Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 8 In Radio History

In 1961…Britain's BBC Radio banned the song "100 Pounds of Clay" by Gene McDaniels because it has a reference to women being created from building materials, which the network considered to be blasphemous.

In 1964…In Studio A at Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit, the Supremes recorded "Where Did Our Love Go," which became their first #1 single, and the first of their five consecutive chart-topping singles. The songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland had originally composed the song and prepared the instrumental track for the Marvelettes to record, but they rejected the song thinking it was childish.

In 1981...Larry "Snortin" Norton from WGRQ-FM, Buffalo, found a place in the Guiness Book of World Records for the most consecutive hours on-the-air. He went 20 days, four hours.

In 1985…Composer J. Fred Coots died at age 87. Coots offered "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" to Eddie Cantor who used it on his radio show in November 1934 and it became an instant hit. The morning after the show there were orders for 100,000 copies of the song's sheet music, and by Christmas, sales had exceeded 400,000.

In 1987...WFIL-AM, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ended it's run as "Famous 56".

Capturing The True Sound Of Famous 56! Click Here To Listen.

In February 1964, Triangle moved the WFIL stations to a new state-of-the-art broadcast center at the corner of City Line and Monument Avenues in Philadelphia, from which WPVI continued to broadcast.

Starting on September 18, 1966, WFIL began playing "Top 40" rock and roll. It quickly became the most successful non-RKO "Boss Radio" formatted station, known locally as "The Pop Music Explosion".

The original line up of air personalities, or "Boss Jocks" were scheduled as follows:
  • 6-10am: Chuck Browning
  • 10am-2pm: Jay Cook ("Captain Jay Cook")
  • 2-6pm: Jim Nettleton ("Diamond Jim" Nettleton)
  • 6-10pm: George Michael ("King George" Michael)
  • 10pm-2am: Long John Wade
  • 2-6am: Dave Parks ("Dave the Rave" Parks)
  • Weekends: Frank Kingston Smith

WFIL announcers heard in later years of the Top 40 era included Dr. Don Rose, Jim O'Brien(who later also became a WPVI-TV reporter and station personality), Dan Donovan, J. J. Jeffrey, Dick Heatherton, Tom Dooley, "Tiny" Tom Tyler, Mitch "K.C." Hill, "Big" Ron O'Brien, Kris Chandler, Geoff Richards, Joel Denver, Brother Lee Love (Alan Smith), and Banana Joe Montione.

The format evolved into an adult contemporary sound in the fall of 1977. At some point after that, the WFIL studios were relocated to Domino Lane in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia; they moved into the building of FM station WUSL, which WFIL owner LIN Broadcasting had acquired in late 1976. Growing competition from FM stations in this period did serious damage to WFIL's ratings. In September 1981 country music was tried, but this failed to reverse the downward trend. The station switched to an "oldies" format in September 1983, called "The Boss is Back," with a new line up of "Boss Jocks," playing the hits of 1955 through 1973.

This format lasted until April 8, 1987, when new owner WEAZ Inc. discontinued locally originated music programming in favor of Transtar's "Oldies Channel," a satellite-delivered service. The end of live programming was marked by a production piece consisting of a portion of the song American City Suite by Terry Cashman and Tommy West interspersed with old WFIL airchecks. The "Epilogue to WFIL" was produced by Charlie Mills, who at the time was working cross-town at WPEN, and had been an avid fan of WFIL during his teen years.

Its 5000-watt transmitter enabled its signal to be heard as far away at times as Staten Island, the southernmost borough of New York City. During its top 40 years, WFIL also consistently showed strongly in the ratings books in nearby Wilmington, Delaware, where it has an excellent signal. In addition, WFIL was a popular listening choice in Reading and Allentown, both in Pennsylvania.

Today, WFIL is locally co-owned with Salem's WNTP (990 AM). Interestingly, WNTP is the former WIBG. WIBG was WFIL's main rock 'n roll rival in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The studios, offices and transmitters of both stations are located at the former WIBG complex on Ridge Pike in Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania.

In 1989…After 33 years on ABC, the legendary TV dance show "American Bandstand" moved to the USA network on cable, with David Hirsch replacing Dick Clark as host. The show was cancelled six months later.

In 2004...New York Radio personality, Gene Klavan, died at the age of 79. Klavan was best known for being one-half of the succesful morning show, "Klavan & Finch". The program ran for many years on WNEW 1130 AM.

Gene Klavan and Dee Finch
Gene Klavan was first as half of the radio show “Klavan and Finch” and then as a solo performer, brought slicing wit, a knack for voices and peppery irreverence to New York morning radio audiences for 25 years.

From 1952 to 1968, Mr. Klavan was the comic half of Klavan and Finch, heard on WNEW, then one of the leading AM radio stations in New York. With Dee Finch as straight man, Mr. Klavan changed into the voices of wacky characters like Trevor Traffic, Mr. Nat, Sy Kology, Victor Verse and Emilio Percolator. The sound of a slamming door signaled a character’s arrival.

Finch retired in 1968 and Mr. Klavan continued the show alone as “Klavan in the Morning.” In 1977 he moved to WOR-AM and left radio in 1980. Finch died in 1983.

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