Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 14 In Radio HIstory

In 1877...Ernst Werner von Siemens patents the first loudspeaker

In 1942...New York City personality, Dave Herman, was born. Most notably heard on WNEW and WXRK.

Dave Herman
Herman began his career at WHTG in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and then moved on to become WMMR's first rock DJ. His show, dubbed The Marconi Experiment, debuted on April 29, 1968. The first song played on the show was "Flying" by The Beatles. He then moved to WABC-FM, which would later become WPLJ.

Most notably, he later became the morning drive time DJ on WNEW FM, where he was the morning host from 1972 to 1982, 1986 to 1991 and then again from 1996 until the station dissolved in 1998. He was one of the station’s best-known voices.  He was included on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of notable disc jockeys.

In 2013, Herman was arrested at the airport in Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, after going there from his vacation home in the area. The criminal complaint stated he expected to meet a woman and her six-year-old daughter, who he allegedly believed was being brought for a sexual encounter with him. He was charged with transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Herman died of an aneurysm on May 28, 2014, in Essex County Jail in Newark, NJ, while awaiting trial. He was 78.

In 1953...WWRL 105.1 FM in NYC signed on. Station is now WWPR.

In 1956...Disc jockey Alan Freed's second film, "Don't Knock The Rock," starring Freed, Alan Dale and Patricia Hardy, with performances by Little Richard, Bill Haley and His Comets, Dave Appell and the Applejacks, and the Treniers, opened in U.S. and Canadian movie theaters.

In 1959…Billboard magazine reported that in the wake of the government's payola investigations, the pay-for-play phenomenon was just about finished. One Philadelphia record distributor complained, "You can't even buy the disc jockeys lunch!"

In 1977..."Saturday Night Fever," starring John Travolta and music by the Bee Gees, premiered in New York City.

In 1984...Broadcaster Howard Cosell retired from ABC-TV's "Monday Night Football."

Howard Cosell
Cosell was widely known for his blustery, cocksure personality. Cosell said of himself, "Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. There's no question that I'm all of those things." In its obituary for Cosell, The New York Times described Cosell's impact on American sports coverage: "He entered sports broadcasting in the mid-1950s, when the predominant style was unabashed adulation, [and] offered a brassy counterpoint that was first ridiculed, then copied until it became the dominant note of sports broadcasting."

On radio, Cosell did his show, Speaking of Sports on 77 WABC, as well as sports reports and updates for affiliated radio stations around the country; he continued his radio duties even after he became prominent on television. Cosell then became a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York, where he served in that role from 1961 to 1974. He expanded his commentary beyond sports to a radio show entitled "Speaking of Everything".

Cosell, Ali
Cosell rose to prominence covering boxer Muhammad Ali, starting when he still fought under his birth name, Cassius Clay. The two seemed to be friends despite their very different personalities, and complemented each other in broadcasts. Cosell was one of the first sportscasters to refer to the boxer as Muhammad Ali after he changed his name and supported him when he refused to be inducted into the military.

He was diagnosed with cancer in 1991 and had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his chest. He also had several minor strokes, and was diagnosed with heart and kidney disease and Parkinson's. Cosell died in a New York City hospital on April 23, 1995, aged 77, of a cardiac embolism.

He was placed as number one on David J. Halberstam's list of Top 50 All Time Network Television Sports Announcers on Yahoo! Sports. The sports complex at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem is named for Howard and Emmy Cosell. In 2010, Cosell was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

John Guedel
In 2001…Radio and television producer (The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, People Are Funny, You Bet Your Life) John Guedel died at age 88. According to a 1956 TV Guide story, at one point he was producing 25 half-hour radio and television shows at the same time.

His broadcasting achievements are said to include radio's first singing commercial in 1937, or at least the first one that went beyond a jingle like Jack Benny's famous ''J-E-L-L-O.'' He was also the first to present colorful characters as quiz show contestants, and the first who regularly involved the studio audience in game shows.

He then did a variety of radio work, including writing weekly dramas for a show sponsored by Forest Lawn Memorial Park, a cemetery. While researching President James A. Garfield at the public library for an episode of the show, he pulled down a nearby book on games.

He immediately made the second half of a quiz show he had been hired to produce into a game show called ''Pull Over, Neighbor.'' The first stunt on the show was shoving ice cubes in a contestant's mouth as he sang ''Smiles.''

In 1942 the show became ''People Are Funny,'' and Mr. Linkletter became master of ceremonies. It ran for 19 years on NBC, moving from radio to television in 1954.

Groucho Marx
In 1945 Mr. Guedel helped transform an afternoon variety show Mr. Linkletter had been doing in San Francisco into ''House Party,'' which ran for 25 years on CBS, moving to television in 1952.

On April 27, 1947, Guedel was producing a show sponsored by the Walgreen drugstore chain. Bob Hope and Groucho Marx were supposed to read a script, but Marx started ad-libbing, and Mr. Hope threw his script on the floor and joined in.

Guedel later asked Marx if he could be so spontaneously witty all the time. Marx responded that it would be almost impossible not to be. This resulted in ''You Bet Your Life,'' in which quiz questions were secondary to Marx's verbal jousting.

An example: When a contestant said she was from South Wales, Marx shot back: ''Did you ever meet Jonah? He lived in whales for a while.''

In 2005...Walter A. Schwartz - former GM at Musicradio 77 WABC died.

Walter A. Schwartz
He served as a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II and again with the Air Force during the Korean War. Schwartz began his career in radio with WWJ in Detroit and then moved to New York where he became General Manager of WABC. In 1967, Wally was named President of the ABC Radio Network. During his administration, ABC adopted its unique four network programming plan which transformed the organization into the nation's largest and most profitable network.

In 1972 he was named President of ABC Television where he oversaw the ABC Television Network, ABC Sports and ABC Entertainment.  In 1975, he joined the John Blair Company as president of it's television stations and then became President and CEO of Blair Television from which he retired in 1986.

 In 2006…Ahmet Ertegun, co-founder of Atlantic Records, died after a fall at age 83.

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