Monday, April 5, 2021

April 5 Radio History

➦In 1922…KOB-AM Albuquerque, New Mexico signed-on.

Ralph Willis Goddard
The station was founded at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Las Cruces (now New Mexico State University) by Ralph Willis Goddard, and began broadcasting tests in 1919 under the call letters 5XD. On April 5, 1922 the station began regular operation as KOB, a callsign which had belonged to marine radio aboard the Princess Anne before its February 2, 1920 shipwreck on Rockaway Shoals, Long Island.  New Mexico A&M sold the station after Goddard was electrocuted while adjusting the transmitter on December 31, 1928. In 1933 the station moved to Albuquerque, and was later bought by the Albuquerque Journal.

In 1948, Tom Pepperday, owner and publisher of the Journal, signed on KOB-TV, the first television station between the Mississippi River and the West Coast. The stations passed to Time-Life in 1952 and to Hubbard Broadcasting in 1957. Hubbard Broadcasting sold the radio stations in 1986. In order to trade on the well-known KOB calls, the new owners simply added an extra "K" to the radio station's call letters.

KOB was involved in a 38-year-long dispute with New York City station WABC (originally WJZ) over the use of the 770 kHz frequency. KOB was moved there from 1030 to make room for WBZ in Boston. While the Federal Communications Commission requested that WJZ install a directional antenna to allow the stations to interoperate over large areas, the station refused to comply, encroaching on the range KOB was intended to cover. Only after reaching the U.S. Supreme Court was the issue settled, when the FCC assigned KOB to a new license class. KKOB and WABC became sister stations when Citadel Broadcasting purchased ABC Radio in 2007; Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.

➦In 1922…WDZ-AM, Decatur, Illinois signed-on.

WDZ started in the office of the James Bush grain elevator in Tuscola, Illinois. The original call sign was 9JR and the original intent of the station was to broadcast grain reports, making it the first radio station to do so. The station later started mixing some music in with the grain reports.

The radio station's power was increased to 1000 watts in 1939 with a new 252-foot (77 m) tower. During that time, WDZ used remote broadcasts that was unique for a rural station. The station started the use of remote broadcasting equipment which included a truck called, the "WDZ 'White Relay Truck"', equipped with a 100-watt transmitter to relay broadcasts from area locations, and some two-watt, battery operated transmitters that could be worn on the backs of assistants when a program originated from remote sites.   The station was on 1020 kHz in 1941, but changed to 1050 kHz, and has remained there since.

1050 kHz has been a Mexican Clear Channel since 1941 (was a U.S. Clear Channel before 1941), and U.S. operations on Mexican Clear Channels was restricted to 1,000 watts and to daytime operations, only, until the "Rio" treaty took effect in the late 1980s (before 1941, 1020 kHz was a U.S. Clear Channel and that, too, was restricted). After "Rio" took effect, it was a simple matter for WDZ to add night operations with as little as 250 watts, and today the station is indeed operating with its pre-"Rio" maximum daytime power and its post-"Rio" minimum nighttime power. Anything more than 1,000 watts days and 250 watts nights very likely would require installation of a directional antenna system at great capital expense. WDZ is diplexed (i.e., it uses the very same vertical radiator) with co-owned WSOY.

WDZ Performer's Studio
In 1949, the station moved from Tuscola to Decatur.   The relocation of WDZ from Tuscola to the west and to Decatur greatly facilitated the eventual allocation of a station on 1080 kHz in Oak Lawn, suburban Chicago, IL.

WDZ Transmitter Studio
On March 31, 2008, the station switched to a sports radio format as part of the Fox Sports Radio network. Within a year the station switched programming from Fox Sports Radio to ESPN Radio.

WDZ and its sister stations WCZQ 105.5 FM Monticello and WDZQ 95.1 FM, 1340 WSOY 1340 AM and WSOY 102.9 FM Decatur, were sold to Neuhoff Media in February 2009.

Today, WDZ 1050 AM, powers with 1000 Kw-Day, 250 watts Night. and airs ESPN Sports.

➦In 1927...The NBC Orange Network started distributing programs. Also known as the NBC Pacific Coast network it was a National Broadcasting Company radio network in the western United States from 1927 to 1936, before two-way broadcast-quality communications circuits reached the West to relay the larger NBC Red Network and NBC Blue Network.

The Orange Network had its own production and performance staffs on the West Coast. In addition to producing original West Coast works, the Orange Network also had duplicate productions of many eastern shows until the end of 1928. In December 1928, a single broadcast-quality line was completed to San Francisco, and the Orange Network could then carry eastern programming directly, but only one program at a time; from then until 1936, Orange Network fed some programs from Red and some from Blue.

In 1936, a second broadcast-quality circuit was completed, this time to Los Angeles. This circuit also allowed the direction of amplification to be reversed in under 15 seconds, allowing Los Angeles, with its easy access to talent during the Golden Age of Hollywood, to feed broadcast-quality sound to the eastern networks as well. With the opening of the second circuit, the need for the Orange Network disappeared, and the stations on the old Orange Network became the Pacific Coast Red Network, fed by KPO (AM), except KGO (AM), which itself fed a new Western Blue Network made up of stations on the short-lived former NBC Gold Network.

➦In 1958...the first Greatest Hits album ever , Johnny’s Greatest Hits, featuring Johnny Mathis on Columbia Records, made it onto the Billboard LP chart for the first time. The album remained on the charts for 490 weeks.

➦In 1982…Record World magazine ended publication after 36-years. It was one of the three main music industry trade magazines in the United States, along with Billboard and Cash Box. It was founded in 1946 under the name Music Vendor, but in 1964 it was changed to Record World, under the ownership of Sid Parnes and Bob Austin. It ceased publication on April 10, 1982.

Many music industry personalities, writers, and critics began their careers there in the early 1970s to 1980s.  Record World was considered the hipper, faster-moving music industry publication, in contrast to the stodgier Billboard and the perennially-struggling Cash Box. Record World's collapse was the result of discord between the two owners, and a sudden downturn in record sales.

➦In 2005…News anchor Peter Jennings told his ABC-TV audience that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He died four months later.

Peter Jennings
Jennings was born on July 29, 1938, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; he and his younger sister Sarah were the only two children of Elizabeth (née Osborne) and Charles Jennings, a prominent radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Peter Jennings started his broadcasting career at the age of nine, hosting Peter's People, a half-hour, Saturday morning, CBC Radio show for kids.

The 21-year-old Jennings started his rise in broadcasting. In 1959, radio CFJR, in Brockville, ON, hired him as a member of its news department; many of his stories, including his coverage of a local train wreck, were picked up by the CBC. By 1961, Jennings had joined the staff of CJOH-TV, then a new television station in Ottawa. When the station launched in March 1961, Jennings was initially an interviewer and co-producer for Vue, a late-night news program. His producers saw a youthful attractiveness in him that resembled that of Dick Clark, and Jennings soon found himself hosting Club Thirteen, a dance show similar to American Bandstand.

➦In 2014…TV and radio host Lynn Hinds died at age 79 from pancreatic cancer. Hinds informed and entertained countless Pittsburghers for two decades.

Hinds was a radio and TV host here from the 1960s until 1983, starting with radio shows on KQV-AM and WTAE-AM.

Lynn Hinds
Retired news director and broadcaster Frank Gottlieb, who worked with Mr. Hinds at WTAE-TV, always made a point to listen to his radio talk shows. "It was appointment radio. It was on the high level of Lynn's intellect. It was back when talk wasn't the same as it is now. It wasn't bombastic all politics, all the time."

Former WTAE news director Joe Rovitto recalls Mr. Hinds as a well-informed host with "phenomenal" interviewing skills. "That made him the ideal host for television. He was exactly what you would want every journalist to be. He was a sponge for information. At the same time, he was one of the most down-to-earth guys."

In 1983, WTAE decided not to renew his contract. At that point he dedicated his life to teaching. He moved to State College and joined the faculty at Penn State University. While he was there, he wrote, produced and hosted "The Pennsylvania Game," a current affairs quiz show that aired on the Pennsylvania Public Television Network.

In 1991, he left Penn State to teach broadcast journalism at West Virginia University. In 1996, he accepted the job of chair of the communications department at Drury University in Springfield, Md., and retired as professor emeritus.

Hinds wrote several books, including "Broadcasting the Local News: The Early Years of KDKA," and "The Cold War as Rhetoric: the Beginnings, 1945-1950."

➦In  2015…Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Lonnie Alexander "Lon" Simmons died at age 91. (Born - July 19, 1923).

Lon Simmons - 1971
He was born in Vancouver, Washington, he began his radio career in Elko, Nevada, calling Elko High School football and basketball games on KELK. He first announced baseball for a semipro league in Marysville, California. After spending three years broadcasting Fresno State sports on KMJ, Simmons landed in San Francisco in 1957 as the sports director at KSFO. That year, he was the color commentator for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League, teaming with play-by-play announcer Bob Fouts, the father of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts.

In 1958, Simmons took over as play-by-play announcer on 49ers radio broadcasts, paired with former 49er Gordy Soltau. Years later, he worked with KSFO disc-jockey Gene Nelson and then with former NFL player and KPIX-TV sports director Wayne Walker. Also in 1958, he became the second announcer for the newly relocated San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball, teaming with lead announcer Russ Hodges, who moved with the team from New York. To complement Hodges' "Bye Bye Baby!" home run call, Simmons created his own, "Tell It Goodbye!" When Hodges retired, Simmons was promoted to lead announcer and teamed with Bill Thompson. This pairing lasted through the 1973 season. Al Michaels and Art Eckman became the Giants radio announcers on KSFO in 1974.

Simmons' most famous call during his first stint with the 49ers came on October 25, 1964, when Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall picked up a fumble by the 49ers' Billy Kilmer and ran it the wrong way, scoring a safety for the 49ers instead of a touchdown for the Vikings (who won the game anyway, by a score of 27-22).

  • Hayley Atwell is 39
    Horror filmmaker Roger Corman is 95. 
  • Country singer Tommy Cash is 81. 
  • Actor Michael Moriarty (“Law and Order”) is 80. 
  • Singer Allan Clarke of The Hollies is 79. 
  • Actor Max Gail (“Sons and Daughters,” ″Barney Miller”) is 78. 
  • Actor Jane Asher is 75. 
  • Singer Agnetha Faltskog of Abba is 71. 
  • Actor Mitch Pileggi (“The X Files”) is 69. 
  • Singer Peter Case of The Plimsouls is 67. 
  • Rapper-actor Christopher “Kid” Reid of Kid ’n Play (“House Party”) is 57. 
  • Guitarist Mike McCready of Pearl Jam is 55. 
  • Musician Paula Cole is 53. 
  • Actor Krista Allen (“Baywatch,” ″What About Brian”) is 50. 
  • Actor Victoria Hamilton (“The Crown”) is 50. 
  • Country singer Pat Green is 49. 
  • Rapper-producer Pharrell Williams is 48. 
  • Rapper Juicy J (Three 6 Mafia) is 46. 
  • Actor Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) is 45. 
  • Singer-guitarist Mike Eli of The Eli Young Band is 40. 
  • Actor Hayley Atwell (“Marvel’s Agent Carter”) is 39. 
  • Actor Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) is 32.

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