Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Nov 17 Radio History

➦In 1914...Broadcaster, comedian  Archie Campbell, best known for his work on TV’s Hee Haw, was born in Bullsgap Tennessee.

He was in country music radio prior to WWII; after the war he originated Knoxville’s first Country TV Show (1952-58.)  He moved on to Nashville & the Grand Ole Opry, where he started a recording career with RCA.

In 1969 he joined Hee Haw as the barber, famous for his spoonerism stories & “That’s bad, that’s good” routines. 

Archie died Aug. 29 1987 after a heart attack.  He was 72.

➦In 1917...Announcer, TV host Jack Lescoulie  was born in Sacramento. He was best known for his stint on NBC’s Today Show during its earliest years, and the Jackie Gleason Show on CBS.  He died July 22, 1987 at age 69.

➦In 1970…Elton John, backed by Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson, performed at A&R Recording Studios in New York City for a live radio broadcast on WABC 95.5 FM (now Contemporary Christian WPLJ) which was later released as his "11-17-70" album.

➦In 1979...Personality George Michael aired his last show on 77WABC, New York.

His first radio appointment outside of his hometown was in 1962 at WRIT in Milwaukee, where he worked the 6-to-10 pm shift until he was reassigned to 5-to-9 morning drive time in early 1964.  His next stop was at KBTR in Denver later in 1964, working under the name "King" George Michael for the first time. He earned the nickname due to his success in "ruling" evening radio.

He became one of the original Boss Jocks at WFIL 560 AM in Philadelphia when its new Top 40 rock and roll format debuted on September 18, 1966. He served as music director and evening deejay for the next eight years. WFIL, which was popularly known as "Famous 56" after the transition, ended WIBG 990 AM's listener ratings dominance and became the city's most popular station by the summer of 1967.  Michael was the first Philadelphia rock and roll radio personality to read the scores of local high school football and basketball games on the air.

On George's last WFIL show (on September 6, 1974) he played "When Will I See You Again" by the Three Degrees for the first time ever on any radio station. The playing of this on his show broke the song into the mainstream, and within two months was a huge international hit, reaching number one in the U.K., and number two in the U-S.

George Michael at 77WABC
Michael, noted for his energetic style, was hired by WABC in New York City; his first on-air stint there was on the evening of September 9, 1974.  Michael now not only was entering the nation's largest media market; he also succeeded radio legend "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, who had jumped to competitor WNBC.660 AM (now WFAN).  One of the highlights during his time at the station occurred when he anchored its coverage of the New York City blackout of 1977 after the music format was temporarily suspended for the night.

His first experience in sports broadcasting also came in 1974 when he was a television announcer for the Baltimore Orioles on WJZ-TV.  He declined an offer to work for the ballclub full-time in order to accept the WABC position.  As part of the deal to bring him to New York, Michael also worked for WABC-TV as the weekend sports anchor and a color commentator on New York Islanders telecasts for several seasons, paired mainly with Tim Ryan.  He served as an occasional substitute on ABC American Contemporary Network's Speaking of Sports show whenever Howard Cosell, the primary commentator, was on vacation or assignment.

As the primary sports anchor at WRC-TV in Washington from 1980 to 2007, Michael was easily one of the most popular media personalities in the Washington area.

Michael died at age 70 on December 24, 2009, after being diagnosed with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia two years prior.

➦In 1982...  Bill Baldwin, an actor, announcer, World War II radio correspondent and leader in the broadcasters union, died of cancer at age 69.

Bill Baldwin
Baldwin was a war correspondent for what is now the ABC network during World War II. After the war he was an announcer on the radio program of the late comedian-ventriliquist Edgar Bergen.

Baldwin, a native of Pueblo, Colo., became the radio and television voice of hundreds of products, most recently appearing for Western Airlines. He also appeared in several TV series, including ‘Hawaii Five-O,’ ‘Ironside,’ ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ and ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’

Baldwin also acted in several movies, including all three ‘Rocky’ pictures, ‘The Apartment’ and ‘The Odd Couple.’

At the time of his death, Baldwin was a member of the board of directors of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists and from 1970 to 1972 served as national president of the union.

➦In 1985...Howard Stern begins broadcasting on WXRK 92.3 FM New York, N.Y.

➦In 2003... Rush Limbaugh returned to his syndicated talk show after spending a month in rehab for addiction to prescription painkillers.

➦In 2007…Veteran Philadelphia radio personality Hy Lit, who hosted the nationally syndicated "Hy Lit Show" seen on television in 30 markets, died of kidney failure at the age of 73.

Lit dominated AM radio from the late 1950s through the 1960s as one of WIBG's "Good Guys," as his Hall of Fame show drew a 71 market share (unheard of before or since.) He released several successful LP "Hall of Fame" collections of music he played on the show, the last of these when he joined WPGR in 1981. Around 1978, Lit moved to California after a brief but successful stint with the Harlem Globetrotters before once more returning to the Philadelphia area. In 1977, when WIBG went off the air forever, he was the last DJ on the air.

Hy Lit
Lit moved to WOGL-FM in 1989, hosting the highly rated "Top 20 Countdown" on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in addition to his weekday afternoon shift.

In the mid-1990s, it was revealed that Lit was suffering from the beginnings of Parkinson's disease. Just after the death of Hy's wife Maggie (Russo) Lit in 2000, WOGL and Infinity/CBS Broadcasting management significantly reduced Lit's radio hours, along with a significant decrease in salary. In 2002, a lawsuit was filed against the media conglomerate, CBS Broadcasting, which for a second and concurrent time decided to reduce Lit's radio time and salary and this time cancel his health insurance.

In December 2005, Lit, station WOGL, and CBS Broadcasting settled the three-year health and age-discrimination lawsuit, under the condition that Hy Lit would (reluctantly) retire from the station. Lit did his last Hy Lit Hall of Fame Show radio show on December 11, 2005. However, WOGL management would not permit Lit to reveal he would be leaving the airwaves and abandoning thousands of listeners left to wonder what happened to the legendary Hy Lit.

  • Singer Gordon Lightfoot is 82. 
  • Singer-songwriter Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons is 79. 
  • Raquel Castro is 26
    Movie director Martin Scorsese is 78. 
  • Actor Lauren Hutton is 77. 
  • “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels is 76. 
  • Actor-director Danny DeVito is 76. 
  • Actor Stephen Root (“King of the Hill,” ″NewsRadio”) is 69. 
  • Actor Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is 62. 
  • Actor William Moses is 61. 
  • Entertainer RuPaul is 60. 
  • Musician Joey Williams of The Blind Boys of Alabama is 58. 
  • Actor Dylan Walsh (“Nip/Tuck,” ″Brooklyn Bridge”) is 57. 
  • Actor-model Daisy Fuentes is 54. 
  • Actor Sophie Marceau (“Braveheart”) is 54. 
  • Singer Ronnie DeVoe of New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe is 53. 
  • Keyboardist Ben Wilson of Blues Traveler is 53. 
  • Actor David Ramsey (“Arrow,” “Blue Bloods”) is 49. 
  • Actor Leslie Bibb (“ER,” ″Popular”) is 47. 
  • Actor Brandon Call (“Step By Step”) is 44. 
  • Country singer Aaron Lines is 43. 
  • Actor Rachel McAdams (“Wedding Crashers,” “The Notebook”) is 42. 
  • Guitarist Isaac Hanson of Hanson is 40. 
  • Actor Justin Cooper (“Liar, Liar”) is 32. 
  • Bassist Reid Perry of The Band Perry is 32. 
  • Actor Raquel Castro (“Jersey Girl”) is 26.

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