Thursday, August 26, 2021

August 26 Radio History

➦In 1858...First news dispatch by telegraph. Printed next day in the NYTimes.

➦In 1873...Lee de Forest born in Council Bluffs, Iowa (Died at age 87 – June 30, 1961), He was the self-described "Father of Radio", and a pioneer in the development of sound-on-film recording used for motion pictures. He had over 180 patents, but also a tumultuous career—he boasted that he made, then lost, four fortunes. He was also involved in several major patent lawsuits, spent a substantial part of his income on legal bills, and was even tried (and acquitted) for mail fraud. His most famous invention, in 1906, was the three-element "Audion" (triode) vacuum tube, the first practical amplification device. Although De Forest had only a limited understanding of how it worked, it was the foundation of the field of electronics, making possible radio broadcasting, long distance telephone lines, and talking motion pictures, among countless other applications.

Lee DeForest circa 1914-22
The electron tube, specifically the triode, a three element vacuum tube, made possible radio broadcasting as we knew it in the first half of the 20th century. However, he was forced into selling the rights to his patent to American Telephone and Telegraph for $500,000; considered by most to be foolish of AT&T.

In the summer of 1915, DeForest  received an experimental license for station 2XG, located at its Highbridge laboratory in New York City. In late 1916, de Forest renewed the entertainment broadcasts he had suspended in 1910, now using the superior capabilities of vacuum-tube equipment. 2XG's debut program aired on October 26, 1916, as part of an arrangement with the Columbia Gramophone record company to promote its recordings, which included "announcing the title and 'Columbia Gramophone Company' with each playing". Beginning November 1, the "Highbridge Station" offered a nightly schedule featuring the Columbia recordings.

DJ DeForest 1916
These broadcasts were also used to advertise "the products of the DeForest Radio Co., mostly the radio parts, with all the zeal of our catalogue and price list", until comments by Western Electric engineers caused de Forest enough embarrassment to make him decide to eliminate the direct advertising.  The station also made the first audio broadcast of election reports — in earlier elections, stations which broadcast results had used Morse code — providing news of the November 1916 Wilson-Hughes presidential election.  The New York American installed a private wire and bulletins were sent out every hour. About 2000 listeners heard The Star-Spangled Banner and other anthems, songs, and hymns.

With the entry of the United States into World War One on April 6, 1917, all civilian radio stations were ordered to shut down, so 2XG was silenced for the duration of the war.

Effective October 1, 1919, the ban on civilian radio stations was ended. On October 13, 1921 the De Forest company was issued a broadcasting station authorization in the form of a Limited Commercial license with the randomly assigned call letters WJX, operating on 360 meters (833 kilohertz). This was the first broadcasting license issued for a station in New York City proper, however, despite its heritage there was minimal, if any, programming ever broadcast by WJX. Effective December 1, 1921, 360 meters was designated as the common "entertainment" broadcasting wavelength, and stations within a region had to devise time-sharing agreements to allocate the hours during which they could operate. But a mid-1922 agreement covering the New York City area didn't even list WJX as being active.  WJX continued to be included in the official government lists of stations holding licenses through early 1924, but contemporary newspapers and magazines providing station programming information do not contain any evidence that the station was actually on the air. In June 1924, WJX (along with 2XG) was officially deleted by the government.

deForest - 1955
De Forest later became a vocal critic of many of the developments in the entertainment side of the radio industry. In 1940 he sent an open letter to the National Association of Broadcasters in which he demanded: "What have you done with my child, the radio broadcast? You have debased this child, dressed him in rags of ragtime, tatters of jive and boogie-woogie." That same year, de Forest and early TV engineer Ulises Armand Sanabria presented the concept of a primitive unmanned combat air vehicle using a television camera and a jam-resistant radio control in a Popular Mechanics issue. In 1950 his autobiography, Father of Radio, was published, although it sold poorly.

De Forest was the guest celebrity on the May 22, 1957, episode of the television show This Is Your Life, where he was introduced as "the father of radio and the grandfather of television". He suffered a severe heart attack in 1958, after which he remained mostly bedridden. He died in Hollywood on June 30, 1961, aged 87. De Forest died relatively poor, with just $1,250 in his bank account.[

Phil Baker
➦In 1896...Phil Baker born in Philadelphia (Died at age 67 – November 30, 1963). He was a  comedian and radio host.

He came out of vaudeville (where he teamed with Ben Bernie) to star in 1933 as a comedian and accordion player in his own NBC radio series The Armour Jester. The show moved to CBS and became first The Gulf Headliner and later Honolulu Bound. In the 1940s for six years he was the host of the CBS radio quiz show Take It or Leave It, which later became The $64 Question.

➦In 1911...Hal Gibney born (Died at age 63 –June 5, 1973). He was NBC's West Coast announcer for more than 20 years. He was best known as the announcer for The Six Shooter and The Mickey Mouse Club. He was also known as the announcer for the radio and the original television version of Dragnet.

Gibney first started as a radio announcer at KTAB, (now KSFO) in San Francisco. In March 1935, Gibney relocated to Portland, Oregon where he joined the announcing staff of both Portland-based radio stations KGW, (now KPOJ) and KEX. Gibney's first noted announcing job was the KEX broadcast of the homecoming of the Oregon National Guard from Fort Lewis on June 25, 1935. He was joined by Van Fleming and Larry Keating.

Hal Gibney
Gibney began announcing on a weekly basis for the first time with the first broadcast of the radio series Safeway Circus Court on November 2, 1935. The series came on KGW. He would stay with the program until he left KGW in January 1936. Safeway finished its run on February 8, 1936.

On January 16, 1936, Gibney left KGW, KEX and Portland altogether and went back to San Francisco where he joined NBC-affiliated station KPO, (now KNBR). His first major job there was part of the cast of NBC Salutes KGW, a tribute to KGW.

Gibney left KPO in July 1939 and began working for NBC Radio and Radio City in Hollywood. At that point, Gibney became the official West Coast announcer for NBC.

Within a year, Gibney could be heard announcing the Red Network's Hawthorne House and The Standard Symphony. He was also heard on the Blue Network's Speaking of Glamour and Capt. Flagg & Sgt. Quirt which both premiered in 1941.

On July 8, 1942, Gibney enlisted in the military. Gibney continued his career as an announcer on the radio broadcasting his shows from the West Coast Training Center in Santa Ana, California. All of the show's he produced during his time in the military also included an all-army cast.

Those shows were Uncle Sam Presents for the Red Network, Soldiers with Wings for CBS, Wings Over the West Coast for Mutual, and Hello Mom also for NBC.

On January 28, 1946, Gibney was discharged from the Radio Production Unit of the Army Air Corps and returned to Hollywood.

On June 3, 1949; NBC Radio would premiere one of the most memorable radio programs of all time and the program was called Dragnet. This would be the start of a whole franchise which included two films and four television series. The series starred Jack Webb as Detective Sgt. Joe Friday and Barton Yarborough as Sgt. Ben Romero. Gibney shared announcing responsibilities along with George Fenneman.

Gibney, alternating with Fenneman, was known for announcing the opening of the show which went as so:
"Ladies and gentlemen... The story you are about to here is true. Only the names have changed to protect the innocent."
Gibney stayed with the show until its end on the radio on February 26, 1957.

➦In 1926...WWRL NYC signed on.

Founded by radio enthusiast William Reuman, WWRL (for Woodside Radio Laboratory) began broadcasting at 12:00 a.m., Thursday, August 26, 1926 from a studio and transmitter in his home at 41-30 58th Street in Woodside, Queens, New York on a frequency of 1120 kHz. In 1927 the Federal Radio Commission ordered the station to move to 1500 kHz. In its early days, the station served many ethnic communities, broadcasting programs in Italian, German, French, Hungarian, Slovak, and Czech, as well as English. Following implementation of the 1941 North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement the station again changed its frequency, this time to 1490 kHz, followed shortly thereafter by a move to the current 1600 kHz.

In 1951 the station's official licensed location was changed from Woodside, NY to New York, NY. In 1964 Reuman retired and sold the station to a group headed by Egmont Sonderling.

WWRL in the 1960s was an R & B radio station focusing on popular music aimed at the young black community. They played a blend of Motown, Stax and Memphis soul, and early James Brown-styled funk.

Gary Byrd
In that era, disc jockeys, Carlton King Coleman, Douglas Jocko Henderson, Frankie Crocker, Herb Hamlett, Gary Byrd and Hank Spann were featured on the station. In the 1970s WWRL stressed Philadelphia soul and other 1970s soul artists. 
The station was owned during this period by Sonderling Broadcasting. In 1979 Sonderling merged with Viacom.

Viacom bought 106.7 WRVR (now WLTW) in 1980 and in 1981 donated WWRL to the United Negro College Fund. 

The Fund then sold the station to Unity Broadcasting later in 1981.

Transmitter in Seacaucus, NJ.
Longtime New York announcer Mike McCann (WYNY, WCBS-FM, WFAN) tell us: "In 1981, WWRL became an affiliate of Enterprise Sports, the first-ever national syndicated sports talk network. They aired only its evening program which featured a familiar New York voice -- former WMCA sports talker and future Yankees play by play man John Sterling. The service lasted less than a year. But I often heard Sterling's show while driving into New York to do a late evening shift on WYNY."

WWRL then began playing Gospel music in the evenings as well as airing religious features, and expanded Gospel programming on Sundays. In Fall 1982 WWRL shifted to a full-time Gospel music format along with sermons from local black churches. WWRL stayed with this format until 1997.

Currently, WWRL is the New York flagship for iHeartMedia's Black Information Network.

➦In 1961...Chuck Dunaway aired his last show on 77WABC.

Chuck Dunaway
While working at WKY, Oklahoma City, Dunaway's afternoon radio show scored a 72.9% audience share - a rating never previously achieved in the market - that brought then-WABC program director, Mike Joseph, to Oklahoma City to offer Dunaway the afternoon drive shift at New York City's number one station. Dunaway eventually became disillusioned with the station's broad play list and after a year and a half decided to return briefly to his old job at WKY in Oklahoma City.

Dunaway occupied the afternoon drive slot at every radio station he worked at during his 35 year career, including radio KILT-AM Houston, KLIF-AM Dallas, WKY Oklahoma City, WABC and WIXY Cleveland.

He finished his career as the owner and operator of six FM and two AM radio stations in Joplin, Missouri.

Larry Keating
➦In 1963...Lawrence Keating died from leukemia at age 67 (Born - June 13, 1899). He was an actor best known for his roles as Harry Morton on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, which he played from 1953 to 1958, and next-door neighbor Roger Addison on Mister Ed, which he played from 1961 until his death in 1963.

In the late 1930s, Keating created Professor Puzzlewit, a quiz program on KMJ radio in Fresno, California. He also was the program's quizmaster.

Keating was an announcer for NBC in the 1940s, an announcer for ABC radio's This Is Your FBI from 1945 to 1953, and a regular on the short-lived series The Hank McCune Show.

➦In 1972...More FM stations are programming beautiful music than ever before. Some 20% of all FM stations program the format, up from 13.7% in 1970.

➦In 1972...WAPE 690 AM Jacksonville Lineup – Cleveland Wheeler, Larry Dixon, Tom Kennedy, Don Smith, Sean Conrad and John Moore.

Tom Donahue
➦In 1972...KMPX 106.9 FM San Francisco, the station the hippies listened to during the summer of love and beyond, was now programming big bands. After its fall from progressive prominence, following the now historic KMPX-FM strike that resulted in Tom Donahue and the majority of the staff departing to rival KSAN-FM – the station struggled for a number of years.

➦In 1972...Bruce Bradley became the new morning man at WHN 1050 AM New York, replacing Herb Oscar Anderson.

➦In 1980...Charles Knox Manning died at age 76 (Born - January 17, 1904). He was a film actor, whose career started in radio.

A former radio newscaster at KNX and announcer, Manning entered the motion picture field in 1939 as an off-screen narrator. His distinctive voice and phrasing were noticed by other studios, and he quickly became one of the movies' busiest voice artists.

Knox Manning
From 1940 to 1954 he was the narrator of Columbia Pictures' popular adventure serials, reading the sometimes tongue-in-cheek scripts with enthusiasm. (The voice-overs in the Batman TV series of the 1960s owe much of their style to Knox Manning's breezy but urgent narrations of the 1940s, including his work in the two Batman movie serials.) Away from Columbia, he was the commentator for Warner Brothers' historical, musical, and novelty short subjects. He made his services available to independent producers as well, bringing equal vigor to a religious drama and an anti-vice crusade.

Manning left Columbia in 1954 and began working in Warner Brothers' publicity department, lending his voice to TV commercials for current Warner feature films.

He continued to work in radio as a performer and producer. He announced and read commercials for The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. The Knox Manning Show, also known as Cinderella Story, chronicled the rise to fame of Hollywood celebrities. His Behind the Scenes program featured dramatized re-creations of news events involving famous historical figures. A similar program, This Is the Story, looked at people, places, and things that were familiar on the American scene.

He was a newscaster for CBS Radio, and continued to work as a newsman in local California radio (KDAY) into the 1960s.

➦In 1997...Since federal rules on radio ownership were eased last year, more than 2,100 stations have changed hands in deals valued at more than $15 billion. This week – Dallas-based investment firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc agreed to buy SFX Broadcasting for $2.1 billion – making them the industry leader.

Ellie Greenwich
➦In 2009…songwriter Eleanor Louise Greenwich died from a heart attack at age 68. (Born - October 23, 1940).  She was a pop music singer, songwriter, and record producer. She wrote or co-wrote "Be My Baby", "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Leader of the Pack", "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", and "River Deep – Mountain High", among many others.

➦In 2013…Journalist Bruce Dunning died in NYC from injuries usffered in a fal at age 73.  He was best known for his reporting on the chaotic last evacuation flight out of Da Nang as the city fell to North Vietnamese troops in 1975.

Dunning pent much of his 35-year career at CBS News reporting from Asia. He opened the network’s Beijing bureau in 1981 and served as the Tokyo-based Asia bureau chief. He later covered Latin America and the Caribbean for CBS.

Bob Cowsill is 72
  • Singer Vic Dana is 81. 
  • Singer Valerie Simpson of Ashford and Simpson is 76. 
  • Singer Bob Cowsill of The Cowsills is 72. 
  • “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker is 70. 
  • Bandleader Branford Marsalis is 61. 
  • Guitarist Jimmy Olander of Diamond Rio is 60. 
  • Actor Chris Burke (“Life Goes On”) is 56. 
  • Singer Shirley Manson of Garbage is 55. 
  • Keke Palmer is 28
    Guitarist Dan Vickrey of Counting Crows is 55. 
  • Drummer Adrian Young of No Doubt is 52. 
  • Actor Melissa McCarthy (“Mike and Molly,” ″Gilmore Girls”) is 51. 
  • Latin pop singer Thalia is 50. 
  • Actor Meredith Eaton (2017′s “MacGyver,” ″Family Law”) is 47. 
  • Singer Tyler Connolly of Theory of a Deadman is 46. 
  • Actor Mike Colter (“Jessica Jones”) is 45. 
  • Actor Macaulay Culkin is 41. 
  • Actor Chris Pine (new “Star Trek” movies) is 41. 
  • Singer Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line is 36. 
  • Singer-actor Cassie is 35. 
  • Actor Evan Ross (“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay”) is 33. 
  • Actor Danielle Savre (“Station 19,” ″Heroes”) is 33. 
  • Actor Dylan O’Brien (TV’s “Teen Wolf”) is 30. 
  • Actor Keke Palmer (“Akeelah and the Bee”) is 28.

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