Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 22 Radio History

➦In Paul Frees was born in Chicago.  While much of his voice work was for bigscreen animators, he was much in demand in the OTR era of network radio (Escape, Suspense, Gunsmoke, Dangerous Assignment, Dr. Kildare, Nightbeat, On Stage, and the lead on The Green Llama.) He provided the voice of Boris Badenov in TV’s The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” he died of heart failure Nov. 2 1986 at age 66.

➦In station KVL 1370 Seattle went on the air at 6:30pm with more than 6 hours of musical celebration featuring live orchestras playing jazz, classical and Hawaiian music. Governor Roland H. Hartley delivered the dedicatory address. The station later evolved into KEEN, KEVR. KING 1090 and now KFNQ (“1090 the Fan”).

➦In 1941...CBS news correspondent Ed Bradley was born in Philadelphia.  He is best remembered for his 26 years on the newsmagazine 60 Minutes. During his earlier career he also covered the fall of Saigon, & was the first black television correspondent to cover the White House.  He received 19 Emmy Awards. He died from complications of leukemia Nov 9, 2006 at age 65.

➦In 1954...broadcast journalist Don Hollenbeck, who covered WWII for NBC & then joined CBS, becoming a frequent contributor to “You Are There”, being in poor health, committed suicide at age 49.

➦In 1957...Liverpool skiffle group The Quarrymen, later to morph into the Beatles, play their first major gig at a local fete by performing on the back of a coal truck.

Four years later to the day, the Beatles (with Pete Best on drums) would have their first formal recording session, performing "My Bonnie," "When The Saints Go Marching In," "Why Can't You Love Me Again," "Nobody's Child," and "Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby" while backing singer Tony Sheridan. The sessions, produced by Bert Kaempfert in Hamburg, Germany, also feature "Ain't She Sweet" and the instrumental "Cry For A Shadow," which are both performed by the group alone.

➦In 1992...legendary WABC 770 AM Program Director and consultant, Rick Sklar, died from complications during routine foot surgery.

Rick Sklar
Sklar grew up in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. He graduated from New York University and volunteered at WNYC radio as a writer. He then worked at WPAC in Patchogue, New York, and in 1954 moved to 1010 WINS where he was assistant program director.

In 1960, Sklar became program director at crosstown competitor WMGM 1050 AM.

He moved to WABC in 1962 and became program director there in 1963. Under his management, WABC became the model for tight-playlist, teenager-targeted Top 40 programming, with a strong signal and famed disc jockeys such as "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow, Dan Ingram, Chuck Leonard, and Ron Lundy.

His relationship with some of the DJs he oversaw was contentious at times. Scott Muni departed from WABC after a number of confrontations with Sklar over playlists including Sklar's refusal to remove Louis Armstrong's version of the #1 smash hit "Hello, Dolly" from the playlist at Muni's request.

In March 1977, Sklar was promoted to vice president of programming for ABC’s radio division. In 1984 he left ABC to start his own consulting firm, Sklar Communications. His autobiography, Rocking America: An Insider's Story: How the All-Hit Radio Stations Took Over America (ISBN 978-0312687977), was published by St. Martin's Press the same year.

In an interview recorded in 1982, when WABC switched from music to talk programming, Sklar said:
Everything has to end, that's life, WABC is … like anything else it's part of life, couldn't go on forever. But … it was a wonderful thing … it was a one-of-a-kind … I don't think there'll ever be another station quite like that. I mean, the scope of the thing was so huge, was so grand; everything that was done was on such a massive scale. We gave out buttons, we gave out 14 million with the WABC call letters and if we spot you we'll give you $25,000. You know, this stuff is … it's just not done today.… We'll miss it. 
Radio will go on and on forever. Radio's the most adaptable medium there is, and … the old WABC's place in radio will be remembered by everyone who ever heard it, who ever grew up with it, it'll be part of millions and millions—tens of millions of people's lives, and certainly the lives of everyone in the radio business. Now we just have to go on to new things, and I think we will.
Prior to his death, Sklar had been an avid runner for more than ten years, taking it up in the late 1970s. He ran his first New York City Marathon in 1982, finishing 4 hours, 21 minutes, and 36 seconds; coming in 642nd out of 857 who finished the race in his age group.

He began to have problems with his left foot, which necessitated him quitting the sport by 1990. In June 1992, he entered Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan for a minor operation that would allow him to run again.

Although in good health, he died on the operating table due to a lack of oxygen and other mistakes made by the hospital staff.

Rick Sklar was posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame the following year.

➦In 1998...WXLO Personality Rick Shaw died age the age of 53.  (Not to be confused with Rick Shaw in Miami)

Bruce Bradley
➦In 2013...Veteran radio personality (WBZ-Boston, KMOX-St. Louis) Bruce "Juicy Brucie" Bradley died at the age of 79.

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