Friday, February 12, 2021

February 12 Radio History

➦In talent show host Ted Mack was born William Edward Maguiness in Greeley Colorado. Mack died July 12, 1976 at age 72.

Mack succeeded Major Bowes as host of The Original Amateur Hour for the period 1948-52 on radio, and until 1970 on TV.  His discoveries include Gladys Knight, Pat Boone, & Teresa Brewer.  He also hosted TV’s Ted Mack Family Hour, a show similar to Ed Sullivan.

The Original Amateur Hour began on radio in 1934 as Major Bowes' Amateur Hour, and ran until the 1946 death of its creator, Major Bowes. Mack, a talent scout who had directed the show under Bowes, revived it in 1948 for ABC Radio and the DuMont Television Network.

The show lasted on radio until 1952 and until 1970 on television, where it ran on all four major networks, ending as a Sunday afternoon CBS staple. A success in the early days of television, the program set the stage for numerous programs seeking talented stars, from The Gong Show to Star Search to American Idol to America's Got Talent.

➦In 1909...singer/producer Barry Wood was born in New Haven Conn. He was the singing star of radio’s Lucky Strike Hit Parade in the early 40’s just ahead of Frank Sinatra, and went on to perform in lesser-known radio shows.  In the TV era he was host of several shows including Places Please & Backstage with Barry Wood, and producer for The Bell Telephone Hour & Wide Wide World.   He died July 19 1970 at age 61.

Ken Roberts- 1945
➦In 1910...Longtime radio announced Ken Roberts born (died at age 99 June 19, 2009).  He was known for his work during the Golden Age of Radio and for his work announcing the daytime television soap operas The Secret Storm, Texas and Love of Life, each for a two-decade span.

His first announcing job was at WMCA in New York lasting three weeks. Next at WLTH in Brooklyn. In an interview for the book The Great American Broadcast, Roberts told Leonard Maltin that he had started at the Brooklyn station in 1930, where his responsibilities included answering phones and sweeping the floors, in addition to on-air roles playing piano and reading poetry.

During the 1930s and 1940s, at the height of the radio era, Roberts' voice appeared widely in live programming to introduce programs, moderate game shows and do live reads for commercials. Despite his Errol Flynn-like good looks and the frequent broadcasts featuring his voice, as often as several times each day, few listeners knew who he was or would have recognized him in public.

Radio credits include The Shadow (including the 1937-38 season on the Mutual Broadcasting System with a 22-year-old Orson Welles starring in the role of Lamont Cranston), the comedy Easy Aces, along with soap operas Joyce Jordan, M.D. and This is Nora Drake. In 1941, he achieved his goal of hosting his own quiz show, with Quick As a Flash on the Mutual network.

He also announced or hosted a number of game shows, such as What's My Name? and the parody It Pays to Be Ignorant, in which he would pose questions to actors portraying contestants such as "Who came first: Henry I or Henry VIII?" that would be answered incorrectly. At various times, he performed on eponymous programs for Fred Allen, Milton Berle, Victor Borge and Sophie Tucker.

In 1941, he achieved his goal of hosting his own quiz show, with Quick As a Flash on the Mutual network.

Del Sharbutt
➦In 1912..Bigtime radio announcer Del Sharbutt was born in Cleburne Texas.

His first appearance on radio was in 1929 as a singer on WBAP in Fort Worth, Texas.  He became a staff announcer for CBS Radio in 1933, and is best remembered as spokesman for Campbell’s Soup (“Mmm mmm Good!”) beginning in the ’30’s.  He was also TV announcer for Your Hit Parade, and worked until retirement in 1976 as newscaster for the Mutual Radio network.  He died April 26, 2002 at the ripe old age of 90.

Old-time radio shows for which Sharbutt was an announcer included The Man I Married, Lavender and Old Lace, Guy Lombardo, Jack Pearl, Ray Noble, Bob Hope, The Song Shop, Hobby Lobby, Myrt and Marge, The Hour of Charm, Melody and Madness, Colgate Ask-It-Basket, Lanny Ross, Amos 'n' Andy, Club Fifteen, The Jack Carson Show, Lum and Abner, Your Hit Parade, The Campbell Playhouse, Request Performance, Meet Mr. McNutley and Meet Corliss Archer.

In 1958,Sharbutt became a disc jockey on 77WABC in New York City. He and another old-time radio announcer, Tony Marvin, began "hosting afternoon record shows in their distinctively deep voices."

He died April 26, 2002 at the ripe old age of 90.

➦In 1915...newscaster/actor Lorne Greene was born in Ottawa.  He was called “The Voice of Doom” as the nightly newsreader on CBC Radio during World War Two.(1939-42)  On TV he starred in Bonanza, Battlestar Gallactica & Code Red. He died Sept 11, 1987 after an operation for a perforated ulcer, at age 72.

➦In 1924…
The Eveready Hour was the first commercially sponsored variety program in the history of broadcasting. It premiered February 12, 1924 (other sources: December 4, 1923 or November 4, 1923) on WEAF Radio (now WFAN) in New York City. Radio's first sponsored network program. it was paid for by the National Carbon Company, which at the time owned Eveready Battery

In early 1924 The Eveready Hour began to be carried simultaneously by a second station, WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island, and the number of outlets was expanded to a group of Eastern and Midwestern stations "as quickly as WEAF could add stations" to its "WEAF chain" radio network. On election night, November 4, 1924, the program, hosted by Wendell Hall, was carried by 18 stations, with Will Rogers, Art Gillham, Carson Robison and the Eveready Quartet entertaining between election returns given by Graham McNamee. Joseph Knecht led the Waldorf-Astoria Dance Orchestra.

The Bowery Boys were featured on the Eveready Hour
In 1926 the WEAF chain operations were purchased by the Radio Corporation of America, becoming the basis of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in early 1927. The Eveready Hour continued as a featured broadcast on NBC until 1930.

Calvin Coolidge
➦In 1924...President Calvin Coolidge became the first President to make a political speech on the radio. It originated from New York City and was broadcast on five radio stations to an audience of an estimated 5M listeners.  During his presidency, Coolidge made around 50 broadcasts. He soon learned how to make best use of the new technology, adding a consultant to his staff to help him polish his radio persona.

While Coolidge was a radio pioneer, the American president most associated with radio is Franklin D. Roosevelt. From 1933 to 1944, Roosevelt delivered 30 “fireside chats,” in which he addressed the American people in a friendly, plainspoken manner about his efforts to bolster the depressed economy through innovative government programs and about global challenges in the run-up to World War II.

➦In 1940…New York radio station WOR presented the first broadcast featuring the comic-strip hero, “Superman“. The 15-minute juvenile adventure became a feature of the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1942, three times a week to start, then daily.

On Mutual, it was broadcast from August 31, 1942, to February 4, 1949, as a 15-minute serial, running three or, usually, five times a week. From February 7 to June 24, 1949, it ran as a thrice-weekly half-hour show. The series shifted to ABC Saturday evenings on October 29, 1949, and then returned to afternoons twice a week on June 5, 1950, continuing on ABC until March 1, 1951. In all, 2,088 original episodes of The Adventures of Superman aired on American radio.

The Man of Steel first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938. When Superman was first heard on radio less than two years after the comic book appearance, the character took on an added dimension with Bud Collyer in the title role.

During World War II and the post-war years, the juvenile adventure radio serial, sponsored by Kellogg's Pep, was a huge success, with many listeners following the quest for "truth and justice" in the daily radio broadcasts.

➦In 1951...Radio Personality, Pat St. John, was born in Detroit.

St. John, Age 18
In early 1969, at the age of 18, he landed his first gig as a radio personality on Windsor's CKLW, where he also worked for CKLW's 20/20 news doing newscasts one day a week, and part-time booth announcing on CKLW-TV Channel 9. In late 1970 he moved across the border to WKNR and was then hired in early 1972 at the ABC-owned album-oriented rock (AOR) station WRIF until 1973.

In April 1973, St. John began an almost 15-year stint at New York's WPLJ.  He survived the station's transition from AOR to top 40 in 1983.

He left WPLJ in 1987, and returned to his rock roots on WNEW-FM, which had been WPLJ's rival during its AOR years. He became the station's program director in the early 1990s.  St. John remained with the station until it switched to a hot talk format in 1998.

After the demise of WNEW's rock format, St. John was one of the first programmers hired by CD Radio in October 1998 as the Director of classic Rock Programming. CD Radio would later change its name to Sirius Satellite Radio, and then after acquiring XM Satellite Radio become known as SiriusXM, where he remains today as one of their most popular personalities on its Sixtie On Six channel.

He also joined WCBS 101.1 FM in 2002, followed by moving to WAXQ in 2004 where he stayed until late 2006. In July 2007, he returned to the re-incarnated WCBS-FM. For the first decade of the new century he was the announcer for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. He continues to do voiceover work for radio and TV commercials as well as station imaging for radio and television as well as narration.

In March 2015, St. John announced that he was leaving WCBS-FM and that he and his wife were moving to California to be closer to their grandson. He aired his final show on April 12, 2015 marking the end to a legendary career in New York City radio.

In March 2015, St. John announced that he was leaving WCBS-FM and that he and his wife were moving to California to be closer to their grandson. He aired his final show on April 12, 2015 marking the end to a legendary career in New York City radio.

He is now heard daily on SiriusXM's 60's On 6 channel 3 to 6pm (Eastern).

St. John is known for his conversational on-air style with interspersed bits of music trivia, along with "Collectible Cuts" from his extensive record library. Pat has been called a "walking encyclopedia" when it comes to his knowledge of music.

➦In 1964...The Beatles made their third appearance in the U-S. They played two 25-minute concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, concluding a very successful American tour. There was such a demand for tickets that some extra seating was arranged surrounding the stage. Tickets went for between $1.65 and $5.50.  The New York Times review claimed it was the frenzied audience that put on the show and the Beatles merely accompanied them

The late promoter Sid Bernstein speaks about Brian Epstein, The Beatles , their first trip to America in 1964 and Carnegie Hall.

➦In 1999... the longtime voice of the Cleveland Indians Jimmy Dudley, also the lead announcer for the Seattle Pilots for their lone year (1969), died at age 89.

He began broadcasting in the late 1930s, starting out at a Charlottesville VA radio station. He moved up to calling Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox games from 1938–1941 before serving as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.

Dudley was the Cleveland Indians' lead announcer from 1948 until his firing by the club in January 1968. In 1969, Dudley broadcast for the expansion Seattle Pilots; when the club moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers the following year, he did not join them.

Dudley broadcast for a number of minor league teams in the 1970s before retiring. As an announcer, Dudley was known for his friendly, homespun style and his signature catchphrases: "Hello, baseball fans everywhere" (to start a broadcast), "The string is out" (describing a full count on a hitter), "A swing and a miss!-he struck him out", "That ball is going...going...gone!" (to describe a home run) and "So long and lots of good luck, you hear?" (signing off at the game's end). Dudley called the 1954 World Series and All-Star Game for the Mutual network, and 1961's first All-Star Game for NBC Radio.

In addition to baseball, Dudley also broadcast football at various times for the Ohio State University, the University of Washington, and the NFL's Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Baltimore Colts.

Dudley was presented with the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Gary Owens
➦In 2015...Gary Owens, veteran of KFWB in the Top 40 heyday, two decades with the Station of the Stars 710/KMPC, KPRZ, KKGO, KFI, KLAC, and KGIL, died February 12, 2015, at the age of 80. A diabetic since the age of 8, Gary died in his home surrounded by family.

Gary was voted the #1 disc jockey for the second half of the 20th century, by readers of Los Angeles Radio People. He was nationally known for holding his cupped hand over his ear while announcing the comedy breakthrough show Laugh-In. Gary is one of the most famous broadcasters in Los Angeles radio history.

Gary was born Gary Altman in Plankenton, South Dakota. He started on the air at KORN radio, worked at KMA-Shenandoah, Iowa, and KOIL-Omaha. It was at KOIL that Gary changed his name to Owens. After stops at KIMN-Denver, KILT-Houston, KTSA-San Antonio, WNOE-New Orleans, WIL-St. Louis, and KEWB-San Francisco, he moved to KFWB in 1961, where "G.O." became the morning man, with number one ratings.

A year later, he moved to KMPC, staying for two decades. Gary has made over 1,000 national on-camera tv appearances, been on over 10,000 radio shows, nearly 3,000 cartoon episodes, 35 videos, 20 albums and CDs (six Grammy nominations), 12 books on tape, thousands of commercials (he has won over 50 Clio awards) and appeared in 12 motion pictures.

Gary worked every episode of the Emmy award-winning Laugh In, making famous the phrase "Beautiful Downtown Burbank" which he had been using for years on his radio show. R&R and Billboard called him "a legend." Advertising Age and Adweek said he’s "the most decorated man in broadcasting." He was the emcee for the 1969 Grammy ceremony and the nighttime host of The Gong Show.

Gary's comedy writing included Bullwinkle and Fractured Flickers. He was the voice of Roger Ramjet. The Times named Gary 1968 Disc Jockey of the Year. At KFI he teamed with longtime friend Al Lohman. Gary was inducted into The National Broadcasters Hall of Fame, The National Radio Hall of Fame, The NAB Hall of Fame, and The South Dakota Hall of Fame - all in the same year. In 1979 he was the first radio personality to be inducted into the Hollywood Hall of Fame. In 1980, he was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. He received the NAB Radio Award for lifetime achievement. In late 1995, Gary was listed in Vanity Fair's TV Hall of Fame as one of the legendary voices in the history of television. Gary was one of the original voices for the "Music Of Your Life" format and in early 1997, he became the announcer on the Rosie O’Donnell Show.  (Previous content used by permission from Don Barrett at

“Humor has helped protect me from the bruises of life, in addition to a daily supply of fantasy, illusion and talcum powder."

 A gifted punster, Owens became known for his surrealistic humor. Among his trademarks were daily appearances by The Story Lady (played by Joan Gerber); the Rumor of the Day; myriad varieties of "The Nurney Song"; and the introduction of the nonsense word "insegrevious", which was briefly included in the Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary.

“Humor has helped protect me from the bruises of life, in addition to a daily supply of fantasy, illusion and talcum powder."

 A gifted punster, Owens became known for his surrealistic humor. Among his trademarks were daily appearances by The Story Lady (played by Joan Gerber); the Rumor of the Day; myriad varieties of "The Nurney Song"; and the introduction of the nonsense word "insegrevious", which was briefly included in the Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary.

Owens also did amusing radio promotions, such as sending in for "Yours", which turned out to be a postcard from him at the radio station which simply said "Yours" on it; autographed pictures of the Harbor Freeway in Los Angeles; and his famous "Moo Cow Report", in which Gary and his character Earl C. Festoon would describe where cows were moving inbound on the crowded freeways of Los Angeles.

  • Joanna Kerns is 68
    Actor Joe Don Baker is 85. 
  • Country singer Moe Bandy is 77. 
  • Actor Maud Adams (“Octopussy”) is 76. 
  • Actor Cliff DeYoung is 75. 
  • Actor Michael Ironside is 71. 
  • Guitarist Steve Hackett (Genesis) is 71. 
  • Singer Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers) is 69. 
  • Actor Joanna Kerns is 68. 
  • Actor Zach Grenier (“The Good Wife,” ″Deadwood”) is 67. 
  • Actor-talk show host Arsenio Hall is 65. 
  • Actor John Michael Higgins (“Raising the Bar,” ″A Mighty Wind”) is 58. 
  • Actor Raphael Sbarge (“Once Upon A Time”) is 57. 
  • Actor Josh Brolin (“True Grit,” ″No Country for Old Men”) is 53. 
  • Singer Chynna Phillips of Wilson Phillips is 53. 
  • Bassist Jim Creeggan of Barenaked Ladies is 51. 
  • Keyboardist Keri Lewis of Mint Condition is 50. 
  • Actor Jesse Spencer (“House”) is 42. 
  • Rapper Gucci Mane is 41. 
  • Actor Sarah Lancaster (“Chuck”) is 41. 
  • Actor Christina Ricci is 41. 
  • Actor Jennifer Stone (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) is 28. 
  • Actor Baylie and Rylie Cregut (“Raising Hope”) are 11.

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