Monday, July 1, 2019

July 1 Radio History

➦In 1897…Three years after the first issue of Billboard Advertising was published, the publication was renamed The Billboard.

➦In 1901...The “mother of the soap opera” Irna Phillips was born in Chicago.  She created at least 10 longrunning daytime dramas, including Painted Dreams, Guiding Light, the Road of Life, The Brighter Day, Woman in White, The Road to Happiness & Young Dr Malone on radio, and Another World, As the World Turns, and Days of Our Lives for TV.  Phillips also consulted on TV’s Peyton Place.   The ‘Queen of the Soaps’ died Dec 22 1973 of undisclosed causes at age 72.

Bill Stern
➦In 1907...Early sportscaster Bill Stern born (Died from a heart attack at age 64 – November 19, 1971). In 1984, Stern was part of the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame's inaugural class which included sportscasting legends Red Barber, Don Dunphy, Ted Husing and Graham McNamee. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame (1988) and has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Born in Rochester, New York, Stern began doing radio play-by-play commentary in 1925, when he was hired by a local station, WHAM, to cover football games.  NBC hired him in 1937 to host The Colgate Sports Newsreel as well as Friday night boxing on radio. Stern was also one of the first televised boxing commentators.

He broadcast the first televised sporting event, the second game of a baseball doubleheader between Princeton and Columbia at Columbia's Baker Field on May 17, 1939. On September 30, he called the first televised football game.

During his most successful years, Stern engaged in a fierce rivalry with Ted Husing of the CBS Radio Network. They competed not only for broadcast position during sports and news events, but also for the rights to cover the events themselves. They both served for many years as their networks' sports directors as well as being on-air stars.

According to the book Sports on New York Radio by sportscaster and Westwood One executive David J. Halberstam, Stern's remarkable career flourished despite a physical handicap. In 1935, on his way home from a football game in Texas, the car Stern was in got into an accident, injuring him severely enough that his left leg had to be amputated just above the knee.

Some observers consider Stern's style a blueprint in the 1940s for the style of Paul Harvey, ABC Entertainment Network social commentator, who adapted both Stern's newscasting (transforming his Reel One to Page One) and his stories about the famous and odd (to Rest Of The Story), although Stern made no effort to authenticate his stories 

➦In 1923...The AT&T webs set-up the first permanent radio network between WEAF New York and WMAF near Boston.

➦In 1934…The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) became the new regulator of broadcasting in the United States. The FCC is an independent agency of the U-S government created to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC serves the public in the areas of broadband access, fair competition, radio frequency use, media responsibility, public safety, and homeland security.

The FCC was formed by the Communications Act of 1934 to replace the radio regulation functions of the Federal Radio Commission.

➦In 1941.. Commercial television broadcasting started as FCC licenses went into effect, allowing broadcasters to transmit programs and advertising. The first channels to receive FCC licenses were WNBT in New York (now WNBC), operated by the National Broadcasting Company; and WCBW (now WCBS), operated by the Columbia Broadcasting System. Any broadcasting before that date was considered "experimental".

➦In 1956...NBC's Steve Allen Show capitalizes on the outrage of Elvis Presley's recent version of "Hound Dog" on The Milton Berle Show by presenting a new, "clean" Elvis, dressed in a tuxedo and singing "Hound Dog" to an actual basset hound perched on a stool.

Backstage, a humiliated Elvis explodes in fury at the Colonel for agreeing to the stunt. The next day, however, fans protest the show, demanding "The REAL Elvis."

➦In 1968…CHUM 104.5 FM changed formats from classical to progressive rock. The station now airs a HotAC format.

➦In 1970...Casey Kasem began the syndicated American Top 40 show. It presented in a countdown fromat the top 40 songs in the country as compiled by Billboard magazine.

American Top 40 began on the Independence Day weekend in 1970, on seven radio stations, the very first being KDEO in El Cajon, California (now KECR), which broadcast the inaugural show the evening of July 3, 1970. The chart data broadcast actually included the top 40 songs from the week ending July 11, 1970. The very first show featured the very last time both Elvis Presley and The Beatles had songs simultaneously in the Top 10.

It was originally distributed by Watermark Inc., and was first presented in mono until it started recording in stereo in September 1972.  In early 1982, Watermark was purchased by ABC Radio and AT40 became a program of the "ABC Contemporary Radio Network". The program was hosted by Casey Kasem and co-created by Kasem; Don Bustany, Kasem's childhhood friend from Detroit, MI; radio veteran Tom Rounds; and 93/KHJ Program Director Ron Jacobs, who produced and directed the various production elements.

The show began as a three-hour program written and directed by Bustany, counting down the top 40 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart. The show quickly gained popularity once it was commissioned, and expanded to a four-hour-program on October 7, 1978, to reflect the increasing average length of singles on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

In 1987....At 3:00 p.m. on July 1, 1987, Emmis Communications' WFAN signed on at 1050 kHz, replacing country music station WHN, and billing itself as the world's first 24-hour-per-day sports talk station.

The WFAN call sign was suggested by the wife of "The Fan's" first program director, John Chanin.   The first voice heard on WFAN was that of Suzyn Waldman, with a sports update,  followed by the first show, which was hosted by Jim Lampley.

Other hosts besides Lampley during WFAN's fifteen months at 1050 kHz included Bill Mazer, Pete Franklin, Greg Gumbel, Art Shamsky, and Ed Coleman. Ann Liguori is also one of the original hosts and was the first woman to host a show on the station. WFAN also inherited broadcast rights to the defending World Series champion New York Mets from WHN, who had held the rights for several years.

In early 1988 General Electric, which now owned NBC through its purchase of RCA two years earlier, announced that it would close the NBC Radio division and sell its stations. In February of that year GE made a multi-station deal with Emmis and, in New York, the WNBC license for 660 AM was included in the sale. On October 7, 1988 at 5:30 p.m., WFAN moved down the radio dial to replace WNBC at 660 kHz. 

Wolfman Jack
➦In 1995…Wolfman Jack died of an apparent heart attack  at his home in North Carolina at age 57.

Wolfman Jack had finished broadcasting his last live radio program, a weekly program nationally syndicated from Planet Hollywood in downtown Washington, D.C. 

Wolfman Jack said that night, "I can't wait to get home and give Lou a hug, I haven't missed her this much in years." Wolfman had been on the road, promoting his new autobiography. 

"He walked up the driveway, went in to hug his wife and then just fell over," said Lonnie Napier, vice president of Wolfman Jack Entertainment.

Fans first learned to love the Wolfman in 1963 on 250,000-watt XERF (Del Rio TX – Ciudad Acuna, Mexico), heard all over North America. You may also remember him as, that’s right, Wolfman Jack, in the 1973 movie American Graffiti. And he’s the same Wolfman The Guess Who sang about in their 1974 hit Clap for the Wolfman.

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