Thursday, April 2, 2020

April 2 Radio History

➦In 1872…Samuel Finley Breese Morse died at age 80. (Born April 27, 1791).  Morse was an American painter and inventor. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. 

He was a co-developer of the Morse code and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.

Gertrude Warner
➦In 1917...Gertrude "Trudy" Warner born (Died from cancer at age 69 – January 26, 1986). She was a voice talent who played multiple characters on radio productions during the Golden Age of Radio.

Warner's first starring role on radio came when she was 23, playing Rebecca Lane in Beyond These Valleys on CBS.  Her successful radio career continued for 28 years and well over 4,000 performances. She was considered one of the queens of daytime radio, appearing in dozens of daytime serials. Among her accomplishments was being the female lead on the dramatic anthology Brownstone Theater on Mutual.

Jack Webb
➦In 1920...John Randolph Webb born in Santa Monia (Died from an apprent heart attack at age 62 – December 23, 1982).  Best known as Jack Webb, he is most famous for his role as Sgt. Joe Friday in the Dragnet franchise (which he created). He was the founder of his own production company, Mark VII Limited.

Following his military discharge after WW2, Webb moved to San Francisco, where a wartime shortage of announcers led to a temporary appointment to his own radio show on KGO Radio. The Jack Webb Show was a half-hour comedy that had a limited run on ABC radio in 1946. Prior to that, he had a one-man program, One Out of Seven, on KGO in which he dramatized a news story from the previous week.

By 1949, he had abandoned comedy for drama, and starred in Pat Novak, for Hire, a radio show originating from KFRC about a man who worked as an unlicensed private detective. The program co-starred Raymond Burr. Pat Novak was notable for writing that imitated the hard-boiled style of such writers as Raymond Chandler, with lines such as: "She drifted into the room like 98 pounds of warm smoke. Her voice was hot and sticky--like a furnace full of marshmallows."

Webb's radio shows included Johnny Madero, Pier 23, Jeff Regan, Investigator, Murder and Mr. Malone, Pete Kelly's Blues, and One Out of Seven. Webb provided all of the voices on One Out of Seven, often vigorously attacking racial prejudice.

With much assistance from Sgt. Marty Wynn and legendary LAPD chief William H. Parker, Dragnet premiered on NBC Radio in 1949 and ran till 1957. It was also picked up as a television series by NBC, which aired episodes each season from 1952 to 1959. Webb played Sgt. Joe Friday and Barton Yarborough co-starred as Sgt. Ben Romero. After Yarborough's death, Ben Alexander joined the cast.

➦In 1947...The Big Story debuted on NBC Radio.  The show was a crime drama which dramatized the true stories of real-life newspaper reporters. The only continuing character was the narrator, Bob Sloane.

Its final radio broadcast aired March 23, 1955.

The radio series was top rated, rivaling Bing Crosby's Philco Radio Time.  Each week the program recognized the reporter who wrote the story on which that episode was based and the newspaper in which the story appeared. The reporter received $500, was interviewed on the air and was acknowledged in the introduction, as in this example:
"Pall Mall, famous big cigarette, presents The Big Story, another in a thrilling series based on true experiences of newspaper reporters. Tonight, to Russ Wilson of the Des Moines Tribune goes the Pall Mall award for The Big Story. Now, the authentic and exciting story of "The Case of the Ambitious Hobo."

The radio series was adapted for television where it debuted on NBC on September 16, 1949. The series continued to air on NBC until June 28, 1957, after which it appeared in syndication until 1958. The half-hour program was hosted by Robert Sloane, Norman Rose, Ben Grauer, and, finally, Burgess Meredith.

➦In 1964...As popular music’s most resounding commercial success, the Beatles have sold more than 2.3+ billion albums, while earning six diamond, 24 multi-platinum, 39 platinum and 45 gold albums in the United States alone. It is a remarkable sales record, by any measure, although their most historic, chart-making moment is easily the first week of April 1964, when the band held the top five positions on the vaunted Billboard charts, writes Kenneth Womack at Penn State University.

As the April 4, 1964, issue of Billboard magazine demonstrates, the Beatles were simply dominating the American music scene. And during that unforgettable week, their music occupied the top five chart positions — the only time in pop-music history that a single act has accomplished such a feat. With “Can’t Buy Me Love” holding down the top slot, “Twist and Shout” was second and “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me” rounded out the top five.

Even more incredibly, the Beatles held seven additional positions on Billboard’s Hot 100, including “I Saw Her Standing There” at No. 31, “From Me to You” at No. 41, “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” at No. 46, “All My Loving” at No. 58, “You Can’t Do That” at No. 65, “Roll Over Beethoven” at No. 68 and “Thank You Girl” at No. 79. As if to underscore the awe-inspiring power of Beatlemania during that fabled period, two Beatles tribute acts clocked hits that very same week, including the Carefrees’ “We Love You Beatles” at No. 42 and the Four Preps’ “A Letter to the Beatles” at No. 85. For April 11, 1964, issue of Billboard, the Beatles added two more hits to the Hot 100, including “There’s a Place” at No. 74 and “Love Me Do” at No. 81, giving them a total of 14 hits songs on the Billboard charts at the very same time.

➦In 1973...the CBS Radio Network started airing its top of the hour newscast 24-hours-a-day.

During the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, the CBS Radio owned-and-operated news stations had a superior style and sound: tight and cohesive production, lively presenters, excellent engineering and outstanding "audio logos" from a company called Identitones. This compilation contains a few stagers and sounders from the heyday of the CBS Radio local news format.

In partnership with CBS Laboratories, CBS Radio developed a unique system to advise affiliates of news bulletins. When activated from network headquarters, CBS NetAlert transmitted coded information over the network lines to each station to communicate anything from the start of a special feed to a national emergency. The system had the capability to override local programming for a special report from CBS News. A NetAlert receiver is seen toward the end of this video.

➦In 2017…Warren "Rhubarb" Jones died from a heart attack at age 65 (Born - August 9, 1951).  He was a DJ at Country WYAY Eagle 106.7 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the longest running morning radio personality in the Atlanta radio market, having been at the 106.7 spot on the FM dial from January 1985 to February 29, 2008.

Rhubarb Jones
His first job in radio was at WPID in Piedmont, Alabama.  He worked his way through West Georgia College by working in radio at WWCC in Bremen, Georgia. Upon graduation, Rhubarb moved to Columbus, Georgia and worked at WCLS. He later got into country music radio when he moved to WSKY AM in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1978, Rhubarb headed to WLWI-FM (I-92) in Montgomery, Alabama, where he served as program and music director and did the afternoon drive show.

Jones was widely known for his charity events like the Rhubarb Jones Celebrity Golf Tournament for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and his annual March Across Georgia for the LLS. Rhubarb was also an Atlanta co-host for the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon with WAGA TV 5 weathercaster Ken Cook.

Jones was a past winner of Radio Personality of the Year from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music and served on the board of directors for both organizations.

He was inducted into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in June 2001. In 2007, he was one of the first inductees into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

At 10:30 a.m. on February 29, 2008, Jones was dismissed from WYAY, along with 12 others from WYAY and sister station WKHX-FM. On April 21, 2008, it was announced that Jones would be a Senior Director of Development and a member of adjunct faculty as a Distinguished Lecturer of Mass Communications at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. He also served as Director of Special Projects for KSU as a Senior Development officer. On August 16, 2014, Rhubarb began hosting a weekend show on KOOL Classic Hits WRBZ 95.5 in Montgomery. This once again joined Rhubarb with Don Day, whom he teamed up with in 1978 as part of the air staff at WLWI in Montgomery.

Dr. Demento

  • Dr. Demento (radio personality) (79)
  • Emmylou Harris (country singer) (73)
  • Christopher Meloni (actor, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Oz) (59)
  • Linda Hunt (actress, The Year Of Living Dangerously, The Practice) (75)
  • Buddy Jewell (country star) (57)
  • Jesse Carmichael (keyboardist, Maroon 5) (39)
  • Adam Rodriguez (actor, CSI: Miami, Roswell, Magic Mike) (45)
  • Michael Fassbender (actor, Shame, X-Men: First Class, Jane Eyre, Inglorious Basterds, 12 Years A Slave) (43)
  • Jesse Plemons (actor, Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, Fargo, The Post) (32)

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