Wednesday, September 15, 2021

September 15 Radio History

➦In 1907...John Wesley "Jack" Bailey Jr. born in Hampton, Iowa (Died from cancer at age 72 in Santa Monica, CA– February 1, 1980).  He was an actor and daytime game show host.

Jack Bailey - 1947
Bailey is best remembered as the host of Queen for a Day, a daytime game show which first aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1945 and later moved to television, where it ran locally in the Los Angeles area from 1948 through 1955, on the NBC Television network from January 3, 1956 to September 2, 1960, and on the ABC network from September 5, 1960 to October 2, 1964. Each episode started with a different introduction (some of which were parodies of other popular shows of the time period), but inevitably the opening would resolve when Bailey pointed to the camera (and the audience) and loudly asked, "Would you like to be Queen for a Day?" as the live audience, mostly women, cheered.

He was an announcer for several radio programs, including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Duffy's Tavern, and Meet the Missus.

His other work in television included appearances in episodes of The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford, Mister Ed, Green Acres, I Dream of Jeannie, Gunsmoke, and Ironside, plus narration for the Walt Disney organization. He had a small part in the Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life and he also toured the country in musical stage productions, such as Hello Dolly, The Sound of Music, and The Music Man.

Bailey was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one for his radio career, at 1708 Vine Street, and one for his work in television, at 6411 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

Jimmy Wallington
➦In 1907...Announcer Jimmy Wallington was born in Rochester NY (Died at age 65 – December 22, 1972). After playing small roles in a few Hollywood films, he was the announcer for several popular radio shows in the 1940s and 1950s.

For his work on radio, Wallington has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6660 Hollywood Blvd.

He was the announcer for several popular radio shows in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including Texaco Star Theatre with Fred Allen (1941–44) and Texaco Town with Eddie Cantor. As with most announcers, Wallington would announce the program's star, then read the sponsor's commercials. In addition, he was often given comedy lines. When radio shows moved to television, he continued as a television announcer in the 1950s.

After years as a radio announcer, he became a TV star in California doing Life Insurance and other commercials. He ended his professional radio career as a Voice of America radio announcer in the Worldwide English service.

Blondie, Dagwood
➦In 1908...Penny Singleton born Mariana Dorothy McNulty (Died at age 95 – November 12, 2003). During her 60-year career, she appeared as the comic-strip heroine Blondie Bumstead in a series of 28 motion pictures from 1938 until 1950 and the popular Blondie radio program from 1939 until 1950. Singleton also provided the voice of Jane Jetson in the animated series The Jetsons from 1962–1963 and 1985–1987.

She was cast opposite Arthur Lake (as Dagwood) in the feature film Blondie in 1938. They repeated their roles on a radio comedy beginning in 1939 and in guest appearances on other radio shows. As Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead, they proved so popular that a succession of 27 sequels was made from 1938 until 1950, with the radio show ending the same year. Singleton's husband Robert Sparks produced 12 of these sequels. Also in 1950, she had her own program, The Penny Singleton Show, on NBC radio

➦In 1915...John Conte  born (Died at age 90 – September 4, 2006).  Conte entered broadcasting with a job at KFAC in Los Angeles. Two years later, he had become a network announcer. One of his first regular roles was on The Grape Nuts Program (1937-1938) with George Burns and Gracie Allen. Conte was host for Screen Test and Master of ceremonies for the Maxwell House program that featured Fanny Brice and Frank Morgan He was also the announcer for Silver Theater.[5] It Happened in Hollywood,[4]:165 and The Screen Guild Show.  Conte, who ended up a CA TV station owner.

➦In 1934...the Mutual Broadcast System was formed.

The three national radio networks already in operation—the Columbia Broadcasting System and the National Broadcasting Company's NBC Red and NBC Blue—were corporate controlled: programming was produced by the network (or by advertising agencies of program sponsors that purchased airtime on the network) and distributed to affiliates, most of which were independently owned. In contrast, the Mutual Broadcasting System was run as a true cooperative venture, with programming produced by and shared between the group's members.

The majority of the early programming, from WOR and WGN, consisted of musical features and inexpensive dramatic serials.

WOR had The Witch's Tale, a horror anthology series whose "hunner-an'-thirteen-year-old" narrator invited listeners to "douse all [the] lights. Now draw up to the fire an' gaze into the embers ...gaaaaze into 'em deep!... an' soon ye'll be across the seas, in th' jungle land of Africa ... hear that chantin' and them savage drums?"   WGN contributed the popular comedy series Lum and Abner. Detroit's WXYZ provided The Lone Ranger, which had debuted in 1933 and was already in demand. It is often claimed that Mutual was launched primarily as a vehicle for the Western serial, but Lum and Abner was no less popular at the time.

What WLW brought was sheer power; billing itself as "The Nation's Station," in May 1934 it had begun night broadcasting at a massive 500,000 watts, ten times the clear-channel standard.

➦In 1948...WHN 1050 AM NYC changed call letters to WMGM to reflect the Loew’s then-ownership of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio.  Today, the station is WEPN-AM.

The station continued its diversified format until flipping to Top 40 and rock music in the mid 1950s. While it included some R&B, country and instrumentals in the Top 40 mix, WMGM carried a narrower, more up-tempo playlist.

By the early 1960s, WMGM 1050 AM had several competitors in the Top 40 radio market.  1010 WINS, 77WABC and WMCA 570 all were playing rock, and WMGM was falling behind in the ratings.

Storer Broadcasting bought the station in 1962, renaming it WHN and dropping the Top 40 in favor of slow-paced “beautiful music” and standards.

➦In 1959...The transistor radio was making some in the record business a bit nervous, because teens could listen almost anywhere they go.  Companies worried record sales would suffer:

  • Marty Salkin - a VP at Decca Records believes the pocket-sized radios are having an impact on record sales, “You see a lot of the kinds walking around listening to them all day long, which could mean they are not buying records.” 
  • Arnold Maxim of MGM Records says, “It’s no longer considered the smart thing among teenagers to be a collector of records. It’s much smarter now to be so familiar with the local top-40 jockey- because you listen all the time on your portable radio - that you can tell exactly what time he’s gong to play a certain record, because you know when he played it yesterday and the day before. Somehow, we have to recreate the disk-buying habit with teenagers or tomorrow’s market for LP’s is endangered.”

➦In 1959...Top 40 1010 WINS, New York offered $250 in  silver dollars to the listener who guessed the first time the temperature drops to freezing

➦In 1965... The Ford Motor Company introduced factory-installed and dealer-installed eight-track tape players as an option on three of its 1966 models and RCA Victor introduced 175 Stereo-8 Cartridges from its RCA Victor and RCA Camden labels of recording artists catalogs.

By the 1967 model year, all of Ford's vehicles offered this tape player upgrade option. Most of the initial factory installations were separate players from the radio (such as shown in the image), but dashboard mounted 8-track units were offered in combination with an AM radio, as well as with AM/FM receivers. Muntz, and a few other manufacturers, also offered 4/8 or "12-track" players that were capable of playing cartridges of either format, 4-track or 8-track. With the backing of the U.S. automakers, the eight-track format quickly won out over the four-track format, with Muntz abandoning it completely by late 1970.

L-A Times 9/16/65 

➦In 1965...Two people were seen leaving the KNX Los Angeles transmitter site shortly after the radio tower toppled to the ground at 10:45 p.m., during veteran talk-show host Michael Jackson’s show. Investigating officers discovered that the vandals had sawed through the top turnbuckle of one of the tower’s guy wires, which caused the entire tower to come loose and tumble to the ground

KNX-AM was off the air for a day. A temporary 10,000-watt transmitter was set up on the site so the station could resume broadcasting.

Later, an extra tower that was not in use was located at station KFAC-AM and brought to Torrance. The 365-foot tower was used while a new 494-foot tower was being built.

L-A Times  9/18/65
When the new tower went into operation in July 1966, the older one was kept as a backup. These two towers still stand on the site today.

➦In 1965...MOR  WJRZ 970 AM Newark, NJ became the first radio station in the New York metro area to play a country music format 24 hours a day. WJRZ was the flagship radio outlet for the New York Mets from 1967 until 1971.

➦In 1965...The 107.5 frequency in New York City signed on in July 1951 as WEVD-FM, simulcasting its sister station at 1330 AM. Within a few years, WEVD-FM moved to 97.9, and 107.5 went off the air.

Several years later the New Broadcasting Company, then-owners of WLIB, was awarded a construction permit for the dormant frequency and on September 15, 1965 reactivated 107.5 as WLIB-FM. As the FCC recently instituted a rule prohibiting full-time AM/FM simulcasting in large markets, WLIB-FM was programmed with a jazz music format.

The stations were split up in 1972, when Inner City Broadcasting purchased WLIB-AM; WLIB-FM was then renamed WBLS. Inner City reunited the pair with its purchase of WBLS in 1974.

In 1995, after WRKS was purchased by Emmis Communications and dropped an all hip-hop music in favor of a similar adult R&B format, WBLS countered with a controversial advertising campaign labeling WRKS as a "plantation station."  WBLS shortly reverted to urban contemporary, only to exit again in 2004 when WBLS switched to urban adult contemporary.

WBLS acquired WRKS's intellectual property in a merger of the two outlets announced on April 26, 2012 with a joint statement on both stations' respective websites.  In addition to acquiring WRKS's intellectual property, WBLS and WLIB also moved into Emmis's New York production facility in the West Village section of Manhattan, into studio space vacated by WRKS during the week of May 21, 2012.

On February 11, 2014, Emmis Communications announced it would purchase WBLS and WLIB from YMF Media LLC for $131 million, pending final approval from the FCC.  The purchase was consummated on June 10, 2014.

➦In 1969... Portland, OR got its second Top40 station as KGW 630 AM dropped MOR to challenge KISN 910 AM.

Gus Gossert
➦In 1969...New York City will get its sixth rock station as WCBS 101.1 FM announced it will go rock October 6. Program Director Gus Gossert says the sound will be half hit singles and half album cuts. The city already had WABC, WMCA, WOR-FM, WNEW-FM, WABC- FM.

WCBS-FM launched a freeform rock format, which was becoming increasingly popular, and all other CBS-owned FM stations followed suit.

For the first time, WCBS-FM would have an airstaff. Bill Brown began his long tenure with the station, and Don K. Reed began his late in 1971; both remained there until 2005. Radio personalities such as Bobby "Wizzard" Wayne, Tom Tyler, Ed Williams, Steve Clark, Roby Yonge, K.O. Bayley (Bob Elliott from WOR-FM), Les Turpin, Bob "Bob-A-Lew" Lewis also briefly joined the WCBS-FM "freeform" format. Besides Bill Brown and Don K. Reed, Wizzard Wayne and Ed Williams also stayed into the early part of the oldies format.
Original Oldies Years and Greatest Hits

WCBS-FM was never successful with their rock format, competing with stations such as WPLJ (the former WABC-FM) and WNEW-FM had most of the rock audience. As a result, WCBS-FM switched to oldies on July 7, 1972, becoming one of the first full-time stations in the country to use that format.  The change coincided with rival WOR-FM's decision to drop pre-1964 oldies from its playlist a few months prior (as they became WXLO). Johnny Michaels, formerly of WMCA, played the first record,   Dion's "Runaround Sue". The entire staff from the rock format remained at the station.

➦In 1989...Arbitron Ratings
  • New York Radio – WHTZ is #1 rising 5.8-6.1… easy WPAT AM/FM – 5.9-5.6… WLTW – 5.5-5.6… WCBS-FM – 4.7-4.6… WNEW-FM – 4.3-4.2… WPLJ (Power 95 – 3.4-3.7. Mornings – WINS (all news) – 8.2… Z100 and WOR – 6.4 share. 
  • Los Angeles Radio – KPWR (Power 106) – 7.2-6.7… KOST – 6.6… KIIS AM/FM – 5.3-5.9… Pirate Radio (KQLZ) – 5.4-5.6.. KABC 5.0-4.6…… KLOS – 3.8-3.9…
  • L-A Mornings – Rick Dees – 6.5-6.9… Jay Thomas 6.5-6.1… Mark & Brian – 6.3-6.5 … Scott Shannon – 4.2-4.3

➦In 1989
...Bright A/C KKBT 92.3 FM  debuted in Los Angeles. It had been classical KFAC-FM for many years. Comedian Paul Rodriquez and Ron O’Brien are part of its airstaff.

➦In 1991...Announcer and radio personality Andre Baruch died at age 83.  He was one of the great announcers of network radio and Pathe Newsreels.  He also worked regularly on Your Hit Parade, The Shadow, The Kate Smith Hour & American Album of Familiar Music.

➦In 2013…Radio-TV personality Jerry G. Bishop died from a heart attack at age 77 (Born August 3, 1936). He is known for being Chicago's original "Svengoolie", and for his award-winning twelve-year stint on "Sun-Up San Diego."

Jerry G Bishop
In 1961, he got his start in radio at WNMP (now WCGO) in Evanston, hosting the morning-drive program. He also worked part-time on stations in Rockford and Springfield. In 1962, he was hired at WPGC-AM-FM in Washington, D.C., where he stayed for a year, before being hired on at Cleveland giant KYW as a night-time DJ. He had used his real name of Jerry Ghan at his previous jobs, but began using the name, 'Jerry G' at WPGC. KYW program director Ken Draper requested he use that same name. "

During his three-year stint at KYW, Jerry G. toured with the Beatles as a reporter for Group W and NBC Radio stations on their 1964 and 1965 tours, hosted a weekly dance-party program, "Jerry G & Co.," on KYW's television outlet.

When Ken Draper was program director at Chicago's WCFL from 1965 to 1968, he hired Bishop in 1967. Draper then asked him to pick a last name to go with the "Jerry G." name he had been using. He and his wife flipped through the Cleveland phone book, and together settled on the name "Bishop."

In 1969, Jerry G. became a staff announcer and the host of an afternoon local version of the movie/call-in contest show Dialing For Dollars on WFLD-TV, which was also located in Marina City in what is now The House of Blues building. This affiliation with WFLD would, of course, lead to Jerry inventing his most famous role as Svengoolie on Channel 32's Screaming Yellow Theater in 1971.

Bishop as "Svengoolie"

After leaving WFLD, Bishop would be hired by WMAQ as their morning-drive personality. He also worked on the station's television outlet (channel 5), hosting "Chicago Camera," a Sunday-afternoon variety program. He also anchored the "Today in Chicago" segment of NBC's "Today" show. He would work for WMAQ until 1975, when WMAQ changed formats from MOR/talk to country and replaced their entire announcing staff. Bishop remained in the Windy City for a short time afterwards, acting as Director of Corporate Affairs for The National Easter Seal Society of Chicago.

In August 1978, he headed West, to San Diego and KFMB-TV, where he assumed the co-host chair of the long-running morning-talk program "Sun-Up San Diego." He collected three local Emmy Awards and a National Press Club Award for his work on the show, which he co-hosted for twelve years until its cancellation in 1990.

He also worked at adult-contemporary KPOP (mow sports KLSD) and wound up his broadcasting career with a three-year stint hosting a show (via voice-tracking from San Diego) on WRLL ("Real Oldies 1690"), an Oldies extended-AM station aimed at the Chicago area, beginning in 2003.

Marisa Ramirez is 44

  • Actor Tommy Lee Jones is 75. 
  • Movie director Oliver Stone is 75. 
  • Drummer Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger is 69. 
  • Actor Barry Shabaka Henley (“Bob Hearts Abishola”) is 67. 
  • Heidi Montag is 35
    Drummer Mitch Dorge of Crash Test Dummies is 61. 
  • Actor Danny Nucci (“The Fosters”) is 53. 
  • DJ Kay Gee (Naughty By Nature) is 52. 
  • Actor Josh Charles (“The Good Wife,” ″Sports Night”) is 50. 
  • Actor Tom Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises”) is 44. 
  • Actor Marisa Ramirez (“Blue Bloods”) is 44. 
  • Guitarist Zach Filkins of OneRepublic is 43. 
  • Actor Dave Annable (“Brothers and Sisters”) is 42. 
  • Actor Amy Davidson (“8 Simple Rules”) is 42. 
  • TV personality Heidi Montag (“The Hills”) is 35. 
  • Actor Kate Mansi (“Days of Our Lives”) is 34.

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