Thursday, June 17, 2021

June 17 Radio History

➦In 1926...Colonel George Johnston and E. G. Hauselt took over WDBO, Orlando from Justice Lee and Maxwell Green.

According to, WDBO began in 1924 as a physics class project. In May  E.F.  Wineberg, a Rollins College math, physics and engineering professor, launched  a 50-watt radio station in a small wooden building on the Winter Park campus.

The first night's programming - less than an hour - included talks by college officials, a violin solo and a performance by the men's glee club, according to the Rollins newspaper that week. It was the first radio station in Orange County and only the third in  Florida. WDBO operated at 1250 on the dial with 50 watts of power for thirty hours a week. There are some conflicting stories surrounding the call letters.

Some research says the call letters were issued in alphabetical sequence as was the policy of the time. There was WDBN Bangor, Maine, and WDBP, in Superior, Wisconsin. That would make the next set of call letters WDBO. Other research shows a request for the call letters WDBO to stand for "Way Down By Orlando."

Rollins College decided the $600 budget to run WDBO was too much and gave the station to Col. George C. Johnston. Johnston was a radiologist from Pennsylvania who headed an investment bank called The Morris Plan, Co. Johnston named the corporation that took ownership of WDBO, The Orlando Broadcasting Company.

Today, WDBO 580 AM airs News/Talk.

➦In 1927...WOR switched to 710 AM.

WOR began broadcasting on February 22, 1922, using a 500-watt transmitter on 360 meters (833 kc.) from Bamberger's Department Store in Newark, New Jersey.

The station's first broadcast was made with a home made microphone which was a megaphone attached to a telephone transmitter, while Al Jolson's "April Showers" was played.  Louis Bamberger's sale of radio sets to consumers explained their affiliation with the station.

The WOR call sign was reissued from the U.S. maritime radio service. The station initially operated limited hours, sharing time with two other stations, WDT and WJY, which also operated on 833 kc. WOR changed frequency to 740 kc. in June 1923 and shared time with WJY until July 1926, when WJY signed off for good and WOR received full use of the frequency. In December 1924, WOR acquired a studio in Manhattan.

On June 17, 1927, as a result of General Order 40, WOR moved to 710 kc., the channel it currently occupies (unlike most stations, it was not affected by NARBA). Later in 1926, WOR moved from its New York City studio on the 9th floor of Chickering Hall at 27 West 57th Street to 1440 Broadway, two blocks from Times Square.

➦In 1941...Experimental W2XBS received a commercial license under the calls WNBT (for "NBC Television"), thus becoming one of the first two fully licensed commercial television stations in the United States, along with CBS' W2XAB on channel 2, which became WCBW. The NBC and CBS stations were licensed and instructed to sign on simultaneously on July 1 so that neither of the major broadcast companies could claim exclusively to be "first."

However, WNBT signed on at 1:30 p.m., one full hour before WCBW. As a result, WNBC (and essentially, NBC) inadvertently holds the distinction as the oldest continuously operating commercial television station (and television network, respectively) in the United States, and also the only one ready to accept sponsors from its beginning.The first program broadcast at 1:00 EST by the sign-on/opening ceremony with the national anthem of the United States of America "The Star-Spangled Banner", followed by an announcement of that day's programs and the commencement of NBC television programming.

WNBT originally broadcast on channel 1. On its first day on the air, WNBT broadcast the world's first official television advertisement before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The announcement for Bulova watches, for which the company paid anywhere from $4.00 to $9.00 (reports vary), displayed a WNBT test pattern modified to look like a clock with the hands showing the time. The Bulova logo, with the phrase "Bulova Watch Time", was shown in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern while the second hand swept around the dial for one minute.

Today the station is WNBC-TV.

➦In 1945...Art Bell born (Died at age 72  – April 13, 2018). Bell was a broadcaster and author. He was the founder and the original host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM, which is syndicated on hundreds of radio stations in the United States and Canada. He also created and hosted its companion show Dreamland.

Art Bell
In 2003, Bell semi-retired from Coast to Coast AM. During the following four years, he hosted the show many weekends on Premiere Networks. He announced his retirement from weekend hosting on July 1, 2007, but occasionally served as a guest host through 2010. Classic episodes of Coast to Coast AM can be heard in some radio markets on Saturday nights under the name Somewhere in Time hosted by Art Bell. He started a new nightly show, Art Bell's Dark Matter, on Sirius XM Radio, that began on September 16, 2013. It ended six weeks later, on November 4, 2013.

On July 20, 2015, he returned to radio with a new show Midnight in the Desert, which was available online via TuneIn as well as some terrestrial radio stations. He announced what would be his final retirement on December 11, 2015, citing security concerns at his home. He said that he and his family were subjected to repeated intrusions on his property in Pahrump, Nevada. The intrusions included gunshots, and he was in fear for his family's safety. He chose to leave the air and along with it, public life because he believed that the intruder or intruders wanted him off the air.

Bell was the founder and original owner of Pahrump-based radio station KNYE 95.1 FM. His broadcast studio and transmitter were located near his home in Pahrump, where he also hosted Coast to Coast AM. However, from June to December 2006, he lived in the Philippines. In March 2009, he returned to the Philippines with his family after he experienced significant difficulties in obtaining a U.S. visa for his wife, Airyn.

➦In 1968...Seattle's KOL-FM flipped from automated beautiful music to Progressive Rock.

The station's legacy on FM radio dates back to July 8, 1961, when it signed on as KOL-FM, a simulcast of their then-sister-station KOL 1300 AM. It was owned from 1962 until 1967 by television producers and game show moguls Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, and continued to simulcast KOL, which aired a Top 40 format. The pair of stations was sold to Buckley Broadcasting in 1967. The station had a progressive rock format from 1968 to 1975, competing with KISW, and starting in 1974, KZOK-FM. In 1975, the station changed its call letters to KEUT, and changed to Beautiful Music.

The station changed to its long-running country format as KMPS-FM on February 1, 1978, with a simulcast of its AM sister station. (KMPS started its life as a country station in 1975, initially on AM 1300.) It was a direct challenger to then-dominant country station KAYO 1150 AM. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, KMPS was the dominant (and sometimes, only) country station in the Seattle area; it would later pick up FM competitor KKWF in 2005.

EZ Communications bought KMPS-AM-FM from Hercules Broadcasting in 1986.  EZ would sell KMPS-AM (now KKOL) to Salem Communications in 1996. In July 1997, EZ would merge with American Radio Systems, with ARS merging with Infinity Broadcasting (owned by CBS) in September of that year. (Infinity would be renamed CBS Radio in December 2005.)

On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom. KMPS would be retained by the new company, making it a sister station to KKWF, as well as KHTP, KISW and KNDD. To meet ownership limits set by the FCC, sister stations KFNQ, KJAQ and KZOK-FM would be acquired by iHeartMedia.   The merger was approved on November 9th, and was consummated on the 17th.  That same day, KMPS switched to all-Christmas music, leading to speculation that the station was planning to switch to a new format after the holiday season. On-air personality Deanna Lee denied that this was the case, and stated that KMPS would remain a country station.

However, on December 4, 2017, at 9:12 a.m., KMPS flipped to soft adult contemporary as "94.1 The Sound", launching with "Hello" by Lionel Richie. These changes briefly made KKWF the only country station in Seattle, before KVRQ abruptly flipped to the format later in the morning. The station's call letters were changed to KSWD on December 11, 2017; these calls were previously used by KKLQ, an Entercom station divested during the merger which had also branded itself as "The Sound".   The KMPS calls were moved to sister station KRAK in Hesperia, California.

On January 16, 2018, John Fisher, former longtime morning host at KMTT, was announced as KSWD's morning host beginning January 22. Ten days later on January 26, it was announced that Seattle resident and nationally-syndicated personality Delilah would become the station's midday host beginning January 29th. Alongside her daytime program on weekdays, KSWD also carried her syndicated program on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

➦In 1986...Radio host and singer  Kate Smith died at age 79 from complications of diabetes (Born May 1, 1907 – June 17, 1986).  She was known as The First Lady of Radio for her rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America". She had a radio, television, and recording career spanning five decades, which reached its pinnacle in the 1940s. Smith became known as The Songbird of the South after her enduring popularity during World War II.

➦In 2004...Longtime program director Joe McCoy departed Oldies WCBS 101.1 FM NYC.

Joe McCoy
McCoy took over as program director in 1981, and at that point WCBS-FM began to gradually shift its focus to the 1964–1969 era, but would also feature a more pre-1964 oldies than most other such stations. The station continued to also feature hits of the 1970s and some hits of the 1980s while cutting future gold selections to one per hour.

Also in the 1980s, after 77 WABC and later WNBC 600 AM abandoned music in favor of talk, WCBS-FM began employing many disc jockeys who were widely known on other New York City stations, most notably Musicradio WABC alumni Ron Lundy, Dan Ingram, Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, Chuck Leonard and Harry Harrison, as well as former WMCA "Good Guys" Dan Daniels and Jack Spector.

Bob Shannon, whose only previous New York City radio experience before coming to WCBS-FM was as a fill-in DJ at WYNY, became well-known himself through his 19-year run as the station's afternoon disk jockey. Bill Brown (who had started with the station in 1969, during their rock days) and Don K. Reed (who started at the station 6 months before the switch to oldies) remained with the station during their entire first period as an oldies station.

In 1989, WCBS-FM limited current music to late nights and overnights. While most oldies stations were playing songs from exclusively 1955 to 1973, WCBS-FM continued to play a moderate amount of songs from the late 1970s as well as about one 1980s hit per hour. Most of the 1980s music came from core oldies artists.

The station's ratings increased during the 1990s (and were sustained into the 2000s) and market research studies showed a small and growing audience in the 35-to-49-year-old demographic as a new generation's "songs they grew up with" moved into the oldies format. The station even hit number one overall in the ratings on at least several occasions during the 1990s.

Barry Manilow is 78

  • Actor Peter Lupus (TV’s “Mission: Impossible”) is 89. 
  • Actor William Lucking (“Sons of Anarchy”) is 80. 
  • Singer Barry Manilow is 78. 
  • Comedian Joe Piscopo is 70. 
  • Actor Mark Linn-Baker (“Perfect Strangers”) is 67. 
  • Actor Jon Gries (“Napoleon Dynamite”) is 64. 
  • Singer Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) is 63. 
  • Director Bobby Farrelly (“There’s Something About Mary”) is 63. 
    Kami Cotler is 56
  • Actor Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways,” ″Wings,” ″Ned and Stacy”) is 61. 
  • Actor Greg Kinnear is 58. 
  • Actor Kami Cotler (“The Waltons”) is 56. 
  • Actor Jason Patric is 55. 
  • Singer Kevin Thornton of Color Me Badd is 52. 
  • Actor-comedian Will Forte (“Saturday Night Live”) is 51. 
  • Actor Arthur Darvill (“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”) is 39. 
  • Actor Jodie Whittaker (“Doctor Who”) is 39. 
  • Actor Manish Dayal (“The Resident”) is 38. 
  • Country singer Mickey Guyton is 38. 
  • Actor-rapper Herculeez of Herculeez and Big Tyme is 38. 
  • Rapper Kendrick Lamar is 34. Actor KJ Apa (“Riverdale”) is 24.

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