➦In 1923...the very first radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl aired in Los Angeles over KHJ radio — some 42 years before 93/KHJ became Boss Radio.
➦In 1925...Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of the famous Metropolitan Opera made their singing debuts on radio. The broadcast over New York’s WEAF Radio soon to be the NBC flagship.
➦In 1927...The Blue Network aired its first program. The Blue Network (previously the NBC Blue Network) was the on-air name of the now defunct American radio production and distribution service, which ran from 1927 to 1945. Beginning as one of the two radio networks owned by the National Broadcasting Company, the independent Blue Network was born of a divestiture in 1942, arising from anti-trust litigation, and is the direct predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC..see below) - organized 1943-1945 as a separate independent radio network and later TV broadcaster.
The core stations of the "Radio Group" were RCA's stations WJZ and WRC; the Westinghouse station WBZ, then in Springfield, Massachusetts; and WGY, the General Electric station in Schenectady, New York.
RCA's principal rival prior to 1926 was the radio broadcasting department of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company. AT&T, starting in 1921, had been using this department as a test-bed for equipment being designed and manufactured by its Western Electric subsidiary.
The RCA stations operated at a significant disadvantage to their rival chain; AT&T used its own high-quality transmission lines, and declined to lease them out to competing entities, forcing RCA to use the telegraph lines of Western Union, which were not as well calibrated to voice transmission as the AT&T lines.
Nevertheless, the WJZ network sought to compete toe-to-toe with the AT&T network, which was built around WEAF (today's WFAN). For example, both stations sent announcer teams to cover the 1924 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Promotional material produced in 1943 claimed certain "firsts" in broadcasting by WJZ, such as the first educational music program in April 1922, the first World Series broadcasts in 1922, and the first complete opera broadcast, The Flying Dutchman, from the Manhattan Opera House.
RCA (as well as its consortium partners General Electric and Westinghouse) were to receive a break in 1926, when AT&T made a corporate decision to exit the broadcasting business and focus on its telecommunications business.
The Decatur Review (Illinois) for Sunday, December 12, 1926 reported the following in an article describing a broadcast to be sponsored by the Victor Talking Machine Company and aired the following New Year's Day, January 1, 1927, which is a description of this first Blue Network broadcast—note that it makes it clear that January 1, 1927 marked the debut of the Blue Network:
"TWO BIG NETWORKS: The network to be used for the first concert will consist of a combination of chains of stations affiliated with WEAF and WJZ, New York. It is also announced that this opening Victor program inaugurates a new chain system to be operated by the National Broadcasting Company, with WJZ as the "key" station. This new chain, which will be known as the "blue" network, will allow simultaneous broadcasting from WJZ through WBZ, Springfield and Boston, KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago. For broadcasting of the first program, therefore, the "blue" network will be joined with the "red" network, as the WEAF chain is designated, as well as other stations in various cities. Following the New Year's night program, the concerts will be given bi-monthly, through the "blue" network (...)Allegedly, the color designations came from the way the networks were represented on maps, with red lines (or pushpins) denoting the WEAF network circuits, and blue the WJZ circuits.
➦In 1927...the very first coast-to-coast network radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl was made. Graham McNamee provided the play-by-play on NBC Radio.The Rose Bowl football game was aired for the first time, coast-to-coast, on network radio.
➦In 1930..."The Cuckoo Hour" was broadcast for the first time on the NBC-Blue Network (it later became the ABC Radio Network).
➦In 1934...the classic radio horror show Light’s Out was heard for the first time on WENR Chicago. The show became an ‘almost midnight’ NBC thriller 16 months later.
➦In 1940…Broadcasting from the Empire State Building in New York City, radio station W2XDG, the first FM station licensed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, became the first to broadcast with the new Frequency Modulation technology.
➦In 1941...Lorne Greene was appointed first announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's new national radio news service. His authoritative baritone on nightly wartime newscasts caused him to be nicknamed ‘The Voice of Doom’, nearly two decades before his reincarnation as Pa Cartwright on NBC-TV’s popular western series, Bonanza.
➦In 1947...WKSE, Buffalo signed on as WHLD-FM in 1947. It changed its call sign to WZIR in 1980, WRXT in 1984, and the current call sign in 1985. It currently runs a Top 40 format, which has been in place since September 1984. The station is now owned by Entercom.
➦In 1950... 26-year-old disc jockey Sam Phillips opened his Memphis Recording Service (later renamed Sun Studios) at the corner of Union and Marshall in the Tennessee city. Some 3 and 1/2 years later, Elvis Presley walked in and spent $3.98 to make his first recording.
➦In 1953...legendary Hank Williams died at the young age of 29 from a drug/alcohol-related heart attack. Hank wrote or co-wrote: “Cold, Cold Heart”, “Half as Much”, “Jambalaya”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Hey, Good Lookin”, & “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die.” Indisputedly the biggest star in the history of country music, Williams’ legacy is being carried on by his son, Hank Williams, Jr.
In 1976 WRVR was purchased by Sonderling Broadcasting, owner of WWRL, with the hope that it could move to an urban format and compete against WBLS, which had cut into WWRL's ratings. However, community opposition prevented the format change and WRVR remained a jazz station under Sonderling ownership. At that time it developed the precursor to what would later become known as the "smooth jazz" format.
However, ratings were low, as they were unable to compete with WHN, which also had a country music format at the time. In 1988, a new jazz station appeared on the New York airwaves, with the call letters WQCD "CD101.9" later changing calls to WEMP, then back to WRXP, and now WFAN-FM.
On January 23, 1984, Viacom dropped country and changed the calls to WLTW. The station became an MOR station known as "Lite FM 106.7 WLTW". the station is now top rated and owned by iHeartMedia.
➦In 1968...the ABC Radio Network split into 4 networks: the Information, Entertainment, Contemporary and FM networks.
ABC Radio originally began after the split of NBC Red and NBC Blue (later Blue Network) networks with ABC taking over operations from RCA in 1943 before adopting its name 2 years later.
ABC Radio was known to broadcast the first nationwide report of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was shot in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas at 18:30 UTC on November 22, 1963 and ABC Radio's Don Gardiner anchored the network's initial bulletin at 1:36:50 EST, minutes before any other radio or television network followed suit.
Despite a number of different owners (Capital Cities Communications and later Disney), the radio division remained under ABC's wing until June 12, 2007 when it was sold to Citadel Broadcasting as well as its O&O stations (not including Radio Disney and ESPN Radio nor its affiliates) in a restructuring effort. The radio division has kept the ABC name for about 2 years until Citadel renamed it Citadel Media. Then sometime in September 2011, Cumulus Media has absorbed the now-defunct Citadel Broadcasting and rebranded it to the current Cumulus Media Networks. In 2013, Cumulus Media Networks merged with Dial Global Radio Networks to form Westwood One.
ABC Radio Networks Tribute Website: Click Here
On August 7, 2014, the Walt Disney Company announced that ABC will relaunch its radio network division on January 1, 2015. When its current distribution deal with Cumulus comes to an end, ABC will revamp its radio programming services under a new deal with Skyview Networks. ABC will continue to make its radio news programming as ABC News Radio.
Steele was born in Brooklyn, New York. In the 1950s while running errands for a local television station at the beginning of her career, at the age of nineteen, she met and married orchestra leader Ted Steele, who was twenty years her senior. They eventually went their separate ways.
Steele achieved her greatest following as a disc jockey on WNEW-FM, where she hosted the night shift in a new format when contemporary rock music began to be featured on FM radio. FM stations broadcast in high fidelity and, typically, had featured classical or instrumental music in the New York market. This all changed in the 1960s when this station led the switch to FM stations for the musical preferences of the counter culture of the 1960s and 1970s. After a major change in station programming from a briefly instituted all-female middle of the road (MOR) music format to what was becoming known as progressive rock radio occurred at WNEW-FM, she took the new late night position.
Steele acknowledged that she did not know much about progressive rock when she started the program, and apparently, neither did the management of the station, but the new programming was being extended to the growing market. Steele was given complete freedom to plan and present her program. In the process, she developed her persona as The Nightbird, and acquired a massive, loyal audience. Her audience was estimated in 1971 at approximately 78,000 nightly, with the majority of listeners being men between the ages of 18 and 34.
Steele began her show by reciting poetry over Andean flute music, before introducing her show in her well-known sultry, smoky voice with,
“The flutter of wings, the shadow across the moon, the sounds of the night, as the Nightbird spreads her wings and soars, above the earth, into another level of comprehension, where we exist only to feel. Come, fly with me, Alison Steele, the Nightbird, at WNEW-FM, until dawn.”She then made a transition to recordings of some of the more exceptional and experimental music being recorded at the time, as well as featuring the best of the familiar favorites of her audience.
Steele left WNEW-FM 102.7 in 1979 and worked as a writer, producer, and correspondent for Limelight on CNN until 1985. Steele held several positions that overlapped during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s. She worked as a disc jockey on New York's WNEW from 1980–1981. She served as the announcer for the daytime soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, from 1981 to 1984, after replacing Dwight Weist; Her announcing jobs on SFT started in the final months on CBS and the first few years on NBC. In late 1984/early 1985 she left Search and was replaced by The Edge Of Night's announcer Hal Simms. For a number of years, Steele was also the "disc jockey" for the pop/rock in-flight audio entertainment channel on board Trans World Airlines.
From 1989 to 1995, she was on WXRK along with some work for VH1.
Steele died of stomach cancer on September 27, 1995, aged 58.
➦In 1968…Billboard magazine reported Record Albums have started to outsell 45-RPM singles.
➦In 1971...We no longer heard “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” or heard the “Marlboro Theme” on US radio and TV. As of this date tobacco ads representing $20 million dollars in advertising were banned from broadcast.
➦In 1974...NBC Radio Network began on-the-hour news, 24 hours-a-day.
➦In 1975...NBC launched the NBC News and Information Service (NIS) in 1975. It allowed local radio stations to launch all-news formats, providing affiliates with up to 55 minutes of news per hour.
NBC aired the service on its Washington station, WRC. It also added the all-news format on its network-owned FM stations in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.
Many stations signed on with the service, but by 1976, NBC was not sure if its network would ever become profitable. Affiliates got a six-month notice that the service would end. NIS closed in 1977.
➦In 1992...The ESPN Radio Network launched.
At first, ESPN Radio broadcast only on weekends. By 1996, it expanded to weekdays with a show hosted by The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nancy Donnellan. One hour of that show was simulcast on ESPN2 (1-2 p.m. Eastern time). Two years later, Tony Bruno and Mike Golic were brought together for a new morning show, the "Bruno & Golic Morning Show" which aired until Bruno left the network in 2000. Mike Greenberg was named as Bruno's replacement, and the morning show became "Mike & Mike", which still airs today (and is also simulcast on ESPN2). In January, 2010, Mike & Mike celebrated their 10 year anniversary on ESPN Radio. Dan Patrick was a mainstay in afternoons until his departure from ESPN in 2007.
Gradually, ESPN added more dayparts and became a 24-hour service.
➦In 1997...The FCC's EAS Rules went into effect
➦In 2006...Former Chicago radio personality, Alan Stagg, died of complications from pneumonia.
A classic rock disc jockey with a deep, booming voice--"He had the voice of God, if God was a cowboy," said his onetime boss the late-Bill Gamble. Stagg was on the air in Chicago for most of the 1990s on stations that included WCKG-FM and WDRV-FM.
"Sanctuary" aired in the late 1990s on WXCD-FM, where Gamble was program director. A re-creation of the early days of FM radio, "Sanctuary" was a free-form melange of rock from the 1960s and 1970s, audio clips from movies and other sources, and Stagg's sometimes skewered take on life. Wind chimes tinkled in the background.
The show later migrated to WCKG-FM, where Stagg was hired by former station executive Jeff Schwartz.
"To me, `Sanctuary' is exactly what radio is all about," said Schwartz, now a radio and media consultant. "It was like the hippier version of [former Chicago rock jock] Ron Britain's `Subterranean Circus.'"
Allan Stagg was the longest-running of several names Stagg used professionally, but he also used the name in everyday life, his wife said. Stagg grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and started as an intern at a local radio station while in high school.
He knew he wanted to get into radio ever since having listened to the far-reaching signal of Chicago's WLS 890AM as a boy. "He loved Dick Biondi," his wife told the Chicago Tribune.
Stagg's radio career took him throughout Michigan and to stations in Colorado and Oregon before he arrived in Chicago in the late 1980s. Voice-over work supplemented his income, supplanting it when his stations changed formats or program directors and he found himself out of a job.
Actor Frank Langella is 83.
Dedee Pfeiffer is 57
- Singer-guitarist Country Joe McDonald of Country Joe and the Fish is 79.
- Comedian Don Novello (Father Guido Sarducci) is 78.
- Actor Rick Hurst (“The Dukes of Hazzard”) is 75.
- Rapper Grandmaster Flash is 63.
- Actor Renn Woods is 63.
- Actor Dedee Pfeiffer (“Cybill”) is 57.
- Actor Morris Chestnut (“The Brothers,” ″The Best Man”) is 52.
- R&B singer Tank is 45.
- Actor Eden Riegel (“The Young and the Restless”) is 40.
- Bassist Noah Sierota of Echosmith is 25.