Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 25 Radio History

In 1905...journalist Joseph C. Harsch was born in Toledo Ohio.  He was a working ‘witness to history’ over 60 years, primarily as a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor.  But he also served, and probably was better known, as a radio & TV commentator for each of the major networks … NBC, CBS & ABC.  He died June 3 1998 at age 93.

In 1919...sportscaster Lindsay Nelson was born in Campbellsville Tennessee.  He began as a University of Tennessee student spotter for Hall of Fame sportscaster Bill Stern, and became a premier broadcaster for CBS, NBC and WTBS over more than 3 decades. He spent seventeen years with the New York Mets, and three with the San Francisco Giants. For thirty-three years he covered college football, including twenty-six Cotton Bowls, five Sugar Bowls, four Rose Bowls and fourteen years announcing Notre Dame games.  He died June 15, 1995 at age 76.

In 1985...In 1985, CBS resumed weekly national play-by-play baseball on radio for the first time in 20 years as Brent Musburger called the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. The Mutual Broadcasting System was the last radio network to have offered regular-season coverage of baseball back in the 1960’s.

In 2013...Veteran radio talk show host (WOR-New York City, KGO-San Francisco, WRKO-Boston, WCAU-Philadelphia, WKIS-Orlando)/food critic Gene Burns died of complications from a stroke at age 72.

Gene Burns KGO
In his early twenties, Burns was hired as news director for radio station WWHG in his hometown of Hornell, New York before moving on to WSBA in York, Pennsylvania. He began his career as talk radio host at WCBM in Baltimore in the mid-1960s. While at WCBM, Burns did two major international assignments, going to Vietnam in 1968 and the Middle East in 1969.

Following a brief stint with WEEI in Boston, Burns served as a talk show host as well as program director at WKIS 740 AM in Orlando, Florida, beginning in 1971. He would remain there until 1981, when he departed for WCAU in Philadelphia in 1981. He then returned to Orlando and WKIS in the early 1980s and was named the station's operations manager in 1984. In 1985, Burns returned to Boston, hosting a talk show on WRKO for eight years.

In 1993, Burns moved to New York City and began hosting a nationally syndicated talk program from the studios of WOR.

In 1995, he resumed his broadcasting career at KGO-AM in San Francisco. He hosted a talk show of political and social commentary called The Gene Burns Program on weeknights, as well as a program that focused on wine and fine dining in the San Francisco Bay Area called Dining Around with Gene Burns which was broadcast weekly on Saturdays.

Talkers magazine ranked Burns #24 on its list of The 25 Greatest Radio and Television Talk Show Hosts of All Time, in 2002

Harry Birrell
In 2013...Harry Birrell, a Los Angeles radio news reporter and anchor at KNX for more than 30 years, died of complications from interstitial lung disease at 85.

Birrell joined KNX in 1968 and was a regular weekday anchor on the all-news station until 1993, when he retired. But  he continued to file daily reports of Ventura County news from his home in Thousand Oaks until January 1999.

The Radio and Television News Assn. of Southern California recognized Birrell with multiple Golden Mike awards for excellence in local broadcast journalism.

He was born Henry Walker Birrell in Steubenville, Ohio, on March 5, 1928, but he was known throughout his life as Harry. He attended Miami University before beginning his radio career in Beaver Falls, Pa., in 1949. He criss-crossed the country working as a broadcaster before arriving at KNX.

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