➦In 1900...Canadian wireless expert Reginald Fessenden, working for the US Weather Service at Brant Rock, Mass. near Boston, broadcast the world’s first voice communications by AM (amplitude modulation) radio wave for a distance of 1.6 km between two 13 metre towers. He asked his assistant, ‘Is it snowing where you are, Mr. Thiessen?’
➦In 1907...the longtime host of ABC radio’s Breakfast Club, Don McNeill was born at Galena Illinois.
McNeill's revamped show premiered in 1933, combining 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, beginning February 8, 1941. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.
He died May 7, 1996 at age 88.
➦In 1922...the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcast the first orchestral concert, the first program of dance music, the first radio talk program, and the first regular bulletin of general news from London.
➦In 1926...radio station KEX in Portland Oregon began broadcasting. It has been a clear channel 50,000-watt powerhouse at 1190 KHz since 1941.
➦In 1928...a permanent coast-to-coast NBC Radio network was formed. NBC had been formed two years earlier by General Electric, Westinghouse and RCA, with David Sarnoff as its chief organizer.
On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided its programming into two networks, called the Red and the Blue. Legend has it that the color designations originated from the push-pins early engineers used to mark affiliates of WEAF (red pins) and WJZ (blue pins), or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils.
The two NBC networks did not have distinct identities or "formats", and, beginning in 1929, they shared use of the distinctive three-note "NBC chimes". The NBC Red Network, with WEAF as its flagship station and a stronger line-up of affiliated stations, often carried the more popular, "big budget" sponsored programs. The Blue Network and WJZ carried a somewhat smaller line-up of often lower-powered stations and sold air time to advertisers at a lower cost. NBC Blue often carried newer, untried programs (which, if successful, often moved "up" to the Red Network), lower cost programs and unsponsored or "sustaining" programs (which were often news, cultural and educational programs). In many cities in addition to New York, the two NBC affiliated stations (Red and Blue) were operated as duopolies, having the same owners and sharing the same staff and facilities.
At this time, most network programs were owned by their sponsors and produced by advertising agencies. The networks had limited control over their schedules, as advertisers bought available time periods and chose which stations would carry a program regardless of what other sponsors might broadcast in other time periods. Networks rented out studio facilities used to produce shows and sold air-time to sponsors. The only network-produced programs were unsponsored programs used to fill unsold time periods (affiliated stations had the option to "break away" from the network to air a local program during these periods) but the network had the "option" to take back the time period if a network sponsor wanted the time period.
On April 5, 1927 NBC reached the West Coast with the launching of the NBC Orange Network, which rebroadcast Red Network programming to the Pacific states and had as its flagship station KGO in San Francisco. NBC Red then extended its reach into the Midwest by acquiring two 50,000–watt clear-channel signals, Cleveland station WTAM on October 16, 1930 and Chicago station WMAQ by 1931. On October 18, 1931, Blue Network programming was introduced along the NBC Gold Network, which broadcast from San Francisco's KPO. In 1936 the Orange Network name was dropped and affiliate stations became part of the Red Network. The Gold Network adopted the Blue Network name.
In a major move in 1931, RCA signed crucial leases with the new Rockefeller Center management that resulted in it becoming the lead tenant of what was to become in 1933 its corporate headquarters, the RCA Building, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
➦In 1947...In what would be a major development for radio and other electronics, the transistor is invented by three scientists at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. The trio would win the 1956 Nobel Prize in for their discovery.
➦In 1982..actor Jack Webb, creator & star of Dragnet, died as a result of a heart attack at age 62.
He started in radio as a deejay & failed comic, then found success as the lead in “Pat Novack For Hire.” In 1949 he started playing Sgt. Joe Friday on NBC radio, taking “Dragnet” to TV in 1951, where it continued until 1959.
A second run of the show began in 1967, during which Webb developed the spin-off “Adam 12.”
➦In 1987..."Good Morning, Vietnam," starring Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Bruno Kirby, and J.T. Walsh, opened in U.S. and Canadian movie theaters.
He was 86, and had worked until a month before his death, delivering his last report from City Hall on Nov. 20.
Brooks joined WINS, 1010 on the AM dial, as news director in 1962, when it was still one of the dominant Top40 music stations in the country, with a lineup of popular disc jockeys including Murray Kaufman, known as Murray the K.
When Westinghouse Electric Corporation, the station’s owners, decided to make WINS an all-news operation soon after Brooks’s arrival, he helped assemble the staff and lay the groundwork for one of the first all-news radio stations in the country — and the first in the city.
The switch took place on April 19, 1965. The blackout on Nov. 9 that year, which plunged most of the Northeast into darkness, put Brooks’s news team on the aural map.
By tapping into a transmission line based in New Jersey, WINS was one of the few radio outlets that managed to stay on the air. From a 19th-floor studio in Midtown Manhattan, Mr. Brooks and his reporters broadcast news and information throughout the night.
After several years as an executive and then a national correspondent for the Westinghouse Broadcasting radio station system, Mr. Brooks became a local reporter at WINS in 1970. His voice has been on the city’s airwaves almost every day since.
In understated dispatches between 30 seconds and one minute long, he reported on plane crashes, race riots, municipal near-bankruptcies, the tall ships, the Son of Sam, the Attica prison uprising and every mayoral administration from John V. Lindsay to Michael R. Bloomberg.
He liked the precision of short-form journalism. “When you’ve got 35 seconds, you’ve got to tell people what they need right away,” he said in an interview last year. “You want to get to the spine of the story.”