Saturday, April 27, 2019

April 27 Radio History

Samuel Morse 1840
➦In 1791...Samuel Morse was born Samuel Finley Breese Morse (Died – April 2, 1872). He was an American painter and inventor.

After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code, and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.

Original Morse Telegraph
In 1825 New York City had commissioned Morse to paint a portrait of Lafayette in Washington, DC. While Morse was painting, a horse messenger delivered a letter from his father that read, "Your dear wife is convalescent". The next day he received a letter from his father detailing his wife's sudden death.   Morse immediately left Washington for his home at New Haven. By the time he arrived, his wife had already been buried.  Heartbroken that for days he was unaware of his wife's failing health and her death, he decided to explore a means of rapid long distance communication.

While returning by ship from Europe in 1832, Morse encountered Charles Thomas Jackson of Boston, a man who was well schooled in electromagnetism. Witnessing various experiments with Jackson's electromagnet, Morse developed the concept of a single-wire telegraph. The original Morse telegraph, submitted with his patent application, is part of the collections of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.  In time the Morse code, which he developed, would become the primary language of telegraphy in the world. It is still the standard for rhythmic transmission of data.

➦In 1927..Pacific Coast Biscuit Company launched KPCB in 1927 from Seattle.  Queen City Broadcasting took over the station in 1935, changing the call letters to the KIRO.  The station boosted its signal to 1,000 watts in 1937, and CBS soon moved its Seattle affiliation to KIRO. On June 29, 1941, KIRO's new 50,000-Watt transmitter on Maury Island became operational.

During the radio’s golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, KIRO recorded countless hours of CBS programming for time-delayed broadcast.  Many of these discs are the only extant recordings of CBS’ news coverage of World War 2, according to Faded Signals.

Bonneville International purchased KIRO-AM-FM-TV in 1964. By this time, KIRO-AM was carrying a full-service format of news, talk and middle-of-the-road music.  In 1973, it dropped CBS and affiliated with Mutual.  The station became “KIRO Newsradio 71” in 1974, replacing most music programming with news and talk.  The station spent the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s at the top of Seattle’s radio ratings.

On August 12, 2008, KIRO began simulcasting their programming on sister station KBSG-FM, which dropped their long-running classic hits format. This began the transition of KIRO Newsradio from AM to FM.  To complete the transition, KIRO switched to a sports radio format (as 710 ESPN Seattle) on April 1, 2009, and began carrying Seattle Mariners games, beginning in the 2009 season.[6] KIRO also simulcasts the Seattle Seahawks games with KIRO-FM, and has extensive team-related programming throughout the year. KIRO-FM continues the news/talk format.

Bonneville sold KIRO-TV to Belo in 1995 and then sold KIRO-AM-FM to Entercom.  Bonneville bought back the stations in 2007.

In 2008, KIRO-AM’s news/talk format moved to Bonneville-owned KBSG-FM.  The FM station’s call letters were changed to KIRO-FM.  KIRO-AM flipped to a sports format, picking up the ESPN affiliation in Seattle.

As of 2014, Bonneville owns the KIRO radio stations. Today the station airs sports-talk programming.

➦In 1932...Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem born in Detroit (Died at age 82 – June 15, 2014).  He was the host of several music radio countdown programs, notably American Top 40 from 1970 until his retirement in 2009. He also provided the voice of Norville "Shaggy" Rogers in the Scooby-Doo franchise from 1969 to 1997, and again from 2002 until 2009.

In the 1940s, "Make Believe Ballroom" reportedly inspired Kasem to follow a career in radio and later host a national radio hits countdown show.  Kasem received his first experience in radio covering sports at Northwestern High School in Detroit. He then attended Wayne State University, where he voiced children on radio programs such as The Lone Ranger and Challenge of the Yukon. In 1952, Kasem was drafted into the U.S. Army and was sent to Korea. There, he worked as a DJ/announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network.

After the war, Kasem began his professional broadcasting career in Flint, Michigan. From there, he spent time in Detroit as a disc jockey for radio station WJBK-AM, WBNY in Buffalo, New York and a station in Cleveland before moving to California. At KYA in San Francisco, the general manager suggested that he tone down his delivery and talk about the records instead. At KEWB in Oakland, California, Kasem was both the music director and an on-air personality.  He created a show that mixed in biographical tidbits about the artists and songs he played, and attracted the attention of Bill Gavin, who tried to recruit him as a partner. After Kasem joined KRLA in Los Angeles in 1963, his career began to blossom and he championed the R&B music of East L.A.

Kasem earned roles in a number of low-budget movies and acted in radio dramas. While hosting "dance hops" on local television, he attracted the attention of Dick Clark, who hired him as co-host of a daily teenage music show called Shebang, starting in 1964.

Casey Kasem on 1110 KRLA
Kasem's voice was the key to his career. At the end of the 1960s, he began working as a voice actor. In 1969, he started one of his most famous roles, the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! He also voiced the drummer Groove from The Cattanooga Cats that year.

Kasem co-founded the American Top 40 franchise in 1970, hosting it from its inception to 1988, and again from 1998 to 2004. Between January 1989 and early 1998, he was the host of Casey's Top 40, Casey's Hot 20 and Casey's Countdown. From 1998 to 2009, Kasem also hosted two adult contemporary spin-offs of American Top 40: American Top 20 and American Top 10. He helped found the American Video Awards in 1983 and continued to co-produce and host it until its final show in 1987.

Between January 1989 and early 1998, he was the host of Casey's Top 40, Casey's Hot 20, and Casey's Countdown. Also beginning in 1998 Kasem hosted two adult contemporary spinoffs of American Top 40, American Top 20 and American Top 10. Kasem retired from AT20 and AT10 on July 4, 2009 and both shows ended on that day.

In October 2013, Kerri Kasem said her father was suffering from Parkinson's disease, which a doctor had diagnosed in 2007; a few months later, she said he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which is often difficult to differentiate from Parkinson's. Due to his condition, he was no longer able to speak during his final months.

On June 15, 2014, Kasem died at St. Anthony's Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington at the age of 82.

➦In 2008...Radio Personality Big Ron O'Brien died from complications of pneumonia at age 57.

O'Brien grew up in Des Moines, IA, and worked at the high school radio station.  Ron worked at KBAB in Indianola, IOWA and then in May of 1970, he arrived at KUDL (1380 AM) where he did the 6 PM to 10 PM shift.  KUDL-FM (98.1 now KMBZ-FM) was automated with a MOR format but did simulcust KUDL-AM at 9 each night.  Ron left KUDL to go back to Des Moines (his hometown) in February of 1971 where he did afternoons at KYNA-FM.

During the ensuing years,he worked for many stations, including KTLK in Denver, WCAR in Detroit, WQXI in Atlanta, WCFL (now WMVP) in Chicago, WOKY in Milwaukee, WFIL in Philadelphia, KFI and KIIS in Los Angeles, KWK (now WARH) in St. Louis (where he stayed for nine years), KZDG in Denver, WYXR (which became WLCE during his tenure and is now WRFF) in Philadelphia, WNBC (now WFAN) and WXLO (now WRKS) in New York, WPGC in Washington, D.C., and WRKO in Boston.

Big Ron had been the host of the syndicated radio program "On the Radio" from 1985 until 1992. WOGL 98.1 FM in Philadelphia was his employer for the final six years of his life.

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