Tuesday, June 23, 2020

June 23 Radio History

➦In 1891...Nikola Tesla granted patent 454,622 for the coupled tuned circuit radio-frequency oscillator.

Nikola Tesla
Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before emigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant. His work in the formative years of electric power development was also involved in the corporate struggle between making alternating current or direct current the power transmission standard, referred to as the war of currents.

Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. He tried to put these ideas to practical use in his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission; his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project.

In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillator/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He even built a wireless controlled boat which may have been the first such device ever exhibited.

Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal "mad scientist." His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success.  He lived most of his life in a series of New York hotels, through his retirement. He died on 7 January 1943.

Tesla's work fell into relative obscurity after his death, but has experienced a resurgence in interest in popular culture since the 1990s.

Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone
➦In 1905...Mary Livingstone was born Sadye Marks in Seattle.  She was the wife and radio partner of comedian Jack Benny.  They married in 1927, and she joined him in some of his vaudeville routines, though she suffered attacks of stage fright.  The affliction continued when they moved into radio beginning in 1932.  In the mid 1950’s, at the height of his popularity she retired from show business, but lived another thirty years.  She died from cardiovascular disease June 30 1983 at age 74.

Edward P. Morgan 1954
➦In 1910...Edward P Morgan born (Died  – January 27, 1993) was a journalist and writer who reported for newspapers, radio, and television media services including ABC, CBS networks, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

A native of Walla Walla, Washington, Morgan began his news career with The Seattle Star in 1932. He worked in print journalism for two decades, for United Press International, The Chicago Daily News, and Collier's Weekly before joining CBS as a radio and TV reporter.

From 1955 to 1967, Morgan broadcast an evening radio program of news and commentary, "Edward P. Morgan and the News," that won him the George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's most venerable honor, in 1956.

In 1956, Morgan was based in New York City and working for the ABC Radio Network. He broadcast a professional news report of the collision of the ocean liners S.S. Andrea Doria and S.S. Stockholm off the Massachusetts coast, not telling listeners that his 14-year-old daughter had been aboard the Andrea Doria and was believed to have been killed.

Linda Morgan
His daughter, Linda Morgan, was discovered alive the next day, having been catapulted to a deck of the Stockholm when its bow knifed into her cabin. Dubbed by media the "miracle girl", she had received only a broken arm. Morgan then made another memorable broadcast emotionally describing the difference between reporting the news about strangers and how different it was with his own loved ones involved, describing also the extreme emotions he had experienced.

In 1960 Morgan received the Alfred I. duPont Award.

Morgan would move to ABC News in the early 1960s where, with Howard K. Smith, he anchored portions of ABC's coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the 1964 political conventions. He retired as an ABC commentator and Newsday Syndicate columnist in 1975. Edward P. Morgan died January 27, 1993 at his home in McLean, Fairfax County, Virginia.

After two decades in print journalism, from 1955-67 Morgan broadcast an evening radio program of news and commentary, “Edward P. Morgan and the News,” on ABC, that in 1956 won him the George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting’s most venerable honor. Later he would become one of the rotating anchors on TV’s ABC Evening News.

He died Jan 27, 1993 at age 82.

➦In 1933...Don McNeill debuted as host of The Breakfast Club.

The Breakfast Club is a long-run morning variety show on NBC Blue Network/ABC radio (and briefly on television) originating in Chicago, Illinois.

Hosted by Don McNeill, the radio program ran from June 23, 1933 through December 27, 1968. McNeil's 35½-year run as host remains the longest tenure for an M.C. of a network entertainment program, surpassing Johnny Carson (29½ years) on The Tonight Show and Bob Barker (34⅔ years) on The Price is Right.

From 1993...

McNeill Breakfast Club combined music with informal talk and jokes often based on topical events, initially scripted by McNeill but later ad-libbed. In addition to recurring comedy performers, various vocal groups and soloists, listeners heard sentimental verse, conversations with members of the studio audience and a silent moment of prayer. The series eventually gained a sponsor in the Chicago-based meat packer Swift and Company. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.

➦In 1936...the Canadian Radio Act was passed, laying the groundwork for the CBC and more stable program funding than the current Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, through an annual license fee of $2.50 per radio set.   The CBC was also made the governing body of the airwaves.

➦In 1941...'Front Page Farrell' was heard for the first time on Mutual radio from June 23, 1941 to March 13, 1942, and on NBC from September 14, 1942, to March 26, 1954. The episodes broadcast on Mutual originated at WOR  making the program the first live serial that Mutual broadcast from New York City.  Sally and David Farrell were the central characters. A young actor, who would become a major motion picture star, played the role of David Farrell. He was Richard Widmark.

Les Tremayne (as Gil Kendal) and Florence Freeman (as Wendy Warren)
➦In 1947...'Wendy Warren and the News' debuted on CBS radio. The broadcasts continued until 1958. Wendy Warren and the News was a radio soap opera in the United States. It was broadcast on CBS weekday afternoons, June 23, 1947 - November 12, 1958.  The program was notable for the title character's reporting actual "women's news" in addition to appearing in a more traditional soap opera role.

Douglas Edwards
One old-time radio reference book called Wendy Warren and the News a "show within a show." Another said the program was "a unique insertion in the schedule and there was nothing like it elsewhere."

Each episode began with real-life news presented by CBS newsman Douglas Edwards, followed by "a few items of particular interest to women" presented by Florence Freeman in the role of the title character, Wendy Warren.  Then the actual soap opera began, relating the "trials and tribulations" of Warren's daily life.

The plot featured Warren as a two-media journalist, reporting for a fictional newspaper (the Manhattan Gazette) as well as on radio.  As was typical of radio soap operas, the heroine's personal life was a primary focus, such as in one episode when "Wendy walked out of the studio at the conclusion of their broadcast into the arms of a forgotten fiance, a U.S. flyer that she thought had been killed five years before in China. At the time when he returned, Wendy was engaged to her publisher boss."

Dick Summer
➦In 1968...Dick Summer did his last show on WBZ 1030 AM, Boston. Summer was a pioneer in the evening "romance" style programming.

He manned the overnight shift at what was then a 50,000 watt powerhouse in Top 40 music, WBZ. His show was heard in 38 states and up in parts of Canada, too. You may find his voice familiar due to his commercial voice over work on radio and television for such clients as Resolve Carpet Cleaner and Binder & Binder.

Summer resume includes stops at  Indianapolis (WIBC and WISH), St. Louis (WIL) and New York (WNEW, WPLJ).

➦In 1995…Roger Grimsby died (Born - September 23, 1928). He was a journalist, television news anchor and actor. Grimsby, who for 18 years was seen on the ABC Television Network flagship station WABC in New York City, is known as one of the pioneers of local television broadcast news.

Grimsby was a U.S. Army veteran who was stationed in Germany before serving in the Korean War. It was during his stint in the Army that the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) sparked his interest in news broadcasting.

Roger Grimsby
Grimsby returned to his native Duluth, Minnesota, where he began his anchoring career in 1954, serving as an announcer for WEBC Radio. Shortly thereafter, he decided to switch to the growing medium of television, working as a correspondent and news director at various television stations around Minnesota and Wisconsin, including WEAU-TV Eau Claire, WISC-TV Madison, and WXIX-TV (now WVTV) Milwaukee. He then spent two years (1959–1961) at KMOX (now KMOV) in St. Louis, before becoming the anchor and news director at ABC-owned KGO-TV in San Francisco, in 1961.

In 1968 Grimsby was brought to WABC-TV in New York City. Grimsby started as anchor of WABC's 11:00 p.m. news broadcast, Roger Grimsby and the Noisemakers, on June 3, 1968. Just two days later, Grimsby was thrust into the national spotlight as anchor of ABC's coverage of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

A six-time Emmy Winner, Grimsby was fired from WABC in April 1986 and, in an incident recounted by several of his colleagues, including Tom Snyder (who reported the incident on The Late Late Show soon after Grimsby's death, ABC further punished Grimsby by buying a building on Columbus Avenue across from WABC's Lincoln Square studios where three bars Grimsby often frequented stood and evicting the bar owners from the building.

A year after his WABC departure, Grimsby was hired by WNBC-TV in May 1987. Beginning in June, his role was almost exclusively as a commentator, as Grimsby would be featured as part of the station's daily Live at Five newscast in a brief segment where he offered his take on a news story of the day with his usual deadpan style. He also worked as an assignment reporter. When WNBC's corporate sibling, WNBC 660 AM, signed off the air in 1988, Grimsby was dispatched to the radio station's studio to cover the closure live. As it turned out, a late transmitter switch to WFAN-AM meant that Grimsby's voice was the very last to be heard on WNBC-AM as he declared live to TV viewers: "You heard the countdown. It's over".

In 1990, he relocated to California where he and George Reading of KMST became the first anchor team on San Diego television station KUSI's newly-launched 10:00 p.m. newscast. After only a few months, Grimsby resigned from KUSI in February 1991.

He won six Emmy Awards during his 18-year tenure at WABC-TV, died of lung cancer at 66.

➦In 2006...Phil Hendrie aired his final syndicated radio program in order to concentrate on a full-time acting career.

➦In 2009…Ed McMahon died at age 86 from complications of bone cancer and pneumonia (Born - March 6, 1923).  He was an announcer, game show host, comedian, actor and singer. McMahon and Johnny Carson began their association in their first TV series, the ABC game show Who Do You Trust?, running from 1957 to 1962. McMahon then made his famous thirty-year mark as Carson's sidekick, announcer and second banana on NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from 1962 to 1992.

He also hosted the original Star Search from 1983 to 1995, co-hosted TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes with Dick Clark from 1982 to 1998 and also presented sweepstakes for the direct marketing company American Family Publishers (not, as is commonly believed, its main rival Publishers Clearing House). McMahon annually co-hosted the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon from 1973 to 2008. In the 1970s and 80s, he anchored the team of NBC personalities conducting the network's coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

He was raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, McMahon put himself through college as a pitchman for vegetable slicers on the Atlantic City boardwalk. His first broadcasting job was at WLLH-AM in Lowell, television career launched in Philadelphia at WCAU-TV.

➦In 2009…Journalist/radio-TV host John Callaway died from a heart attack at age 72. He had stints at WBBM-AM, WBBM-TV, WTTW-TV, he also hosted "Chicago Tonight"on WTTW for fifteen years, winning 16 Emmys and a Peabody Award.

➦In 2016...NYC radio news anchor Bill Faher, for two decades the morning commute “voice of God” on all-news WCBS 880 AM, died at age 82.

Emmanuelle Vaugier is 44

  • Singer Diana Trask is 80. 
  • Actor Ted Shackelford (“Knots Landing”) is 74. 
  • Actor Bryan Brown (“The Thorn Birds”) is 73. 
  • Former “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson is 64. 
  • Actress Frances McDormand is 63. 
  • Drummer Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth is 58. 
  • Director Josh Whedon (“The Avengers,” ″Marvels’ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 56. 
  • Singer Chico DeBarge is 54. 
  • Actress Selma Blair is 48. 
  • Actor Joel Edgerton (“Loving”) is 46. 
  • Singer KT Tunstall is 45. 
  • Singer Virgo Williams of Ghostown DJs is 45. 
  • Actress Emmanuelle Vaugier (“Two and a Half Men”) is 44. 
  • Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz is 43. 
  • Actress Melissa Rauch (“The Big Bang Theory”) is 40. 
  • Singer Duffy is 36.

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