Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 10 Radio History

In 1933…Singer/pianist/comedian/actor Jimmy Durante made his first appearance on Eddie Cantor's "Chase and Sanborn Hour," and continued to perform on the NBC Radio program for two months. When Cantor left, Durante took over the show as its star for five months in 1934.

In 1935…The radio program "Popeye, the Sailor," with Detmar Poppen in the title role, debuted on the NBC Red Network. The 15-minute show was heard three times a week for six months.

In 1945...KLS-AM in Oakland California changed call letters to KWBR, eventually becoming KDIA 1310 AM.

For twenty-five years, the call letters KDIA were synonymous with soul music in the Bay Area, according to the Bay Area Radio Museum.  Descended from the pioneering Oakland station KLS — which itself was born from an early experimental station, 6XAM, in 1921 and became KWBR in 1945 — the 1,000-watt station had begun emphasizing programs that targeted the local African-American audience around the end of World War II.

By the late 1950s, while still known as KWBR, the station was competing with KSAN 1450 AM in San Francisco for black listeners with rhythm-and-blues music and popular disc jockeys, including Big Don Barksdale and Bouncin' Bill Doubleday. In July 1959, KWBR was sold for $550,000 to the Sonderling Stations group, operator of the legendary Memphis station, WDIA. On September 4, 1959, KWBR became KDIA, reflecting its new parentage. (Sonderling also owned KFOX in Los Angeles and WOPA in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park.)

Under Sonderling ownership and the management of Walter Conroy, KDIA directed its full programming effort toward the emerging black audience, keeping Don Barksdale and Bill Doubleday on its staff and adding high-caliber talent over the years that included Bay Area Radio Hall of Famer George Oxford (previously a competitor at KSAN), John Hardy, Belva Davis (later known for her television work at KRON, KPIX and KQED), Rosko (nom de radieux of William Roscoe Mercer), Roland Porter, Bob White, Bill Hall, Johnny Morris and Bob Jones. The station leveraged its dial position — 1310 AM — into its identity as "KDIA Lucky 13."

In 1965, KDIA's power was raised to 5,000 watts from a new transmitter facility near the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza which also housed the station's new studios and offices. The five-fold increase in power made KDIA a veritable powerhouse and helped to hasten the demise of the old KSAN, which had become KSOL in 1964. (Going full circle, it was another KSOL — this time on 107.7 FM — that would eventually end KDIA's supremacy in the late 1970s.)

The station thrived through the 1970s, but was sold by Sonderling to Viacom International in 1980. KDIA continued with an Urban Contemporary music format under Viacom until 1983, when the station was sold again (along with WDIA) to Ragan Henry. In 1984, KDIA changed hands once more, becoming the property of Adam Clayton Powell III, who flipped the station to All News KFYI.

After the failure of KFYI's news format, the station went off the air on April 9, 1985, only to be revived under new ownership as KDIA in October of that year. In subsequent years, the station was owned by future San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris, and by James Gabbert, who had also owned KIOI and KOFY. In 1997, Gabbert entered into an agreement to air the syndicated "Radio Disney" programming format on KDIA in advance of selling the station to ABC, Inc.  The station's call letters were changed to KMKY on January 20, 1998, and ABC purchased the station for $6.25-million in May 1998.

The KDIA call letters are currently assigned to the religious-formatted station known as "The Light For San Francisco," licensed in the city of Vallejo and operating at 1640 kHz.

In 1948…In Washington, DC, Mildred "Axis Sally" Gillars, a Nazi radio propagandist during World War II, was indicted for treason. Upon her conviction she spent 12 years in prison.

In 1962...The BBC banned Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Halloween novelty single "Monster Mash," finding it in poor taste. However, in 1973 the radio giant lifts the ban, sending a re-release of the holiday favorite to #3.

In 1984...The Federal Communications Commission changed a rule allowing broadcasters to own 12 AM and 12 FM radio stations. The previous limit was 7 of each.

In 1992...Howard Stern appeared as Fartman on the MTV Video Music Awards.

in 2001...Sean Hannity went into syndication

In 2004...Ken Minyard, the anchor of "Ken and Company" on KABC-AM, announced his retirement.

Bob Arthur, Ken Minyard
Ken Minyard (born in 1939) was featured on KABC 790 AM's morning Newstalk show in the early 1970s, but he is best remembered as a partner on the radio with Bob Arthur.  The "Ken and Bob Company" was Los Angeles' #1 rated radio show for almost 20 years on KABC.

The pair started their run in 1973, with the more talkative Minyard commenting on news events or quirky happenings, while Arthur, the more authoritative newsman, provided wry one-liners and snappy observations. That chemistry kept their program, “The Ken and Bob Company,” at No. 1 in the ratings for most of their tenure, and the pair never dropped out of the Top 3 among morning radio shows.

The LA Times reports the duo rarely worked from a script, and instead riffed on the day’s headlines. In explaining what made “Ken and Bob” work, Minyard said people appreciated their combination of professionalism and optimism. Arthur explained their popularity and longevity another way: “I've heard it said that it was like eavesdropping on a poker game where the stakes weren't very high.”

6600 Block of Hollywood Blvd.
After Arthur retired in 1990, Minyard soldiered on alone briefly, then partnered with Roger Barkley (of the former Los Angeles morning radio show Lohman and Barkley on KFWB and later KFI) for an additional 6 years, but the morning Los Angeles radio market was growing very competitive, particularly from an increasing number of FM morning talk shows. One Monday morning, Los Angeles tuned in to find that Roger Barkley was gone and Minyard was continuing with a new format. He commented at the time that Barkley was upset, but that the station demanded a change. "Talk radio, and radio in general, is tough", he once remarked. "You won't work forever". But Ken Minyard still had many more good years on Los Angeles radio.

Later he partnered with Peter Tilden on KABC and also had a 2-year pairing on a syndicated show with his son, Rick.

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