Wednesday, December 30, 2020

December 30 Radio History

➦In 1911..Actress Jeanette Nolan born (Died at age 86 from a stroke – June 5, 1998). Nominated for four Emmy Awards, she had roles in the television series The Virginian (1962–1971) and Dirty Sally (1974); and in films such as Macbeth (1948).

Nolan began her acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California, and, while a student at Los Angeles City College, made her radio debut in 1932 in Omar Khayyam, the first transcontinental broadcast from station KHJ. She continued acting into the 1990s.

Nolan made more than three hundred television appearances,

➦In 1914...Radio & TV host Bert Parks born (Died at age 77 from lung cancer – February 2, 1992).  He is best known for hosting the annual Miss America telecast from 1955 to 1979.

Parks entered radio broadcasting at age 16, for Atlanta's WGST. Three years later, he moved to New York City and was hired as a singer and straight man on The Eddie Cantor Show, then becoming a CBS Radio staff announcer. Parks was the host of Break the Bank, which premiered on radio in 1945 and was telecast from 1948 to 1957, as well as Stop the Music on radio in 1948 and television from 1949 to 1952.

Bert Parks
The success of Stop the Music took a toll on the ratings of the popular radio show hosted by satirist Fred Allen, who began spoofing Parks's program with skits mocking the premise of the show, one called Cease The Melody.

With other celebrities, he hosted NBC radio's Monitor during the 1960s.

Parks' first game show was Party Line on NBC (broadcast from New York City NBC flagship station WNBT), which involved viewers calling in to answer questions and win $5 prizes; Party Line ran from June 8 to August 31, 1947, making its one surviving episode the oldest known game show and one of the oldest surviving television shows to have been recorded. Commercial kinescopes did not come out until fall 1947 (co-sponsored by NBC, DuMont, and Kodak), and the only kinescopes known to predate Party Line are a few episodes of Kraft Television Theater from February and June 1947.

Parks is most famous for hosting the Miss America telecast from 1955–79; each telecast ended with Parks singing "There She Is, Miss America", as the winner was crowned. Following the 1979 pageant, he was unceremoniously fired by the organization (he heard a newscast while on vacation) in an attempt to attract a more youthful audience. The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson led an on-air campaign to get Parks rehired, but was unsuccessful. In 1990, for the 70th anniversary of the Miss America pageant (during which Miss America 1991 was crowned), Parks was brought on by host Gary Collins to sing "There She Is" to the new Miss America, Marjorie Judith Vincent. It was the last time Parks performed the song live.

➦In 1917...actress Nancy Coleman born (Died at age 82 – January 18, 2000). After working on radio and appearing on the Broadway stage, Nancy Coleman moved to Hollywood to work for Warner Bros. studios.

Early in her career as an actress, Coleman portrayed Alice Hughes on the radio version of the soap opera Young Doctor Malone.  Coleman also appeared as the lead in the 04/13/1943 episode of "Suspense", entitled "Fear Paints a Picture". On television, she played Helen Emerson on Valiant Lady.
Jack Benny and Fred Allen
➦In 1936...The famous radio feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen began. Good friends in real life, Fred Allen and Jack Benny inadvertently hatched a running gag in 1937 when a child prodigy, violinist Stuart Canin, gave a very credible performance on the Allen show, inspiring an Allen wisecrack about "a certain alleged violinist" who should hide in shame over his poor playing.

Allen often mentioned his show-business friends on the air ("Mr. Jacob Haley of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts" was Allen's way of saying hello to his pal Jack Haley), and on the Canin broadcast Allen knew Benny would be listening. Benny, according to Allen biographer Taylor, burst out laughing, then responded in kind on his own program. The rivalry gag went on for a decade and convinced some fans that the two comedians really were blood enemies.

The Allen-Benny feud was the longest-playing, best-remembered running gag in classic radio history.  The gag even pushed toward a boxing match between the two comedians and the promised event was a sellout, though the match never occurred.

➦In 1942...the radio program, "Mr. and Mrs. North", began it's run on the NBC Radio network. The show was a radio mystery series that aired on NBC and CBS from 1942 to 1954. Alice Frost and Joseph Curtin had the title roles when the series began in 1942.

The characters, publisher Jerry North and his wife Pam, lived in Greenwich Village at 24 St. Anne's Flat. They were not professional detectives but simply an ordinary couple who stumbled across a murder or two every week for 12 years. The radio program eventually reached nearly 20 million listeners.

➦In 1942...Frank Sinatra opened at New York's Paramount Theater for what was scheduled to be a four-week engagement, but turned into eight weeks because of its popularity.

Police were called to help curb the excitement among the screaming teenage girls known as bobbysoxers -- a phenomenon not seen before for a pop singer

➦In 1943...Mike Nesmith of The Monkees was born.

➦In 1945...Singer Davy Jones, "the cute one" on TV's The Monkees, was born. He died February 29, 2012 at 66.

➦In 1962...Radio/TV talk host Sean Hannity was born. He started his career as a  volunteer talk show host at UC Santa Barbara in 1989.

After leaving KCSB, Hannity placed an ad in radio publications, presenting himself as "the most talked about college radio host in America." Radio station WVNN in Athens, Alabama (part of the Huntsville market), then hired him to be the afternoon talk show host.  From Huntsville, he moved to WGST in Atlanta in 1992, filling the slot vacated by Neal Boortz, who had moved to competing station WSB. In September 1996, Fox News co-founder Roger Ailes hired the then relatively unknown Hannity to host a television program under the working title Hannity and LTBD ("liberal to be determined"). Alan Colmes was then hired to co-host and the show debuted as Hannity & Colmes.

Later that year, Hannity left WGST for New York, where WABC had him substitute for their afternoon drive time host during Christmas week. In January 1997, WABC put Hannity on the air full-time, giving him the late-night time slot. WABC then moved Hannity to the same drive-time slot he had filled temporarily a little more than a year earlier. Hannity was on WABC's afternoon time slot from January 1998.  The WABC slot continued until the end of 2013. Since January 2014, Hannity has hosted the 3–6 p.m. time slot on WOR in New York City.

Hannity's radio program is a conservative political talk show that features Hannity's opinions and ideology related to current issues and politicians. The Sean Hannity Show began national syndication on September 10, 2001, on over 500 stations nationwide. In 2004, Hannity signed a $25-million five-year contract extension with ABC Radio to continue the show until 2009. In June 2007, ABC Radio was sold to Citadel Communications and in the summer of 2008, Hannity was signed for a $100- million five-year contract.  As of March 2018, the program is heard by over 13.5 million listeners a week.

In January 2007, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia) signed a group-wide three-year extension with Hannity on over 80 stations.   Hannity signed a long-term contract to remain with Premiere Networks in September 2013.

➦In 2005...Longtime Seattle radio personality Lan Roberts died of lung cancer at 69, just days after his birthday.

Lan Roberts
During the 1960s and 1970s, Roberts was a high-profile jock with KJR in Seattle.

Roberts left KJR for rival top 40 station KOL in a late 60s talent raid and returned to KJR in the early 70s.   He was known primarily for comedic skits and gags, working the coveted morning drive shift. Lan Roberts was a master of voices and surrounded the top 40 hits of KJR with odd characters with names like Phil Dirt and The Hollywood Reporter.

Later in life, Roberts returned to live in his old home town and worked as a radio consultant. He gained a new following by sharing his liberal political views on his website. In the last ten years of his life he suffered from lung cancer, and urged visitors to his website not to smoke.

➦In 2014...Scotty Rhodarmer aired his final show on WWNC 570 AM in Asheville, NC. Rhodarmer did the morning show for 50 years beginning in 1954. WWNC, whose call letters stand for "Wonderful Western North Carolina", signed on the air on February 21, 1927, as Asheville's first radio station,

In the days before FM became popular, WWNC was sometimes the most popular station in the United States with an Arbitron share over 40 percent, sometimes as high as 50 percent for Scotty Rhodarmer.

  • Actor Russ Tamblyn is 86. 
  • Singer Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary is 83. 
  • Director James Burrows (“Cheers,” ″Taxi”) is 80. 
  • Actor Fred Ward (“The Right Stuff”) is 78. 
  • Singer Mike Nesmith of The Monkees is 78. 
  • Actor Concetta Tomei (“Providence,” ″China Beach”) is 75. 
  • Ellie Goulding is 34
    Singer Patti Smith is 74. 
  • Musician Jeff Lynne is 73. 
  • TV host Meredith Vieira (“Today,” ″The View”) is 67. 
  • Actor Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Moesha”) is 65. 
  • Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 64. 
  • Actor Patricia Kalembar (“Sisters”) is 64. 
  • Actor-comedian Tracey Ullman is 61. 
  • TV host Sean Hannity is 59. 
  • Actor George Newbern (“Providence”) is 57. 
  • Singer Jay Kay of Jamiroquai is 51. 
  • Drummer Byron McMackin of Pennywise is 51. 
  • Actor Meredith Monroe (“Dawson’s Creek”) is 51. 
  • Actor Daniel Sunjata (“Rescue Me”) is 49. 
  • Actor Maureen Flanigan (“7th Heaven”) is 48. 
  • Actor Jason Behr (“The Grudge,” ″Roswell”) is 47. 
  • Actor Lucy Punch (“Ben and Kate”) is 43. 
  • Singer-actor Tyrese is 42. 
  • Actor Eliza Dushku (“Dollhouse,” ″Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) is 40. 
  • Guitarist Tim Lopez of Plain White T’s is 40. 
  • Actor Kristin Kreuk (“Smallville”) is 38. 
  • Singer-guitarist Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers is 38. 
  • Singer Andra Day is 36. 
  • Actor Anna Wood (“Falling Water,” ″Reckless”) is 35. 
  • Singer Ellie Goulding (GOL’-ding) is 34. 
  • Actor Caity Lotz (“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”) is 34. 
  • Actor Jeff Ward (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 34. 
  • Guitarist Eric Steedly of LANCO is 30. 
  • Drummer Jamie Follese of Hot Chelle Rae is 29.

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