Wednesday, March 13, 2019

March 13 Radio History

➦In 1903...
Charles D. Livingstone was born (Died at age 83 - July 28, 1986) He was a favorite director of the two men who put Detroit in the forefront of live radio drama in the 1930s and '40s with such programs as "The Lone Ranger," "The Green Hornet" and "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon."

A University of Michigan graduate, Livingstone began his professional career as an actor in stock companies and on Broadway. He joined Detroit radio station WXYZ in 1933, playing minor roles in "Warner Lester" and "The Lone Ranger" and a major part in "Thrills of the Secret Service." George W. Trendle, an attorney, and John H. King, a theater owner, had decided to turn to the infant medium of radio after the stock market crash of 1929.

They found an assortment of writers, actors and directors, and bought WXYZ. Their successes with the "Ranger" and "Hornet" enabled them to expand the shows to WGN in Chicago and WOR in New York. The three stations became the mainstay of the Mutual Network in the mid-1930s.

Livingstone was named the station's dramatic director in 1938 and remained there until 1954, when he went to Hollywood to help film "The Lone Ranger" for television.

➦In 1922...WRR-AM, Dallas, TX signed-on.

WRR-AM was Texas’ first broadcast station when it signed on from Dallas.  Owned by the City of Dallas, the original studio and transmitter was located in the Dallas Fire Department central headquarters.

WRR-AM actually dates back to 1921 as the wireless operation of the Dallas Police and Fire Departments.

The station received a formal license as a "land station" from the Bureau of Navigation on August 4, 1921, and was assigned the call letters "WRR".  In later years, the call letters would be said to stand for “Where Radio Radiates”.   According to WRR’s original license, the station operated with a “composite” transmitting system (i.e. “homemade”), and was authorized to operate at a power of up to 100 watts, giving the station an approximate range of 200 nautical miles.

According to DFW Radio Archives, there were often long stretches of time when there were no fire or police calls to broadcast, so to ensure the equipment was indeed working (and perhaps satisfy their own curiosity with the strange new device), the dispatchers started to resort to other means of occupying the airwaves.  They would read articles from the Dallas News or Herald, read letters, and tell jokes.  Soon they had even brought in a phonograph player to place next to the microphone and send music over the airwaves.

A small but growing audience became fascinated by the magically transferred voices and music – these were the very beginnings of radio in north Texas.

WRR soon began to evolve into a “real” radio station.  WRR’s initial license was issued through the Bureau of Navigation and fell into a categorical no-man’s land - while operating as a “broadcast” station, it was licensed as if it were a point-to-point operation.  WRR did not receive a true broadcast license from the Commerce Department's Radio Division until March 13, 1922.

WRR-FM signed on in 1948, playing classical music.  WRR-AM focused on popular music until it switched to all-news in 1975.

Bonneville Broadcasting bought the station in 1978.  It became KAAM.  It became all-sports KTCK in 1994.  Today, Cumulus Media owns “Sports Radio 1310: The Ticket.”

The city kept WRR-FM, which remains on the air as a classical station.  Taxpayers do not sustain WRR.  It operates commercially, depending upon advertising revenue.

➦In 1923...Production of the first radio set incorporating a loudspeaker. All previously produced sets had required the use of headphones.

➦In 1938...“World News Roundup” aired CBS Radio Network for the first time.

The CBS World News Roundup is the longest-running network radio newscast in the United States. It airs weekday mornings and evenings on the CBS Radio Network.

Robert Trout
It first went on-air on March 13, 1938 at 8 p.m. ET as a one-time special in response to growing tensions in Europe -- specifically the Anschluss, during which Adolf Hitler annexed Austria.

When the show first went on the air it was hosted by veteran radio personality Robert Trout. The first show gave the world the voices of Edward R. Murrow and William L. Shirer. In fact, it was the first time Murrow had ever delivered a news report. During the early years of the war, Murrow's reports from London and Shirer's reports from Berlin were essential listening to anyone trying to keep informed on events unfolding in Europe.

The program was a 38-minute special report from multiple locations around the world as the pre-war crisis mounts. It was the first time that on-the-scene European field correspondents were linked with a central anchor in New York for a national broadcast. A recording of the first episode, as well as some others, is available at the Internet Archive.

Most broadcast references credit either CBS President William S. Paley or News Director Paul White as coming up with the idea for the show, as a way to trump Max Jordan's NBC coverage of the Anschluss. The previous day, Shirer had flown from Vienna to London at the request of Murrow (the CBS European chief) to give the first uncensored eyewitness account of Germany's takeover of Austria.

It was White who relayed the order to Murrow and Shirer for the first Roundup. The two, Murrow in Vienna and Shirer in London, then had the responsibility of linking up reporters and circuits that same day...a Sunday, when many of the key people would be mostly unreachable.

The format was so successful that it was repeated the following evening, and then revived later that year during the Sudetenland crisis. Eventually, it evolved into a daily show.

As World War II raged in Europe, the Roundup format spawned a weekend edition, The World Today. It was just before one 2:30 p.m. Eastern broadcast, on December 7, 1941, that White and World Today anchor John Charles Daly received word in New York that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Daly's report at the top of the show, among the first on any radio station or network, is the one most often used in audio retrospectives.


➦In 1956…'Elvis Presley' is the debut studio album by American rock and roll singer Elvis Presley. It was released on RCA Victor, catalog number LPM-1254, in March 1956.

The recording sessions took place on January 10 and January 11 at the RCA Victor recording studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and on January 30 and January 31 at the RCA Victor studios in New York. Additional material originated from sessions at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, on July 5, August 19 and September 10 of 1954, and on July 11, 1955.

The album spent ten weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in 1956, the first rock and roll album ever to make it to the top of the chart

Stacy Harris
➦In 1973...Stacy Harris died from an apparent heart attack at age 54  (Born - July 26, 1918). He was a Canadian-born actor with hundreds of radio, film and television appearances

Harris was best known for his role as agent Jim Taylor on ABC Radio's This is Your FBI. In 1946, Jerry Devine, that program's producer-director, told newspaper columnist Jack O'Brian: "Stacy has just the sort of voice I need for the quiet authority of the special agent on my show. On top of that, he's a good actor, and it's a combination on radio which can't be beat."

His other roles in radio programs included Batman in The Adventures of Superman, and Ted Blades in The Strange Romance of Evelyn Winters. He was also a member of the casts of Confession, Dragnet,  Pepper Young's Family, Destiny's Trails and Frontier Gentleman

He also appeared in scores of TV series over a 20 year period, including recurring roles in Bonanza, Dragnet, Wagon Train, Zane Grey Theatre, Perry Mason, Laramie & Return to Peyton Place.

➦In 1992…The Federal Communications Commission ruled that companies could now own as many as 30 AM and 30 FM stations. Previously the total permitted was 12.

➦In 2017...John Andariese, the white-haired, NBA Knicks radio and television analyst whose love of basketball earned him the nickname Johnny Hoops, died  at age 78.

“He was all basketball,” Marv Albert, one of Mr. Andariese’s radio and television partners, said in an interview. “He was in very good shape for a long time, and he was always looking for a game. One of his thrills was on game day at Madison Square Garden — he’d play on the court with Garden employees.”

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