Friday, December 11, 2020

December 11 Radio History

➦In 1899...The fame of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi took a leap forward on this day when William Preece, the Chief Electrical Engineer of the British Post Office, gave a public lecture in London called "Telegraphy without Wires", praising the Italian's ideas. Marconi had left his native Italy earlier in the year believing that his work was unappreciated by his countrymen. Aged 21, he thought he would have more success in the United Kingdom.

Preece became involved when he was alerted by a Customs officer at Dover who found electrical apparatus in Marconi's case. The Post Office man became fascinated by the Italian's experiments and they formed a friendship which led to Preece's lecture. From then on Marconi's fame grew, culminating in the first transatlantic radio communication in December 1901. It was transmitted from Poldhu in Cornwall, England, and received at St John's Newfoundland. An excited Marconi later wrote about the experience:

"I placed the single earphone to my ear and started listening. The receiver on the table before me was very crude – a few coils and condensers and a coherer; no valves, no amplifiers, not even a crystal.

➦In 1936... King Edward VIII, decided to abdicate the British throne.  He made the announcement in a worldwide radio broadcast.

He famously said, "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love."

He added that the "decision was mine and mine alone ... The other person most nearly concerned has tried up to the last to persuade me to take a different course".

Edward departed Britain for Austria the following day; he was unable to join Simpson until her divorce became final, several months later. His brother, the Duke of York, succeeded to the throne as George VI. George VI's elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth (currently Queen), became heir presumptive.

➦In 1944..."The Chesterfield Supper Club," a 15-minute weekday program airing at 7:00 p.m. (ET), debuted on NBC Radio. Initially, Perry Como hosted all the shows. Beginning with the second season, he reduced his schedule to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while Jo Stafford hosted Tuesdays and Thursdays. In 1948, Peggy Lee took over the Thursday broadcast. In September 1949, the show aired weekly and it was extended to 30-minutes.

➦In 1954...Allan Waters purchased 10-year old Toronto radio station CHUM 1050 AM from patent medicine king Jack Part, for shares Waters held in Part’s companies, and $500 a month.

CHUM 1050 AM (50 Kw-DA) Red-Local Coverage
CHUM was a 1000 watt daytime-only station, which Waters built into a 50,000 watt top 40 juggernaut.

Less than three years after Waters acquired the station, and soon after bringing the new full-time transmitter online, a major programming change was made. On May 27, 1957, at 6 AM, Waters switched the station to a "Top 50" format that had proven itself popular in some U.S. cities; Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" was the first song played. "1050 CHUM" pioneered rock and roll radio in Toronto, and was noteworthy for hosting many noteworthy rock concerts including, among others, visits to Maple Leaf Gardens by Elvis Presley (1957) and the Beatles (1964, 1965, and 1966).

The station rose in popularity in Toronto in the late 1950s and early 1960s; though it never supplanted perennial Toronto ratings champ CFRB at the top of the ratings chart, it was still a major broadcasting powerhouse with a particular appeal to the teen market. As the station became more successful, it also built yet another new transmitter in Mississauga, Ontario (a few miles west of the current Toronto city line) along the Lake Ontario shoreline, and raised its power once again to its current 50,000 watts around the clock.

➦In 1964...Soul and gospel singer 33-year-old Sam Cooke was shot to death. He  died at the Hacienda Motel, in Los Angeles. Answering separate reports of a shooting and of a kidnapping at the motel, police found Cooke's body, clad only in a sports jacket and shoes but no shirt, pants or underwear. He had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest, which was later determined to have pierced his heart. The motel's manager, Bertha Franklin, said she had shot Cooke in self-defense after he broke into her office residence and attacked her. Her account was immediately disputed by Cooke's acquaintances.

Sam Cooke
The official police record states that Franklin fatally shot Cooke, who had checked in earlier that evening. Franklin said that Cooke had broken into the manager's office-apartment in a rage, wearing nothing but a shoe and a sports coat, demanding to know the whereabouts of a woman who had accompanied him to the motel. Franklin said the woman was not in the office and that she told Cooke this, but the enraged Cooke did not believe her and violently grabbed her, demanding again to know the woman's whereabouts. According to Franklin, she grappled with Cooke, the two of them fell to the floor, and she then got up and ran to retrieve a gun. She said she then fired at Cooke in self-defense because she feared for her life. Cooke was struck once in the torso.

According to Franklin, he exclaimed, "Lady, you shot me," before mounting a last charge at her. She said she beat him over his head with a broomstick before he finally fell, mortally wounded by the gunshot.

➦In 1985...General Electric Corp., long eager to enter the broadcasting business, announced it would purchase RCA Corp., parent of the NBC radio and the television network, for $6.28 billion in cash.

RCA has been the subject of takeover talk for months, fueled by the improved fortunes of NBC and the wave of mergers and acquisitions that has taken place in the broadcast industry.

A takeover of RCA meant that all three national networks have been the subject of merger activity this year. American Broadcasting Cos. is being acquired by Capital Cities Communications. CBS successfully fought off a takeover by cable entrepreneur Ted Turner but, in the process, was forced to take on substantial debt and sell off a number of assets.

Ironically, RCA was organized in 1919 by Westinghouse and General Electric as a means of entering the new field of radio broadcasting. The company was spun off by the two in 1930.

Robert Q Lewis - 1956
➦In 1991...Robert Q. Lewis died at age 71 (Born Robert Goldberg; April 25, 1920).  He was a radio and television personality, game show host, and actor.

Lewis is perhaps best known for his game show participation, having been the first host of The Name's the Same and regularly appearing on other Goodson-Todman panel shows. He also hosted and appeared on a multitude of television shows of the 1940s through the 1970s.

Lewis made his radio debut in 1931, at age 11, on a local radio show, "Dr. Posner's Kiddie Hour". In 1942 he left to enlist in the U.S. Army during the second world war and became a radio operator in the Signal Corps,  After the war, he became an announcer and disc jockey. He had stints WNEW 1130 AM , WNBC 660 AM, both in NYC.  Also KHJ, 1961-62; KFI, 1972-75; KRLA, 1975 in Los Angeles.

Lewis made his radio debut in 1931, at age 11, on a local radio show, "Dr. Posner's Kiddie Hour". He enrolled in the University of Michigan in 1938, where he was a member of the Phi Sigma Delta fraternity. He left to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1942 and became a radio operator in the Signal Corps.

➦In 1992...After 58-years, WNEW 1130 AM, New York City signed-off.  Upon the breakup of the Metromedia Radio network in 1986, WNEW-AM was sold to outside investors.  Over the next couple of years the station changed hands again, ultimately ending up with Michael Bloomberg.  WNEW-AM was shut down on December 15th, 1992, and the Bloomberg Financial Radio was launched.

WNEW ended live programming on December 11, 1992 at 8pm.

  • Karla Souza is 34
    Actor Rita Moreno is 89. 
  • Singer David Gates of Bread is 80. 
  • Actor Donna Mills (“Knots Landing”) is 80. 
  • Singer Brenda Lee is 76. 
  • Singer Paul Beasley of The Blind Boys of Alabama is 76. 
  • Actor Linda Day George (TV’s “Mission: Impossible”) is 76. 
  • Actor Teri Garr is 73. 
  • Actor Bess Armstrong is 67. 
  • Singer Jermaine Jackson is 66. 
  • Bassist Mike Mesaros of The Smithereens is 63. 
  • Bassist Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue is 62. 
  • Actor Ben Browder (“Stargate SG-1”) is 58. 
  • Singer-bassist Justin Currie of Del Amitri is 56. 
  • Bassist David Schools of Widespread Panic is 56. 
  • Actor Gary Dourdan (“C.S.I.”) is 54. 
  • Actor-comedian Mo’Nique is 53. 
  • Actor Max Martini (“The Unit”) is 51. 
  • Rapper-actor Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) is 47. 
  • Actor Rider Strong (“Boy Meets World”) is 41. 
  • Actor Xosha Roquemore (“The Mindy Project”) is 36. 
  • Actor Karla Souza (“How to Get Away with Murder”) is 34. 
  • Actor-singer Hailee Steinfeld is 23.

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