Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23 Radio History

➦In 1891...Nikola Tesla granted patent 454,622 for the coupled tuned circuit radio-frequency oscillator.

Nikola Tesla
Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before emigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant. His work in the formative years of electric power development was also involved in the corporate struggle between making alternating current or direct current the power transmission standard, referred to as the war of currents.

Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. He tried to put these ideas to practical use in his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission; his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project.

In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillator/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He even built a wireless controlled boat which may have been the first such device ever exhibited.

Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal "mad scientist." His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success.  He lived most of his life in a series of New York hotels, through his retirement. He died on 7 January 1943.

Tesla's work fell into relative obscurity after his death, but has experienced a resurgence in interest in popular culture since the 1990s.

Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone
➦In 1905...Mary Livingstone, the wife of Jack Benny, was born Sadye Marks in Seattle.  She was raised in Vancouver BC.  They married in 1927, and she joined him in some of his vaudeville routines, though she suffered attacks of stage fright.  The affliction continued when they moved into radio beginning in 1932.  In the mid 1950’s, at the height of his popularity she retired from show business, but lived another thirty years.  She died from cardiovascular disease June 30 1983 at age 74.

Edward P. Morgan 1954
➦In commentator & writer Edward P. Morgan was born in Walla Walla Wash.

After two decades in print journalism, from 1955-67 Morgan broadcast an evening radio program of news and commentary, “Edward P. Morgan and the News,” on ABC, that in 1956 won him the George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting’s most venerable honor. Later he would become one of the rotating anchors on TV’s ABC Evening News.

He died Jan 27, 1993 at age 82.

➦In 1933...Don McNeill debuted as host of The Breakfast Club.

The Breakfast Club is a long-run morning variety show on NBC Blue Network/ABC radio (and briefly on television) originating in Chicago, Illinois. Hosted by Don McNeill, the radio program ran from June 23, 1933 through December 27, 1968. McNeil's 35½-year run as host remains the longest tenure for an M.C. of a network entertainment program, surpassing Johnny Carson (29½ years) on The Tonight Show and Bob Barker (34⅔ years) on The Price is Right.

From 1993...

McNeill Breakfast Club combined music with informal talk and jokes often based on topical events, initially scripted by McNeill but later ad-libbed. In addition to recurring comedy performers, various vocal groups and soloists, listeners heard sentimental verse, conversations with members of the studio audience and a silent moment of prayer. The series eventually gained a sponsor in the Chicago-based meat packer Swift and Company. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.

➦In 1936...the Canadian Radio Act was passed, laying the groundwork for the CBC and more stable program funding than the current Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, through an annual license fee of $2.50 per radio set.   The CBC was also made the governing body of the airwaves.

➦In 1941...Front Page Farrell was heard for the first time on Mutual radio. In 1942, the program moved to NBC and stayed on the air until 1954. Sally and David Farrell were the central characters. A young actor, who would become a major motion picture star, played the role of David Farrell. He was Richard Widmark.

➦In 1947...Wendy Warren and the News debuted on CBS radio. The broadcasts continued until 1958. The program was not a newscast, in the traditional sense. It was a serial — one of many of the time. The unique thing about this particular show, however, was that Wendy Warren and the News did utilize a real three-minute newscast to open the show. The newscaster, delivering the news as part of the show, chose not to stay in the entertainment side of radio, but continued to be a true journalist and a legend at CBS. That newsman was Douglas Edwards, who within a year became the network’s first TV anchorman.

Dick Summer
➦In 1968...Dick Summer did his last show on WBZ 1030 AM, Boston. Summer was a pioneer in the evening "romance" style programming.

He manned the overnight shift at what was then a 50,000 watt powerhouse in Top 40 music, WBZ. His show was heard in 38 states and up in parts of Canada, too. You may find his voice familiar due to his commercial voice over work on radio and television for such clients as Resolve Carpet Cleaner and Binder & Binder.

Summer resume includes stops at  Indianapolis (WIBC and WISH), St. Louis (WIL) and New York (WNEW, WPLJ).

➦In 1986..This week's Street Talk From Radio&Records...

➦In 1995…Radio and television news anchor (ABC Radio Network, KUSI-TV San Diego, WABC-TV and WNBC-TV New York, KGO-TV San Francisco, KMOX-TV St. Louis, WXIX-TV Milwaukee) Roger Grimsby, who won six Emmy Awards during his 18-year tenure at WABC-TV, died of lung cancer at 66.

➦In 2006...Phil Hendrie did his last syndicated radio program and turned his attention to a full-time acting career.

➦In 2009…Radio/Television announcer/sidekick Ed McMahon died of bone cancer and pneumonia at age 86.

➦In 2009…Journalist/radio-TV host (WBBM-AM, WBBM-TV, WTTW-TV all in Chicago)/documentarian John Callaway, who hosted "Chicago Tonight"on WTTW for fifteen years, winning 16 Emmys and a Peabody Award, died after a heart attack at 72.

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