|Thomas Edison - 1878|
The phonograph was Edison's first major invention and the one that earned him the moniker "the wizard of Menlo Park" as the invention was so unexpected by the public as to appear magical. His first invention recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder, and although the recordings could only be played a few times due to low quality, Edison's reputation was cemented.
He demonstrated the device on November 29, 1877, having announced its invention days before. He would patent it later that February. Recalling a demonstration in December, an employee of Scientific American magazine wrote: " "In December, 1877, a young man came into the office of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, and placed before the editors a small, simple machine about which very few preliminary remarks were offered. The visitor without any ceremony whatever turned the crank, and to the astonishment of all present the machine said: "Good morning. How do you do? How do you like the phonograph?" The machine thus spoke for itself, and made known the fact that it was the phonograph..."
Edison did not improve on his design but Alexander Graham Bell invented an improved phonograph using wax cylinders in 1880.
➦In 1913...Announcer and actor Harry Bartell born (Died at age 90 – February 26, 2004). With his rather youthful sounding voice, Bartell was one of the busiest West Coast character actors from the early 1940s until the final end of network radio drama in the 1960s.
He was the Petri Wines announcer who interacted with “Dr. Watson” on 1940’s episodes of “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” and in the ’60’s was the announcer on CBS Radio’s “Dear Abby.” His TV acting credits include Gunsmoke and Dragnet plus Get Smart, I Love Lucy, Wild Wild West, and The Twilight Zone.
➦In 1917...Announcer George Walsh was born in Cleveland (died from heart failure at age 88 - Dec 5, 2005). He was also a newscaster at KNX 1070 AM L-A from 1952 to 1986.
Beginning in 1952, Walsh opened the weekly series that was broadcast live on radio with these words: “Around Dodge City and in the territory out West, there’s just one way to handle the killers and the spoilers, and that’s with a U.S. marshal and the smell of ‘Gunsmoke.’ ”
For 34 years, Walsh worked at KNX as an interviewer, sports reporter, newscaster and announcer for a number of shows, including a fashion show hosted by film costume designer Edith Head.
One show, “Music ‘Til Dawn,” featured mainly classical music and aired overnight from 1952 until about 1970. The show won a Peabody Award in 1966. Another, “This Is Los Angeles,” aired nightly at 8:15 and earned him a Golden Mike Award in 1961 from the Radio and Television News Assn. of Southern California.
➦In 1917...Merle Robert Travis born in Rosewood, KY (Died from a heart attack at age 65 – October 20, 1983). He was a country singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
His songs' lyrics often discussed both the lives and the economic exploitation of American coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are "Sixteen Tons," "Re-Enlistment Blues," "I am a Pilgrim," and "Dark as a Dungeon." However, it is his unique guitar style, still called Travis Picking by guitarists, as well as his interpretations of the rich musical traditions of his native Muhlenberg County, KY for which he is best known today. "Travis Picking" is a syncopated style of guitar fingerpicking rooted in ragtime music in which alternating chords and bass notes are plucked by the thumb while melodies are simultaneously plucked by the index finger.
During the '30 and '40s, he was heard regularly on WLW radio Cincinnati as a member of The Drifting Pioneers.
➦In 1918...Humorist, radio personality ad TV host Herbert Arthur "Herb" Shriner born (Died in a car accident at age 51 – April 23, 1970). He was frequently compared to humorist Will Rogers.
In 1940, Shriner was hired by NBC for occasional radio appearances, which led to a regular spot in 1942 and 1943 on the comedy-variety program Camel Caravan. During World War II, he served in a United States Army special services unit and performed for two years in USO shows for GIs in Europe. After the war, he appeared on a number of radio shows, including The Philip Morris Follies of 1946 with Johnny Desmond and Margaret Whiting.
In 1947 he appeared in a Broadway musical review called Inside U.S.A. The performances were panned by critics, but Shriner's monologues made it a success and carried the show for over a year. Shriner hosted Herb Shriner Time, a CBS Radio weekday program, in 1948 and 1949 with the Raymond Scott Quintet, singer Dorothy Collins, and announcer Durward Kirby. The program was initially titled Alka-Seltzer Time (not to be confused with the later Alka-Seltzer Time that starred Curt Massey and Martha Tilton). In August 1949, Shriner decided not to continue the program because it was too much work.
➦In 1927...Legendary sportscaster Vin Scully was born in the Bronx NY.
His 60-plus-year tenure with the Brooklyn & LA Dodgers is the longest of any broadcaster with a single club in professional sports history. Scully has called six World Series championships and 14 National League pennants for the club.
|Vin Scully cica 50s|
Scully was then recruited by Red Barber, the sports director of the CBS Radio Network, for its college football coverage. Scully impressed his boss with his coverage of a November 1949 University of Maryland versus Boston University football game from frigid Fenway Park in Boston, despite having to do so from the stadium roof. Expecting an enclosed press box, Scully had left his coat and gloves at his hotel, but never mentioned his discomfort on the air. Barber mentored Scully and told him that if he wanted to be a successful sports announcer he should never be a "homer", never listen to other announcers, and keep his opinions to himself.
In 1950, Scully joined Barber and Connie Desmond in the Brooklyn Dodgers radio and television booths. When Barber got into a salary dispute with World Series sponsor Gillette in 1953, Scully took Barber's spot for the 1953 World Series. At the age of 25, Scully became the youngest man to broadcast a World Series game. Barber left the Dodgers after the 1953 season to work for the New York Yankees. Scully eventually became the team's principal announcer. Scully announced the Dodgers' games in Brooklyn until 1957, after which the club moved to Los Angeles.
➦In 1929...NBC began using the iconic chimes as an identification sounder.
The NBC chimes came to their familiar configuration and sound after several years of on-air development. They were first broadcast over NBC's Red and Blue networks on November 29, 1929. However, there are disagreements about the original source of the idea. One story is that they came from WSB in Atlanta, Georgia, which allegedly used it for its own purposes until one day someone at NBC's headquarters in New York City heard the WSB version of the notes during a networked broadcast of a Georgia Tech football game and asked permission to use it on the national network.
|NBC Xylophone circa 1930|
Despite the relative simplicity and efficiency of the new, shorter chime sequence, problems still existed in other musical aspects of the sequence, such as the tempo, rhythm, and volume at which it was played, as well as the musical tone of the set chimes. Therefore the NBC chimes were mechanized in 1932 with a unit that could play the sequence perfectly and consistently. Richard H. Ranger, a former Radio Corporation of America (RCA) engineer who also invented an early form of the modern fax machine, invented the NBC chime machine that generated the notes by means of finely tuned metal reeds that were plucked by fingers on a revolving drum, much like a music box.
On November 20, 1947, NBC filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make the chimes a registered service mark for identification of radio broadcasting services, the first such audible service mark to be filed with that office. Registration was granted on April 4, 1950; the registration number was 0523616, serial number 71541873. This registration expired on November 3, 1992, as NBC Radio became part of broadcasting history. However a separate service mark registration was made in 1971 for identification of television broadcasting services (serial 72349496, registration 0916522). While this registration is still active, the chime was heard for the final time on the NBC television channel in 1976, the 50-year anniversary of the chime; the chime is now used only for various smaller purposes on the network.
The Fourth Chime
The variant sequence B - D + G = G, based on a G-major arpeggio in second inversion, was known as "the fourth chime". An NBC Interdepartment Correspondence memo, dated April 7, 1933, documents the conception and initial purpose of the fourth chime.
The memo states "In anticipation of the Spring and Summer months, when many in key positions will not always be available at home telephones, the following Emergency Call System will go into effect on Monday morning, April 16."
The memo goes on to say that whenever a fourth tone is heard on the network chimes rung at 15-minute intervals, it will indicate that someone on an attached list is wanted. Upon hearing this fourth chime, all personnel on the list are instructed to call in to the PBX operator to ascertain whether or not the Emergency Call is for them. The chime would continue at 15-minute intervals over stations WEAF and WJZ until the wanted person communicated with the PBX operator. The list contained the names of the following NBC executives:
The "fourth chime" was also used to notify affiliates and their employees of pending urgent programming. This variant saw such use during wartime (especially in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor) and other disasters, most notably the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. According to NBC historians, the last official use of the "fourth chime" was in 1945, shortly after the end of World War II. However, according to a handwritten note appended to an NBC internal memo originally dated 1964 on the history and usage of the standard chime, this chime variant was used one final time in 1985 to symbolize the merger with GE.
➦In 1933...one of the earliest police ‘true crime’ radio dramas 'Calling All Cars' debuted on the CBS West Coast network. Calling All Cars is an old-time radio police drama in the United States. It also aired on the Mutual-Don Lee Network. November 29, 1933 - September 8, 1939 and carried by transcription on stations in other areas.
➦In 1941...the passenger ship, "Lurline", sent a radio signal after sighting a Japanese war fleet in the Pacific. Lurline was half-way from Honolulu to San Francisco on 7 December 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The ship's alleged reception of radio signals from the Japanese fleet became part of the Pearl Harbor advance-knowledge conspiracy theory.
➦In 1963..."I Want to Hold Your Hand" single released by the Beatles in the United Kingdom
➦In 1964...Dean "Dino On Your Radio" Anthony debuted on Top40 WMCA 570 AM, NYC.
He then went to an FM station for a while, then to Top 40 WWDJ in Hackensack NJ in 1971. He has since has worked for a variety of stations including mornings at WTFM in New York. Dean lives on Long Island where he is program director for WHLI, which he programmed for years.
Before coming to WMCA, Anthony was program director and afternoon personality at WPGC Washington, D.C., from 1960 to 1964 as Dean Griffith. Prior to that, he was at WGH Norfolk, Va.
Anthony died in October 2003 at age 68 from cancer.
Before appearing in television, Rayburn was a very successful actor and radio performer. He had a popular morning drive time radio show in New York City, first with Jack Lescoulie (Anything Goes) and later with Dee Finch (Rayburn & Finch) on WNEW (now WBBR). Radio history pegs Rayburn's pairings with Lescoulie and Finch as the first two-man teams in morning radio. When Rayburn left WNEW, Dee Finch continued the format with Gene Klavan.
Rayburn later landed the lead in the Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie when Dick Van Dyke left the production to star in his eponymous classic sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show. Listen to an aircheck from 1964 with Rayburn hosting NBC Radio Network's weekend Monitor Show. Click Here.
➦In 2001...Beatle George Harrison died of lung cancer at the age of 58. In May 2001, it was revealed that Harrison had undergone an operation to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs, and in July, it was reported that he was being treated for a brain tumour at a clinic in Switzerland.
Speaking outside his home northwest of London, Paul McCartney said, "I am devastated and very, very sad." Ringo Starr, speaking from Vancouver, British Columbia said, "We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter."
➦In 2008...Pioneering "Boss Radio" programmer Bill Drake, died of lung cancer at age 71.
It was later at KYNO in Fresno, California that he met Gene Chenault, who became his business partner. Together, the pair developed highly influential radio programming strategies and tactics, as well as working with future "Boss Jocks".
Drake-Chenault perfected the Top 40 radio format, which had been created by Todd Storz, Gordon McLendon and other radio programmers in the late 1950s, which took a set list of popular songs and repeated them all day long, ensuring the widest possible audience for the station's music. Jingles, news updates, traffic, and other features were designed to make Top 40 radio particularly attractive to car listeners. By early 1964, the era of the British Invasion, Top 40 radio had become the dominant radio format for North American listeners.
Drake streamlined the Top 40 format, using modern methods, such as market research and ratings demographics, to maximize the number of listeners. He believed in forward momentum, limiting the amount of disc jockey chatter, the number of advertisements and playing only the top hits, as opposed to less-organized programming methods of the past. Drake created concepts such as 20/20 News and counter programming, by playing music sweeps, while his competitors aired news. Drake-Chenault controlled everything from the specific DJs that were hired, to radio contests, visual logos, promotions and commercial policy. Drake essentially put radio back into the hands of programming, instead of sales. Drake hired the Johnny Mann Singers to produce the Boss Radio jingles, ensuring a bright, high-energy sound that engaged the listener, while providing a bridge from song to song.
After turning around the fortunes of Fresno's KYNO, Drake applied similar tactics to take KGB, from 14th to 1st in San Diego. KGB's owner, Willett Brown, suggested to his fellow RKO board members, that Drake could turn KHJ around.
In the Spring of 1965, Drake-Chenault were hired to turn KHJ in Los Angeles, from a financial and ratings loser into a success. Drake hired Ron Jacobs as program director, Robert W. Morgan in the mornings and "The Real Don Steele" in the afternoons. KHJ quickly jumped from near-obscurity, to the number one radio station in Los Angeles. Although it was criticized, "Boss Radio" moved faster and sounded more innovative than the competition, making it the #1 choice over competitors in Southern California.
Bill Drake also programmed KFRC in San Francisco, WOR-FM in New York, KAKC in Tulsa, WHBQ in Memphis, WUBE (AM) in Cincinnati, WRKO in Boston and 50,000 watt CKLW, in Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River from the city of Detroit.