Thursday, June 25, 2020

June 25 Radio History

In 1935...Radio personality Ron Lundy was born. Lundy was a popular radio announcer on 77 WABC and WCBS 101.1 FM in New York City from the mid 1960s to his retirement from WCBS-FM in 1997.  He died March 15, 2010.

➦In 1942...'It Pays to Be Ignorant' first aired on Mutual. It was a radio comedy show which maintained its popularity during a nine-year run on three networks.

The series was a spoof on the authoritative, academic discourse evident on such authoritative panel series as Quiz Kids and Information Please, while the beginning of the program parodied the popular quiz show, Doctor I.Q. With announcers Ken Roberts and Dick Stark, the program was broadcast on Mutual from June 25, 1942 to February 28, 1944, on CBS from February 25, 1944 to September 27, 1950 and finally on NBC from July 4, 1951 to September 26, 1951. The series typically aired as a summer replacement.

The satirical series featured "a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it." Tom Howard was the quizmaster who asked questions of dim-bulb panelists Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell and George Shelton.

Each episode would start with some jokes ("Do married men live longer than single men?"... "No, it only seems longer.") and an introduction of the experts. After this, three or four questions would be discussed in detail: some posed by Howard, some picked at random by a guest from the audience. These questions often had the answer obvious in the query ("What town in Massachusetts had the Boston Tea Party?") or were common knowledge.

➦In 1970…The Federal Communications Commission handed down legislative ruling 35 FR 7732 ordering  radio stations could no longer put telephone calls on the air without the permission of the person being called.

➦In 1976...songwriter/singer & broadcast personality Johnny Mercer died from a cancerous brain tumor (Born John Herndon Mercer November 18, 1909).

Johnny Mercer - 1947
He was also a record label executive who co-founded Capitol Records with music industry businessman Buddy DeSylva and Glenn E. Wallichs.

He is best known as a Tin Pan Alley lyricist, but he also composed music. He was also a popular singer who recorded his own songs as well as songs written by others. From the mid-1930s through the mid-1950s, many of the songs Mercer wrote and performed were among the most popular hits of the time. He wrote the lyrics to more than 1,500 songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. He received nineteen Academy Award nominations, and won four Best Original Song Oscars.

His songs included That Old Black Magic, Swinging on a Star, Accentuate the Positive, Hooray for Hollywood, and Days of Wine & Roses.

➦In 1988...Mildred Elizabeth Gillars died (Born in Portland, Maine- November 29, 1900). She was nicknamed "Axis Sally", was an American broadcaster employed by Nazi Germany to disseminate propaganda during World War II. Following her capture in post-war Berlin, she became the first woman to be convicted of treason against the United States.  In March 1949, she was sentenced to ten to thirty years' imprisonment. She was released in 1961.

In 1940, she had obtained work as an announcer with the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), German State Radio.

Mildred Gillars
By 1941, the US State Department was advising American nationals to leave Germany and German occupied territories. However, Gillars chose to remain because her fiancé, Paul Karlson, a naturalized German citizen, said he would never marry her if she returned to the United States. Shortly afterwards, Karlson was sent to the Eastern Front, where he was killed in action.

Gillars' broadcasts initially were largely apolitical. This changed in 1942 when Max Otto Koischwitz, the program director in the USA Zone at the RRG, cast Gillars in a new show called Home Sweet Home. She soon acquired several names amongst her GI audience, including the Berlin Bitch, Berlin Babe, Olga, and Sally, but the one most common was "Axis Sally". This name probably came when asked on air to describe herself, Gillars had said she was "the Irish type… a real Sally."

In 1943, an Italian-American woman, Rita Zucca, also began broadcasting to American troops from Rome, using the name "Sally". The two often were confused with each other and even thought by many to be one and the same.

She remained in Berlin until the end of the war. Her last broadcast was on May 6, 1945, just two days before the German surrender.

Arif Martin
➦In 2006…Music producer/arrranger Arif Martin, who spent 30 years with Atlantic Records, died from pancreatic cancer at age 74.

He produced many hit artists including The Rascals, Carly Simon, Petula Clark, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Queen, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Lulu, Anita Baker, Judy Collins, Phil Collins, Scritti Politti, Culture Club, Roberta Flack, Average White Band, Hall & Oates, Donny Hathaway, Norah Jones, Daniel Rodriguez, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Melissa Manchester, Side Show, The Manhattan Transfer, Modern Jazz Quartet, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Leo Sayer, Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Raul Midon, Mamas Pride, Jewel and Ringo Starr.

It was Mardin who, when producing the Bee Gees' 1975 hit "Nights on Broadway," discovered the distinctive falsetto of Barry Gibb, which became a familiar trademark of the band throughout the disco era.

➦In superstar Michael Jackson died at age 50, after suffering heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills.

Jackson is credited with transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool. Four of his solo albums are among the world’s best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995), while his 1982 Thriller is the world’s best-selling record of all time with sales of over 50 million. Guinness World Records list’s him as one of the “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time”, with 13 Grammy Awards and 13 number one singles.

➦In 2018...Gray Television agreed to buy Raycom Media and its 65 television and two Texas radio stations (KEYU 102.9 FM in Amarillo and KTXC 104.7 FM in Midland) in a $3.65 billion deal that would create a company that reaches nearly a quarter of U.S. TV households.

Carly Simon is 75

  • Actress June Lockhart is 95. 
  • Singer Eddie Floyd is 83. 
  • Actress Barbara Montgomery (“Amen,” ″The Women of Brewster Place”) is 81. 
  • Actress Mary Beth Peil (“The Good Wife,” ″Dawson’s Creek”) is 80. 
  • Singer Carly Simon is 75. 
  • Keyboardist-saxophonist Ian McDonald of Foreigner and King Crimson is 74. 
  • Actor-comedian Jimmie Walker is 73. 
  • Singer Tim Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House is 68. 
  • Keyboardist David Paich of Toto is 66. 
  • Actor Michael Sabatino (“NYPD Blue”) is 65. 
  • Actor Ricky Gervais is 59. 
  • Actress Erica Gimpel (TV’s “Fame,” ″Profiler”) is 56. 
  • Rapper Richie Rich is 53. 
  • Guitarist Sean Kelly (Sixpence None the Richer) is 49. 
  • Actress Angela Kinsey (“The Office”) is 49. 
  • Bassist Mike Kroeger of Nickelback is 48. 
  • Actress Linda Cardellini (“ER,” ″Scooby Doo”) is 45. 
  • Actress Busy Philipps (“ER,” ″Dawson’s Creek”) is 41.

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