Monday, July 22, 2019

July 22 Radio History

➦In 1932...'The Father of AM' Reginald Fessenden died at age 65. The broadcasting inventor, engineer, had 300 radio patents.  

Until the early-1930s, it was generally accepted that another early radio pioneer, Lee de Forest, who conducted a series of test broadcasts beginning in 1907, and who was widely quoted promoting the potential of organized radio broadcasting, was the first person to transmit music and entertainment by radio. De Forest's first entertainment broadcast occurred in February 1907, when he transmitted electronic telharmonium music from his laboratory station in New York City.

The first widely publicized information about Fessenden's early broadcasts did not appear until 1932, when an article prepared by former Fessenden associate Samuel M. Kintner, "Pittsburgh's Contributions to Radio", appeared in the December 1932 issue of The Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers.

This reviewed information included in a January 29, 1932 letter sent by Fessenden to Kintner. (Fessenden subsequently died five months before Kintner's article appeared). In this account, Fessenden reported that on the evening of December 24, 1906 (Christmas Eve), he had made the first of two radio broadcasts of music and entertainment to a general audience, using the alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock. 

Fessenden remembered producing a short program that included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fu (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden playing Adolphe Adam's carol O Holy Night on the violin and singing Adore and be Still by Gounod, and closing with a biblical passage: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will" (Luke 2:14). 

He also stated that a second short program was broadcast on December 31 (New Year's Eve). 

The intended audience for both of these transmissions was primarily shipboard radio operators along the Atlantic seaboard. Fessenden claimed that the two programs had been widely publicized in advance, and the Christmas Eve broadcast had been heard "as far down" as Norfolk, Virginia, while the New Year Eve's broadcast had reached listeners in the West Indies.

In 1968...WIBC 93.1 FM Indianapolis became WNAP, but Naptown listeners didn't feel The Wrath of the Buzzard for a few more years. 

Jack Lescoulie
➦In 1987..WNEW 1130 AM Radio/TV personality, former Today Show host Jack Lescoulie died

On radio, he was billed as the "Grouchmaster" on The Grouch Club (1938–40), a program in which people aired their complaints about anything,  created by future TV legend Nat Hiken, creator of The Phil Silvers Show /You'll Never Get Rich and Car 54, Where Are You?. In the 1940s, he was morning-drive partner to Gene Rayburn on WNEW radio (now WBBR 1130 AM) in New York City, before turning over his role in the team to Dee Finch. The Lescoulie and Finch pairings with Rayburn provided what are believed to be radio's first two-man morning teams.

During World War II, Lescoulie served as a war correspondent, flying in Air Force planes on bombing missions over Italy.

Today's Frank Blair, J. Fred Muggs Dave Garroway
In the fall of 1947, Lescoulie became the "all night radio man" on the Mutual Broadcasting System's New York affiliate WOR 710 AM. On April 12, 1948, he portrayed a mysterious newscaster in "Twelve to Five," a Quiet, Please fantasy drama which recreated an all-night request radio program so convincingly that some listeners phoned in with requests. He returned to Quiet Please June 4, 1949, in the horror drama, "Tanglefoot."

On Today, he was teamed with Dave Garroway for over nine years, covering sports, news and features. The tall, blond performer was called ''the saver'' by Garroway because of his ability to enliven lackluster interviews with his wit. Often characterized as a good-humored, all-American boy, his frequently lighthearted tasks for ''Today'' included wrestling a walrus, interviewing a penguin and eating six breakfasts in one sitting. He departed 'Today' in 1961.

During the 1950's, Lescoulie also made commercials for Milton Berle, was an announcer for ''The Jackie Gleason Show'' on CBS and was the host of an NBC sports-interview series called ''Meet the Champions.'' He also filled in as host of NBC's ''Tonight: America After Dark,'' a show that briefly replaced the ''Tonight'' show in 1957.

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