Friday, July 28, 2017

July 28 Radio History

Rudy Vallee
➦In 1901...singer/bandleader Rudy Vallee was born in rural Vermont.

In the 1920’s and 30’s he was host of radio’s first big variety show, The Fleischmann’s Yeast  Hour, which introduced to the American public the likes of Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor & Kate Smith. Both The Aldrich Family & We The People originated as sketches on the Vallee show before becoming radio hits on their own.

He died July 3, 1986 at age 84.

➦In 1910...announcer Bill Goodwin was born in San Francisco. He was for years the announcer on The Burns & Allen Show, and as well was incorporated into the script playing a ladies man.  He was spokesman for Swan Soap and Maxwell House Coffee, among others, on radio; Carnation Evaporated Milk on television.  His last job was on The Bob Hope Radio Show (1953-55.)  He died following a heart attack May 9 1958 at age 47.

Judy Garland
➦In 1914...bandleader Carmen Dragon was born in Antioch Calif. He conducted the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra on NBC Radio’s “Standard Oil Hour”  broadcast for elementary schools in the late 1940s. On a less cultural level he conducted the orchestra on Maxwell House Coffee Time, for the Bickersons, and The Railroad Hour starring Gordon Macrae. His son Daryl continues the family’s musical tradition as the Captain of The Captain & Tennille. Carmen died Mar 28, 1984 at age 69.

➦In 1939...Judy Garland recorded one of the most famous songs of the century with the Victor Young Orchestra. The tune became her signature song and will forever be associated with the singer-actress. Garland recorded “Over the Rainbow” for Decca Records. It was the musical highlight of the film, “The Wizard of Oz”.

➦In 1954…The first newspaper story about Elvis Presley was published in the Memphis Press-Scimitar. Elvis had signed with Sun Records and just released his first single, "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" b/w "That's All Right, Mama," and the songs were beginning to get airplay on Memphis radio stations. The story noted that both sides of the record were being equally well received "on popular, folk, and race record programs. This boy seems to have something that appeals to everybody."

Billboard 7/2/62

➦In 1962...Westinghouse purchased then-Top40 WINS 1010 AM for $10 Million.

The station began broadcasting first during 1924 on 950 kHz as WGBS, named after and broadcasting from its owner, Gimbels department store. It moved to 860 kHz sometime around 1927, to 600 around 1930, settling on 1180 around 1931. The station was bought by William Randolph Hearst in 1932, and it adopted its present callsign (named after Hearst's International News Service) the same year, effective January 15.

It changed its frequency from 1180 to 1000 on March 29, 1941 as part of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement and then eventually to 1010 on October 30, 1943. The Cincinnati-based Crosley Broadcasting Corporation announced its purchase of the station from Hearst in 1945,though it would be over a year before Crosley would take control of WINS, in July 1946.

Crosley sold the station to J. Elroy McCaw's Gotham Broadcasting Corporation in 1953, and soon after WINS became one of the first stations in the United States to play rock and roll music. Alan Freed was WINS earliest famous personality as disc jockey. Freed was followed years later by Murray "the K" Kaufman. Sports broadcaster Les Keiter, a latter-day member of the first generation of legends in that field, served as sports director for a period in the 1950s. Keiter is perhaps best remembered for his recreations of San Francisco (formerly New York) Giants baseball games, which WINS carried in 1958 to keep disconnected Giants fans in touch with their team, who moved west along with the Brooklyn Dodgers the previous year.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, as the transistor radio became popular rock and roll solidified as a genre, thanks in large measure to what became known as top 40 radio. In New York, four stations battled in the category: WMCA, WMGM, and WABC and WINS. While WMCA was only 5000 watts, it was at the bottom end of the dial, which advantages coverage. The other three were all 50,000 watts, but only WABC was both non-directional and a clear channel station. Being lower on the dial than the others, it also had more coverage. Of those three, WINS was the most directional (aimed straight at New York's inner boroughs), with a weaker signal than the others toward the New Jersey suburbs and the Jersey Shore. In 1962, WMGM defected to a beautiful music format under its previous call letters, WHN, while WINS was purchased by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. WMCA became the top-rated top 40 station in the New York area by 1963, then WABC became the dominant Top 40 station in the whole market by 1965. WINS bowed out of Top 40 competition with the song "Out in the Streets", by The Shangri-Las, on April 18, 1965, at around 8 PM.

➦In 1974...announcer Truman Bradley, who in radio’s “golden era” was the golden voice of Roma Wines on CBS Radio’s ‘Suspense,’ died at age 69.  His long career took him from baseball playbyplay to soap operas, from Lady Esther Cosmetics to Raleigh Cigarettes.

Jackson Beck
➦In George Seaton, who invented the cry ‘Hi-yo Silver’ as the first actor to play The Lone Ranger on radio, died of cancer at age 68.  Later he would also win Oscars for writing Miracle on 34th Street and The Country Girl.

➦In 2004...Jackson Beck, the man who introduced the Superman radio show with, “Faster than a speeding bullet!”, died at age 92. He also starred in the title roles of radio’s Cisco Kid and Philo Vance, and impersonated Joseph Stalin and other world leaders for the March of Time radio series.

➦In 2004…Actor (Twelve O'Clock High, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Escape to Witch Mountain, Operation Pacific, Captain Midnight, East Side Kids) Sam Edwards, who began his career on radio (One Man's Family, Meet Corliss Archer, Father Knows Best, Gunsmoke, Dragnet, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, Suspense) and provided the voice of the adult Thumper in the Disney animated feature "Bambi," died at the age of 89.

➦In reporter Margot Adler, one of the signature voices on NPR for more than three decades, lost her battle with cancer at age 68.  Beginning in 1979 she covered everything from the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic to confrontations involving the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, N.C., to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. More recently, she had reported on cultural affairs and the arts.

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