Friday, March 17, 2017

March 17 Radio History

Kate Smith
In 1931...Kate Smith came out of vaudeville to begin a 3-decade radio career with Kate Smith Sings, a quarter-hour several times a week on NBC.

Phil Baker
In 1933...comedian Phil Baker was heard on network radio for the first time when The Armour Jester was heard on the old NBC Blue network. Baker rapidly rose to the top of the radio ratings, and was quizmaster on the original $64 Question (Take It Or Leave It.)

In 1935...KSO-AM in Des Moines Iowa call sign is given to KWCR.

Starting in 1925, KSO was authorized to operate from Clarinda, Iowa, on October 7, 1925.  The owner of the station was the A.A. Berry Seed Company. KSO was assigned the frequency of 241.8 meters (1240 kc) with a power of 500 watts. A used 500 watt Western Electric Transmitter was acquired from WHO, Des Moines. The first KSO broadcast was on November 2, 1925. The station used the slogan, "Keep Serving Others".

In 1927 KSO was moved to 1320 kc. Then, in the great revision of frequency assignments which occurred on November 11, 1928, KSO moved to 1380 with 1,000 watts power, but it had to share the frequency with WKBH, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. On January 18, 1929, KSO was ordered to reduce power to 500 watts; then, the share time order ended on February 28, 1931.

Iowa Broadcasting Co. entered into KSO's history in 1931 when it purchased the station from the Barry Seed Co. Iowa Broadcasting had been formed by Gardner and Mike Cowles, the newspaper publishing brothers who owned the Des Moines Register and Tribune, Minneapolis Star, and Look magazine. The sale from Barry Seed Co. to Iowa Broadcasting occurred on June 26, 1931.

For about a year KSO remained in Clarinda under Iowa Broadcasting ownership. One June 4, 1932, authority was received to suspend operations until October 1, 1932. The FRC granted permission in September 1932 for Iowa Broadcasting to move KSO to Des Moines. KSO returned to the air with studios and transmitter at the Register and Tribune building in downtown Des Moines on November 5.1932, but with a reduced power. KSO was now authorized to use 100 watts.

Note: On-Air Signs for KRNT and KSO
Major changes on March 17, 1935: KSO gained a sister station in Des Moines, KRNT, on March 17, 1935. To accommodate the new station, KSO moved to 1460 kc, a frequency previously used by KWCR, Cedar Rapids. KWCR was also owned by Iowa Broadcasting.

On September 11, 1989, the KSO call letters were retired.

Today, 1460 is owned by iHeartMedia. In early 2001, the call letters were changed to KXNO, and 1460 became an all sports station, featuring the Fox Sports Network.

Fred Allen
In 1956...comedian Fred Allen suffered a heart attack & died at age 61. He was star of his own radio show under several titles and sponsorships from 1932 to 1949, was featured on NBC radio’s The Big Show from 1950-52, and had guested on TV’s What’s My Line & Colgate Comedy Hour until his death.

In broadcaster, war correspondent & author Quentin Reynolds succumbed to cancer at age 62.   He was a host & narrator on several radio & TV programs during & after WW II.

In 1978…The fictionalized account of the early days of disc jockey Alan Freed, "American Hot Wax," widely considered to be one of the best rock 'n' roll movies of all time, opened in North American theaters, featuring appearances and performances by Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Tim McIntire played Freed. Fran Drescher, Jay Leno, Laraine Newman, and Jeff Altman were also in the cast.

In 1989...WABC 770 AM moved to 2 Penn Plaza in NYC.

In 2004...J.J. Jackson suffered a fatal heart attack at age 62. Jackson, originally a radio DJ, was also one of the first “VJs” on MTV when it first launched in 1981.

Jackson first gained prominence while working at WBCN in Boston in the late 1960s, then at KLOS in Los Angeles for ten years. Jackson was one of the first DJs to introduce Americans to The Who and Led Zeppelin. He was a music reporter for KABC-TV when he was tapped as one of MTV's original "fab five." As a VJ, Jackson hosted the long awaited and much anticipated "unmasking" of KISS. He was one of the few African Americans to DJ an "album rock" radio station.

After five years at MTV, Jackson returned to Los Angeles radio, first at KROQ-FM in 1987, then as program director of modern rock/alternative station KEDG ("The Edge") until May 1989. He later returned to KLOS, and hosted the afternoon shift at smooth jazz station KTWV ("The Wave") for one year.

In 2015…Veteran radio personality (KCBQ and KFMB-San Diego, WAVA-Washington, WKYC-Cleveland, KLIF-Dallas)/National Radio Hall of Famer Jack Woods (left), who in 1962 and using the name "Charlie Brown" was a founding member of the popular Charlie & Harrigan morning show (with his first on-air partner Ron 'Irving Harrigan' Chapman, succeeded in 1966 by Paul Menard), died after a stroke at the age of 80.

Charlie & Harrigan Charlie Brown, a.k.a. Jack Woods, and Irv Harrigan, a.k.a. Paul Menard, were first paired in 1966 at KLIF/Dallas before moving on to ratings success in Cleveland, Houston, and both KFMB and KCBQ in San Diego, where the duo invented “reconstructed syndication,” a way to spread their local success to more than 40 affiliates in both large and small markets across the country. Using specially tailored audiotapes delivered via UPS that included time checks, weather, and local information and references, listeners in every single city were sure that Charlie & Harrigan were just down the street.

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