Saturday, February 29, 2020

February 29 Radio History

Fanny Brice as 'Baby Snooks'
➦In 1936...Fanny Brice brought her little girl character “Baby Snooks” to radio on “The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air” on CBS Radio.

Brice's first radio show was the Philco Hour in February 1930. Brice's first regular radio show was probably The Chase and Sanborn Hour, a thirty-minute program which ran on Wednesday nights at 8 pm in 1933.

From the 1930s until her death in 1951, Fanny made a radio presence as a bratty toddler named Snooks, a role she premiered in a Follies skit co-written by playwright Moss Hart. Baby Snooks premiered in The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air in February 1936 on CBS, with Alan Reed playing Lancelot Higgins, her beleaguered "Daddy". Brice moved to NBC in December 1937, performing the Snooks routines as part of the Good News show, then back to CBS on Maxwell House Coffee Time, with the half-hour divided between the Snooks sketches and actor Frank Morgan.

➦In 1948...KPUG 1170 AM in Bellingham, WA, signed on the air.

In 1968...Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" wins Grammy Award for Album of the Year, the first rock LP to do so.

➦In 1988...KWK-FM in St Louis Missouri changed call letters to WKBG, branding its Top40 format as Q106.5  (now Hubbard's WARH)

➦In 2008...Rocky Allen aired his last show at WPLJ 95.5 FM NYC.

Allen's well-traveled career is best known for his streaks on New York radio station WPLJ, where he hosted an afternoon-drive show from 1993 until 1998, and again beginning in September 2005 until February 2008.

During his first run on the station, Allen underwent a series of surgeries beginning in October 1996 to remove calcium deposits believed to be the cause of persistent back pain.  Allen was partially paralyzed following the surgeries, and required the use of a wheelchair. In October 1997, after a year of not being able to walk, doctors advised Allen to undergo full-time rehab which they said might be the only way for him to be able to walk again.  This prompted Allen to go on a five-month leave of absence from radio, after which he was able to walk freely.

In January 1999, Allen made an unsuccessful move to WPLJ sister station WABC. The move was designed to complement WABC's non-political morning talk lineup of Art Bell and Laura Schlessinger.   The show never matched its afternoon ratings success, and was replaced 15 months later by Curtis and Kuby, who had vacated the morning show on the station to make room for Allen.

Allen proceeded to host the morning show on WDVD, Detroit in 2001. He was joined by Blain Ensley in 2002. Ensley had served as co-host on the Sports Guys.

Allen and Ensley returned to WPLJ on September 20, 2005, nearly seven years after leaving the station.

In a cost-cutting measure by WPLJ's parent company Citadel, the Rocky Allen Showgram was cancelled on February 29, 2008. Race Taylor, who was bumped to midday by the return of Allen, returned to the afternoon drive with a music-only format.

Allen briefly resurfaced in 2008 doing weekend sports talk on WEPN.

Davy Jones
➦In 2012…David Thomas Jones died from a heart attacked at age 66 (Born: 30 December 1945). He was an English singer-songwriter, musician, actor and businessman, best known as a member of the band the Monkees.

His acting credits include a Tony-nominated performance as the Artful Dodger in the original London and Broadway productions of Oliver! as well as a guest star role in a hallmark episode of The Brady Bunch television show and later reprised parody film; Love, American Style; and My Two Dads.

From 1966 to 1971, Jones was a member of the Monkees, a pop-rock group formed expressly for a television show of the same name. With Screen Gems producing the series, Jones was shortlisted for auditions, as he was the only Monkee who was signed to a deal with the studio, but still had to meet producers Bob Rafelson's and Bert Schneider's standards. Jones sang lead vocals on many of the Monkees' recordings, including "I Wanna Be Free" and "Daydream Believer".

The NBC television series the Monkees was popular, and remained in syndication. After the group disbanded in 1971, Jones reunited with Micky Dolenz as well as Monkees songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart in 1974 as a short-lived group called Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart.

Monkees activity ceased until 1996 when Jones reunited with Dolenz, Tork and Michael Nesmith to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band. The group released a new album entitled Justus, the first album since 1967's Headquarters that featured the band members performing all instrumental duties. It was the last time all four Monkees performed together.

In February 2011, Jones confirmed rumours of another Monkees reunion. "There's even talk of putting the Monkees back together again in the next year or so for a U.S. and UK tour," he told Disney's Backstage Pass newsletter. "You're always hearing all those great songs on the radio, in commercials, movies, almost everywhere." The tour (Jones's last) came to fruition entitled, An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour.

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