Friday, August 20, 2021

August 20 Radio History

Alan Reed
➦In 1907...Actor and voice artist Alan Reed born Herbert Theodore Bergman (Died  from a heart attack at age 69 – June 14, 1977).  He was best known as the original voice of Fred Flintstone on ABC-TV cartoon series The Flintstones and various spinoff series. He also appeared in many films, including Days of Glory, The Tarnished Angels, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Viva Zapata! (as Pancho Villa), and Nob Hill, and various television series.

As early as 1930, Reed (billed as Teddy Bergman) co-starred with Herbert Polesie in Henry and George, a CBS program that featured "minute dramas, popular laugh makers ... interspersed with dance music selections."

Reed's radio work included having two roles in Valiant Lady, the role of Solomon Levy on Abie's Irish Rose, as the "Allen's Alley" resident poet Falstaff Openshaw on Fred Allen's NBC radio show, and later on his own five-minute show, Falstaff's Fables, on ABC, as Officer Clancey and other occasional roles on the NBC radio show Duffy's Tavern, as Shrevey the driver on several years of The Shadow, as Chester Riley's boss on the NBC radio show The Life of Riley, as Italian immigrant Pasquale in Life with Luigi on CBS radio, various supporting roles on Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, and as Lt. Walter Levinson in several episodes of Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

Reed was "heard regularly on the Crime Doctor series," and "was the original Daddy to Fanny Brice on Baby Snooks." Billed as Teddy Bergman, he had the title role on Joe Palooka.

Billed as Teddy Bergman, Reed appeared on Broadway in Double Dummy (1936), and A House in the Country (1937),  and Love's Old Sweet Song (1940).

Andre Baruch
➦In 1908...veteran golden-voiced announcer André Baruch born in France (Died at age 83  – September 15, 1991).  He was a film narrator, radio announcer, news commentator, talk show host, disc jockey and sportscaster.

Baruch began his career as a pianist for NBC Radio. He got into the wrong line of applicants; he had entered the announcers' line and was hired on the spot.

After World War II, Baruch and his wife worked as a husband-and-wife disc jockey team in New York on WMCA, where they were billed as Mr. and Mrs. Music. Their show was later presented on the ABC and NBC networks.

Baruch was an announcer for such programs as The American Album of Familiar Music, The Fred Waring Show, The Kate Smith Show, The Shadow, Your Hit Parade and The United States Steel Hour.

Fulfilling a 20-year dream, in 1954 he was named to the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcast team, for whom he worked for two years on WMGM radio and WOR-TV.

In 1973, Baruch and Wain moved to Palm Beach, Florida where they did a top-rated daily four-hour talk show on WPBR 1340 AM. Baruch was the host of the show and ran the control board.

After nine years, Baruch and Wain relocated to Beverly Hills, California. During the early 1980s, the pair hosted a syndicated version of Your Hit Parade, reconstructing the list of hits of selected weeks in the 1940s and playing the original recordings.

1920 Front-Page Ad for 8MK Radio
➦In 1920...WWJ owned by The Detroit News inaugurated daily broadcasts from a studio established in the newspaper's headquarters building, located at the corner of Lafayette and 2nd Avenues. These initial broadcasts, by what was then called the "Detroit News Radiophone", were sent under an amateur station license operating with the call sign "8MK"

The person most responsible for establishing the Detroit News Radiophone service was the newspaper's vice-president and managing director, William E. Scripps. The Scripps family had a long history of interest in radio developments.

8MK began nightly trial broadcasts, in order to check if the equipment was ready for regular service. However, because the station was still un-publicized the original audience consisted only of a small number of interested local amateur radio enthusiasts. The test programs proved satisfactory, so on August 31, 1920 the Detroit News announced on its front page that, starting that evening, nightly (except Sunday) broadcasts would be transmitted by the "Detroit News Radiophone" service. That evening's debut program featured regularly updated returns for a primary election held that day, plus vocal performances by Lois Johnson. Malcolm Bingay, managing director of the Detroit News, was the broadcast's master of ceremonies.

The front page of the next day's News contained enthusiastic reports attesting to the success of the election night broadcast, which had begun "promptly at 8:10 p. m.", with the newspaper declaring: "The sending of the election returns by The Detroit News Radiophone Tuesday night was fraught with romance and must go down in the history of man's conquest of the elements as a gigantic step in his progress." The paper also reported receiving "numberless telephone calls to The News office asking for details of the apparatus".

Daily broadcasts, most commonly between 7 and 8 p.m., continued through September. Although the initial programs consisted mostly of phonograph records interspersed with news announcements, programming also included fight results from the heavyweight championship bout between Jack Dempsey and Billy Miske on September 6, and, in October, play-by-play accounts as the Cleveland Indians bested the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1920 World Series baseball championship. In March 1922, the call-letters were changed to WWJ, which they have remained ever since. Today the station is owned by Entercom Communications and airs news/talk.

➦In 1960...19-year-old Marv Alpert, a journalism major at Syracuse University and future sportscaster was working at WMGM 1050 AM radio in New York during the summer in the record library and news department.

➦In 1963...It was announced that all-night talk show host Long John Nebel - heard on WOR 710 AM in New York would also be heard on WNAC 680 AM in Boston, also owned by RKO-General.

➦In 1963...NYC Deejay Stan Z. Burns at 1010WINS, New York had the magic touch. After playing “That Sunday, That Summer” off of Nat King Cole’s latest album with tremendous response, Capitol Records announced it will release it as a single.

Rick Sklar
➦In 1963...Many in the industry were stunned by the promotion of Rick Sklar, director of community services at 77 WABC Radio in New York, to Program Director, replacing Sam Holman. The announcement was made by newly-appointed vice-president and general manager Walter Schwartz. “Sam Holman, who has done so much to bring WABC to its present enviable position in the market, will continue to be a front-line piece of talent for us" (Holman was also a DJ).

Under his management, WABC became the model for tight-playlist, teenager-targeted Top 40 programming, with a strong signal and famed disc jockeys such as "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow, Dan Ingram, Harry Harrison, Chuck Leonard, and Ron Lundy.

His relationship with some of the DJs he oversaw was contentious at times. Scott Muni departed from WABC after a number of confrontations with Sklar over playlists including Sklar's refusal to remove Louis Armstrong's version of the #1 smash hit "Hello, Dolly" from the playlist at Muni's request. Under Sklar, the station's ratings soared and was often the most listened to radio station in North America through the mid-60s into the late 70s.

In March 1977, Sklar was promoted to vice president of programming for ABC’s radio division. In 1984 he left ABC to start his own consulting firm, Sklar Communications.

➦In 1963...CBS radio network launched its Net Alert systems.  Units were installed in more than 200 affiliate stations of the CBS radio network. Net Alert allowed the network newsrooms in New York or Los Angles to notify affiliates of important breaking news stories.

➦In 1967...With FM radio making some ratings noise in New York, it was announced that a new kind of transmitting antenna was available to improve FM reception. WABC 95.5 FM & WCBS 101.1 FM in New York, began transmitting in September with a circularly polarized antenna from the Empire State Building.

FM transmissions are either horizontal or vertical or both, which means your radio antenna must be positioned the same way. Circularly polarized transmitting antennas means you will be able to set your FM antenna anyway a listener wanted.

➦In 1967...the New York Times reported about a noise reduction system for album and tape recording developed by technicians R. and D.W. Dolby. The Elektra Records’ subsidiary, Checkmate Records became the first label to use the new Dolby process in its productions.

➦In 1997...Talk show host Bob Grant sued his former radio station – Talkradio 77WABC New York which he says, tried to blacklist him after he made controversial remarks about deceased commerce secretary Ron Brown.

➦In 2009...Larry Knechtel died from a heart attack at age 69 (Born - August 4, 1940). He was a  keyboard player and bassist, best known as a member of the Wrecking Crew, a collection of Los Angeles-based session musicians who worked with such renowned artists as Simon & Garfunkel, Duane Eddy, the Beach Boys, the Mamas & the Papas, the Monkees, the Partridge Family, the Doors, The Grass Roots, Jerry Garcia, and Elvis Presley, and as a member of the 1970s band Bread.

As a  studio musician, he played  on such classic recordings as Bridge Over Troubled Water, Mother And Child Reunion, Swayin' To The Music, Rockin' Pneumonia-Boogie Woogie Flu, Mac Arthur Park, Stoned Soul Picnic, Good Vibrations, Up Up And Away, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Monday Monday, Dream A Little Dream Of Me, Christmas-Baby Please Come Home, Eve Of Destruction, Summer Breeze and many others .

Martin & Lewis 1949
➦In 2017...Comedian Jerry Lewis died of heart-related issues at age 91. At first,  he was partnered with Dean Martin, with whom he starred in NBC radio (1949-1953) & early TV series.  Nicknamed the “King of Comedy” he is best known by recent generations for annually hosting a Labor Day telethon raising funds to fight Muscular Dystrophy.

Jimmy Pankow is 74

  • Former News anchor Connie Chung is 75. 
  • Trombone player Jimmy Pankow of Chicago is 74. 
  • Actor Ray Wise (“Reaper,” ″Twin Peaks”) is 74. 
  • Actor John Noble (“Lord of the Rings” films) is 73. 
  • Singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) is 73. 
  • Singer Rudy Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers is 69. 
  • Singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 69. 
  • Meghan Ory is 39
    Actor-director Peter Horton (“thirtysomething”) is 68. 
  • “Today” show weatherman Al Roker is 67. 
  • Actor Joan Allen is 65. 
  • Actor James Marsters (“Angel,” ″Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is 59. 
  • Rapper KRS-One is 56. 
  • Actor Colin Cunningham (“Falling Skies”) is 55. 
  • Actor Billy Gardell (“Mike and Molly”) is 52. 
  • Singer Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit is 51. 
  • Actor Jonathan Ke Quan (“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”) 51. 
  • Guitarist Brad Avery of Third Day is 50. 
  • Actor Misha Collins (“Supernatural”) is 47. 
  • Singer Monique Powell of Save Ferris is 46. 
  • Actor Ben Barnes (“Westworld,” ″Prince Caspian”) is 40. 
  • Actor Meghan Ory (“One Upon a Time”) is 39. 
  • Actor Andrew Garfield (“The Amazing Spider-Man”) is 38. 
  • Actor Brant Daugherty (“Pretty Little Liars”) is 36. 
  • Singer-actor Demi Lovato is 29. 
  • Actor Christopher Paul Richards (TV’s “The Kids Are Alright”) is 18.

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