Friday, May 3, 2019

May 3 Radio History

➦In 1904...Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby born (some sources list May 2 – Died from heart attack October 14, 1977).

He was he first multimedia star, Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses from 1931 to 1954.  His early career coincided with recording innovations that allowed him to develop an intimate singing style that influenced many male singers who followed him, including Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, and Dean Martin. Yank magazine said that he was "the person who had done the most for the morale of overseas servicemen" during World War II.   In 1948, American polls declared him the "most admired man alive", ahead of Jackie Robinson and Pope Pius XII.  Also in 1948, Music Digest estimated that his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music.

Crosby won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Father Chuck O'Malley in the 1944 motion picture Going My Way and was nominated for his reprise of the role in The Bells of St. Mary's opposite Ingrid Bergman the next year, becoming the first of six actors to be nominated twice for playing the same character. In 1963, Crosby received the first Grammy Global Achievement Award.  He is one of 33 people to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in the categories of motion pictures, radio, and audio recording.  He was also known for his collaborations with longtime friend Bob Hope, starring in the Road to... films from 1940 to 1962.

Crosby influenced the development of the postwar recording industry. After seeing a demonstration of a German broadcast quality reel-to-reel tape recorder brought to America by John T. Mullin, he invested $50,000 in a California electronics company called Ampex to build copies. He then convinced ABC to allow him to tape his shows. He became the first performer to pre-record his radio shows and master his commercial recordings onto magnetic tape. Through the medium of recording, he constructed his radio programs with the same directorial tools and craftsmanship (editing, retaking, rehearsal, time shifting) used in motion picture production, a practice that became an industry standard.[10] In addition to his work with early audio tape recording, he helped to finance the development of videotape, bought television stations, bred racehorses, and co-owned the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.

On September 2, 1931, Crosby made his nationwide solo radio debut. Before the end of the year, he signed with both Brunswick and CBS Radio. Doing a weekly 15-minute radio broadcast, Crosby became a hit.

His first commercial sponsor on radio was Cremo Cigars and his fame spread nationwide. After a long run in New York, he went back to Hollywood to film The Big Broadcast. His appearances, records, and radio work substantially increased his impact. The success of his first film brought him a contract with Paramount, and he began a pattern of making three films a year. He led his radio show for Woodbury Soap for two seasons while his live appearances dwindled. His records produced hits during the Depression when sales were down. Audio engineer Steve Hoffman stated, "By the way, Bing actually saved the record business in 1934 when he agreed to support Decca founder Jack Kapp's crazy idea of lowering the price of singles from a dollar to 35 cents and getting a royalty for records sold instead of a flat fee. Bing's name and his artistry saved the recording industry. All the other artists signed to Decca after Bing did. Without him, Jack Kapp wouldn't have had a chance in hell of making Decca work and the Great Depression would have wiped out phonograph records for good."

His social life was hectic. His first son Gary was born in 1933 with twin boys following in 1934. By 1936, he replaced his former boss, Paul Whiteman, as host of the weekly NBC radio program Kraft Music Hall, where he remained for the next ten years. Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day), with his trademark whistling, became his theme song and signature tune.

Crosby's vocal style helped take popular singing beyond the "belting" associated with Al Jolson and Billy Murray, who had been obligated to reach the back seats in New York theaters without the aid of the microphone. As music critic Henry Pleasants noted in The Great American Popular Singers, something new had entered American music, a style that might be called "singing in American" with conversational ease. This new sound led to the popular epithet "crooner".

During the Second World War, Crosby made live appearances before American troops who had been fighting in the European Theater. He learned how to pronounce German from written scripts and read propaganda broadcasts intended for German forces. The nickname "Der Bingle" was common among Crosby's German listeners and came to be used by his English-speaking fans. In a poll of U.S. troops at the close of World War II, Crosby topped the list as the person who had done the most for G.I. morale, ahead of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower, and Bob Hope.

The biggest hit song of Crosby's career was his recording of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", which he introduced on a Christmas Day radio broadcast in 1941. The song then appeared in his movie Holiday Inn (1942). His record hit the charts on October 3, 1942, and rose to No. 1 on October 31, where it stayed for 11 weeks. A holiday perennial, the song was repeatedly re-released by Decca, charting another sixteen times. It topped the charts again in 1945 and a third time in January 1947.

The song remains the bestselling single of all time.   According to Guinness World Records, his recording of "White Christmas" has sold over 100 million copies around the world, with at least 50 million sales as singles. His recording was so popular that he was obliged to re-record it in 1947 using the same musicians and backup singers; the original 1942 master had become damaged due to its frequent use in pressing additional singles. Although the two versions are similar, the 1947 recording is more familiar today.

➦In 1910...Norman Lewis Corwin born (Died at age 101 – October 18, 2011) . He was a writer, screenwriter, producer, essayist and teacher of journalism and writing. His earliest and biggest successes were in the writing and directing of radio drama during the 1930s and 1940s.

Corwin was among the first producers to regularly use entertainment—even light entertainment—to tackle serious social issues. In this area, he was a peer of Orson Welles and William N. Robson, and an inspiration to other later radio/TV writers such as Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Norman Lear, J. Michael Straczynski and Yuri Rasovsky.

Corwin was a major figure during the Golden Age of Radio. During the 1930s and 1940s he was a writer and producer of many radio programs in many genres: history, biography, fantasy, fiction, poetry and drama.

In the early 1930s, he became involved with radio broadcasting. He first worked as the radio editor of the Springfield MA Republican  and subsequently began broadcasting his own radio program. The date of his first broadcast has been reported as early as 1931. As radio editor of the Republican, he became known for his column "Radiosyncracies," which he published under the pseudonym 'Vladimir Shrdlu.' He also worked as a news commentator over WBZ and WBZA.  In June 1935, Corwin accepted an executive position in Cincinnati at station WLW. By 1937, Corwin was hired to host a poetry program called "Poetic License" on New York station WQXR, which led to his being hired by the CBS Radio Network to produce and direct cultural programs. He remained with CBS until 1949.

Rosemary Rice
➦In 1925...Rosemary Rice born (Died from a stroke at age 87 – August 14, 2012). Rice was best known for her role as Katrin Hansen, the oldest daughter in the television series, Mama, which aired on CBS from 1949 to 1957.  She provided the opening voice narration for Mama through her character.

Rice's acting career began during junior high student in Montclair, when she was cast in her first Broadway production, later attending New York's Professional Children's School. She appeared in twelve plays and musicals on Broadway.  Her Broadway credits included the 1943 production of The Naked Genius, a play written by Gypsy Rose Lee, as well as Dear Ruth and Junior Miss.

Rice's first radio appearance was on Grand Central Station. She enjoyed an active career in radio, appearing in mysteries, comedies and soap operas. Her best known role was as Betty Cooper in the Archie Andrews radio series.Other radio credits included Ma Perkins (as Laura),  The Right to Happiness (as Susan Wakefield), CBS Radio Mystery Theater, NBC Playhouse, Calvacade of America, Playhouse 90, When a Girl Marries (as Kathy), My True Story, Westinghouse Studio One, Young Doctor Malone (as Jill), and Let's Pretend.

In 1949, CBS debuted Mama, an early, live television series adapted from "Mama's Bank Account", a book written by Kathryn Forbes. The series, which was set in San Francisco, California, in the early 20th Century, centered on the life of a Norwegian American family.

➦In 1958...NYC personality Alan Freed faced controversy in Boston when he told the audience, "It looks like the Boston police don't want you to have a good time." As a result, Freed was arrested and charged with inciting to riot, and was fired from his job at 1010WINS.

➦In 1965...Personality The Real Don Steele started at 93KHJ-AM, Los Angeles in what would be a career that lasted decades at the station.  Here's some audio...

Steele became nationally-known as a DJ on radio station KHJ in Los Angeles, where he helped to promote the "ultrahip" Top40 Boss Radio format which began at 3pm on April 27, 1965.

He also appeared on TV as host Boss City and The Real Don Steele TV Show, a show which ran from 1965 to 1975 on KHJ-TV channel 9 in Los Angeles.

When the popularity of AM radio gave way to FM stereo in the 1970s, Steele continued to remain a popular personality at the station. Following the years at 93/KHJ, The Real Don Steele continued to be heard on Los Angeles radio stations, including KIQQ (K-100), KRLA, KCBS-FM and KRTH-FM (K-Earth 101), until his death in August 1997.

➦In 1982...President Ronald Reagan began the traditional of Saturday radio addresses by the Presidents.  While the Mutual Broadcasting Service estimated that as many as 1.5 million people could have been reached by the addresses, few stations carried the broadcasts and citizens seldom provided responses to the radio stations. However, the network news often reported on the speeches and The New York Times often times ran full texts of the addresses.

The growth of the Saturday presidential address is one element in the evolution of presidential rhetoric and a chief executive's drive to reach citizens. When President Ronald Reagan sought to harness his legislative agenda amid congressional and media wrangling.

➦In 1982...Beautiful music WTFM changes to Album WAPP in NYC

➦In 1992...Elizabeth Lennox died at age 98. She was early recording artist during the 1910s.  She was an early radio singer. SShe recorded cylinders for Thomas Edison.  In addition to her recordings Elizabeth appeared on NBC Radio until she retired from performing.

➦In 2006...Bob Dylan hosted his first show on XM Satellite Radio, playing favorite tracks by Prince, Wilco, Blur, Billy Bragg, Blur, and LL Cool J, among others.

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