Thursday, May 2, 2019

May 2 Radio History

➦In 1922... WBAP Fort Worth, TX signed-on.

The station shared time with Dallas stations WFAA and WRR. It was the first station in the United States to have an audible logo signal similar to the NBC chimes, the WBAP cowbell. According to President Herbert Hoover, the station's call letters stood for "We Bring A Program".

On May 15, 1923, the Federal Radio Commission expanded the broadcast band, and WBAP and WFAA moved to 630 kHz. Another expansion moved WBAP to 600 kHz effective April 15, 1927, and this frequency was shared with WOAI in San Antonio. On November 11, 1928, WBAP moved to 800 kHz, and on June 1, 1929, WFAA also moved to 800 kHz, sharing time (and NBC Red network affiliation) with WBAP.

Station owner Amon G. Carter was unhappy with having to share time on 800 kHz with WFAA. In May 1938, Carter Publishing purchased KGKO Wichita Falls (570 kHz) and moved it to Fort Worth as an affiliate of the NBC Blue network (which became ABC), and more importantly as a second frequency to be used when 800 kHz was not available. On March 29, 1941, as a consequence of the Treaty of Havana, WBAP and WFAA moved one last time, to 820 kHz.

Carter eventually sold half of KGKO to A.H. Belo, owners of WFAA, and on April 27, 1947, KGKO was replaced by a second shared frequency between WBAP and WFAA.

The dual frequency sharing arrangement between WBAP and WFAA continued through the 1950s and 1960s, with the stations switching frequencies several times a day. When WBAP changed frequencies, it signaled the change with a cowbell, which became widely associated with the station.

Even though the stations swapped frequencies several times each day, the network affiliations remained constant: NBC network programming stayed on 820 kHz and ABC network programming stayed on 570 kHz. This frequently proved confusing for announcers and listeners alike.

On May 1, 1970, the unique dual split-frequency lives of WBAP and WFAA ended when WBAP paid $3.5 million to WFAA in exchange for sole occupancy of 820 kHz (and the NBC affiliation).

WFAA took on 570 kHz (and the ABC affiliation) full-time. Once the frequency-sharing with WFAA ended in 1970, both stations were free to program musical formats, and WBAP began programming country music.

It also gained the added benefit of 820's clear-channel signal; previously WFAA controlled it during these prime nighttime hours. After a series of network affiliation changes in the late 1970s among WBAP, KRLD and WFAA, WBAP switched affiliations to ABC.

➦In 1928...KPQ-AM, Wenatchee, WA signed-on.
The original license for what would become KPQ was granted in 1927 to radio station entrepreneur Louis Wasmer, who named Seattle as the city of license and chose the call letters KGCL. He sold the not-yet-broadcasting station to a local sporting goods store, who officially changed the calls to KPQ. The store then resold it to Westcoast Broadcasting, who in 1928 "moved out" the station to Wenatchee.

➦In 1932...the first scheduled radio show featuring Jack Benny debuted on the NBC Blue Network. Here's a video clip from 1942.

Jack Benny first appeared on radio as a guest of Ed Sullivan in March 1932. He was then given his own show later that year, with Canada Dry Ginger Ale as a sponsor —The Canada Dry Ginger Ale Program, beginning May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing there for six months until October 26, moving the show to CBS on October 30. Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.

Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934 with Frank Black leading the band. He continued with The General Tire Revue for the rest of that season, and in the fall of 1934, for General Foods as The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny (1934–42) and, when sales of Jell-O were affected by sugar rationing during World War II, The Grape Nuts Flakes Program Starring Jack Benny (later the Grape Nuts and Grape Nuts Flakes Program) (1942–44). On October 1, 1944, the show became The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny, when American Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarettes took over as his radio sponsor, through the mid-1950s. By that time, the practice of using the sponsor's name as the title began to fade.

The show returned to CBS on January 2, 1949, as part of CBS president William S. Paley's "raid" of NBC talent in 1948-49. There it stayed for the remainder of its radio run, which ended on May 22, 1955. CBS aired repeats of previous 1953-55 radio episodes from 1956 to 1958 as The Best of Benny for State Farm Insurance, who later sponsored his television program from 1960 through 1965.

➦In 1941...the FCC okayed the regular scheduling of TV broadcasts by commercial TV stations to begin on July 1. But the onset in the US of WW2 delayed the effective start television until the end of the decade.

➦In 1960...WLS 890 AM, Chicago, Illinois, flipped its format from Country to Top 40.

WLS had been wholly owned and operated by the radio division of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) since the purchase of its parent company in 1959. Five years earlier WLS was merged with WENR, a station with which WLS had shared its frequency since the 1920s

Mort Crowley was the first on-air voice of the new WLS (6 AM); the first song played was "Alley-Oop" by the Hollywood Argyles, four full weeks before it debuted on the Hot 100. Other notable disc jockeys who worked at WLS over the years include Fred Winston, Art Roberts, Ron "Ringo" Riley, Gene Taylor, Larry Lujack, Dex Card, Clark Weber, Chuck Buell, Kris Erik Stevens, Joel Sebastian, Gary Gears, Jerry Kay, Bob Sirott, John Records Landecker, Yvonne Daniels, Steve Dahl, Garry Meier, Brant Miller, Tom Kent Steve King, and Tommy Edwards. Some of the production directors responsible for the sound of WLS were Ray Van Steen, Hal Widsten, Jim Hampton, Bill Price and Tommy Edwards.

In the 1960s WLS was a major force in introducing new music and recording artists. WLS was voted by broadcasters nationally as "The Station of the Year" in 1967, 1968 & 1969. John Rook was named "Program Director of the Year" in 1968 & 1969 as WLS was estimated attracting 4.2 million listeners weekly by Pulse research.

The WLS News Dept included Lyle Dean, Jeff Hendrix, Catherine Johns, Dick Harley, Harley Carnes, Linda Marshall, Karen Hand, Jim Johnson, Jerry Golden, Jim Wynne, Stan Dale, Bill Guthrie and Les Grobstein was the Stations Sports Director.

For More WLS History: Click Here  and Here.

WLS-AM flipped to a talk format on August 23, 1989 at 7 pm.
In 1963...DJ Dick Biondi did his last show on WLS-AM, Chicago. Here's some audio from a 1962 show.  He returned to WLS 94.7 FM and its Classic Hits format  in November 2006.

➦In 1972...Bruce Springsteen auditioned for Columbia Records’ legendary talent scout John Hammond in his New York office.  Hammond was so impressed that he arranged for Springsteen to perform that evening for other Columbia executives at the Gaslight Club. “The Boss” passed the audition with flying colors, and was signed that night to the Columbia label. His first album was released 8 months later.

➦In 1984...Game Show host and executive Jack Barry was born Jack Barach (Born - March 20, 1918).  He was best known as a game show host.

Barry served as host of several game shows in his career, many of which he developed along with Dan Enright as part of their joint operation Barry & Enright Productions.  His reputation became tarnished due to his involvement in the 1950s quiz show scandals and the ensuing fallout affected his career for over a decade.

Jack Barry
In 1956, Barry and Enright launched Tic Tac Dough and Twenty-One. Both quiz shows were hosted by Barry.  In 1958, a match between challenger Charles Van Doren and champion Herb Stempel was found to have been rigged, with Van Doren's victory having been pre-determined by the producers.

Though Enright and producer Albert Freedman actually carried out the rigging of Twenty-One, Barry admitted in the 1970s and 1980s his role in covering up for the partners. However, Barry himself was apparently not averse to "juicing" a show, even after the Twenty-One and Tic-Tac-Dough debacles left his career in eclipse.

Some years later,Barry borrowed $40,000 from his father-in-law and put a down payment on a Los Angeles-area radio station (KKOP 93.5 FM, Redondo Beach, later renamed KFOX, now KDAY). In later interviews, he stated that he bought the station specifically because it would require him to have a license from the FCC, and that if the FCC would be willing to grant him a license, it would decisively demonstrate that his reputation was no longer "tainted" by the game show scandals.

"Slowly," said a 1984 article in TV Guide that discussed game show hosts, "he began to receive calls: Would he fill in for five weeks on this game show? Yes. Of course."  In December 1968, he resurrected his game hosting career.

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