Monday, October 23, 2017

October 23 Radio History

➦In 1904...pioneering NBC radio announcer Ford Bond was born in Louisville, Kentucky.

For more than twenty years in the 1930s and ’40s, he was the announcer for soap operas (Backstage Wife, Stella Dallas, David Harum, Easy Aces, etc), the American Album of Familiar music and other shows, including the advertising voice for a product called Bab-O.  He also was one of the NBC radio announcers of the 1934 World Series and the 1934 Baseball All-Star Game.  Later he served as radio consultant on Thomas E. Dewey‘s 1948 campaign for president.

He died at St. Croix, Virgin Islands on August 15, 1962 at age 57.

➦In 1928…RCA announced the creation of the Radio-Keith-Orpheum holding company, more commonly known as RKO, with David Sarnoff (general manager of RCA) as its chairman of the board.

➦In 1932...the "Fred Allen Show" premiered on radio.  Allen's radio show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the Golden Age of American radio.

His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny, but it was only part of his appeal; radio historian John Dunning (in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio) wrote that Allen was radio's most admired comedian and most frequently censored.

A master ad libber, Allen often tangled with his network's executives (and often barbed them on the air over the battles), while developing routines whose style and substance influenced fellow comic talents, including Groucho Marx, Stan Freberg, Henry Morgan and Johnny Carson; his avowed fans also included President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and novelists William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Herman Wouk (who began his career writing for Allen).

➦In 1940...Ellie Greenwich, songwriter with Jeff Barry on "Leader Of The Pack" by the Shangri-Las, "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes, "River Deep, Mountain High" for the Supremes & Four Tops and many others, was born in Brooklyn, New York.

Ellie Greenwich
Joining forces with legendary producer Phil Spector, a string of legendary hits were created, including: "Be My Baby," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "And Then He Kissed Me," "Chapel Of Love" and "River Deep, Mountain High." With Barry, this trend continued with number one smashes, such as "Hanky Panky," "Do Wah Diddy" and the epic "Leader Of The Pack," co-written with Shadow Morton.

Also, during these years, Greenwich reigned as one of New York's top demo/session singers and vocal arrangers, working with artists ranging from Dusty Springfield and Lesley Gore to Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra. One of her most exciting sessions was re-arranging the background vocals on Aretha Franklin's "Chain Of Fools" and working with Cissy Houston and the 'Sweet Inspirations.'

During one of her many demo sessions, Greenwich met and "discovered" Neil Diamond and went on to co-produce all his early hits such as "Cherry, Cherry" and "Kentucky Woman," doing background vocals as well.

She died of a heart attack in New York City August 26, 2009.

➦In 1963...Bob Dylan began to record "The Times They Are A-Changin'" at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City.

➦In 1971...The Hot 100..One of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era "Maggie May" remained king on this day for Rod Stewart.  It had to be a pretty good song to keep "Superstar" by the Carpenters away from #1.  The Osmonds were singing about a "Yo-Yo" while Cher made her move (10-4) with "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves".  Joan Baez, meanwhile, took a more serious tone with "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" at #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  Lee Michaels with his only hit "Do You Know What I Mean", Donny Osmond ventured off for a solo hit with his remake of the Steve Lawrence song "Go Away, Little Girl", the Stampeders' great song "Sweet City Woman" was at #8, Isaac Hayes moved from 50 to 9 (how's that for a hot song?) with "Theme From 'Shaft'" and Stevie Wonder's 27th career hit "If You Really Love Me" was at #10.

➦In 1972...WOR 98.7 FM becomes WXLO. (Now WEPN 98.7 FM/ESPN)

➦In 1976...The Hot 100..Although it was their 22nd hit and 11th Top 10, supergroup Chicago scored their first #1 on this date with "If You Leave Me Now".  Rick Dees had to surrender with "Disco Duck".  What a shame.  Otherwise, a pretty dynamite Top 10 with Walter Murphy's "A Fifth Of Beethoven" still in the list after 22 weeks, the great Boz Scaggs song "Lowdown", Orleans with "Still The One" and Wild Cherry's former #1 "Play That Funky Music".

The rest of the Top 10:  "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Hall & Oates were up with "She's Gone" and two great new entries--"Love So Right" from the Bee Gees, which moved from 16-9 and "Rock 'N Me" by Steve Miller.

➦In 2001...Apple introduces the iPod.

Bill Mazer (undated)
➦In 2013…Longtime New York City Radio/TV sportcaster/program host (WNEW-TV, WNBC-AM, WOR-AM, WFAN-AM, WEVD-AM, WVOX-AM) "the Amazin'" Bill Mazer, who earlier in his career worked in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Buffalo, died at the age of 92.

Born Morris Mazer, he was raised in Brooklyn and a fan of the Dodgers, spent 60 years in broadcasting before he retired in 2009. After 16 years covering sports in Buffalo, N.Y., he returned to New York when he was hired by WNBC-AM in 1964 to host a groundbreaking sports talk show in the afternoon.

“The first call was a kid, and he said, ‘I just want to ask you one question,’” Mazer told New York Newsday in a 2011 interview. “I said, ‘OK, go ahead.’ He said, ‘Who’s better: Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle?’”

Mazer later worked for New York’s WFAN, the first full-time sports talk station, which debuted in 1987.

Mazer served as an analyst for NHL games on CBS and did commentary for the Knicks, Nets, Rangers and Islanders before he joined WNEW-TV in 1971 to anchor its nightly sports coverage. On Channel 5’s Sports Extra, he often teamed and argued with former New York Jets defensive back John Dockery.

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