Monday, March 1, 2021

March 1 Radio History

➦In 1893...Nikola Tesla gave the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, although he had presented his work prior to this behind closed doors. Tesla first demonstrated wireless transmissions during a lecture in 1891. Just days before the St. Louis presentation, Tesla addressed the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, on February 23, 1893, describing in detail the principles of early radio communication.

Nikola Tesla
Tesla presented the fundamentals of radio in 1893 during his public presentation, "On Light and Other High Frequency Phenomena." Afterward, the principle of radio communication--sending signals through space to receivers--was widely publicized from Tesla's experiments and demonstrations.

Even before the development of the vacuum tube, Tesla’s descriptions contained all the elements that were later incorporated into radio systems. He initially experimented with magnetic receivers, unlike the coherers (detecting devices consisting of tubes filled with iron filings which had been invented by Temistocle Calzecchi-Onesti in 1884) used by Guglielmo Marconi and other early experimenters.

Radio offers another example of Tesla’s work receiving minimal or no long-term public acknowledgement. While Marconi is often credited with inventing the radio, this presentation by Tesla was recalled in courts several years later in invalidating Marconi patents.

Indeed, it, among other facts, pushed the United States Supreme Court in the 1943 case of Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America vs. the United States to state that "it is now held that in the important advance upon his basic patent Marconi did nothing that had not already been seen and disclosed."

To be true, what Tesla demonstrated had more scientific interest than practical use, but he believed that by taking the “Tesla oscillator,” grounding one side of it, and connecting the other to an insulated body of a large surface, it would be possible to transmit electric oscillations a great distance and to communicate intelligence in this way to other oscillators.

In 1898 at the Electrical Exhibition in New York, Tesla would successfully demonstrate a radio-controlled boat. For that work, he was awarded US patent No. 613,809 for a "Method of and Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving Vessels or Vehicles." Between 1895 and 1897, Tesla received wireless signals transmitted via short distances in his lectures. He transmitted over medium ranges during presentations made between 1897 and 1910.

➦In 1904...Alton Glenn Miller, the man whose name is synonymous with the big band era of the 1940’s, was born in Clarinda, Iowa (Died:  December 15, 1944 at age 40).

He was the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best-known big bands. Miller's recordings include "In the Mood", "Moonlight Serenade", "Pennsylvania 6-5000", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "A String of Pearls", "At Last", "(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo", "American Patrol", "Tuxedo Junction", "Elmer's Tune", and "Little Brown Jug".

In just four years Glenn Miller scored 16 number-one records and 69 top ten hits—more than Elvis Presley (38 top 10s) and the Beatles (33 top 10s) did in their careers. While he was traveling to entertain U.S. troops in France during World War II, Miller's aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel.

➦In 1914...Sportscaster Harry Caray born (real name Harry Christopher Carabina..died from a heart attack just shy of his 84th birthday February 18, 1998). He covered five Major League Baseball teams, beginning with 25 years of calling the games of the St. Louis Cardinals with two of these years also spent calling games for the St. Louis Browns.

After a year working for the Oakland Athletics and eleven years with the Chicago White Sox, Caray spent the last sixteen years of his career as the announcer for the Chicago Cubs.

Caray caught his break when he landed the job with the Cardinals in 1945 and, according to several histories of the franchise, proved as expert at selling the sponsor's beer as he'd been in selling the Cardinals on KMOX.

In 1982 he began 15 years of calling the Cubs games on superstation WGN which won him a national following.

➦In 1928...KGFJ Los Angles went on-air 1926. And on this date it became the first radio station in the United States to adopt a 24-hour broadcast schedule. Today, the station is know as KYPA 1230 AM and airs Korean-language programming.

➦In’s first great effort of on-the-spot news coverage began as NBC and CBS radio rushed to Hopewell, NJ to cover the kidnapping of the Charles and Anne Lindbergh baby.

➦In of daytime radio’s comedic gems Easy Aces written by and starring Goodman Ace with his ditzy wife Jane, moved from local Chicago exposure to the full CBS network, three times a week. It would delight audiences on that schedule for much of the next 15 years.

➦In 1937..This ad appeared in Broadcasting magazine...

KOY was the first radio station in the state of Arizona, signing on in 1921 as Amateur Radio station 6BBH on 360 meters (833 kHz). Earl Nielsen was the holder of the 6BBH call sign (there were no country prefixes for hams prior to 1928). At that time, broadcasting by ham radio operators was legal.

In 1922, the station received its broadcast license, under the Nielsen Radio & Sporting Goods Company business name, with the callsign KFCB. While the KFCB call letters were sequentially assigned, the station adopted the slogan "Kind Friends Come Back" to match the callsign.

A Phoenix teenager and radio enthusiast named Barry Goldwater was one of the new station's first employees.

When the AM broadcast band was opened in 1923 by the Department of Commerce, KFCB moved around the dial, as did many stations at the time. It was on 1260, 1230, 1310, and 1390 before moving to its long-time home of 550 kHz in 1940. KFCB became KOY on February 8, 1929.

From 1932 to 1949, KOY was the CBS Radio Network affiliate for the Phoenix area.

In 1936, Earl Nielsen sold KOY to Prairie Farmer, dba Salt River Valley Broadcasting Company. He remained Station Manager for a couple of years. Prairie Farmer was the owner of WLS radio in Chicago at the time.

➦In 1941...The National Life and Accident Insurance Company, owners of WSM-AM , became the first commercial broadcaster in the U.S. to receive an FM license from the FCC in 1941. Originally known as W47NV, the station operated for about 10 years, until NL&AI realized that few area households had FM radio receivers and that its commercial potential was lacking. NL&AI shut down WSM-FM in 1951 and returned the license to the FCC.

The present-day WSM-FM began broadcasting on November 1, 1962 as WLWM-FM, owned by C. Webber Parrish, a local Nashville businessman. National Life & Accident Insurance purchased the 95.5 MHz frequency from Parrish in 1968, and after a short period of simulcasting the AM, programmed an easy listening format (the format WLWM used) on it from 1969 until early 1976.

FM broadcasting in the United States began in the 1930s with engineer and inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong's experimental station, W2XMN.

➦In 1949...WFLN 95.7 FM signed on in Philadelphia. 95.7 FM was founded by Philadelphia civic leaders as a fine arts station. In the early years, programming was heard in the evening hours only. In 1956, an AM operation was added, which mostly simulcasted the FM.

WFLN, which stood for "Franklin Broadcasting" was the first stand-alone (not co-owned with a local AM) station in Philadelphia. For nearly 50 years, the station's studios, transmitter and self-supporting tower were located at 8200 Ridge Pike, at the western edge of Roxborough, a few miles apart from the cluster of other antennas in Roxborough. From the late 1960s until the late 1980s, WFLN also maintained a small office in center city Philadelphia on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway near 17th Street. This facility was used as a sales office and small studio where host Ralph Collier would do live and recorded interviews. Until about 2004, remnants of white plastic letters spelling "WFLN" could be observed on a low brick wall at the abandoned location, but they have since disintegrated.

Station leadership was carried out by the Smith and Green families. Programming consisted of classical music along with a number of short "feature" programs. Little emphasis was placed on making the station profitable, and most years it simply broke even.

Today it's WBEN-FM 'Ben FM'. And the WFLN call letters are being used by  station in Arcadia, FL.

Ad appeared in Broadcasting 03/2/1953

➦In 1953
...WJZ 770 AM changed call letters to WABCThe original Westinghouse Electric Corporation, whose broadcasting division is a predecessor to the current broadcasting unit of CBS Corporation, launched WJZ in 1921, and was located originally in Newark, NJ.

WJZ was sold in 1923 to the Radio Corporation of America, who moved its operations to New York, and on January 1, 1927, WJZ became the flagship station for the NBC Blue Network. NBC Blue would become the American Broadcasting Company in 1942. ABC later established WJZ-FM and WJZ-TV at the same time in 1948.

➦In 1999...WBIX 105.1 FM in NYC became known as WTJM. On December 10, 1998, at 6 p.m., after playing "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day, the station flipped to the then-popular "Jammin' Oldies" format, branded as "Jammin' 105." The first song on "Jammin'" was "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang.  WBIX changed call letters to WTJM, in order to match the "Jammin'" branding. The station, which would play popular urban, dance, and rhythmic pop music of the mid-1960s through the 1980s, did better in the ratings than the previous format, and WTJM's results initially challenged those of longtime oldies station WCBS-FM.

Today the frequency is iHeartMedia's WWPR.

➦In 2007...Radio, TV character actor Eddie Firestone died at age 86 (Born: December 11, 1920). When he was 12, Firestone was in the cast of 'Wheatenaville', broadcast on NBC's Pacific network. He also have early success in the title role of radio's That Brewster Boy. He left the show in 1943, during World War II, to join the United States Marine Corps where he was commissioned reaching the rank of Captain. He remained in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1942-1957. At the time, he was billed as Eddie Firestone Jr.  He went on to hundreds of appearances over 40 years of episodic TV, from “Bonanza” and “Perry Mason” to 'Dallas" and “Gunsmoke”.

Don Berns
➦In 2015…Veteran radio personality and actor Don Berns died of a heart attack at age 67.
Berns lived in Toronto, where he continued to innovate and create.  As Dr. Trance, he was considered the “Godfather of Toronto’s Rave Scene.”  He grew up in Hartford and did some acting in Toronto theater.  And he continued to share his wit and humor with frequent postings on Facebook.   Berns arrived in Buffalo in fall 1970.  He and Jack Armstrong were the two new voices of Top40 WKBW 1520 AM.  Berns hosted middays while Armstrong rocked Eastern America and Canada at night.  Together, they brought new energy to KB.  Berns’ trademark ending each day was “The Don Berns Show is a Dr. and Mrs. Berns production.”

He also worked in the Providence, Hartford and Albany markets before arriving in Buffalo.

After nearly four years at KB, Berns stunned many of his listeners when he announced he would be joining album rock WPHD 103.3FM.  He changed his high energy top 40 sound to the slower-paced delivery of “progressive” jocks of that era.  But his time at WPHD was short.  Soon after he started, the station’s owners changed formats to top 40, and Berns was back doing what he did so well.  Berns stayed at WYSL AM/FM through 1975 and then left the Buffalo market for Dallas.

He finally settled in Toronto.  For many years, Berns was a personality on CFNY 102.1FM.  He did voice over work, in addition to his dance parties and theater performances.

➦In 2016...Radio programmer John Harlan Rook died (Born: October 9, 1937). He was most known for his tenure in Chicago.

John Rook - 2013
Under his guidance in the 1960s, 50,000-watt ABC-owned WLS 890 AM became the highest rated station in the Chicago metropolitan area, known as one of the greatest Top 40 stations in America. After leaving WLS to form a radio consultancy in 1970, WLS' rival, WCFL-AM, beat WLS in the ratings after retaining Rook's services. Throughout his programming career, Rook won numerous national radio awards and was repeatedly singled out for his ability to pick hit records. He would later become a station owner.

Rook started in radio as a DJ KASL in Newcastle, Wyoming; KOBH in Hot Springs, South Dakota; and KALL in Salt Lake City, Rook programmed KTLN in Denver, where his success led to ABC hiring him to be program director at KQV in Pittsburgh. KQV, owned by ABC, had initial success with the Top 40 format, but was floundering prior to Rook's arrival.

Rook quickly became known for his musical instincts, repeatedly breaking hit records before the rest of the country. He was early on recognizing The Beatles and developed an inside track to their future releases. Under Rook, KQV played world-premieres of new Beatles songs before sending them to other stations owned by ABC in New York City and Chicago. In 1965, KQV had an eight-day start on the rest of the country with “Yes It Is” and “Ticket To Ride”.  KQV also was known nationally for its record-breaking concerts.

In 1967, due to KQV’s success under Rook, ABC appointed him as program director of WLS in Chicago, which, like KQV when Rook arrived, was a major station facing increasingly successful competition. In 1964, WLS had a 34% share of the night time audience while competitor WCFL had 3%. At the time of Rook's arrival in 1967, WLS was down to 16%, virtually tied with WCFL’s 15%.

By 1968, under Rook, WLS again led the market and WLS was named Station of the Year at the Gavin Convention. WLS programmed by Rook became such a legendary Top 40 station that program directors and personalities including Rush Limbaugh and David Letterman cite its programming and personalities under Rook as a major inspiration. Popular disc jockey Larry Lujack, who worked for Rook first at WLS and later at WCFL, considered Rook to be “The greatest program director of our generation.”

John Rook's final interview, a comprehensive overview of his entire life and career, was broadcast on Marcus Singletary's Far Out Flavors podcast on December 15, 2015. Topics included breaking into radio, meeting Mick Jagger, Ted Kennedy, and The Beatles, and the emergence of Republican Donald Trump as a viable presidential candidate

➦In 2016 ...Sports KFWB 980 AM The Beast ended operations after it’s assets in a trust were sold to Universal Media Access KFWB-AM LLC headed by Charles W. Banta of Buffalo NY. for $8M.  Universal Media Access launched South Asian “Desi 980“.

Banta was President at Mercury Capital Partners which he founded in 2000. In 1994, Banta became the President and Founder of Mercury Radio Communications and acquired radio stations in Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Earlier he served as Group Head of Greater Media’s Radio Division where, he oversaw 16 radio stations in Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Central New Jersey, and Boston. Banta has been actively involved as an operator or owner in the media business for more than 28 years.

KFWB 980 AM (5 Kw) Red=Local Coverage
Since November 2011, CBS Radio put KFWB into a trust managed by Diane Sutter, President and CEO of Shooting Star Broadcasting. The business move was needed since CBS Corporation owned and operated two TV stations and two radio stations in the L.A. market.

The station's history goes back to March 3, 1925, when it was launched by Sam Warner, a co-founder of Warner Bros.. The station launched the careers of such stars as Ronald Reagan and Bing Crosby. The station was the first to broadcast the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Although some think its call letters stand for Keep Fighting Warner Brothers or (K)-Four Warner Brothers, actually the call-sign was sequentially issued by the Department of Commerce, predecessor to the FCC (March 1925) at the same time as KFWA in Ogden, Utah (Feb 1925) and KFWC for San Bernardino (also Feb 1925).

After first broadcasting on 1190 kilocycles in 1925, KFWB was moved from 1190 to 830 on the radio dial on June 15, 1927. In February of 1928, the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) assigned KFWB to broadcast on 850 kilocycles, but one month later, moved the station back to 830 on the dial. Also in March of 1928, KFWB increased its transmitter power from 500 to 1,000 watts. As part of the national restructuring of the Broadcast Band (AM) by the Federal Radio Commission, KFWB was moved from 830 to 950 kilocycles on November 11, 1928.

With the move to 950, KFWB was forced to share a small portion of its broadcast day with the Pasadena Star-News station KPSN for one year, until November 15, 1929. But KPSN, which went off the air in 1931, was given only 30 minutes to one hour of air time each day, and KFWB was able to broadcast the remainder of its hours. By the 1936, the station was operating with 5,000 watts day and 1,000 watts at night, from 6:30 am until midnight and on Sundays from 8 am until midnight. By 1939, transmitter power was 5,000 watts day and night. On March 29, 1941, KFWB changed its frequency again, from 950 to the current 980-AM.

Jack, Harry Warner 1925
KFWB was the first station in Los Angeles to sense the commercial possibilities of baby boomers. In 1958, the station unveiled a Top 40 song format, calling itself "Color Radio, Channel 98." (Click Here to listen for jingle), The term referred to color television, which was catching on.  Program director Chuck Blore made personalities out of his jocks, including Bill Ballance, B. Mitchel Reid and Ted Quillin, dubbing them the "Seven Swingin' Gentlemen."

KFWB was purchased by Westinghouse in 1966. On March 11, 1968, the station was relaunched as an all news radio station. The station promoted itself with its slogan, "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world," as first used by New York Westinghouse station WINS, although the station's format used a 30-minute news cycle.

Until spun off into a trust, KFWB was owned by CBS Radio, a subsidiary of CBS Corporation, formerly known as Westinghouse, which also owns KNX, the only all-news station in Los Angeles. KFWB and KNX feuded as all-news rivals for years, both on radio and in television advertising. Like its former sister stations (and fellow all-news stations) WINS in New York and KYW in Philadelphia, KFWB had a running Teletype sound effect in the background during regular newscasts.

On September 8, 2009, the station adopted a news-talk format, adding syndicated shows such as Dave Ramsey, Laura Ingraham, Laura Schlessinger and Michael Smerconish.

By the summer of 2014, KFWB's weekday line-up included: LA's Morning News with Penny Griego and Phil Hulett; Money 101 with Bob McCormick; "As We See It" with Phil Hulett and friends; LA's Afternoon News with Maggie McKay and Michael Shappee; and The Amani & Eytan Show from NBC Sports Radio.

On September 22, 2014, KFWB became "The Beast 980", an all-sports format.

Click Here for More KFWB History.

  • Actor Robert Clary (“Hogan’s Heroes”) is 95. 
  • Singer-actor Harry Belafonte is 94. 
  • Singer Mike D’Abo of Manfred Mann is 77. 
  • Singer Roger Daltrey of The Who is 77. 
  • Actor Dirk Benedict (“The A Team”) is 76. 
  • Actor-director Ron Howard is 67. 
  • Country singer Janis Gill (aka Janis Oliver Cummins) of Sweethearts of the Rodeo is 67. 
  • Catherine Bach back then
    Actor Catherine Bach (“The Dukes of Hazzard”) is 66. 
  • Actor Tim Daly is 65. 
  • Singer-musician Jon Carroll (Starland Vocal Band) is 64. 
  • Actor Bryan Batt (“Mad Men”) is 58. 
  • Actor Maurice Benard (“General Hospital”) is 58. 
  • Actor Russell Wong (“Romeo Must Die,” ″New Jack City”) is 58. 
  • Actor Chris Eigeman (“Metropolitan,” “Last Days of Disco”) is 56. 
  • Actor John David Cullum (“Glory”) is 55. 
  • Actor George Eads (“CSI”) is 54. 
  • Actor Javier Bardem is 53. 
  • Actor Jack Davenport (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) is 48. 
  • Guitarist Ryan Peake of Nickelback is 48. 
  • Actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar is 47. 
  • Actor Jensen Ackles is 43. 
  • TV host Donovan Patton is 43. 
  • Actor Lupita Nyong’o (“Black Panther”) is 38. 
  • Singer Kesha is 34. 
  • Singer Sammie is 34. 
  • Singer Justin Bieber is 27.

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