Friday, July 23, 2021

July 23 Radio History

➦In 1912
...Jackson Beck born (Died at age 92 – July 28, 2004). He was an announcer and actor best known as the announcer on radio's The Adventures of Superman and the voice of Bluto in the Famous era Popeye theatrical shorts.

Jackson Beck
Beck's early radio experience included work at WINS and WHN, both in New York City. Beginning in 1931, he worked with Myrt and Marge, among other roles. In 1934, he was the announcer for The Adventures of Babe Ruth on the radio. In 1943, he took over as narrator of radio's The Adventures of Superman; it was Beck who intoned the familiar prologue "strange visitor from another planet..." He also had recurring roles, voicing an occasional tough guy and also portraying Beany Martin, the Daily Planet's teenage copy boy. On Superman episodes featuring Batman, he played Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred Pennyworth.

He also impersonated Joseph Stalin and other world leaders for The March of Time radio series, starred as The Cisco Kid on radio from 1942 to 1945 and sleuth Philo Vance in a syndicated series from 1948 to 1950, starred in the dramatic anthology Brownstone Theater on Mutual, and served as narrator for the radio adventures of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

Beck also co-starred in several episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

➦In 1937...Robert Wilbur Morgan born (Died  – May 22, 1998). He was a Top40 radio personality best known for his work at several stations in Los Angeles, California, in particular KHJ-AM.

Morgan also did morning drive at KMPC-AM, KIQQ-FM and KMGG-FM, and finished his career at KRTH-FM, where he retired for health reasons in 1997. He died from lung cancer on May 22, 1998.

As a youth growing up in Galion, Ohio, Morgan's interest was piqued while listening to his favorite DJs on Cleveland's top forty giant KYW which would eventually lead to his first on-air job was at Wooster College in 1955 on WWST & WWST-FM, for an initial salary of $1 per hour.

In 1959 Morgan moved from college radio to KACY Port Hueneme, California where he hosted the over night show called Kegler's Spare Time with Bob Morgan live from the Wagon Wheel Bowl before moving on to a succession of brief stints beginning in 1961 at KTEE Carmel as the second half of a two-man classical music announcer on KTEE with Bob Elliott, a Marine Corps Heavyweight Champion who later went on to radio fame as "K.O. Bailey," then a short time later as the morning drive DJ and mid-day board op for the Arthur Godfrey Show at KMBY, Monterey, then a jump to KOMY Watsonville, then back to KMBY Monterey followed in 1962 at "K-MAKE", KMAK, Fresno where he first worked with program director Ron Jacobs. This was followed in 1963 by an eight-month stay at KROY Sacramento before finally landing his first major-market job in 1964 at KEWB, San Francisco. It was here that he met and worked with his lifelong friend "The Real" Don Steele.

On April 27, 1965 the careers of Morgan, Steele and programmer Ron Jacobs would gain superstar status almost overnight when they joined the staff of 93KHJ-AM, Los Angeles. Programming genius Bill Drake along with a staff of talented DJs called "Boss Jocks" had transformed a sleepy giant into the city's most dominant radio station.

It was here that Morgan enjoyed his greatest on-air success as one of the original "Boss Jocks" on 93/KHJ which dominated the Top 40 radio market in Southern California from 1965 to 1973.

Morgan's signature, "Good Morgan Boss Angeles!" to his devoted morning drive time audience would stay with him until the end of his career. It was also Morgan that voiced much of the "Boss Radio/93 KHJ station promos and imagery. It was also during this time that Morgan co-produced and narrated the 48-hour History of Rock and Roll in 1969, a definitive on-air encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. It was the first-ever "rock-umentary" aired worldwide as a definitive history of the Rock & Roll genre—a "rockumentary," as producers Drake and Gene Chenault would call it—that would stretch from the early 1950s to 1989.

In 1970 Morgan made a surprise move from Los Angeles to WIND Radio Chicago where he remained in the morning slot until finally being enticed back to his KHJ morning show in 1972.

Until his departure from KHJ in October 1970, Morgan had commanded unparalleled radio ratings in Los Angeles. Morgan's return to his former time slot in L.A., which saw a significant spike upward for KHJ until he departed just a year later.

In 1973, Morgan and Steele walked out of KHJ and joined Bill Drake six months later at KIQQ-FM, Los Angeles. The ratings were sub-par, though, causing Morgan to leave the morning slot a year and a half later for weekends and fill-in slots at the prestigious KMPC Los Angeles. He stayed at KMPC until 1984. After a short stint at KMGG, Morgan returned to KMPC.

Morgan was heard in 1973 on Saturday night segments of the long-running NBC Radio program Monitor, an attempt to freshen that program's image. While with KMGG, he was at one time heard as a substitute host of American Top 40. During the mid to late 70s, Morgan also did his own one-hour radio weekly special highlighting one artist or group per show. "Robert W. Morgan's Special of the Week" was often played on radio stations that also carried Casey Kasem's American Top 40 as the same company, Watermark, distributed both.

The year 1992 would signal the twilight years of Morgan's distinguished radio broadcast career when he signed on as morning show host of "oldies" K-EARTH 101, where he again enjoyed solid ratings in the Los Angeles market before announcing in May 1997 that he was suffering from lung cancer. According to L.A. radio personality Bob Shannon, Morgan told his listeners, "It could have something to do with the two-packs-a-day cigarette habit I had for the last 35 years."

In an emotional on-air statement, Morgan stated that he was taking some time off to fight the disease full-time. His friend and colleague Don Steele died, also of lung cancer, in August 1997. Morgan continued to do broadcasts from his home studio until 1998.

He died from cancer May 22, 1998 at age 60. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame the following year.

➦In 1940..John Donald Imus Jr. born.  Imus was radio personality, television show host, recording artist, and author. He is known for his radio show Imus in the Morning which aired on various stations and digital platforms nationwide until 2018. A former railroad brakeman and miner, Imus attended broadcasting school in the 1960s and secured his first radio job in 1968 at KUTY in Palmdale, California. Three years later, he landed the morning spot at WNBC in New York City before his firing in 1977.

Imus - 1970
Imus was born in Riverside, California, the son of Frances E. and John Donald Imus, Sr., and the older brother of former talk show host Fred Imus.

He served in the Marine Corps as a bugler from 1957 to 1960.

Imus was a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Upon winning a talent contest at Johnny Otis's nightclub, he began working as a singer/songwriter, managed by Otis. In 1966, Imus enrolled at the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts and Sciences in Hollywood after seeing a newspaper advert; he was thrown out for being "uncooperative", but studied enough to obtain a broadcasting license as required by the FCC.

After hearing a morning disc-jockey, he went to the nearby radio station and persuaded the owner to hire him. Thus he began his career as a radio disc jockey on June 28, 1968 at radio station KUTY in Palmdale, California. He stayed at the station until 1969 when he left for a job at KJOY, a small radio station in Stockton, California. He was later fired for saying "hell" on air.

After being fired in Stockton, he went to KXOA in Sacramento, California. His on-air pranks, such as calling up a restaurant and ordering 1200 hamburgers to go, made his show immensely popular and boosted ratings. He was inspired to pursue a career in radio by listening to California radio personality Don MacKinnon.

After a stint at WGAR 1220 AM in Cleveland, Ohio, Imus moved to New York City and WNBC radio in December 1971. During this first stint at WNBC 660 AM, Imus recorded three record albums, two for the RCA Victor label (1200 Hamburgers to Go, including some of his more popular humor from KXOA, WGAR and WNBC broadcasts, and One Sacred Chicken to Go with Anthrax, a primarily studio-created album centering on his satirical character, The Right Rev. Dr. Billy Sol Hargis) and one for the Bang label (This Honky's Nuts, an album of his stand up comedy act at the Manhattan nightclub "Jimmy's".  There was also a 1973 RCA Victor single, "Son of Checkers," issued by Imus. The single reached #123 in the Record World survey.

"Imus...In The Morning...In The Evening" aired nationally in the fall of 1973, part of NBC Radio's attempt to revive "Monitor", it's long-running weekend magazine. The Saturday night segment rotated popular hosts Imus, Wolfman Jack, and Robert W. Morgan

Imus was fired from WNBC in August 1977 along with several of the station's other personalities, in an effort to revamp the station's sound and boost ratings. In 1978 he returned to Cleveland radio as afternoon drive host on WHK.

In a surprise change of fortune Imus was rehired by WNBC in September 1979, and revived his morning drive show. From 1982 to 1985, the station also employed talk-radio host Howard Stern, and WNBC heavily promoted the pair in print and television ads, which often featured the slogan "If We Weren't So Bad, We Wouldn't Be So Good." Although Stern's show aired later in the day, Imus and Stern often made brief appearances on each other's shows, giving the audience an occasional glimpse of an on-and-off-air rivalry that continued for many years.

During this period, Imus was best known for character Billy Sol Hargis, a radio evangelist whose name was a cross between infamous real-life radio and television preacher Billy James Hargis and real-life Texas fertilizer swindler Billie Sol Estes. As Hargis, Imus touted on-air the merits of the "First Church of the Gooey Death and Discount House of Worship".

Imus was also the utility announcer for Geraldo Rivera's monthly TV series Good Night, America, which aired as a recurring segment of ABC's Wide World of Entertainment program, and he was one of the inaugural video jockeys for the launch of the VH-1 cable network in 1985.

In 1988, WNBC radio was sold to Emmis Broadcasting; on October 7, 1988, WNBC permanently signed off the air and Emmis' WFAN was moved from 1050 AM to WNBC's former spot, 660 AM. Imus in the Morning remained at 660 AM among WFAN's sports programs with his music and comedy bits as the staples of the program and the beginnings of a political forum.

The radio show became nationally syndicated in 1993, and began simulcasting on MSNBC in 1996. He wore his signature cowboy hat during his broadcasts.

Imus won four Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality (1994).

Imus retired in March 2018 and died December 27, 2019.

Dick Biondi
➦In 1963...Former Chicago personality Dick Biondi ended his self-imposed exile from radio and joined KRLA 1110 AM in Pasadena, Calif. Both KRLA and KFWB were neck and neck in the overall radio ratings in Los Angeles.

The KRLA line-up is Reb Foster, Casey Kasem, Bob Eubanks, Dick Biondi, Ted Quillin and Bob Hudson.

➦In 1963...New York City is the nation’s largest radio market and competition is fierce. Most of the larger stations were owned by corporations - WOR - RKO, WABC-ABC, WNBC-NBC, WCBS-CBS, WINS-Group W (Westinghouse), WHN-Storer, WNEW-Metropolitan. Each is 50,000 watts and all have rather good signals. There’s another competitor - this one’s only 5,000 watts and is family owned and operated - WMCA 570 AM  - which was owned by the Straus family.

The 1963 ratings placed WMCA on top for the first time ever. The station had adopted a different concept to their DJ lineup - personality and team togetherness and it shows on the air and in person - more than any other station in the United States.

Thanks to program director Ruth Meyer, the WMCA Good Guys were taking New York by storm. The WMCA Goodguys show up at events together, as many as possible - all with their sweatshirts and black pants.  WMCA’s music policy was to play the hits and be the first to jump on music trends.

➦In 1966...Coca-Cola launched the biggest radio spot campaign in its history, featuring top recording artists in an all-out drive for the teen market. Each artist is spotlighted in a different version of the “Things Go Better With Coke” jingle. Coke was the seventh largest radio time buyer in 1965, would now vault to the number one buyer of national radio commercials.

Artists signed by ad agency McCann-Erickson for showcasing include Petula Clark, the Coasters, the Four Seasons, Freddie and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Jan and Dean, Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, The Shirelles, The Supremes and Sue Thompson.

The jingle was written by William Backer of McCann-Erickson. Backer says each commercial will strive to retain the artist’s individuality in the recording of each version of “Things Go Better With Coca-Cola.” In that way, the artist’s unique singing style and basis for his appeal is harnessed to capture the listener’s attention.

➦In 1966...KBLA 1500 AM in Burbank, Calif, fired its staff of DJ’s in order to give listeners more music. According to general manager Mel Leeds, the Top-40 station would now be able to play more music than those stations with air personalities. The policy now for KBLA will be to play two-three or more records without DJ interruptions. This is unheard of in top-40 radio. Released by the station were DJ’s Chet Douglas, Larry Tyler, Jim Wood, and Tom Clay.  Leeds says that by eliminating talk, the commercial messages were showcased more dramatically and effectively.  Today, KBLA is a progressive talk format.

➦In 1966...Both WMCA and WABC, New York pulled ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away” by Napoleon XIV off the air. WMCA says they have received various complaints about the record, which lampooned mental illness. Even though the record is #1 on the WMCA Good Guy survey, they didn't air it! Teens picketed WMCA carrying such signs as “We’re coming to take WMCA Away! Unfair to Napoleon in Everyway.” 77 WABC Program Director Rick Sklar said his station had letters from doctors and institutions saying the record hurt their image.

➦In 1982...The FCC approved stereo transmission for AM Radio. KTSA 550 AM San Antonio started stereo broadcasting.

WCAR - 1926
The station began on September 1, 1922, as WCAR, founded by John C. Rodriguez of the Alamo Radio & Electric Company in September 1922. WCAR was the second radio station in San Antonio, taking the airwaves shortly after WJAE which only lasted a few months. WCAR originally broadcast on 1290 AM, sharing time with WFUL in Galveston. (Before 1923, radio stations in Texas were given call signs beginning with W.) The station's full-time operation was approved April 29, 1933, when the Federal Radio Commission approved WCAR's purchase of WFUL and it was taken off the air. Several years later, WCAR's call letters were changed to KTSA.

In the 1930s, KTSA moved to 550 kHz, increasing its coverage area by going from 1,000 watts to 5,000 watts. KTSA, which was owned by Southwest Broadcasting Company at that time, became an affiliate of the Southwest Network and the CBS Radio Network. KTSA carried the network's schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the Golden Age of Radio.

On October 28, 1940, KTSA played host to the first and only meeting between noted science fiction author H.G. Wells and radio dramatist Orson Welles, which occurred nearly two years after the panic created by Welles' broadcast of The War of the Worlds. An advertisement in the 1949 edition of Broadcasting Yearbook said KTSA had been a CBS affiliate for 20 years, delivering 25.1% more radio families in the daytime and 20.6% more radio families in the nighttime. The ad was aimed at advertisers who might otherwise want to buy time on NBC Red Network affiliate WOAI 1200 AM, which remains KTSA's rival to this day.

For a time the San Antonio Express-News Corporation owned the station. In 1956, Top40 radio pioneer Gordon McLendon bought KTSA. He made it one of the first full-time Top 40 stations in America. KTSA became an overnight sensation because of the music and outrageous promotions. One included a flagpole sitter at the O. R. Mitchell Dodge used car dealership on Broadway, and the KTSA Easter Egg Hunt, which swamped San Pedro Springs Park with thousands of listeners searching for a $1000 KTSA Golden Egg.

In 1957, KTSA got competition from AM 860 KONO 860 AM (owned today by Cox Media Group), which changed to a Top40 format and hired several of KTSA's disk jockeys. By this time, McLendon had successful stations in El Paso (KELP), Dallas (KLIF), and Houston (KILT), and used the El Paso and San Antonio stations as farm teams for his larger markets. Because KTSA was located at 550 on the dial, his station promoted on the air that it played the "Top 55 Hits." Under McLendon ownership, KTSA obtained FCC permission to use the call letters KAKI-FM on KTSA's planned FM station, reportedly to honor San Antonio's military personnel (with "KAKI" meaning "khaki", a type of fabric used in military uniforms). KTSA's call letters were also briefly switched to KAKI. After KAKI-AM-FM letterhead and promotional materials were printed, management learned that the call letters could be pronounced as slang in Spanish for baby feces. AM 550 quickly returned to its KTSA call sign. And plans to put the FM station on the air were scrapped.

McLendon sold KTSA in 1965. The FCC had a rule at that time that a single owner could not own more than seven radio stations nationally. When McLendon bought his eighth radio station, San Antonio was one of his smallest markets. So he sold KTSA to Waterman Broadcasting, with Bernard Waterman as the president. KTSA remained one of San Antonio's most listened-to stations until contemporary music listening switched to FM radio. In 1969, KTSA signed on an FM sister station, 102.7 KTFM (now KJKK).

In the 1980s, the Top40 format moved over to KTFM, while KTSA switched to a full service adult contemporary sound, with some talk programming at night. By 1986, the music had been eliminated and the station became a full-time talk outlet.

In 2000, KTSA and its FM station, then with the call letters KSRX, were acquired by the Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, a division of CBS. Then in 2007, KTSA and its FM station, KJXK 102.7, were bought by Border Media Partners (BMP Radio) for $45 million. On July 27, 2009, Border Media Partners was taken over by its lenders in an "amicable manner," according to an FCC filing. Border Media had not made a debt payment in two years, according to the San Antonio Express-News. This resulted in BMP selling the station to L&L Broadcasting (now Alpha Media) in 2013.

➦In 2010…Daniel Louis Schorr died at age 93 (Born - August 31, 1916). He was a journalist who covered world news for more than 60 years. He was most recently a Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio (NPR). Schorr won three Emmy Awards for his television journalism. Schorr also worked for CBS and was the first on-camera employee hired at CNN.

Woody Harrelson is 60

  • Actor Ronny Cox (“Deliverance,” “RoboCop”) is 83. 
  • Actor Larry Manetti (“Magnum, P.I.”) is 78. 
  • Singer David Essex is 74. 
  • Singer and former Congressman John Hall (Orleans) is 73. 
  • Guitarist Blair Thornton of Bachman-Turner Overdrive is 71. 
  • Actor Belinda Montgomery (“Doogie Howser, MD”) is 71. 
  • Actor Lydia Cornell (“Too Close For Comfort”) is 68. 
  • Actor Woody Harrelson is 60. 
  • Guitarist Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is 60. 
  • Actor Eriq Lasalle (“ER”) is 59. 
  • Drummer Yuval Gabay (Soul Coughing) is 58. 
  • Guitarist Slash of Velvet Revolver and of Guns N’ Roses is 56. 
  • Actor Juan Pope (formerly J. Lamont Pope) (“My Name Is Earl,” ″Family Matters”) is 54. 
  • Model Stephanie Seymour is 53. 
  • Actor Charisma Carpenter (“Veronica Mars”) is 51. 
  • Alison Krauss is 50
    Singer Sam Watters of Color Me Badd is 51. 
  • Singer Dalvin DeGrate of Jodeci is 50. 
  • Musician Alison Krauss is 50. 
  • Drummer Chad Gracey of Live is 50. 
  • Actor-comedian Marlon Wayans (“The Wayans Brothers”) is 49. 
  • Country singer Shannon Brown is 48. 
  • Actor Kathryn Hahn (“Transparent,” “Crossing Jordan”) is 48. 
  • Actor Stephanie March (“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”) is 47. 
  • Actor Shane McRae (“Sneaky Pete”) is 44. 
  • Fiddler David Pichette (Emerson Drive) is 44. 
  • Singer Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child) is 41. 
  • Actor Paul Wesley (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 39. 
  • Actor Krysta Rodriguez (“Smash”) is 37. 
  • Actor Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter” movies) is 32. 
  • Drummer Neil Perry of The Band Perry is 31. 
  • Actor Lili Simmons (TV’s “The Purge”) is 28. 
  • Country singer Danielle Bradbery (“The Voice”) is 25.

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