Monday, August 19, 2019

August 19 Radio History

➦In 1903...Francis Hamilton "Fran" Striker born (Died from injuries suffered in a car accident – September 4, 1962).  He was a writer for radio and comics, best known for creating The Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon characters

Fran Striker
Born in Buffalo, NY, Striker attended Lafayette High School and the University of Buffalo. He dropped out of college and soon joined the staff of radio station WEBR (now WDCZ 970 AM Buffalo), working as an announcer. In 1929, he moved to WTAM in Cleveland, Ohio, where he served as announcer and continuity writer and wrote his first radio drama script, a biography of Stephen Foster. Lured back to WEBR as station manager, Striker wrote material ranging from skits to half-hour mysteries and Western scripts.

Striker soon began a long association with station owner George W. Trendle and radio station WXYZ in Detroit, which was trying to make a name for itself as a producer of radio drama, creating and writing the early series.

Late in 1932, Striker began working on The Lone Ranger; his earliest scripts were largely reworked from his earlier series Covered Wagon Days. A letter from Trendle dated Monday, January 30, 1933, clearly gives Striker credit for creating the character. However, by 1934 Striker was pressured by Trendle to sign over his rights to the Lone Ranger, and Trendle claimed credit as the creator. This sparked a long-term controversy over the creation of The Lone Ranger, extending as far as a 1960 television appearance by Striker on To Tell the Truth, which mentioned his role in the character's creation.

The actual first trial episodes of The Lone Ranger were broadcast on WEBR in Buffalo prior to the official premiere on WXYZ. When the Lone Ranger series began to gain popularity, Trendle convinced Striker to move to WXYZ, where he eventually became head of WXYZ's script department.

Striker was extremely prolific. In addition to writing 156 Lone Ranger scripts a year, he wrote The Green Hornet (built around the Lone Ranger's descendant, Britt Reid) and a short-lived series, Ned Jordan Secret Agent.

Striker was 59 when he died in a 1962 car accident. He was posthumously inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1998.

➦In 1929…"Amos 'n' Andy," the WMAQ Chicago radio comedy program starring Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, heard in Chicago and then in syndication since March 1928, made its network debut on NBC Radio Blue Network. Under a special arrangement, Amos 'n' Andy debuted coast-to-coast November 28, 1929, on NBC's Pacific Orange Network and continued on the Blue. WMAQ was then an affiliate of CBS and its general manager tried, to no avail, to interest that network in picking up the show.  At the same time, the serial's central characters — Amos, Andy and the Kingfish — relocated from Chicago to Harlem. The program was so popular by 1930 that NBC's orders were to only interrupt the broadcast for matters of national importance and SOS calls. Correll and Gosden were making a combined salary of $100,000, which they split three ways to include announcer Bill Hay, who was with them when they started doing radio.

The program stayed on the air until November 1960.

➦In 1955...1010WINS radio, one of the first stations in the United States to play rock and roll/Top40  music full time, announced it will not play "copy" white cover versions of R&B (DJs must play Fats Domino's "Ain't It A Shame," not Pat Boone's)

➦In 1974...Cousin Brucie started at WNBC 660 AM.  He aired on 77WABC for 13 years and 4,014 broadcasts until August 1974, when he jumped to rival station WNBC. He left three years later and teamed with entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman to become the owner of the Sillerman Morrow group of stations.

➦In 1975...WQIV 104.3 FM NYC ended it AOR format at 2:00 PM. (Today the station is WAXQ).

WQIV was a short-lived FM rock station (November 7, 1974 - August 25, 1975) owned by Starr Broadcasting that replaced classical WNCN.  During the brief run, the station's progressive album-oriented rock appealed to long-time WNEW-FM listeners and included some veteran 70s FM rock DJs including Rosko and Carol Miller The station was called WQIV because it broadcast in quadraphonic stereo sound (although very few people had quad-capable receivers.)

The first selection played on the air after the changeover was Electric Light Orchestra's "Roll Over Beethoven".  The Listeners Guild continued its fight, and eventually forced a change back to classical music when an application was filed for the frequency by a new group headed by William Benton of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Starr relented, and in a negotiated settlement, sold the station to GAF Broadcasting. WQIV signed off with "Funeral for a Friend" by Elton John. The station then played the last 2 notes of the last classical song on the original WNCN that were cut off, then said "sorry for the interruption". The first selection played on the air after the change back was from Bach's B-minor Mass, "Et resurrexit".

GAF itself was going through some turmoil and when a new chairman was elected, he sold WNCN to Clear Channel for $100 million. In December of 1993, the call letters were changed to WAXQ.

Andre Baruch and Bea Wain
➦In 2017...Beatrice Ruth Wain died  at age 100 (Born - April 30, 1917).  She was a Big Band-era singer and radio personality born in the Bronx, New York City. She had a number of hits with Larry Clinton and his Orchestra. After her marriage she and her husband became involved in radio, helming a show titled "Mr. and Mrs. Music".

Wain made her debut on radio at age six as a "featured performer" on the NBC Children's Hour. As an adult, she sang regularly on The Larry Clinton Show (NBC 1938), Monday Merry-Go-Round (NBC Blue 1941-1942),  Starlight Serenade (Mutual 1944) and Your Hit Parade.

Following her musical career, Wain worked with Andre Baruch as a husband-and-wife disc jockey team in New York on WMCA, where they were billed as "Mr. and Mrs. Music".

In 1973, the couple moved to Palm Beach, Florida, where for nine years they had a top-rated daily four-hour talk show from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. on WPBR before relocating to Beverly Hills.

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