Monday, April 13, 2020

April 13 Radio History

➦In 1930...WHOM AM NYC signed on.

This station was founded in 1925 by the New Jersey Broadcasting Corp., owned by Outdoor Advertising executive Harry O'Mealia, whose company owned thousands of billboards around the metropolitan area. WHOM was originally a Jersey City station, having taken over 1450 AM from the merged WIBS/WKBO.

WHOM debuted with a 15 minute inaugural broadcast on April 13, 1930 at 5:45pm. The host was chief announcer Howard Lepper, previously the manager of WIBS. Then, according to,  the station left the air to make time for WNJ and WBMS, returning to the air at 9pm for a gala show that lasted until 2am. In 1931, WHOM absorbed the airtime of WNJ, and the following year, it became a full-time station with the demise of WBMS.

In 1946, WHOM officially changed their "city of license" from Jersey City to New York.

In 1989, the station was sold to Infinity Broadcasting, owners of WXRK 92.3, among others. Calls were changed to WZRC on April 28, 1990 and the station instituted a heavy-metal rock format as "Z-Rock," a service of the Dallas-based Satellite Music Network and was so anxious to enter the New York market. In December 1992, WZRC switched to country music.

Then in 1993, Infinity signed a lease agreement with a Korean programming service making WZRC 1480  the first full-time Korean-language station in New York.

➦In 1953...Music ‘Til Dawn with host Bob Hall premiered on WCBS 880 AM NYC. American Airlines owned the program.  The show also aired on five other CBS-owned stations in cities served by the airline. The list of cities expanded to include at least eight others, with many hosts over the years all bearing the signature "soothing" voice.

The program's theme song, an orchestration of "That's All," introduced and ended each evening's program, and also ran under the announcer's voice at anytime the mike was open.  The show continued until 1970.

➦In 1969...Radio personality Jack Spector last show at WMCA 570 AM NYC.

Jack Spector at WHN
Spector began his career in 1955 and in 1961 became one of the original WMCA Good Guys. In late December 1963, WMCA, with Spector, earned the distinction of being the first New York City radio station to play the Beatles' Capitol Records' single, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (Outside New York, the single's broadcast debut is widely accepted to have occurred earlier at WWDC in Washington, D.C.)

In the late 1960s WMCA moved to a talk format. Spector stayed on as host of a sports talk show. In about 1971 Spector moved to WHN, then a vocal-based easy listening station. He remained for a while after WHN became a Country music station in 1973. In 1974, Spector left WHN to go to WCBS-FM where he hosted a 1955-1964 based Oldies show called "The Saturday Night Sock Hop" and another regular weekend shift. He was also a full-time swing host there, filling in for various air-staffers over the years. In 1983, Cousin Brucie began doing every third Saturday night of the month. Spector remained at WCBS-FM until the Spring of 1985.

In 1985, Spector was at WNBC as the original host of "Sports Night", eventually replaced by Dave Sims. He went then to WPIX-FM, which was playing an adult contemporary format. Upon their change to NAC and soon after to smooth jazz, he became one of the first air personalities on CD 101.9. Spector also worked as an optician when he was not on the air.

Late in 1988, Spector left WQCD and joined the staff of WHLI at Hempstead, New York playing an Adult Standards format. On March 8, 1994, he suffered an apparent heart attack at age 65and collapsed.

➦In 1970...Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen burst. (The astronauts managed to return safely.)

➦In 2009...Sportscaster Harry Kalas, play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia Phillies for 38 years and also a narrator for NFL films, died of heart disease at the age of 73.

He had collapsed in the Nationals Park press box at approximately 12:30 pm, several hours before the Washington Nationals' home opener against the Phillies.

Kalas joined NFL Films as a narrator in 1975. He became its primary voice, following the passing of John Facenda in 1984. He provided the narration to the highlights on Inside the NFL from its inception in 1976 through the 2008 season.

➦In 2018...Radio host Arthur William Bell died at age 72. Known as Art Bell, he was the original owner of Pahrump, Nevada based radio station KNYE 95.1 FM. And perhaps best known for his conspiracy theory in the paranormal, with his radio show "Coast to Coast" - which was syndicated across the nation.

Nellie McKay
  • Actor Edward Fox is 83.
  • Actor Paul Sorvino is 81.
  • Rhythm-and-blues singer Lester Chambers is 80.
  • Movie-TV composer Bill Conti is 78.
  • Rock musician Jack Casady is 76.
  • Actor Tony Dow is 75.
  • Singer Al Green is 74.
  • Actor Ron Perlman is 70.
  • Actor William Sadler is 70.
  • Singer Peabo Bryson is 69.
  • Bandleader/rock musician Max Weinberg is 69.
  • Bluegrass singer-musician Sam Bush is 68.
  • Rock musician Jimmy Destri is 66.
  • Comedian Gary Kroeger is 63.
  • Actress Saundra Santiago is 63. 
  • Rock musician Joey Mazzola (formerly w/Sponge) is 59.
  • Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov is 57.
  • Actress Page Hannah is 56.
  • Actress-comedian Caroline Rhea is 56.
  • Rock musician Lisa Umbarger is 55.
  • Rock musician Marc Ford is 54.
  • Reggae singer Capleton is 53.
  • Actor Ricky Schroder is 50.
  • Rock singer Aaron Lewis (Staind) is 48.
  • Actor Bokeem Woodbine is 47.
  • Singer Lou Bega is 45.
  • Actor-producer Glenn Howerton is 44.
  • Actor Kyle Howard is 42.
  • Actress Kelli Giddish is 40.
  • Actress Courtney Peldon is 39.
  • Pop singer Nellie McKay is 38.
  • Rapper/singer Ty Dolla $ign is 38.
  • Baseball outfielder Hunter Pence is 37.
  • Actress Allison Williams is 32.
  • Actress Hannah Marks is 27.

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