Saturday, February 27, 2021

February 27 Radio History

➦In 1891...David Sarnoff born (Died: December 12, 1971 at age 80).  He was a businessman and pioneer of American radio and television. Throughout most of his career he led the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in various capacities from shortly after its founding in 1919 until his retirement in 1970.

He ruled over an ever-growing telecommunications and media empire that included both RCA and NBC, and became one of the largest companies in the world. Named a Reserve Brigadier General of the Signal Corps in 1945, Sarnoff thereafter was widely known as "The General."

Sarnoff is credited with Sarnoff's law, which states that the value of a broadcast network is proportional to the number of viewers.

Unlike many who were involved with early radio communications, viewing radio as point-to-point, Sarnoff saw the potential of radio as point-to-mass. One person (the broadcaster) could speak to many (the listeners).

When Owen D. Young of the General Electric Company arranged the purchase of American Marconi and turned it into the Radio Corporation of America, a radio patent monopoly, Sarnoff realized his dream and revived his proposal in a lengthy memo on the company's business and prospects.

His superiors again ignored him but he contributed to the rising postwar radio boom by helping arrange for the broadcast of a heavyweight boxing match between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier in July 1921. Up to 300,000 people heard the fight, and demand for home radio equipment bloomed that winter. By the spring of 1922 Sarnoff's prediction of popular demand for broadcasting had come true, and over the next eighteen months, he gained in stature and influence.

In 1926, RCA purchased its first radio station (WEAF, New York) and launched the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), the first radio network in America. Four years later, Sarnoff became president of RCA. NBC had by that time split into two networks, the Red and the Blue. The Blue Network later became ABC Radio.

Sarnoff was instrumental in building and established the AM broadcasting radio business which became the preeminent public radio standard for the majority of the 20th century. This was until FM broadcasting radio re-emerged in the 1960s despite Sarnoff's efforts to suppress it.

➦In 1940...Actor Howard Hesseman born. He is best known for his role as anti-disco disc jockey John "Dr. Johnny Fever" Caravella on the television sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati from 1978 to 1982, a role Hesseman prepared for by working as a DJ in San Francisco at KMPX-FM for several months.

He was nominated for a Prime-Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1980 and 1981 for his portrayal of Fever. He reprised the role in nine episodes of The New WKRP in Cincinnati, and also directed several episodes of the 1991-93 series revival.

Murray Kaufman
➦In 1965...Personality Murray the K aired his last show at 1010 WINS-AM.

By the end of 1964, Murray found out that WINS was going to change to an all news format the following year. He resigned on the air in December 1964 (breaking news about the sale of the station and the change in format before the station and Group W released it) and did his last show on February 27 prior to the format change that occurred in April 1965.

A year later, in 1966, the FCC ruled that AM and FM radio stations could no longer simply simultaneously broadcast the same content, opening the door for Murray to become program director and primetime DJ on WOR-FM — one of the first FM rock stations, soon airing such DJs as Rosko and Scott Muni in the new FM format. Murray played long album cuts rather than singles, often playing groups of songs by one artist, or thematically linked songs, uninterrupted by commercials. He combined live in-studio interviews with folk-rock — he called it "attitude music" — and all forms of popular music in a free-form format. He played artists like Bob Dylan and Janis Ian, the long album versions of their songs that came to be known as the "FM cuts". Al Aronowitz quotes Murray as saying about this formula, "You didn't have to hype the record any more. The music was speaking for itself."

WOR switched to an oldies format and Murray the K left New York radio to host programs in Toronto - on CHUM -and on WHFS 102.3 FM in Bethesda, MD in 1972. He returned to New York after his short stint on WHFS on the weekend show NBC Monitor and as a fill-in morning dj, and then in 1972 moved to a regular evening weekend program on WNBC radio where Don Imus was broadcasting; he was joined there by the legendary Wolfman Jack, a year later.

Although it was low-key, Murray's WNBC show featured his own innovative trademark programming style, including telling stories that were illustrated by selected songs, his unique segues, and his pairing cuts by theme or idiosyncratic associations.  In early 1975, he was brought on for a brief stint at legendary Long Island alternative rock station WLIR, and his final New York radio show ran later that year on WKTU-FM after which — already in ill health — he moved to Los Angeles. The syndicated show Soundtrack of the 60s mentioned below was heard in New York City on WYNY-FM. Gary Owens succeeded Murray as its host.

➦In 1984...WRC radio in Washington gave up its iconic 3-letter call and became WWRC.  The station was originally licensed in April 1923 as WRC, whose call letters were a shortened version of the original owner's name, the Radio Corporation of America. The station's original frequency was 469 meters (equal to 640 kc.), and it was shared with another Washington station, WCAP. The time-sharing arrangement between the two stations continued until 1926.

The station moved to 980 AM in 1941. RCA's broadcasting arm, NBC, built companion stations WRC-TV (channel 4) and WRC 93.9 FM in 1947. WRC-FM dropped the call sign in 1974. NBC sold WRC-AM to Greater Media in 1984. At the time, two stations could not share the same three-letter base call sign if they had different owners. As NBC kept WRC-TV and the right to the call sign, 980 AM added a W and became WWRC.

The WWRC call sign was moved from 980 to 570 in 1998, from 570 to 1260 in 2001, and from 1260 to 570 in 2017. 1260 AM branded as "1260 WRC" from 2010 to 2014, although it never had any connection to WRC-TV.

➦In 2003...Fred McFeely Rogers died (Born-March 20, 1928). He was a TV personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was known as the creator, composer, producer, head writer, showrunner and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001).

➦In 2008...Myron Sidney Kopelman died at age 79 (Born-January 23, 1929). He was known professionally as Myron Cope, was a sports journalist, radio personality, and sportscaster. He is best known for being "the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers".

Myron Cope - 1995
Cope was a color commentator for the Steelers' radio broadcasts for 35 years. He was known for his distinctive, nasally voice with an identifiable Pittsburgh accent, idiosyncratic speech pattern, and a level of excitement rarely exhibited in the broadcast booth. Cope's most notable catch phrase was "yoi". Cope was the first football announcer inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

In 1968, Cope began doing daily sports commentaries on what was then WTAE-AM radio in Pittsburgh. His unique nasal voice, with a distinctive Pittsburgh area accent, was noticed by the Steelers' brass, and he made his debut as a member of the Steelers' radio team in 1970.

During Cope's 35-year broadcasting career with the Steelers—the longest term with a single team in NFL history—he was accompanied by only two play-by-play announcers: Jack Fleming, with whom he broadcast until 1994, and Bill Hillgrove.

➦In, voiceover announcer John Harlan died at age 91. He was a staff announcer for ABC Radio, and for TV he announced the game shows Password, Tattletales, Queen for a Day, You Don’t Say, The New Truth or Consequences, American Gladiators and Press Your Luck.  He also was heard working on numerous Bob Hope TV specials.

  • Lindsey Morgan is 31
    Actor Joanne Woodward is 91. 
  • Actor Barbara Babcock is 84. 
  • Actor Howard Hesseman is 81. 
  • Actor Debra Monk is 72. 
  • Guitarist Neal Schon of Journey is 67. 
  • Guitarist Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden is 64. 
  • Actor Timothy Spall (“Sweeney Todd,” ″Enchanted”) is 64. 
  • Keyboardist Paul Humphreys of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark is 61. 
  • Singer Johnny Van Zant (Van Zant, Lynryd Skynyrd) is 61. 
  • Percussionist Leon Mobley of Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals is 60. 
  • Actor Adam Baldwin (TV’s “Chuck”) is 59. 
  • Actor Grant Show (“Devious Maids,” ″Melrose Place”) is 59. 
  • Guitarist Mike Cross of Sponge is 56. 
  • Actor Noah Emmerich is 56. 
  • Actor Donal Logue is 55. 
  • Singer Chilli of TLC is 50. 
  • Keyboardist Jeremy Dean of Nine Days is 49. 
  • Singer Roderick Clark (Hi-Five) is 48. 
  • Bassist Shonna Tucker (Drive-By Truckers) is 43. 
  • Actor Brandon Beemer (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) is 41. 
  • Drummer Cyrus Bolooki of New Found Glory is 41. 
  • Singer Bobby V (Mista) is 41. 
  • Singer Josh Groban is 40. 
  • Banjoist Noam Pikelny of Punch Brothers is 40. 
  • Drummer Jared Champion of Cage the Elephant is 38. 
  • Actor Kate Mara (“American Horror Story”) is 38. 
  • Reality show star JWoww (Jenni Farley) (“Jersey Shore”) is 35. 
  • Actor Lindsey Morgan (“The 100”) is 31.

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