Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 31 Radio History

In 1912...columnist & TV personality Irv Kupcinet was born in Chicago.  Kup’s Show, for some years called At Random, was a 27 year Saturday night fixture on Chicago TV.  For a time he was paired with Jack Brickhouse on Chicago Cub radio broadcasts.   He died of complications from pneumonia Nov. 10 2003 at age 91.

Curt Gowdy

In show producer Bill Todman was born in New York City.  He first teamed with longtime partner Mark Goodson to produce radio shows, then moved seamlessly into game shows for TV.   Their hits include The Price is Right, To Tell the Truth, Beat the Clock, I’ve Got a Secret, & What’s My Line. Todman diversified the partnership into newspapers & real estate which earned them many more millions than the TV shows. He died from a heart condition July 29 1979, two days short of his 63rd birthday.

In 1919...sportscaster Curt Gowdy was born in Green River Wyoming.  Before emerging on the national scene he was a baseball broadcaster for first the Yankees & then the Red Sox.  Later, for ABC, CBS, NBC & HBO, he would do TV play-by-play on the World Series, All Star Games, Rose Bowls, Super Bowls & the Olympics.  He was 1970 recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award for achievement in radio and TV.  When most other assignments dropped off he continued as the host of ABC’s American Sportsman.  He died of leukemia Feb 20, 2006 at age 86.

In 1933...listeners turned up the radio to hear the announcer introduce for the first time  ‘Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy!’  The show was one of the longest-running adventure programs on radio, continuing until 1951. Armstrong was Hudson High School’s football hero and the hero who saved the day from dastardly villains. Somehow, these adventures would take Jack and his cousins, Betty and Bill Fairfield, to exotic locales where they would make use of industrialist Uncle Jim’s yacht and a hydroplane they referred to as the Silver Albatross.

In 1938...Jake Powell was suspended by the New York Yankees after saying on Chicago radio he'd "hit every colored person in Chicago over the head with a club".  After a surge of public outrage, including calls that Powell be banned for life, baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspended Powell for ten games. Powell also went on a walking tour of Harlem to apologize personally to fans of the Yankees.

Powell played in 31 games in 1939 and 12 games in 1940 before the Yankees sold him to the minor leagues.

Jim Reeves
In Music Hall of Famer Jim Reeves was killed just 3 weeks short of his 41st birthday, when his single-engine Beechcraft crashed near Nashville. Gentleman Jim started as a DJ, first at KGRI in Henderson, Texas; then at KWKH in Shreveport, LA (the home of the Louisiana Hayride in the early 1950s). Hits include Four Walls, He’ll Have to Go, I’m Getting Better, Am I Losing You, Welcome to My World and I Guess I’m Crazy. Reeves became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955.   He had his own TV series on ABC in 1957.

In 1970…Newsman Chet Huntley retired from NBC-TV, ending the 14-year run of the popular "Huntley-Brinkley Report." The network renamed the program the "NBC Nightly News." Huntley died in 1974. Brinkley worked as co-anchor or commentator on "Nightly News" before leaving NBC for ABC in 1981. He died in 2003.

In 1977...Johnny Dark did his last show on WRKO, Boston

Johnny Dark
Johnny grew up in South Florida and went on to become one of radio’s many jocks named Johnny Dark. This one, however, started out along Florida’s west coast and was Program Director, Music Director, and jock at Sarasota’s WYND, Surf Row Radio, in 1966. After a couple years there, he wanted to get closer to home, so he took at job on the air at Top 40 WSRF 1580 AM in Ft. Lauderdale and handled the music for its then-sister station, Easy Listening/AC WSHE.

Johnny moved to another Miami outlet, WMYQ 96.3 FM, in 1972 and then on to Bartel’s legendary WOKY, The Mighty 92, in Milwaukee in 1974 as combo Music Director and afternoon drive jock. The next year he really hit the big time when he landed at Boston’s WRKO where he survived five PD’s in three and a half years before leaving for WNBC in New York in 1978.

In 1985 it was back to Beantown as Johnny segued to CBS-owned WHTT 103.3 FM. (1985 Aircheck) He also made the dream of owning his own station a reality with WHQO Oldies 108 in Skowhegan, Maine. By 1990 it was time to move back home to South Florida so he began what turned out to be 12 years doing afternoon drive for Miami’s 97.3 WFLC, South Florida’s Coast.

In 2002, Johnny's last known stop was WKIS 99.9 FM Kiss Country, in Boca Raton-Miami.

In 1981...WXLO 98.7 FM adopts the “Kiss” format.

In 1995…Disney announced the $19-billion acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC, including the entire ABC television network, key affiliates, ABC radio networks, and publishing enterprises.

In 2010...the Coluimbia Records executive who nurtured the early careers of Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney, Mitch Miller died at the age of 99.  He also hosted a Sunday evening CBS Radio interview show in the late 1950’s, headed up the early 60’s NBC TV show ‘Sing Along with Mitch’, and became controversial over his famous dislike of, and resistance to, rock & roll.

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