Saturday, March 16, 2019

March 17 Radio History

Kate Smith
➦In 1931...Kate Smith started to become a major star of radio. She began with her twice-a-week NBC series, Kate Smith Sings (quickly expanded to six shows a week), followed by a series of shows for CBS: Kate Smith and Her Swanee Music (1931–33), sponsored by La Palina Cigars; The Kate Smith Matinee (1934–35); The Kate Smith New Star Revue (1934–35); Kate Smith's Coffee Time (1935–36), sponsored by A&P; and The Kate Smith A&P Bandwagon (1936–37).

The Kate Smith Hour was a leading radio variety show, offering comedy, music, and drama with appearances by top personalities of films and theater for eight years (1937–45). The show's resident comics, Abbott and Costello and Henny Youngman, introduced their comedy to a nationwide radio audience aboard her show, while a series of sketches based on the Broadway production of the same name led to The Aldrich Family as a separate hit series in its own right in 1940.

Smith continued on the Mutual Broadcasting System, CBS, ABC, and NBC, doing both music and talk shows on radio until 1960.

Phil Baker
➦In 1933...Comedian Phil Baker debutes on NBC's Blue Network.  The Armour Jester rapidly rose to the top of the radio ratings, and also hosted the original $64 Question (Take It Or Leave It.).

➦In 1935...Major changes on KSO Clarinda, Iowa  gained a sister station in Des Moines, KRNT. To accommodate the new station, KSO moved to 1430 kc, a frequency previously used by KWCR, Cedar Rapids.  KWCR moved to Des Moines and given to KSO-AM call-sign.

Starting in 1925, KSO was authorized to operate from Clarinda, Iowa, on October 7, 1925.  The owner of the station was the A.A. Berry Seed Company. KSO was assigned the frequency of 241.8 meters (1240 kc) with a power of 500 watts. A used 500 watt Western Electric Transmitter was acquired from WHO, Des Moines. The first KSO broadcast was on November 2, 1925. The station used the slogan, "Keep Serving Others".

In 1927 KSO was moved to 1320 kc. Then, in the great revision of frequency assignments which occurred on November 11, 1928, KSO moved to 1380 with 1,000 watts power, but it had to share the frequency with WKBH, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. On January 18, 1929, KSO was ordered to reduce power to 500 watts; then, the share time order ended on February 28, 1931.

Iowa Broadcasting Co. entered into KSO's history in 1931 when it purchased the station from the Barry Seed Co. Iowa Broadcasting had been formed by Gardner and Mike Cowles, the newspaper publishing brothers who owned the Des Moines Register and Tribune, Minneapolis Star, and Look magazine. The sale from Barry Seed Co. to Iowa Broadcasting occurred on June 26, 1931.

For about a year KSO remained in Clarinda under Iowa Broadcasting ownership. One June 4, 1932, authority was received to suspend operations until October 1, 1932. The FRC granted permission in September 1932 for Iowa Broadcasting to move KSO to Des Moines. KSO returned to the air with studios and transmitter at the Register and Tribune building in downtown Des Moines on November 5.1932, but with a reduced power. KSO was now authorized to use 100 watts.

Note: On-Air Signs for KRNT and KSO
Major changes on March 17, 1935: KSO gained a sister station in Des Moines, KRNT, on March 17, 1935. To accommodate the new station, KSO moved to 1460 kc, a frequency previously used by KWCR, Cedar Rapids. KWCR was also owned by Iowa Broadcasting.

On September 11, 1989, the KSO call letters were retired.

Today, 1460 is owned by iHeartMedia. In early 2001, the call letters were changed to KXNO, and 1460 became an all sports station, featuring the Fox Sports Network.

Fred Allen
➦In 1956...John Florence Sullivan aka Fred Allen died from a heart attacked (Born - May 31, 1894). The Fred Allen Show radio (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, humorist James Thurber, and novelists William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Herman Wouk (who began his career writing for Allen).

Allen's first taste of radio came when he and his wife appeared on a Chicago station's program, WLS Showboat.

Allen was honored with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for contributions to television and radio.

➦In 1965...Quentin Reynolds died from cancer at age 62 (Born - April 11, 1902).   He was an American journalist and World War II war correspondent.  He also was a narrator on several radio & TV programs about World War2.

➦In 1978…"American Hot Wax"debuted in theaters.  It's the fictionalized account of the early days of disc jockey Alan Freed and is considered to be one of the best rock 'n' roll movies of all time.  It featured appearances and performances by Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Tim McIntire played Freed. Fran Drescher, Jay Leno, Laraine Newman, and Jeff Altman were also in the cast.

➦In 2004...Radio, TV Personality J.J. Jackson died from an apparent heart attack. (Born - April 8, 1941).  He was one of MTV's five original VJs (along with Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn). In his appearances on MTV, Jackson often went by and introduced himself as "Triple J".

 J J Jackson
Jackson first gained prominence while working at WBCN in Boston in the late 1960s, then at KLOS in Los Angeles for ten years. Jackson was one of the first DJs to introduce Americans to The Who and Led Zeppelin. In 1976, he was featured in a voice-only performance as a DJ of the fictional KGYS radio in the movie Car Wash. He was a music reporter for KABC-TV when he was tapped as one of MTV's original "fab five." As a VJ, Jackson hosted the long-awaited and much anticipated "unmasking" of KISS. He was one of the few African Americans to DJ an "album rock" radio station.

After five years at MTV, Jackson returned to Los Angeles radio, first at KROQ-FM in 1987, then as program director of modern rock/alternative station KEDG The Edge until May 1989. He later returned to KLOS, and hosted the afternoon shift at smooth jazz station KTWV "The Wave" for one year.  He also hosted Westwood One Radio Network's nationally syndicated radio show The Beatle Years from 1995 until his death.

➦In 2015…Veteran radio personality Jack Wood aka Charlie Brown died after a stroke at the age of 80.  Woods (left), who in 1962 and using the name "Charlie Brown" was a founding member of the popular Charlie & Harrigan morning show (with his first on-air partner Ron 'Irving Harrigan' Chapman, succeeded in 1966 by Paul Menard).

Charlie & Harrigan were first paired in 1966 at KLIF/Dallas before moving on to ratings success in Cleveland, Houston, and both KFMB and KCBQ in San Diego, where the duo invented “reconstructed syndication,” a way to spread their local success to more than 40 affiliates in both large and small markets across the country. Using specially tailored audiotapes delivered via UPS that included time checks, weather, and local information and references, listeners in every single city were sure that Charlie & Harrigan were just down the street.

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