Friday, March 5, 2021

March 5 Radio History

➦In 1927...The newly-authorized Federal Radio Commission held its first meeting.

The FRC existed until its replacement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1934.

The Commission was created to regulate radio use "as the public interest, convenience, or necessity" requires. The Radio Act of 1927 superseded the Radio Act of 1912, which had given regulatory powers over radio communication to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. The Radio Act of 1912 did not mention broadcasting and limited all private radio

Prior to 1927, radio was regulated by the United States Department of Commerce. Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover played a strong role in shaping radio. His powers were limited by federal court decisions, however; in particular, he was not allowed to deny broadcasting licenses to anyone who wanted one.

Herbert Hoover cira 1930
The result was that many people perceived the airwaves to suffer from "chaos," with too many stations trying to be heard on too few frequencies. Others believed the government simply wanted to control content. (Initially only two frequencies were available for broadcasting with one of these being reserved for "Crop reports and weather forecasts.") After several failed attempts to rectify this situation, Congress finally passed the Radio Act of 1927, which transferred most of the responsibility for radio to a newly created Federal Radio Commission. (Some technical duties remained the responsibility of the Radio Division of the Department of Commerce.)

The five-person FRC was given the power to grant and deny licenses, and to assign frequencies and power levels for each licensee. The Commission was not given any official power of censorship, although programming could not include "obscene, indecent, or profane language." In theory, anything else could be aired. In practice, the Commission could take into consideration programming when renewing licenses, and their ability to take away a broadcaster's license enabled them to control content to some degree.

➦In 1940...The NBC Radio Show 'Fibber McGee & Molly' introduced its on-going comedic gag of opening the overstuffed and clutter closet.


The episode was titled "Cleaning the Closet" with Molly opening the closet looking for the dictionary and is promptly buried in Fibber's "stuff" ("arranged in there just the way I want it"). Cleaning out the closet becomes the show's plot, inventorying much of the contents along the way: a photo album, a rusty horseshoe, a ten-foot pole. After repacking the closet, Fibber realizes the dictionary has been put away too — and he opens the closet again, causing an avalanche.

A staple of the NBC Red Network for the show's entire run and one of the most popular and enduring radio series of its time, the prime time situation comedy ran as a standalone series from 1935 to 1956, then continued as a short-form series as part of the weekend Monitor from 1957 to 1959. The title characters were created and portrayed by Jim and Marian Jordan, a real-life husband and wife team that had been working in radio since the 1920s.

Fibber McGee and Molly, which followed up the Jordans' previous radio sitcom Smackout, followed the adventures of a working-class couple, the habitual storyteller Fibber McGee and his sometimes terse but always loving wife Molly, living among their numerous neighbors and acquaintances in the community of Wistful Vista. As with most radio comedies of the era, Fibber McGee and Molly featured an announcer, house band and vocal quartet for interludes. At the peak of the show's success in the 1940s, it was adapted into a string of feature films; a 1959 attempt to adapt the series to television with a different cast and new writers was both a critical and commercial failure, which, coupled with Marian Jordan's death shortly thereafter, brought the series to an end.

➦In 1957...Rock'n'Roll radio personality Allan Freed appeared on the TV game show 'To Tell the Truth', where he is seen defending the new "rock and roll" sound to the panelists, who were all clearly more comfortable with swing music: Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, and Kitty Carlisle.

➦In 1958...Andrew Roy Gibb born (Died March 10, 1988). He was an English singer, songwriter, performer, and teen idol. He was the younger brother of the Bee Gees: Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb.

Gibb came to international prominence in the late 1970s with six singles that reached the Top 10 in the United States, starting with "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" (1977), followed by three other top 20 singles. Gibb's success was brief due to drug addiction and depression. He died just five days after his 30th birthday.

➦In 1960...Elvis is officially discharged from active duty. Although the official date of release was scheduled for March 23.

After receiving his mustering out check of $109.54 and his formal honorable discharge, he and Colonel Parker travel by limousine, 'mysteriously vanishing', the press reports, 'from a snow-packed and fan-laden highway'.

➦In 1963…Patsy Cline died in a plane crash along with several other country music artists (Born Virginia Patterson Hensley; September 8, 1932).  She was 30.  49-year-old Cowboy Copas (Alabam) and 41-year-old Hawkshaw Hawkins (Lonesome 7-7203) also died when their small plane crashed near Camden, Tennessee, about 90miles from Nashville.

Her hits began in 1957 with Donn Hecht's and Alan Block's "Walkin' After Midnight," Hank Cochran's and Harlan Howard's "I Fall to Pieces," Hank Cochran's "She's Got You," and Willie Nelson's "Crazy," and ended in 1963 with Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams." Millions of her records have sold since her death.

➦In 1977..., President Jimmy Carter took questions from 42 telephone callers in 26 states on a radio call-in program moderated by Walter Cronkite. His official papers refer to the show as “Ask President Carter.”.

The program was the brainchild of Walter Cronkite, who anchored the “CBS Evening News” from 1962 to 1981. After a 20-minute practice session, the president and the anchorman went live on the air. With Cronkite serving as the program’s host, Carter, seated at his desk in the Oval Office, answered questions from callers throughout the country.

More than 9 million calls flooded CBS’s switchboard in New York during the two-hour broadcast. The questions addressed topics ranging from Carter’s decision to pardon Americans who had dodged the draft during the Vietnam War to his support for the pending Panama Canal Treaty. He was also asked why he decided to send his daughter, Amy, to a D.C. public school rather than to enroll her in a private school.

 ➦In 1983…The Country Music Television (CMT) network debuted on Cable TV. CMT, originally launched as CMTV, is an American pay television channel that is owned by Viacom. Its name is an initialism for "Country Music Television", which has since been de-emphasized. It was the first nationally available channel devoted to country music and country music videos.

The network launched on March 5, 1983, at 6:19 p.m. CT, beating its chief competitor, TNN, to air by two days. The first video clip to air on CMT was Faron Young's 1971 hit "It's Four in the Morning".  The following summer, MTV filed a trademark infringement lawsuit over the initials CMTV, and the network changed its name to simply CMT.

➦In 1984....Harry Salter, a music director and an orchestra conductor for radio and TV programs, died.

Harry Salter
One of Salter's radio orchestras in the late 1920s had as members Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Gene Krupa and Jack Teagarden. He was the orchestra leader for such radio shows as the Hit Parade, Your Unseen Friend, Philco Show, Hobby Lobby and Mr. District Attorney. He also conducted for performers such as Lanny Ross and Milton Berle.

Salter was also the creator, the executive producer, as well orchestra conductor, for the TV show Name That Tune from 1952 to 1959, and was the creator and the musical director of Stop the Music on both radio and television which was broadcast on radio from 1948 to 1949 and became a one-hour TV show on ABC from May 1949 to April 1952, and came back again as a half-hour show from September 7, 1954, to June 14, 1956.

➦In 2012…John Madigan, a longtime Chicago newsman who worked with CBS-TV and was for many years political director at WBBM-AM radio, died of complications from a stroke. Madigan, 94, was a reporter for the Chicago American newspaper and also worked for Newsweek magazine before joining CBS, according to WBBM Newsradio 780 and 105.9 FM.

➦In 2014…Radio, TV personality Geoff Edwards died from pneumonia at age 83  (Born - February 13, 1931).  He was a TV actor, game show host and radio personality

Edwards began his career while in college, working for a radio station in Albany, NY. By the late 1950s, though, he relocated to Southern California, landing his first job at KFMB-AM in San Diego, hosting an evening show and co-hosting the "Don Ross/Geoff Edwards Show".

Geoff Edwards - 1977
As a news reporter for KHJ-AM radio, Edwards was present in the basement of Dallas police headquarters when Jack Ruby shot suspected John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on November 24, 1963. Edwards was one of the witnesses interviewed by NBC television correspondent Tom Pettit on the scene.

In its 11th annual radio selections for the Best of 1967 column, The Los Angeles Times selected Edwards for its Personality of the Year for Edwards' on air work at KFI.

After a few short stints at other stations, Edwards was hired at KMPC in Los Angeles, occupying the 9 a.m.-noon slot for several years beginning in February 1968 until December 1979 when he resigned to focus on his TV career.

He later worked at KFI from 1987 to 1989.

Later, Edwards was a morning DJ with KSUR (now KKGO) in Los Angeles. One of the features of his radio show was "Radio's Answer Lady," in which listeners could call in with questions — some serious, some not so serious — and he would answer on the air, sometimes with serious answers, sometimes with quips.

  • Actor Paul Sand (“St. Elsewhere”) is 89. 
  • Actor James B. Sikking (“Hill Street Blues,” ″Doogie Howser, M.D.”) is 87. 
  • Actor Dean Stockwell (“JAG,” ″Quantum Leap”) is 85. 
  • Football player-turned-actor Fred Williamson is 83. 
  • Actor Samantha Eggar (“The Molly Maguires,” ″Dr. Doolittle”) is 82. 
  • Actor Michael Warren (“Soul Food,” ″Hill Street Blues”) is 75. 
  • Eva Mendes is 47
    Actor Eddie Hodges is 74. 
  • Singer Eddy Grant is 73. 
  • Keyboardist Alan Clark of Dire Straits is 69. 
  • Actor-comedian Marsha Warfield (“Night Court”) is 67. 
  • Magician Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller is 66. 
  • Actor Adriana Barraza is 65. 
  • Actor Talia Balsam (“Divorce,” ″Mad Men”) is 62. 
  • Musicians Charlie and Craig Reid of The Proclaimers are 59. 
  • Actor Paul Blackthorne (“Arrow,” ″24″) is 52. 
  • Guitarist John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) is 51. 
  • Singer Rome is 51. 
  • Actor Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”) is 47. 
  • Actor Eva Mendes is 47. 
  • Actor Jolene Blalock (“Enterprise”) is 46. 
  • Model Niki Taylor is 46. 
  • Actor Kimberly McCullough (“General Hospital”) is 43. 
  • Actor Karolina Wydra (“Wicked City,” “House”) is 40. 
  • Actor Sterling Knight (“Sonny With a Chance”) is 32. 
  • Actor Jake Lloyd (“Star Wars” films) is 32. 
  • Actor Micah Fowler (“Speechless”) is 23.

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