Saturday, December 26, 2020

December 27 Radio History

➦In 1932...Radio City Music Hall, at 1260 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, opened to the public.  Nicknamed the Showplace of the Nation, it is the headquarters for the Rockettes, the precision dance company.

The name "Radio City Music Hall" derives from one of the complex's first tenants, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), who planned a mass media complex called Radio City on the west side of Rockefeller Center.

Radio City Music Hall was built on a plot of land that was originally intended for a Metropolitan Opera House. The opera house plans were canceled in 1929, leading to the construction of Rockefeller Center.

One of the more notable parts of the Music Hall is its large auditorium, which was the world's largest when the Hall first opened. The new complex included two theaters, the "International Music Hall" and the Center Theater, as part of the "Radio City" portion of Rockefeller Center. The 5,960-seat Music Hall was the larger of the two venues. It was largely successful until the 1970s, when declining patronage nearly drove the Music Hall to bankruptcy. Radio City Music Hall was designated a New York City Landmark in May 1978, and the Music Hall was restored and allowed to remain open. The hall was extensively renovated in 1999.

Although Radio City Music Hall was initially intended to host stage shows, it hosted performances in a film-and-stage-spectacle format through the 1970s, and was the site of several movie premieres. It now primarily hosts concerts, including by leading pop and rock musicians, and live stage shows such as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The Music Hall has also hosted televised events including the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, the Daytime Emmy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and the NFL Draft.

➦In 1939...“The Glenn Miller Show”, also known as “Music that Satisfies”, started on CBS radio. The 15-minute, three-a-week big band show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes and was heard for nearly three years.

➦In 1943...Broadcast journalist Cokie Roberts was born in New Orleans.  The child of two members of the U-S Congress she joined an upstart National Public Radio in 1978 and left an indelible imprint on the growing network with her coverage of Washington politics before later going to ABC News.  She was still on the ABC payroll at age 75 when she died Sept. 17th 2019 due to complications from breast cancer.

Howdy Doody & Bob Smith
In 1947...The children's TV program Howdy Doody program first aired on NBC. It continued until September 24, 1960. It was a pioneer in children's television programming and set the pattern for many similar shows. One of the first television series produced at NBC in Rockefeller Center, in Studio 3A, it was also a pioneer in early color production as NBC (at the time owned by TV maker RCA) used the show in part to sell color television sets in the 1950s.

Bob Smith created Howdy Doody during his days as a radio announcer on WNBC 660 AM. At that time, Howdy Doody was only a voice Smith performed on the radio. When Smith made an appearance on NBC's television program Puppet Playhouse on December 27, 1947, the reception for the character was great enough to begin a demand for a visual character for television. Frank Paris, a puppeteer whose puppets appeared on the program, was asked to create a Howdy Doody puppet.

➦In 1947...Bell Labs invented the transistor.

➦In 1958...Buddy Holly made his first appearance in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas since becoming a major recording star. Along with broadcasting live over KLLL radio from a fruit and vegetable store, he returned to the station's studios to record "You're The One," a song that station management challenged him to write in half an hour.

➦In 1968...Don McNeil's "The Breakfast Club" signed off the ABC Radio network, after 35 years.

Don McNeil 1942
In Chicago during the early 1930s, McNeill was assigned to take over an un-sponsored early morning variety show, The Pepper Pot, with an 8 a.m. time-slot on the NBC Blue Network. McNeill re-organized the hour as The Breakfast Club, dividing it into four segments which McNeill labeled "the Four Calls to Breakfast."

McNeill's revamped show premiered in 1933, combining 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.

The program featured Fran Allison (later of Kukla, Fran and Ollie fame) as "Aunt Fanny", plus Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers and various comedy bits. Every quarter-hour came the "Call to Breakfast" -- a march around the breakfast table. A featured vocalist on the show, under her professional name of Annette King, was Charlotte Thompson Reid, who later became an Illinois congresswoman for five terms (1962–71). Eileen Parker became a vocalist with the program in 1953.

The Breakfast Club initially was broadcast from the NBC studios in the Merchandise Mart. In 1948, after 4,500 broadcasts from the Merchandise Mart, the program moved to the new ABC Civic Studio. It was also heard from other Chicago venues: the Terrace Casino (at the Morrison Hotel), the College Inn Porterhouse (at the Sherman House) and "the Tiptop Room of the Warwick Allerton Hotel on Chicago's Magnificent Mile," as well as tour broadcasts from other locations in the U.S. It remained a fixture on the ABC radio network (formerly the NBC Blue Network; it became known as ABC in 1945), maintaining its popularity for years and counting among its fans Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas.

Don McNeil with comedian Sam Cowling 1956
After ABC Radio was split into four networks in 1968, The Breakfast Club was moved to the new American Entertainment network, and was known for its last months on the air as The Don McNeill Show.

➦In 1974...The 'Dear Abby' 5-minute show ended airing on CBS Radio after 11 years.

  • Actor John Amos (“The West Wing,” “Roots”) is 81. 
  • Hayley Williams is 32
    Guitarist Mick Jones of Foreigner is 76. 
  • Singer Tracy Nelson is 76. 
  • Actor Gerard Depardieu is 72. 
  • Jazz drummer T.S. Monk is 71. 
  • Singer Karla Bonoff is 69. 
  • Guitarist David Knopfler of Dire Straits is 68. 
  • Actor Tovah Feldshuh (“Law and Order”) is 67. 
  • Actor Maryam D’Abo (“The Living Daylights”) is 60. 
  • Drummer Jeff Bryant (Ricochet) is 58. 
  • Actor Ian Gomez (“Felicity,” ″The Drew Carey Show”) is 56. 
  • Actor Theresa Randle (“Bad Boys”) is 56. 
  • Actor Eva LaRue (“CSI: Miami”) is 54. 
  • Bassist Darrin Vincent of Dailey and Vincent is 51. 
  • Guitarist Matt Slocum of Sixpence None the Richer is 48. 
  • Actor Wilson Cruz (“Party of Five,” ″My So-Called Life”) is 47. 
  • Actor Masi Oka (“Hawaii Five-0,” ″Heroes”) is 46. 
  • Actor Emilie de Ravin (“Once Upon A Time,” ″Lost”) is 39. 
  • Actor Jay Ellis (“Insecure”) is 39. 
  • Guitarist James Mead of Kutless is 38. 
  • Singer Hayley Williams of Paramore is 32. 
  • Singer Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay is 29. 
  • Actor Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name,” ″Lady Bird”) is 25.

December 26 Radio History

➦In 1921...
Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen was born (Died – October 30, 2000).  He was was a radio, TV personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian and writer. In 1954, he achieved national fame as the co-creator and first host of The Tonight Show, which was the first late night television talk show.

Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best known for his extensive network television career. He gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. After he hosted The Tonight Show, he went on to host numerous game and variety shows, including his own The Steve Allen Show, I've Got a Secret, and The New Steve Allen Show. He was a regular panel member on CBS's What's My Line?, and from 1977 until 1981 wrote, produced, and hosted the award-winning public broadcasting show Meeting of Minds, a series of historical dramas presented in a talk format.

Allen was a pianist and a prolific composer. By his own estimate, he wrote more than 8,500 songs, some of which were recorded by numerous leading singers. Working as a lyricist, Allen won the 1964 Grammy Award for Best Original Jazz Composition. He also wrote more than 50 books, including novels, children's books, and books of opinions, including his final book, Vulgarians at the Gate: Trash TV and Raunch Radio (2001).

Allen was an announcer for radio KFAC in Los Angeles, then moved to the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1946, talking the station into airing his five-nights-a-week comedy show Smile Time, co-starring Wendell Noble. After Allen moved to CBS Radio's KNX in Los Angeles, his music-and-talk half-hour format gradually changed to include more talk in an hour-long late-night format, boosting his popularity and creating standing-room-only studio audiences.

During a show's segment, Allen went into the audience with a microphone to ad lib on-air for the first time. It became a commonplace part of his studio performances for many years. His program attracted a huge local following, and as the host of a 1950 summer replacement show for the popular comedy Our Miss Brooks, he was exposed to a national audience for the first time.

Allen died at age 78 on October 30th, 2000 after a minor traffic accident caused a blood vessel in his heart wall to rupture.

➦In 1926...WSM, the “WSM Barn Dance” began regular Saturday night broadcasts. Within two years it was renamed the “Grand Ole Opry.”

➦In 1950...
The Gillette Safety Razor Company & Mutual radio signed agreements for the radio rights for the next six years to baseball’s World Series and All-Star games. The price tag: a comparatively paltry $6 million dollars.

➦In 1953...The soap opera “Big Sister” was heard for the last time on CBS radio. The 15-minute melodrama had been on the air daily for 16 years. “Big Sister” was the ongoing story of Sue Evans Miller and her relationship with her big sister, Ruth Evans.

➦In 1954...Original  "The Shadow" radio programs lurked around the airwaves for the final time. It originated in 1930 with vigilante crime-fighter Lamont Cranston battling greed and corruption on a weekly basis. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows….”

➦In 1963...Capitol Records rushed released its first single by The Beatles. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, backed with “I Saw Her Standing There”, was released after DJ Carroll James on WWDC in Washington, DC had begun airing an imported copy.  "Hand"  reached #1 on February 1, 1964. The flood of music by John, Paul, George and Ringo had started the British Invasion, changing contemporary music forever.

➦In 1965...Beatle Paul McCartney was interviewed on pirate radio station “Radio Caroline” while spending Christmas at his father’s home in Cheshire, England. Later Paul crashed from the moped he was riding and suffered a five-inch cut to his mouth.

➦In of the true titans of both big-time radio & TV, Jack Benny died of pancreatic cancer at age 80.

His weekly radio show was consistently top rated over a 23 year run ending in 1955.  He appeared regularly on CBS-TV from 1950-65.  He is credited with developing a broadcast format for comedy that is still being widely followed today.

Benny had been a minor vaudeville performer before becoming a national figure with The Jack Benny Program, a weekly radio show that ran from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1949 to 1955 on CBS. It was among the most highly rated programs during its run.

Benny's long radio career began on April 6, 1932, when the NBC Commercial Program Department auditioned him for the N.W. Ayer agency and their client, Canada Dry, after which Bertha Brainard, head of the division, said, "We think Mr. Benny is excellent for radio and, while the audition was unassisted as far as orchestra was concerned, we believe he would make a great bet for an air program." Recalling the experience in 1956, Benny stated that Ed Sullivan had invited him to guest on his program (1932), and "the agency for Canada Dry ginger ale heard me and offered me a job."

With Canada Dry ginger ale as a sponsor, Benny came to radio on The Canada Dry Program, on May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing for six months until October 26, moving to CBS on October 30. With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.

Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934. He continued with sponsor General Tire through the end of the season. In October, 1934, General Foods, the makers of Jell-O and Grape-Nuts, became the sponsor strongly identified with Benny for ten years. American Tobacco's Lucky Strike was his longest-lasting radio sponsor, from October, 1944, through to the end of his original radio series.

The show switched networks to CBS on January 2, 1949, as part of CBS president William S. Paley's notorious "raid" of NBC talent in 1948–49. It stayed there for the remainder of its radio run, ending on May 22, 1955. CBS aired repeat episodes from 1956 to 1958 as The Best of Benny.

➦In 1992...NYC's WPAT 93.1 FM changed from beautiful music to down tempo AC. For decades, both the FM and AM stations simulcast a mostly-instrumental beautiful music format under the slogan "Easy 93". (By coincidence, WPAT-FM was at 93.1 and the AM was at 930, making "Easy 93" a reference for both stations.) While both stations enjoyed good ratings and profits, the beautiful music format had begun to lose popularity.

Today,  WPAT-FM – branded "93.1 Amor" – is a radio station that programs a mix of Bachata, Reggaeton and Tropical music. Licensed to Paterson, New Jersey the station is owned by the Spanish Broadcasting System and serves the New York metropolitan area.

➦In 2004...Northeast Iowa broadcaster Dick Petrik died at age 76.  He spent his 41-year career at KOEL in Oelwein. He was the station's first news director in April 1952. He retired in 1992 but remained at the station for another year as a part-time employee

Petrik was the recipient of the Jack Shelley Award, the highest honor given by the Iowa Broadcast News Association. The organization later created the Dick Petrik Outstanding Student Award, which is given annually to a college student whose work shows potential for a career in electronic media.

➦In 2019...Legendary, cowboy hat-wearing radio personality Don Imus, who hosted the radio show Imus in the Morning for nearly 50 years, died. 

  • Beth Behrs is 35
    Singer Abdul “Duke” Fakir of The Four Tops is 85. 
  • Record producer Phil Spector is 81. 
  • “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh is 75. 
  • Keyboardist Bob Carpenter with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is 74. 
  • Bassist George Porter Jr. of The Meters is 73. 
  • Humorist David Sedaris is 64. 
  • Drummer James Kottak of Scorpions is 58. 
  • Drummer Brian Westrum of Sons of the Desert is 58. 
  • Drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica is 57. 
  • Country singer Audrey Wiggins is 53. 
  • Guitarist J (White Zombie) is 53. 
  • Guitarist Peter Klett of Candlebox is 52. 
  • Singer James Mercer of The Shins is 50. 
  • Actor-singer Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars is 49. 
  • Singer Chris Daughtry (“American Idol”) is 41. 
  • Actor Beth Behrs (“2 Broke Girls”) is 35. 
  • Actor Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”) is 34. 
  • Actor Eden Sher (“The Middle”) is 29. 
  • Singer Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix is 28.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas Radio!


Media Confidential returns Monday, Dec 28.  

December 25 Radio History

➦In 1931...Lawrence Tibbett was the featured vocalist as radio came to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The first opera  broadcast was “Hansel und Gretel”, heard on the NBC network of stations. In between acts of the opera, moderator Olin Downes would conduct an opera quiz, asking celebrity guests opera-related questions.

The program’s host and announcer was Milton Cross, who stayed with the weekly broadcasts for 43 years.

➦In 1937...Arturo Toscanini conducted the first broadcast of “Symphony of the Air” over NBC radio.

➦In 1945...Gary Lee Sandy born. Sandy played program director Andy Travis on the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.

➦In 1948...92.3 FM NYC frequency signed-on as WMCA-FM. (Today the station is WNYL 92.3 FM and is owned by Entercom Communications, branding as ALT 92.3 FM.)

For the next year, it operated daily from 3p-9p, simulcasting WMCA, 570 AM.

In December 1949, Nathan Straus, president of WMCA, announced he was closing down the station because he was losing $4000 a month.

He had said several times that baseball games were cut short on the FM, deliberately to elicit response from listeners and he had received only 2 letters in regard to this practice during all of the summer of 1949.

Straus cited several reasons for the failure of FM: drifting of receivers, difficulty in tuning them, the union rule that announcers who were simulcast on FM and AM be paid double in New York and he said people could already hear WMCA on AM.

Further, Straus said that he had twice tried to give WMCA-FM away and couldn't.

This announcement drew sharp criticism from Major Edwin Armstrong, the inventor of the FM system of broadcasting, who said that Straus was not giving FM a fair chance.

Straus announced that WMCA-FM would quit permanently on December 31, 1949, but the day before, a group of businessmen and people associated with WIBG in Philadelphia announced their intention of buying WMCA-FM for $7500.

So, WMCA-FM continued its 3p-9p schedule throughout 1950, however the negotiations with the WIBG group fell through.

In late 1950, WHOM 1480 AM, announced that it would purchase WMCA-FM. An agreement was reached and 92.3 became WHOM-FM on February 26, 1951.

By 1975, the station had evolved into a Pop/Rock leaning AC format, with calls of WKTU.
On July 24, 1978, WKTU abruptly switched to an "All Disco" format as "Disco 92", which eventually evolved into more of a Rhythmic CHR by the Fall of 1979.

In the summer of 1984, WKTU became a mainstream CHR.

Then, in July of 1985, after airing the Live Aid concert, the station switched to a mainstream AOR format, featuring new and classic rock as WXRK "K-Rock".

In September 1985, Howard Stern (who had been fired from WNBC earlier that year) joined the station, initially for afternoons and in early 1986 switched to mornings.

In 1987, WXRK had instituted a classic rock format and on January 5, 1996, evolved into an alternative/active rock format.

On April 4, 2005, WXRK debuted a mainstream rock format, encompassing music from the 60's to today.

On December 16, 2005, Howard Stern broadcast his last show on the station, before his anticipated move to Sirius Satellite Radio on January 9, 2006.

On January 3, 2006, 92.3 became an "all-talk" station (with the exception of weekends when it features a rock format) using the "Free FM" slogan and featuring David Lee Roth in mornings. Calls were officially changed to WFNY on January 1. In April 2006, David Lee Roth was replaced with Opie & Anthony.

On May 24, 2007 at 5pm, "K-Rock" returned to 92.3. Calls were changed back to WXRK on May 31, 2007.

On March 11, 2009, 92.3 switched to a CHR format as "92.3 Now FM", with the "K-Rock" format moving to 92.3's HD2 channel.

92.3 changed calls to WNOW on November 8, 2012.

On May 22, 2014 at 2pm, 92.3 re-branded themselves as "92.3 AMP."

Calls changed to WBMP on June 23, 2014.  In 2017, the station was sold by CBS Radio to Entercom.  The format was flipped to Alternative upon the deal closing and calls were changed once again to WNYL.

➦In 1964...In New York, "Murray The K's Big Holiday Show" featured the Zombies, the Nashville Teens, and the Hullabaloos.

➦In 1995...legendary singer/crooner, actor, comedian, and Rat-Pack member Dean Martin died of respiratory failure at age 78.

➦In 2006...the “hardest working man in show business,” urban star James Brown died of pneumonia at an Atlanta hospital. He was 73.
The one-time radio station owner was nicknamed the "Godfather of Soul", died.

➦In 2008... actress & chanteuse Eartha Kitt, best known for her hit songs C’est Si Bon & Santa Baby, who was the 2nd Catwoman on the 1960’s Batman TV series, succumbed to colon cancer at age 81.

  • Alecia Elliott is 38
    Actor Hanna Schygulla (“Barnum,” ″Casanova”) is 77. 
  • Singer John Edwards of The Spinners is 76. 
  • Actor Gary Sandy (“WKRP In Cincinnati”) is 75. 
  • Singer Jimmy Buffett is 74. 
  • Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 72. 
  • Actor Sissy Spacek is 71. 
  • Blues musician Joe Louis Walker is 71. 
  • Actor CCH Pounder is 68. 
  • Singer Annie Lennox is 66. 
  • Singer Steve Wariner is 66. 
  • Guitarist Robin Campbell of UB40 is 66. 
  • Singer Shane McGowan (The Popes, the Pogues) is 63. 
  • Actor Klea Scott (“Millennium”) is 52. 
  • Guitarist Noel Hogan of The Cranberries is 49. 
  • Singer Dido is 49. 
  • Singer Mac Powell of Third Day is 48. 
  • Country singer Alecia Elliott is 38. 
  • Singer Jess and Lisa Origliasso of The Veronicas are 36. 
  • Actor Perdita Weeks (2018′s “Magnum P.I.”) is 35. 
  • Singer-guitarist Lukas Nelson of Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real is 32.

FCC Greenlights Univision Sale To Investment Firm

The FCC's Media Bureau has approved the Univision Holdings sale of majority ownership interest in the Spanish-language media company and its broadcast properties (65 TV stations and 58 radio stations) to investment firms Searchlight Capital Partners, LP, and ForgeLight LLC, reports Multi-Channel News.

The bureau's approval is conditioned on the sale of three Puerto Rico television stations -- WLII-DT and two satellite stations, WSUR-DT and WOLE-DT -- to comply with FCC local ownership rules.

The FCC will allow Univision to continue to operate WFTY-TV in Smithtown, N.Y., as a satellite of WFUT-TV, Newark, N.J., pursuant to an exception from multiple ownership rules that could otherwise prevent the combo.

The FCC is also granting Univision's petition for a declaratory ruling that the resulting company be allowed to exceed the 25% cap on foreign ownership, conditioned on compliance with the Justice Department's letter regarding national security and law enforcement issues.

"We find that it would not be in the public interest to prohibit the aggregate foreign equity and voting interest in Univision to exceed 25% and to increase the interest up to and including 100% voting and equity," the FCC said.

Grupo Televisa, through Multimedia Telecom, will retain its 36% stake in Univision, with SearchLight and ForgeLight buying the other 64% from investor groups Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group. Via a subscription agreement, Liberty Global also winds up with an 11.6% stake.

The AM Confidential: Trump Vetoes Military Budget

Wall Street Journal 12/24/20

President Donald Trump yesterday vetoed the annual military budget, in part because it permits the removal of Confederate leaders' names on military bases. He also is demanding that Congress repeal a law that shields social media companies from being sued for false information posted on their sites.

Congress will be in session next week and may override the president's veto of the bill, which passed Congress by an overwhelming vote.

Earlier in the week, the president demanded revisions to the coronavirus relief package just passed by Congress, including an increase from $600 to $2,000 in relief payments to be sent to most Americans. Republicans in Congress are reportedly balking at that idea.

➤BIG ORDER FOR VACCINE DOSES: The federal government is buying another 100 million doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to ensure that all Americans can be vaccinated by June 2021. Part of the initial order of 100 million has already been delivered to health care facilities to administer to their frontline people.

➤VOTING MACHINE COMPANY BOSS SUES TRUMP ALLIES: The Trump campaign and several of the president's allies are being sued for defamation by an executive of a company that makes voting machines. Among those named in the suit are Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, the conservative media channels One America News Network and Newsmax Media, and Colorado activist Joseph Oltmann. The suit by Eric Coomer, head of security for Dominion Voting Systems, says they falsely accused the company and him personally of deleting Trump votes in order to subvert the election. Trump has called the company "a disaster." Coomer said he has been driven from his home and is living in hiding due to threats related to the allegations, which the suit claims are baseless.

➤26 MORE PARDONS ISSUED: President Trump has pardoned 26 more people, including Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, and Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser. Both declined to cooperate with prosecutors in the office of the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Also pardoned was Charles Kushner, father of the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The elder Kushner served two years in prison for tax evasion and retaliating against a federal witness, his own brother-in-law.

➤HOLIDAY TRAVEL - NEARLY 85 MILLION IN U.S. EXPECTED TO DRIVE OR FLY OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS: Despite the pandemic, Americans began hitting the road yesterday for the holidays. The AAA says nearly 85 million Americans are expected to travel between yesterday and Sunday, January 3rd, 2021. About 81 million are expected to travel by airplane, and another half-million are expected to travel by other modes like bus and train. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said this week that more than four million people passed through security screening checkpoints at airports nationwide between last Friday (December 18th) and Monday (December 21st)—the most for a four-day period since travel restrictions were ordered back in March. Still, the AAA predicts at least 34 million fewer travelers this year compared to the same period in 2019, a drop of about 30 percent. They also say that a rise in coronavirus cases will likely lead some to cancel travel plans at the last minute, which also happened before Thanksgiving this year. If you’re on the fence about traveling you should know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tweeted on Sunday (December 20th) ,”Postpone holiday travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise across the United States.”

➤USPS CRUSHED BY HOLIDAY VOLUME: The US Postal Service is struggling to deliver an unprecedented number of packages in time for Christmas. The huge volume, plus the absence of a number of postal workers quarantined for coronavirus, have caused a perfect storm of packages. They're stacked "up to the ceiling" in Philadelphia, a union official said. And Detroit processing facilities are "in gridlock," CNN reports.

➤STUDY - THE AVERAGE BRITISH PERSON WILL SPEND 57 HOURS OF THEIR CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS STARING AT SCREENS: Christmas isn’t enough to stop people from starting at their screens. A study of 2,000 British people who celebrate Christmas finds people will spend an average of 49 minutes a day during the week of the holiday “mindlessly scrolling” through stuff on their phones. They will also spend an hour per day looking at their computer or phone for work-related purposes, and another 34 minutes each day on video calls with friends or family. On top of this, people will spend 116 minutes per day watching TV, and 95 minutes watching movies (with Home Alone, Elf, and Love Actually topping the must-watch list.) Also, 37 percent said they are looking forward to spending the week between Christmas Eve (December 24th) and New Year’s Eve (December 31st) lying in front of the TV and “double screening.”

➤WATCH OUT FOR FALLING IGUANAS: Iguanas are funny creatures. They sleep in trees in warm climates, but when the weather gets chilly their lizard bodies go dormant and they fall off their branches and plop to the ground, where they just lie there like roadkill until the warm weather wakes them up. This is merely interesting unless you live in south Florida and it gets chilly one night and, bam, an iguana falls on your head. Iguanas can weigh up to 20 pounds, although most are much smaller. This is a warning: The National Weather Service in Miami warns of "falling iguanas" in its forecast for the holiday weekend.

🏀ROCKETS-THUNDER SEASON OPENER POSTPONED: Yesterday's season-opening game between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed at the last minute after several Rockets players tested positive for the coronavirus. In fact, a headcount determined that the Rockets didn't have enough active players to play the game.

🏈PARTY'S OVER FOR DWAYNE HASKINS: Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been stripped of his captaincy after attending a party without wearing a mask after his team's Sunday loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Haskin has apologized for the indiscretion.

🏈WILDCATS HIRES PATRIOTS COACH: The Arizona Wildcats have hired New England Patriots quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch as their new head coach. Fisch will replace Kevin Sumlin, who was fired. The Wildcats are 0-5 so far this season.

🏈BILLS MIGHT PLAY IN FRONT OF FANS: It is, after all, the first Buffalo Bills home playoff game in a quarter of a century. New York State health officials are reviewing a plan that would allow 6,700 fans to attend a home playoff game next month. The plan is to test every one of those fans with a rapid-results COVID-19 test before they enter the stadium. The playoff game probably will be on Saturday, January 9th or Sunday, January 10th. The Bills clinched the AFC East title last Saturday.

🏈JUJU STOPS DANCING: JuJu Smith-Schuster's dancing days are over for now. The Pittsburgh Steelers told ESPN that he is giving up his ritual of dancing on opposing team logos before each game. Cincinnati Bengals safety Vonn Bell was offended by the dance routine and showed it during the game to devastating effect. Smith-Schuster says he was just having some fun for his fans on social media. Anyway, it was funnier when the Steelers were undefeated.

➤STORMY CHRISTMAS FOR MUCH OF NATION: A powerful storm is dumping heavy snow across much of the north-central U.S., and it's headed East and South. Blizzard warnings were in effect in the northern Plains, and a deep chill was expected in the Dakotas. The storm is expected to reach the eastern half of the nation today. Expect fluctuating temperatures, strong winds and a lot of rain.

Rush Limbaugh Gets Emotional During Final 2020 Show

Rush Limbaugh thanked his listeners for their support as he opened up about his fight with terminal cancer during his final radio show of the year, reports The Daily Mail. 

'I wasn't expected to be alive today,' the conservative radio icon said. 'I wasn't expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December. And yet, here I am, and today, got some problems, but I'm feeling pretty good today.'

'My point in all of this today is gratitude,' Limbaugh said about the outpouring of support he's felt. 'My point in all of this is to say thanks and tell everybody involved how much I love you from the bottom of a sizable and growing and still-beating heart.'

Limbaugh also thanked his wife Kathryn Adams for her support during his battle. The radio host has been married to Kathryn, his fourth wife, since 2010. 

'So many people put me first,' Limbaugh added, and referenced Lou Gehrig, who famously proclaimed himself 'the luckiest man' while battling ALS. 

Limbaugh announced his cancer diagnosis in February after learning about it in January.

Limbaugh was diagnosed with Stage IV advanced lung cancer and shared in October that treatments were no longer working, meaning he was going to die. 

But despite his health worries, he has continued to host his radio show which has been in national syndication since 1988. He missed several shows in October for treatment.

In his final show of 2020, he added: 'I can't be self-absorbed about it, when that is the tendency when you are told that you've got a due date.

'You have an expiration date. A lot of people never get told that, so they don't face life this way.'

Emmis's Smulyan Seeks $200M For Acquisitions

Emmis Radio CEO Jeffrey Smulyan Wednesay filed morning for a $200 million special purpose acquisition company. The target of his Monument Circle SPAC: “businesses in the media, technology, sports and entertainment sectors, and related industries which capitalize on our management team’s expertise.”

Smulyan’s blank-check firm cites the disruption of traditional media and sports models as a driving force behind the opportunities for bringing a growth company public. 

“There are several opportunities for media- and marketing-savvy companies to aggregate audiences around valuable intellectual property, such as sports rights, sponsorships and carriage deals,” according to Sportico citing the prospectus. Monument Circle also cites the emergence of U.S. sports betting, increasing multiculturalism and a media shift to subscription models as other factors. The company intends to seek targets with a value of $500 million to $1 billion.

Jeff Smulyan
The management team for Monument Circle consists of seven executives, including Smulyan. Most have radio backgrounds, including three other Emmis Communications executives. Among the non-Emmis directors are Stephen Goldsmith, the former Indianapolis mayor and George W. Bush advisor, and Traug Keller, who used to be senior vice president at ESPN, in charge of ESPN Audio.

In providing management’s qualifications, the filing cites such facts as the Seattle Mariners setting record attendance under Smulyan’s previous ownership and Monument Circle’s executives helping develop New York City’s WFAN, the first all-sports radio station, and recruiting talent such as Don Imus and Funkmaster Flex.

The SPAC intends to sell units consisting of one share of stock and half of a warrant, the right to buy additional shares. Monument Circle will have 18 months from its IPO to find an acquisition, or its IPO capital must be returned to shareholders. Cantor and Moelis are joint bookrunners, the banks that will see the IPO to market.

Best Ad Month Of The Year: November

The U.S. ad economy turned in its best month so far this year in November, expanding 11.5% over the same month in 2019, according to new data from the U.S. Ad Market Tracker, a collaboration of MediaPost and Standard Media Index based on total ad spending by the major agency holding companies.

November was the fourth consecutive month of growth in the U.S. ad economy, which took a dive in March and continues to recede through July, before rebounding again in August.

The growth affirms an early forecast by major industry analysts projecting a third- and fourth-quarter turnaround from one of the greatest ad recessions in modern history, attributable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data, however, reveals that the advertising rebound is not even, and may in fact, be a "K-shaped" one in economist parlance.

The top 10 ad categories expanded a whopping 23.3% in November, while all other ad categories continued to erode, declining 3.2% in aggregate.

In terms of media, the erosion appears to have stabilized for the national TV advertising marketplace, which actually inched up 0.4% in November.

Digital, however, remained the major media catalyst for growth, expanding 29.3% in November.

Report: World's Top 20 Websites

Controversial US media outlets Newsmax and Gateway Pundit became two of the world’s largest news websites last month, new research has found.

In a global ranking of the top 20 English-language news sites prepared for Press Gazette, Newsmax and Gateway Pundit made it into the list thanks to year-on-year growth of 613% and 306% respectively.

The rest of the top 50 was primarily made up of mainstream news websites from the US, UK, Canada and Australia. and combined came out on top with 1.44bn website clicks in November, up 65% since November 2019. CNN came in second with 1.36bn clicks on its websites ( and, up 134%.

The next largest websites belonged to the New York Times (705m views, up 189%), Fox News (606m, up 89%), the Guardian (481m, up 89%), Mail Online (366m, up 12%) and the Washington Post (298m, up 103%).

The study, undertaken by SimilarWeb for Press Gazette, also examined the top sources of traffic – direct, email, referrals, social media and search – for news websites:

Video Gaming Revenue To Surpass Movies This Year

Move over, NBA and Wonder Woman, there’s a new top dog in town.

The NY Post reports the video game industry is set to exceed the revenue brought in by sports and movies combined, fueled in part by the coronavirus pandemic making new gamers out of stuck-at-home citizens.

Global video game revenue is up 20 percent in 2020, and will finish the year at an eye-watering $180 billion according to data from IDC. That figure beats the pre-coronavirus $100 billion that movies brought in in 2019, and the $75 billion brought in by the major sports leagues around the world.

And unlike sports and movies, which were both hit hard this year by the shuttering of stadiums and theaters, video games have only seen their popularity increase as people have looked for new ways to pass the time.

Nintendo recently reported that sales of its Switch and Switch Lite consoles climbed 80 percent between April and September, and has said that it expects to move 24 million units in its fiscal year ending in march — up from its previous projection of 19 million.

“Animal Crossing”, released as lockdowns began in the United States, has already sold more than 26 million units and is on pace to be the best-selling Nintendo Switch game ever.

It’s not just Nintendo that is capitalizing from the heightened demand. Sony and Microsoft both released their next-generation consoles in November.

Demand for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X has been overwhelming, to the point where retailers like Walmart and Amazon haven’t been able to keep them in stock.

NYC Radio: WABC Radiothon Raises $174K+

TALKRADIO 107, Long Island, and 77 WABC NYC raised more than $174,000 since last Friday, December 18, when the two Red Apple Media-owned stations aired the Holiday Radiothon for the Kids at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Donations from listeners continue to pour in via text, the stations’ websites and social media pages, as the stations narrow the gap to $175,000.

All money raised during the Radiothon will be used to benefit the children and families of the Cohen Children’s Medical Center community, including improved life-saving care and equipment, pediatric research, Child Life services, and charitable cases. Cohen Children’s Medical Center, a member of Northwell Health, is a proud partner of Children’s Miracle Network and has been the local Children’s Miracle Network hospital covering all of New York City and Long Island since 1997.

Child Life programs include specialists who help minimize stress for children and their families coping with hospitalization and illness through technology, play, art therapy, music therapy, pet therapy, and so much more. The funds driven by the Radiothon are essential to patients, families, and the hospital, which is funded solely through philanthropic dollars.

Chad Lopez, President of 77 WABC, 107.1 WLIR, and parent company Red Apple Media, said, “We’re honored to partner with Cohen Children’s Medical Center again this year and to raise much-needed funds with our second Holiday Radiothon for The Kids. We have the utmost respect for the team at this world-class pediatric hospital and are happy to bring some holiday cheer during this season of giving. Our hearts go out to each and every family with a child in the hospital during the holidays.”

Cohen Children’s Medical Center is the largest provider of pediatric health services in New York State, treating more than 450,000 children annually in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Westchester County. For the 14th consecutive year in 2020, Cohen was ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals in US News & World Report’s 2020-21 “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” survey, achieving top-40 rankings in nine of 10 pediatric specialties.

Listeners are invited to join TALKRADIO 77 WABC to help save lives and give back to children in need. Donations can be made during the holiday season online at or by texting Hero to 51555

R.I.P.: Leslie West, Influential Guitarist For Mountain


Mountain guitarist Leslie West, whose “Mississippi Queen” is a hard-rock classic, died Wednesday. He was 75, according to The NY Daily News.

West had a heart attack Monday and was rushed to a hospital near his home in Daytona, Fla. He never regained consciousness.

West was born Leslie Weinstein in Forest Hills, Queens, and he also grew up in New Jersey and Long Island. He formed Mountain on Long Island in 1969, and their third career act was playing Woodstock, which West credited to sharing an agent with Jimi Hendrix.

“The song’s got three chords. Any idiot can play it. I just happen to play it better than anybody,” West told Guitar Player of “Mississippi Queen” earlier this year. “[It] has just everything you need to make it a winner. You’ve got the cowbell, the riff is pretty damn good, and it sounds incredible. It feels like it wants to jump out of your car radio.”

West wrote the song with Mountain drummer Corky Laing, bassist/producer Felix Pappalardi and lyricist David Rea.

“Mississippi Queen” appeared on the group’s debut album, “Climbing!” Though Mountain’s initial run lasted only three years, the group reformed at various times during the ensuing decades.

December 24 Radio History

➦In 1818...The Christmas carol Silent Night was first performed at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire on the Salzach river in present-day Austria.

A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had written the lyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" in 1816 at Mariapfarr, the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region. The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf.

Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the Christmas Eve mass, after river flooding had damaged the church organ.  The church was eventually destroyed by repeated flooding and replaced with the Silent-Night-Chapel. It is unknown what inspired Mohr to write the lyrics, or what prompted him to create a new carol.

Reginald Fessenden
➦In 1906...Quebec physicist Reginald A. Fessenden sent his first radio broadcast from Brant Rock, Mass. near Boston. The Christmas Eve program featured a female vocalist and Fessenden himself playing ‘O Holy Night’ on his violin for telegraph operators and other sailors aboard ships in the Atlantic and Caribbean.

In the late 1890s, reports began to appear about the success Guglielmo Marconi was having in developing a practical radio transmitting and receiving system. Fessenden began limited radio experimentation, and soon came to the conclusion that he could develop a far more efficient system than the spark-gap transmitter and coherer-receiver combination which had been championed by Oliver Lodge and Marconi.

Wireless Station at Brant Rock, MA
On December 21, 1906, Fessenden made an extensive demonstration of the new alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock, showing its utility for point-to-point wireless telephony, including interconnecting his stations to the wire telephone network. A detailed review of this demonstration appeared in The American Telephone Journal.

A few days later, two additional demonstrations took place, which may have been the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience. (Beginning in 1904, the U.S. Navy had broadcast daily time signals and weather reports, but these employed spark transmitters, transmitting in Morse code).

On Christmas Eve 1906, Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock. It included a phonograph record of Ombra mai fu (Largo) by George Frideric Handel, followed by Fessenden himself playing on the violin Adolphe Adam's carol O Holy Night, singing Gounod's Adore and be Still, and finishing with reading a passage from the Bible: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will' (Gospel of Luke 2:14).

He petitioned his listeners to write in about the quality of the broadcast as well as their location when they heard it. Surprisingly, his broadcast was heard several hundred miles away; however, accompanying the broadcast was a disturbing noise. This noise was due to irregularities in the spark gap transmitter used.

➦In 1922...the BBC broadcast the first British radio play. It was entitled, "Truth about Father Christmas".

➦In 1928...the first broadcast of “The Voice of Firestone” was heard on the NBC Blue Radio Network, Monday night at 8:30. “The Voice of Firestone”became a hallmark in radio broadcasting, keeping its same night and sponsor for its entire 27 year run. Beginning September 5, 1949, the program of classical and semi-classical music was simulcast on television.

Lionel Barrymore
➦In 1939...The radio version of the classic “A Christmas Carol” with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge aired live for the first time on Orson Welles’ Campbell Playhouse on CBS.  On prior Christmasses Barrymore had just read the story beginning in 1934.

➦In 1944...The Andrews Sisters starred in the debut of “The Andrews Sisters’ Eight-to-the-Bar Ranch” on ABC radio. Patty, Maxene and LaVerne ran a fictional dude ranch. George “Gabby” Hayes was a regular guest along with Vic Schoen’s orchestra. The ranch stayed in operation until 1946.

➦In 1948...Perry Como made his television debut when NBC televised the Chesterfield Supper Club 15-minute radio program.

➦In 2006…Frank Nicholas Stanton died at age 98 (Born - March 20, 1908).  He served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973. He also served as the chairman of the Rand Corporation from 1961 until 1967.

Frank Stanton 1939
Along with William S. Paley, Stanton is credited with the significant growth of CBS into a communications powerhouse.

Stanton was revered both as a spokesman for the broadcast industry before Congress, and for his passionate support of broadcast journalism and journalists. Former CBS News President Richard S. Salant – a widely respected news chief and an appointee of Stanton's – praised Stanton as a corporate mentor and statesman.

During the period of McCarthyism, Stanton created an office at CBS to review the political leanings of employees.  Although right-wing journalists considered CBS left-leaning, branding it "the Red Network", CBS maintained a questionnaire inquiring about journalists' political affiliations. At Stanton's direction, employees were required to take an oath of loyalty to the US government.

Stanton and Paley "found it expedient to hire only those who were politically neutral", not wishing to take a position against the FCC and Congress, nor to jeopardize profit by "taking a stand against the vigilantes".

Stanton, Time Cover 12/4/1950
According to radio historian Jim Cox, "CBS and the blacklisting became synonymous".   CBS, in response to the culture of blacklisting, instituted a "purge of its own", as had Hollywood and president Truman; Paley was more responsible for policy setting, and Stanton its main executor.

Radio producer William N. Robson was one victim of the CBS purge; initially reassured by Stanton that his listing in the anti-Communist Red Channels pamphlet would not mean the end of his career with CBS, Robson eventually found the executive office of CBS non-responsive to his inquiries, and his earnings collapsed.   Good Night, and Good Luck, a 2005 movie portraying this era, left Stanton out of the film as a character, partly because Stanton was still living and might have objected to his portrayal.

Stanton played a role in the infamous controversy involving Arthur Godfrey, CBS's top money-earner in the early 1950s. Godfrey insisted that the cast members of two of his three CBS shows, a group of singers known as the "Little Godfreys," refrain from hiring managers.

When one singer, Julius LaRosa, hired a manager following a minor dispute with Godfrey, the star consulted with Stanton, who suggested that he fire the popular LaRosa, then a rising star, on the air – just as he'd hired him on the air in 1951. Godfrey did so on October 19, 1953, without informing LaRosa before the airing. The move caused an enormous backlash against Godfrey. Stanton later told Godfrey biographer Arthur Singer that "Maybe (the recommendation) was a mistake."

➦In 2009...Former radio personality and pioneering TV sports highlights host George Michael lost his long battle with leukemia at age 70.  With ‘George Michael’s Sports Machine’ in the 1980’s he is credited with inventing the hyper-clip-style format of shows like ESPN & TSN’s SportsCenter.

Michael was born George Michael Gimpel in St. Louis, Missouri on March 24, 1939. He grew up near Tower Grove Park in the city's south side, and graduated from St. Louis University High School. While attending Saint Louis University, he worked as a Midwest promoter for several record labels such as Scepter and Motown. It was also during this time when he made his radio broadcasting debut on a one-hour Sunday night show at midnight on WIL, which invited individual SLU students to be the hosts every week. He earned a full-time job as a disc jockey at the station after he was judged to be the best of the group.

His first radio job 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 am 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 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'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. He also helped to start the career of Howard Eskin by hiring him to be his engineer.  Decades later, Eskin would be a contributor to The George Michael Sports Machine.

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 United States. George was personal friends with the owners of Philadelphia International Records and the song's writers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The aircheck of this can be heard on WFIL's tribute site, where he says,"I don't know if this song will be a hit".

Michael, noted for his energetic style, was hired by 77 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.

Several incidents from Michael's radio stint there have been chronicled in Morrow's autobiography.  Even though he was reunited with Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy (colleagues from his WIL days in St. Louis), Michael's time at WABC, which ended on November 17, 1979, was mostly frustrating because he was no longer a music director who had any influence on a playlist which was much shorter than the ones with which he was more familiar.  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 TV 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.

➦In 2011...NYC Talk personality Lynn Samuels died from a heart attack at age 69.

Lynn Samuels
She began her radio career at WBAI in 1979, where in addition to her on-air work she was music director and an engineer and producer. Walter Sabo, in a tribute on the Alex Bennett program (hosted by Richard Bey) on December 27, 2011, stated that Lynn first worked for WOR on Saturdays from 4–6 p.m. "for quite some time".

Samuels was heard on Talkradio WABC from 1987 until 1992, 1993 until 1997, and 1997 until 2002, including two breaks in which she was fired and then rehired. Her third and final dismissal in 2002 was allegedly due to budget cuts.

Samuels was also a call-screener for Matt Drudge. In 2002, she joined WLIE for a brief time before being hired by Sirius Satellite Radio in 2003.

In 2017...Radio and advertising creator Dick Orkin died at age 84 of a hemorrhagic stroke. Orkin was an award-winning radio advertising creator for close to a half-century, was perhaps best known for his syndicated “Chickenman” spoof, which aired initially on Chicago’s WCFL-AM and later on WLUP-FM.

The serial of 2½-minute-long episodes chronicled the adventures of “the most fantastic crime fighter the world has ever known,” an intrepid if incompetent crime fighter out to save the denizens of the fictitious Midland City (pop. 7,043).

First aired in 1966, “Chickenman” was created in the wake of the success of the 1960s live-action “Batman” TV series, and “Chickenman’s” more than 250 episodes remain popular to this day, continuing to air and be available for downloads.

“There was no one else like Dick,” said Ken Draper, who hired Orkin at two different radio stations and gave the green light to “Chickenman.” “He had his own sense of humor and his own perspective on humor, and it was wonderful and he was a wonderful success, as everybody knows, as a result of that.”

Orkin voiced all of the male characters in the serial, and his voice was well-known in radio ads.

Chickenman’s 250-plus episodes have been syndicated around the world and can still be heard on Internet radio, making it the longest-running radio serial of all time.  Orkin also produced more than 300 episodes of another popular serial, The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy.

Born in Williamsport, Pa., Orkin started his radio career as a fill-in on-air personality at WKOK 1070 AM in Sunbury, Pa.  He also worked for a time as a news director at WLAN radio in Lancaster, where he also worked as a farm reporter. Draper, who previously had tried to hire Orkin to work for him at a station in Portland, Ore., later joined KYW-AM — now WTAM-AM — in Cleveland as its program director, and Draper again reached out to Orkin to try to hire him. This time, he was successful, and Orkin joined KYW, working in its public affairs department.

In 1965, Draper moved to Chicago to take the helm at WCFL-AM. He hired Orkin as the station’s production director.   Orkin left WCFL in 1968 and started Dick Orkin Creative Services.

Orkin was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Radio Advertising Bureau Hall of Fame.

On January 21, 2010, Orkin wrote to the National Association of Broadcasters, requesting them to remove his name from the Hall of Fame, because he did not wish to share the honor with radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. According to Orkin, Limbaugh showed "reckless insensitivity" with his remarks regarding the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Orkin referred to Limbaugh as a "dangerous hate-monger" and a "perfidious human being".

  • Sofia Black-D’Elia is 29
    Actor Sharon Farrell (“Hawaii Five-0”) is 74. 
  • Actor Grand L. Bush (TV’s “The Visitor,” film’s “Demolition Man”) is 65. 
  • Actor Clarence Gilyard (“Walker, Texas Ranger”) is 65. 
  • Actor Stephanie Hodge (“Unhappily Ever After”) is 64. 
  • Bassist-synthesizer player Ian Burden of Human League is 63. 
  • Actor Anil Kapoor (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is 61. 
  • Actor Wade Williams (“Prison Break,” “The Bernie Mac Show”) is 59. 
  • Singer Mary Ramsey of 10,000 Maniacs is 57. 
  • Actor Mark Valley (“Boston Legal”) is 56. 
  • Actor Diedrich Bader (“The Drew Carey Show”) is 54. 
  • Actor Amaury Nolasco (TV’s “Deception,” “Prison Break”) is 50. 
  • Singer Ricky Martin is 49. 
  • “Twilight” series author Stephenie Meyer is 47. 
  • TV host Ryan Seacrest (“American Idol,” ″Live with Kelly and Ryan”) is 46. 
  • Actor Michael Raymond-James (“Once Upon A Time,” “True Blood”) is 43. 
  • Actor Austin Stowell (“12 Strong”) is 36. 
  • Actor Sofia Black-D’Elia (“Your Honor,” “The Mick”) is 29. 
  • Singer Louis Tomlinson of One Direction is 29.