteries were truly audience participation shows - each show provided descriptions of the true-story criminal and encouraged audiences to provide information leading to their capture. Rewards of $500 and later $1000 were offered in return for helpful clues from listeners.

➦In 1932...the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Act was passed in Ottawa, subjecting private stations to the control of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC). Five years later the Commission became the CBC.

➦In 1942...The Whistler, a radio mystery drama, made its debut on the west coast regional CBS Network. It aired on until September 22, 1955.

The show was also broadcast in Chicago and over Armed Forces Radio. On the west coast, it was sponsored by the Signal Oil Company: "That whistle is your signal for the Signal Oil program, The Whistler." There were also two short-lived attempts to form east-coast broadcast spurs: July 3 to September 25, 1946, sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company; and March 26, 1947, to September 29, 1948, sponsored by Household Finance.

➦In 1947...Jack Mullin demonstrated the Magnetophon at Institute of Radio Engineers convention. The Magnetophon tape recorder was one of the first recording machines to use magnetic tape in recording voice and music.

Jack Mullin
Mullin gave two public demonstrations, in which he first presented live music performed behind a curtain, followed by a concealed playback of the performance. Mullin's recorder caused a sensation among American audio professionals and many listeners could not tell the difference between the recorded and live performances. By luck, Mullin's second demonstration was at MGM Studios in Hollywood and in the audience that day was Bing Crosby's technical director, Murdo Mackenzie. Mackenzie arranged for Mullin to meet Crosby, and in June 1947 Crosby was given a demonstration of Mullin's magnetic tape recorders.

Crosby was impressed by the amazing sound quality and instantly saw the huge commercial potential of the new machines. Up to this time, most pre-recorded programming such as serials and drama were produced on disc, but live music was the standard for American radio at the time and radio networks tightly restricted the use of music on disc because of the comparatively poor sound quality.

Crosby, who was arguably the biggest star on radio at the time, was very receptive to the idea of pre-recording his radio programs. He disliked the regimentation of live broadcasts, and much preferred the relaxed atmosphere of the recording studio. He had already asked the NBC network to let him pre-record his 1944-1945 series on transcription discs, but the network refused, so Crosby had withdrawn from live radio for a year and returned for the 1946-47 season only reluctantly.

Crosby realized that Mullin's tape recording technology would enable him to pre-record his radio show with a sound quality that equaled live broadcasts, that these tapes could be edited precisely, and replayed many times with no appreciable loss of quality. Mullin was asked to tape one show as a test; it was a complete success and Mullin was immediately hired as Crosby's chief engineer to pre-record the rest of the series.

Crosby became the first major music star to master commercial recordings on tape, and the first to use tape to pre-record radio broadcasts. The shows were painstakingly edited to give them a pace and flow that was wholly unprecedented in radio. Mullin has claimed that he even pioneered the use of the laugh track; at the insistence of Crosby's writer Bill Morrow, he inserted a segment of raucous laughter from an earlier show to follow a joke in a later show that had not worked well.

➦In 2013…Radio programmer Paul Drew died at age 78.

Paul Drew
Drew, a graduate of Wayne State University in his native Detroit, began his professional radio career in 1961 as a DJ with Atlanta station WAKE. He later moved crosstown to WGST and then WQXI, where he was promoted to program director. Leaving WQXI in 1967, Drew moved on to programming gigs at CKLW in Windsor, Ontario-Detroit, WIBG in Philadelphia, KFRC in San Francisco and former Los Angeles powerhouse top 40 KHJ.

In the early ‘70s, he was appointed VP of programming for RKO Radio, a nationwide chain whose roster at one time included KHJ and sister KRTH, KFRC, WOR & WXLO (99X) New York and WHBQ Memphis, among other stations in Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C. Their formats ranged from top 40 and adult contemporary to classical, oldies and talk.

During the course of his career, Drew worked with and/or mentored a diverse array of radio personalities, programmers, consultants and industry writers. That list includes consultants Jerry Clifton and Guy Zapoleon, writers Gerry Cagle, Walt “Baby” Love and Jerry Del Colliano, as well as air personalities Rick Dees, Dr. Don Rose, Jay Thomas and Charlie Van Dyke.

When personality Don Rose died in 2005, Paul Drew paid tribute to one of the brightest stars of the local radio business throughout the 60's - 80's. Full of energy and endless wit, he was the number one rated air personality everywhere he went: ie. Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Megan Fox
  • Jazz drummer Billy Cobham is 76. 
  • Actor Danny Trejo is 76. 
  • Actor Bill Smitrovich (“Crime Story,” “Life Goes On”) is 73. 
  • Actor Pierce Brosnan is 67. 
  • Actress Debra Winger is 65. 
  • Actress Mare Winningham is 61. 
  • Violinist Boyd Tinsley of The Dave Matthews Band is 56. 
  • Bassist Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) is 55. 
  • Singer Janet Jackson is 54. 
  • Actor-singer Scott Reeves (“Nashville,” ″General Hospital”) is 54. 
  • Actor Brian F. O’Byrne (“Million Dollar Baby”) is 53. 
  • Singer Ralph Tresvant is 52. 
  • Actor David Boreanaz (“Bones,” ″Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is 51. 
  • Political commentator Tucker Carlson is 51. 
  • Actress Tracey Gold (“Growing Pains”) is 51. 
  • TV personality Bill Rancic (“America Now,” ″The Apprentice”) is 49. 
  • Country singer Rick Trevino is 49. 
  • Actor Khary Payton (“The Walking Dead”) is 48. 
  • Rapper Special Ed is 48. 
  • Actress Tori Spelling is 47. 
  • Actor Sean Carrigan (“The Young and the Restless”) is 46. 
  • Rapper B. Slade (A.K.A. Tonex) is 45. 
  • Actress Melanie Lynskey (“Two and a Half Men”) is 43. 
  • Actor Joseph Morgan (“The Originals,” ″Vampire Diaries”) is 39. 
  • DJ Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers is 35. 
  • Actress Megan Fox (“Transformers”) is 34. 
  • Actor Drew Roy (“Falling Skies,” ″Hannah Montana”) is 34. 
  • Actor Jermaine Fowler (“Superior Donuts”) is 32. 
  • Actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster (“Game of Thrones”) is 30. 
  • Actor Marc John Jefferies (“The Tracy Morgan Show”) is 30. 
  • Actor Miles Heizer (“13 Reasons Why,” ″Parenthood”) is 26.

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