Tuesday, February 16, 2021

February 16 Radio History

➦In 1901...
American musician, songwriter, singer and orchestra leader Wayne King was born in Savanna, IL.

In early radio of the 1920`s his band was featured in half-hour`remote` broadcasts from Chicago`s Aragon Ballroom.  In the 1930`s he was heard on the networks in weekly half-hour broadcasts for Lady Esther cosmetics, a line he is credited with popularizing.  In the mid-40`s he was a summer replacement for the Jack Benny and Jimmy Durante programs.  The saxophonist and bandleader died July 16, 1985 at age 84.

Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen
➦In 1903...American actor, comedian and radio performer, Edgar Bergen was born (died September 30, 1978 at age 75).    With his little wooden ‘sidekicks’ Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, he delighted audiences for decades.  He had a featured Sunday evening show first on NBC and then on CBS Radio from 1937 to 1955.  He died in his sleep following a performance in Las Vegas Oct 1 1978 at age 75. He was also the father of actress Candice Bergen.

➦In 1922...WDAF (now Sports KCSP)  was started by the Kansas City Star. The official starting date is open to dispute, because the Star's broadcasting activities pre-dated WDAF.

On February 16, 1922, the Star used WOQ, the station of the Western Radio Company, to broadcast what the newspaper described as a "wireless telephone concert". The Star had just constructed radio studios at its building at 18th and Grand. In that evening's newspaper, the program appeared on the front page:

Courtesy of route56.com
The Star adopted the WDAF call letters May 16, 1922. WDAF bounced around various frequencies, traveling to 750, 730, 680, 820 and 810 kHz. WDAF moved to 610 kHz in 1928, splitting time with station WOQ. WDAF joined the NBC radio network before moving to 610 kHz, running both Red & Blue programs up until 1930, when they became a primary NBC Red affiliate.

It also had become the westernmost affiliate of the NBC Red Network. WDAF retained its NBC affiliation well into the 1960s.

WDAF changed its call letters KCSP on September 23, 2003, after moving the longtime country music format to the FM. Entercom still maintains the WDAF-FM call letters at 106.5. Today KCSP airs Sports Talk.

➦In 1929...KGIO changed call letters to KID-AM in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The station was first licensed under the call letters KGIO, and began broadcasting on December 3, 1928 on a frequency of 1320 kHz.  On February 16, 1929, the call was changed to KID, and the station began broadcasting under this call.  The station had moved to 1350 kHz by 1942 (likely in the March 29, 1941 changes, pursuant to the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement, that saw many stations raise frequency by 10 to 30 kHz), where it stayed for several years.  In 1950, the station changed from 1350 to its current 590 kHz frequency.

Today the station is owned by Townsquare Media and airs a News/Talk format at 590 AM.

Sonny & Cher
➦In 1935...Salvatore Phillip "Sonny" Bono born (died in a skiing accident January 5, 1998 at age 62).  A talented songwriter and astute businessman, the multi-talented Sonny was, was, if not a great singer, then definitely an entertainer … I Got You Babe, Baby Don’t Go, The Beat Goes On. On TV, he co-starred in The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.  After show biz he became mayor of Palm Springs, CA, then a U.S. Congressman.

The United States Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which extended the term of copyright by 20 years, was named in honor of Bono when it was passed by Congress nine months after his death. Mary Bono (Sonny's last wife) had been one of the original sponsors.

Elvis and Roy
➦In 1955... Elvis Presley headlined two shows at the high school in Odessa Texas. 18-year old Roy Orbison was in the audience; he later recalled being alternately shocked by the onstage gyrations, and most impressed with the energy and instincts of Presley in performance.

➦In 2010...Voice-over artist JR Nelson and former WHTZ Z100 NYC personality and creative genius, died after a three-year battle with cancer.  He was 60.

He was born in Oak Harbor, Ohio, and reached nearby airwaves in his teens. "I did everything the usual kid does, run the gospel tapes and all that kind of stuff. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was hired to do mornings at a station in Toledo."  He went to the University of Montreal and worked on radio in that city. He later worked in Tulsa, Kansas City, San Francisco, Columbus and more.

J R Nelson
On and off, from the 1970s into the 1990s, at the mike or behind the scenes, Nelson worked for several Cleveland stations or their parent companies, including WGAR, WBBG, WGCL, WHK, WMMS and WMJI. At WMJI, he once played Roy Orbison's "Mean Woman Blues" for more than an hour on a Saturday night.

Nelson spent some of the 1980s helping to create the "Morning Zoo" at WHTZ, quickly boosting the station's ratings from dismal to dizzying.

His last steady gig was at CBS stations in Detroit. He was laid off two years ago, about the same time he grew ill.

Working for KAKC in Tulsa, is where he started my production company. "I did novelty songs for a car dealer, and these songs ended up being his advertising campaign. I did that same package for about ten car dealers across the country. I think the first station I ever did sweepers for was a little station in Clyde, Ohio."

In '80, he worked with Malrite and helped them set up KNEW in San Francisco, According to a 1993 with Radio&Production magazine, 'By this time, I was your basic, full-fledged cocaine addict. Then I had a mild heart attack. My parents had a little winter home down in Tampa, Florida, so I went down there, dried out, and went to work for a little recording studio there.

After a while, I got a call from an old boss of mine, Gil Rosenwald, saying they were buying this station in Livingston, New Jersey. The studios were in Livingston, New Jersey, but the transmitter was in Newark, and they were going to move to the Empire State Building. He wanted to know if I wanted to go work for them. I said, "Who's your PD?" He said, "Scott Shannon." Well, I knew Scott from Tampa, and Scott and I were two people just alike -- two stubborn, bull-headed people. The station was Z100, and we had a lot of fun."

"We were there for about three months before we actually signed the thing on, going through tapes, building the studios, etc.. I didn't want to be on the air. I was just going to do creative for them. Then, about a week before we were going to sign on Scott said, "Well, did you ever read news?" And I said, "I've never read news in my life!" and he said, "Well, you're going to start now." Oh, it was nice. It's your first time trying to be a news person, and where are you? In New York City. It's a humbling experience, but I only had to do news until we hired someone. Anyway, everybody did everything they had to do in the beginning. The production part to me was the most fun because we had a ball at that station."

➦In 2015... Lesley Gore, the teenaged singer of 60’s lost her battle with lung cancer at age 68.

 At the age of 16 (in 1963) she recorded the pop hit "It's My Party", and followed it up with other hits including "Judy's Turn to Cry", "She's a Fool", "You Don't Own Me", "Maybe I Know" and "California Nights".

Gore also worked as an actress and composed songs with her brother, Michael Gore, for the 1980 film Fame, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She hosted an LGBT-oriented public television show, In the Life, on American TV in the 2000s, and was active until 2014.

  • Elizabeth Olsen is 32
    Jazz singer Peggy King is 91. 
  • Actor William Katt (“Greatest American Hero”) is 70. 
  • Actor LeVar Burton is 64. 
  • Rapper-actor Ice-T is 63. 
  • Actor Lisa Loring (“The Addams Family”) is 63. 
  • Guitarist Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) is 60. 
  • Drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer is 56. 
  • Actor Sarah Clarke (“Twilight”) is 50. 
  • Actor Mahershala Ali (“House of Cards”) is 47. 
  • DJ-producer Bassnectar is 43. 
  • Rapper Lupe Fiasco is 39. 
  • Singer Ryan Follese of Hot Chelle Rae is 34. 
  • Guitarist and drummer Danielle Haim of the rock group Haim is 32. 
  • Actor Elizabeth Olsen (“Wandavision,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene”) is 32.

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