In 1915...First train-to-station radio message, Binghamton, NY
In 1963...B. Mitchel Reed starts at WMCA
|March 15, 1963|
In 1964...Just after 1:00 p.m. EST, Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 landed at New York City's JFK Airport. An estimated 5,000 screaming fans were waiting to greet the Beatles as they arrived for their first U.S. tour and an appearance on CBS-TV's "The Ed Sullivan Show."
In the United Kingdom, the Beatles had experienced popularity since the start of 1963. But in the US, Capitol Records, owned by the band's record company EMI, had for most of the year declined to issue any of the singles.
The phenomenon of Beatlemania in the UK was regarded with amusement by the US press, once it made any comment. When newspaper and magazine articles did begin to appear towards the end of 1963, they cited the English stereotype of eccentricity, reporting that the UK had developed an interest in something that had come and gone a long time ago in the US: rock and roll.
In late 1963, Capitol Records agreed to release the single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" with a large accompanying promotional campaign, due to Ed Sullivan's agreement to headline the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The Beatles American television debut was on 18 November 1963 on The Huntley-Brinkley Report, with a four-minute long piece by Edwin Newman.
On 22 November 1963, the CBS Morning News ran a five-minute feature on Beatlemania in the UK. The evening's scheduled repeat was cancelled following the assassination of John F. Kennedy the same day. On December 10, Walter Cronkite decided to televise the piece again on the CBS Evening News, and the resulting interest led to the rush-release of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and—only weeks before The Beatles' arrival—a US commercial breakthrough.
Eleven weeks before the Beatles' arrival in the U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The nation was in mourning, in fear, and in disbelief. The assassination came after a fifteen-year build-up of Cold War tension. The motivation and identity of the assassin, would be doubted by many Americans for decades even after the Warren Commission issued its report in September 1964. As the U.S. tried to restore a sense of normality, teenagers in particular struggled to cope, as their disbelief began to be replaced by a personal reaction to what had happened: in school essays, teenagers wrote that "then it became real", and "I was feeling the whole world is going to collapse on me", and "I never felt so empty in all my life".
When the Beatles first hit American shores in 1964, radio personalities scrambled to befriend them and scoop other stations. Media writer Peter Kanze recapped the radio battle for The Beatles in 1989 and it was reprinted recently at meetthebeatlesforreal.blogspot.com.
According to Kanze, Rick Sklar was WABC’s Program Director from 1962 through 1976, and he remembered that “WABC never deviated from its standard policy with and artist, including the Beatles. In order to get played on the station, the artist had to be established first. Once they made it, fine, but we weren't going be the station to take a chance. “WABeatlesC” went on the first American Beatles releases, but only because of their track record in England. I don’t think that it was very significant that WMCA played “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” before we did. As far as we were concerned, the Beatles weren't known yet. Once the Beatles were known, though, we always tried to have the exclusive. “
LISTEN TO MONTAGE OF WABC BEATLES PROMOS: Click Here
(Courtesy of the WABC Tribute Website Musicradio77.com. Find out more, visit the Musicradio77.com Beatles Page: Click Here.)
The “exclusive” or “scoop” (a record that has been obtained first by one radio station in a given area and no other) was all-important in those days, and still is to some extent with superstar performers. In the case of the Beatles, it was meant to convey the impression that one radio station had a closer relationship to the group than the other. Hence, newer music, better gossip, etc.
So, during their second 1964 visit when they stayed at the Delmonico Hotel, WABC mounted an all out offensive. The suite above The Beatles was rented by WABC and was used to set up a remote studio. Using those wireless microphones, WABC disc jockeys Scott Muni and Bruce Morrow wandered around the hotel ready to broadcast anything that might have to do with The Beatles. It gave the station a huge edge. And, it didn’t hurt that as many security and hotel staff people as possible were presented with "gifts" from WABC. Needless to say, there were very few places where the WABC people could not roam.
By now most of the 10,000 teenagers who packed the streets outside of the hotel were listening to WABC on their transistor radios. When WABC disc jockeys Scott Muni and Bruce Morrow asked them to sing WABC jingles as they were playing on WABC, the entire crowd was able to do so in unison.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN (Courtesy of Musicradio77.com).
The power of all of this was best illustrated when Ringo Starr lost his gold Saint Christopher’s medal which was attached to a chain around his neck. Apparently as he was entering the hotel, an over zealous fan inadvertently snatched it. Bruce Morrow and Scott Muni learned this while interviewing him over the air at the hotel. WABC listeners also heard this and so did the girl who had the medal, Angie McGowan. She had her mother call Cousin Brucie that night. But, program director Rick Sklar, ever the master promoter, could see the advantages of stretching out this drama a while longer. Even though WABC recovered the medal within a few hours, Rick arranged for the girl to stay overnight, safely secluded with her mother in a hotel room while the station continued to broadcast appeals for the medal's safe recovery. As you would expect, this became a media sensation and WABC held all the cards. By the time the following evening rolled around, everyone was listening to WABC to see if the medal would ever be recovered. Twenty-four hours after its initial loss and subsequent recovery, WABC reunited the medal with Ringo over the air. It was a publicity bonanza for the station.
In 1965...Billboard published a story about Scott Muni being dropped from the 77 WABC line-up.
Muni is best known for his time at WNEW-FM, where he arrived in 1967 and remained for 31 years. Also known as "Scottso" and "The Professor," Muni began his New York radio career as a "Good Guy" on top-40 WMCA in the late '50s. He then moved to WABC in 1960, where he played an integral role in breaking the Beatles before leaving the station in 1964.
Artists he interviewed in the '70s, including Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend, counted him among their friends.
Muni left WNEW in 1998 and moved over to WAXQ.
He passed away in September 2004 at age 74 after suffering a stroke
In 1976...the Federal Communications Commission raided and closed down pirate radio station WCPR, operating out of Brooklyn, New York.
In 2000...Robin Scott died at the age of 79. Scott was responsible for launching England's BBC Radio 1 in 1967.
In 2014... Scott Shannon last show at WPLJ.
On February 25, 2014, WCBS 101.1 FM announced that Scott Shannon will be hosting a brand new Morning Show entitled Scott Shannon in the Morning which started on March 3