Friday, March 15, 2019

March 15 Radio History

➦In 1679...Philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz described binary numbering. In mathematics and digital electronics, a binary number is a number expressed in the base-2 numeral system or binary numeral system, which uses only two symbols: typically "0" (zero) and "1" (one).

The base-2 numeral system is a positional notation with a radix of 2. Each digit is referred to as a bit. Because of its straightforward implementation in digital electronic circuitry using logic gates, the binary system is used by almost all modern computers and computer-based devices.

David Schoenbrun - 1950
➦In 1915...Journalist David Schoenbrun born (Died at age 73 - May 23, 1988), Schoenbrun enlisted in the Army in 1943 and became a World War 2 correspondent covering North Africa through to the liberation of France.

After the war, from 1947 to 1964, Schoenbrun worked for CBS, serving primarily as the network's bureau chief in Paris. He was one of the reporters known as Murrow's Boys.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, Schoenbrun served as a news analyst for WNEW Radio in New York (now WBBR) and other Metromedia broadcast properties, and later for crosstown WPIX Television and its Independent Network News operation. In the mid-1970s.

Schoenbrun is the author of On and Off the Air, a personal account of the history of CBS News through the 1970s.

➦In 1922...WSB-AM Atlanta signed-on.

First Employees Walter Iller, Walter Tison
The call-sign "WSB" carried an infamous history before it was assigned to a land-based broadcaster in Atlanta.

In very early days of radio licensing, sea-based broadcasters were included in the call-sign assignment system. The first licensee of the call-sign "WSB" was the S.S. Francis H. Leggett. After foundering off the Oregon coast on September 18, 1914, taking a toll of two of the 67 lives aboard, the call "WSB" was reassigned to the Firewood, the name of which forms a grim coincidence with its fate: the ship burned off the coast of Peru on December 18, 1919, with 28 persons on board, all of whom were saved.

Because superstitious seafarers objected to being issued a call "used by that ship which went down with all hands last month", "tainted" calls like "WSB" were quietly issued to unsinkable land stations.

Lambdin Kay, First GM
Originally on 740 kHz until the 1936 FCC band plan, WSB was the fourth radio station in the South, behind the first AM station, WBT 1110 AM in Charlotte, licensed in December, 1920... WNOX 990 AM in Knoxville, Tennessee licensed in November, 1921... and WWL 850 AM in New Orleans, licensed 13 days before WSB in March, 1922.

They, among others, are all considered "clear channel" stations. That designation is given to frequencies on which only one or two stations are assigned to a frequency that allows full power transmission day and night.

The WSB broadcast call sign stands for "Welcome South, Brother". Founded by the Atlanta Journal newspaper (once a competitor of the Atlanta Constitution, now merged), the station began broadcasting on March 15, 1922, just a few days prior to Constitution-owned WGM 710 AM (eventually swapped to WGST 640 AM.

➦In 1956...Elvis Presley signed a management deal with Colonel Tom Parker.  Their partnership was uniquely successful, Elvis being an entirely new force in popular music, and Parker an entrepreneurial genius able to market him.

A carnival worker by background, Parker moved into music promotion, earning the courtesy rank of ‘Colonel’ from a grateful singer Jimmie Davis, who had become governor of Louisiana. After discovering the teenage Tommy Sands, Parker talent-spotted the unknown Elvis Presley, and skillfully maneuvered himself into position as his sole representative with control over much of his private life. Within months, he had won Presley a recording contract with the prestigious RCA Victor record label, made him a star with his first single Heartbreak Hotel, negotiated lucrative merchandising deals, made plans for TV appearances as well as a new career as an actor in film musicals.

➦In 1964... Pioneering radio deejay Alan Freed indicted by Federal Grand jury for income tax evasion. On January 23, 1986, Freed was part of the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. In 1988, he was also posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.  On December 10, 1991, Freed was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

➦In 1971...CBS announced the cancellation of The Ed Sullivan Show.

From 1948 until its cancellation in 1971, the show ran on CBS every Sunday night from 8–9 p.m. E.T., and is one of the few entertainment shows to have run in the same weekly time slot on the same network for more than two decades (during its first season, it ran from 9 to 10 p.m. E.T.).

Virtually every type of entertainment appeared on the show; classical musicians, opera singers, popular recording artists, songwriters, comedians, ballet dancers, dramatic actors performing monologues from plays, and circus acts were regularly featured. The format was essentially the same as vaudeville and, although vaudeville had undergone a slow demise for a generation, Sullivan presented many ex-vaudevillians on his show.

It was at the time the longest-running variety show in television history. (The final show aired June 6, 1971; Sullivan died of esophageal cancer three years later at age 73.

➦In 1972...Robert W. Morgan of Los Angeles radio station 93 KHJ played Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" for 90 minutes straight. Police eventually raided the station fearing foul play, but discovered a publicity stunt instead.  Morgan was best known for his work at several stations in Los Angeles, California, in particular KHJ-AM. Morgan also did morning drive at KMPC-AM, KIQQ-FM and KMGG-FM, and finished his career at KRTH-FM, where he retired for health reasons in 1997. He died from lung cancer on May 22, 1998.

➦In 1976...WCFL 1000 AM abruptly dropped its Top 40 format in favor of The World's Most Beautiful Music, leaving WLS once again as Chicago's only AM Top 40 station. Station management released all disc jockeys who did not have "no cut" clauses in their contracts with the official explanation of the format change as "being more in keeping with the labor movement". Larry Lujack, still under contract with the station, stayed on at WCFL playing easy listening music until moving back to WLS in September 1976.  This format won few listeners from FM beautiful music stations such as WLOO, and by 1978 had been replaced by a gold-based adult contemporary format.

WCFL was sold April 3, 1978 to the Mutual Broadcasting System, which was then a subsidiary of the Amway Corporation. The history of the first and longest-lived labor radio station was over; after nearly 52 years, the "Voice of Labor" had been stilled.  The station began to identify itself as "Mutual/CFL." A magazine-type news/talk format was adopted, with sports talk in the evening hours and Larry King overnight, but ratings remained low. In 1982 WCFL changed to an MOR format playing standards and non rock hits of the '50s and '60s mixed in with some softer rock and roll oldies and soft '70s and '80s AC cuts and even a few currents. By the end of 1983, ratings were still low so WCFL evolved into an Adult Contemporary format

Today, the station airs ESPN as WMVP-AM.

➦In 2010... Retired Air Personality Ron Lundy WABC 770 AM, WCBS 101.1 FM NYC Lundy died of a heart attack at age 75 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Born as Fred Ronald Lundy June 25, 1934).  He had recently been recovering from a previous heart attack after being dehydrated.

Lundy was born June 25, 1934 in Memphis, Tennessee, the only child of Fred Sr., a railroad engineer, and Mary Lundy. He served in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from high school.

Following the completion of his military stint, he returned to his hometown and attended a local radio broadcasting school on the G.I. Bill. At the same time, he worked across the street at WHHM-AM, where he got his first on-air experience one night when he substituted for the regular disc jockey who failed to report for his shift. This resulted in Lundy being hired as a full-time radio announcer by Hodding Carter for WDDT-AM, the latter's new station in Greenville, Mississippi.

After a stop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at WLCS-AM, Lundy was brought to WIL-AM in St. Louis, Missouri in 1960 by Dan Ingram, who was the station's program director until the middle of the next year. Nicknamed the "Wil' Child", Lundy had a style which was described as a combination of "country and crawfish pie" by Bob Whitney, who also played a major role in the appointment.

Lundy was reunited with Ingram at WABC 770 AM in 1965. He made his New York radio debut on September 1, working the overnight shift as "The Swingin' Nightwalker."

Beginning in May 1966, he became the midday fixture at the station for the next sixteen years.  With his catchphrase "Hello, Love–this is Ron Lundy from the Greatest City in the World," he usually preceded Ingram's afternoon drive time program, and sometimes when Ingram was running late to the studio, Lundy would keep going until Dan arrived, doing impressions of The Shadow, where he would play Margo Lane and Lamont Cranston. The two best friends hosted "The Last Show" before WABC's format conversion from music to talk radio at noon on May 10, 1982.

In February 1984, Lundy resurfaced at New York's oldies station WCBS 101.1 FM in the mid-morning slot, following former WABC colleague Harry Harrison. According to program director Joe McCoy, the station created the slot especially for Lundy, reducing other shifts from four hours to three.

In June, 1997, Lundy's WCBS-FM show was awarded the 1997 "BronzeWorld Medal" at the New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards for the "best local personality".

Lundy retired from WCBS-FM on September 18, 1997. (Click Here to listen, courtesy of

During Ron's final show, he rests his hand on Dan Ingram's shoulder
Upon retiring from radio, Ron and his wife Shirley moved to the small town of Bruce, Mississippi.

Lundy's voice made two cameo appearances during his career. The first one was in an early scene in Midnight Cowboy, when Joe Buck, hearing a Lundy WABC broadcast while listening to his portable radio, realized that the bus he was riding soon approached New York City. The other was in Starship's 1985 hit "We Built This City."

Lundy was inducted the St. Louis Hall Radio Hall of Fame on January 1, 2006.

➦In 2015...longtime jazz radio host Robert "Bob" Parlocha died at age 76 (Born - April 18, 1938). He was an American jazz expert who was best known as a radio host and programmer. He was also a professional saxophone player and gourmet cook. He was in wide syndication with his nighttime jazz show Jazz With Bob Parlocha. He was best known for his 16-year run at Bay Area station KJAZ-FM (1978-94).

➦In 2018....iHeartMedia, the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a decade after a private-equity-led buyout left it with billions in debt.

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