Monday, September 20, 2021

September 20 Radio History

➦In 1921...KDKA Pittsburgh established the world's first radio newsroom.  The first daily radio newscasts featured a reports fro The Pittsburgh Post.

➦In 1930...NYC Personality Harry Harrison was born in Chicago. (Died January 28, 2020)

Harrison is the only DJ to be a WMCA "Good Guy", a WABC "All-American", and on the WCBS-FM line-up when the New York station flipped to the "Jack" format in June 2005.

He attended a seminary, intending to become a priest. But he decided to make broadcasting his career after spending nearly a year as a teenager glued to the radio while bedridden with rheumatic fever.

Harrison worked at WCFL in the early 50s as a summer replacement, yet remained there eight months, substituting for the permanent DJs. In 1954, Harrison became program director at WPEO, Peoria and hosted the morning show as the "Morning Mayor of Peoria."  In just six months, Harrison made WPEO the top station.

In 1959, Harrison joined WMCA, New York, as the mid-day "Good Guy." Joe O'Brien (mornings) and Harrison gave WMCA a "one-two punch" for over eight years.  In 1965, he recorded the nationally charted holiday narration "May You Always" on Amy Records.

Harrison became popular with his "Housewife Hall of Fame” feature, and participated in the 1966 WMCA Good Guy picnic. Often, he scored the highest ratings on WMCA. WABC program director Rick Sklar took note.

In 1968, when WABC morning man Herb Oscar Anderson left the station, Rick Sklar hired Harrison to replace him. Harrison was followed in the WABC day by Ron Lundy.

Every year, Harrison played seasonal songs, such as his holiday greeting "May You Always” in the winter (the Amy records single of this song made the Billboard Christmas charts in 1965).

Harry with Ron Lundy
Harrison had a number of "trademark" phrases, such as "Morning, Mom", "Every brand new day should be opened like a precious gift", "Stay well, stay happy, stay right here" and "Harry Harrison wishing you the best... because that's exactly what you deserve!” Also, on the last day of every year, Harrison would bring his four children to work with him and at the end of his shift.

Harrison was let go from WABC as the station changed direction in November 1979.

In March 1980, Harrison became the morning personality at WCBS 101.1 FM, playing oldies.

In 1984, with Lundy joining the station, they were once again heard back-to-back. Harrison would interact with Morning Crew engineer Al Vertucci, Phil Pepe, who reported sports, and joke about "wacky weather" and toupee warnings with Irv “Mr. “G” Gikofsky (weather), Mary Jane Royce, and Sue Evans. At 7:20 AM, Harrison opened the "birthday book" and announced listener and celebrity birthdays.

On April 25, 1997 New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani issued a proclamation, naming April 25 "Harry Harrison Day" in honor of the second "Mayor."

On March 19, 2003, after a 44-year career in New York radio, Harrison left WCBS-FM, saying "I am not retiring." His farewell to his loyal radio friends (from 5:30 to 10:00am) was held before a live audience at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City.

Shortly after he left WCBS-FM, Harrison's long-time wife, Patti, who he had always referred to as "Pretty Patti" on the air, died. 

➦In 1953...Jimmy Stewart debuted NBC's radio western, "The Six Shooter".  It was a weekly old-time radio program created by Frank Burt, who also wrote many of the episodes, and lasted only one season of 39 episodes on NBC. Some people called the program "a last, desperate effort by a radio network (NBC) to maintain interest in adventure drama by employing a major Hollywood movie star in the leading role."  Actor James Stewart starred as Britt Ponset, a drifting cowboy in the final years of the wild west. Episodes ranged from straight western drama to whimsical comedy. A trademark of the show was Stewart's use of whispered narration during tense scenes that created a heightened sense of drama and relief when the situation was resolved.

Circa 1969
In 1969...John Lennon left The Beatles, but agreed not to inform the media while the group renegotiated their recording contract.

He was outraged that McCartney publicized his own departure on releasing his debut solo album in April 1970. Lennon's reaction was, "Jesus Christ! He gets all the credit for it!"

He later wrote, "I started the band. I disbanded it. It's as simple as that." In a December 1970 interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine, he revealed his bitterness towards McCartney and spoke of the hostility he perceived the other members had towards Ono, and of how he, Harrison and Starr "got fed up with being sidemen for Paul ... After Brian Epstein died we collapsed. Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us when we went round in circles?"

➦In 1973...Singer-songwriter Jim Croce died at age 30 in a plane accident.  He was killed, along with five others, in a plane crash on September 20, 1973, at the height of his popularity.

Croce and all five others on board were killed when their chartered Beechcraft E18S crashed into a tree during takeoff from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Croce was 30 years old. Others killed in the crash were pilot Robert N. Elliott, Maury Muehleisen, comedian George Stevens, manager and booking agent Kenneth D. Cortese and road manager Dennis Rast. An hour before the crash, Croce had completed a concert at Northwestern State University's Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches; he was flying to Sherman, Texas for a concert at Austin College.

An investigation showed the twin-engine plane crashed after clipping a pecan tree at the end of the runway. The pilot had failed to gain sufficient altitude to clear the tree and had not tried to avoid it, even though it was the only tree in the area. It was well after sunset, but there was a clear sky, calm winds and over five miles of visibility with haze.

➦In 1997…Veteran SoCal radio personality “Emperor” Bob Hudson died in his sleep at 66.

A master of the giant put-on, Hudson was on the air from the 1950s through the 1980s on several Southern California stations, initially anointing himself “emperor” on KRLA.

Self-appointed leader of the youth movement and ruler of the pop scene, he headed “Hudson’s Commandos” which he said had more than 40,000 members.

Hudson regularly signed off his programs by warning the “peasants” to clear the freeway because “His Highness is coming.” The “emperor” dressed the part, complete with turban and robes, and moved around Hollywood in a gold Rolls-Royce.

Bob Hudson
“The kids really thought I was nuts and they loved me,” he told The LA Times in 1968, when he was “Beautiful Bob” on KFWB in the days before its current all-news format.

Hudson was praised by colleagues in his highly competitive business for intelligent humor and clever chatter. Hudson began his career on radio when he was stationed in the Army in Anchorage. He had an all-night show and ran a business on the side.

“It was the Tidy Didy Diaper Service--'The tops for your baby’s bottom,’ ” he recalled proudly when he had gained radio fame.

After a stint on Anchorage television as “Cowboy Bob” hosting western movies, he backslid with jobs distributing telephone directories, selling office machines and creating ideas for advertising.

He landed back on radio in San Francisco on the rock station KEWB and from there was hired by KRLA. Hudson also worked for other stations over the years, including KFI and KGBS in Los Angeles and KEZY in Anaheim.

A comedy duo was born in the early 1970s when Hudson met Ron Landry while both were working at KGBS in Los Angeles. The two became a potent morning duo and it was their on-air chemistry that led to the recording of several successful comedy albums on Doré Records.

Hudson & Landry recorded a total of 52 comedy vignettes, plus an unknown number of additional, shorter skits which were used as lead-ins for songs which were played on the station. 39 of them were released on 12" vinyl.  Their first release was the single "Ajax Liquor Store", which was nominated for a Grammy Award alongside Lily Tomlin's "One Ringy Dingy".

During their partnership, they were frequent guests on a number of popular television shows including The Flip Wilson Show, The Steve Allen Show, and Smothers Brothers specials to name a few.

Sophia Loren is 87
  • Actor Sophia Loren is 87. 
  • Bassist Chuck Panozzo (Styx) is 73. 
  • Actor Tony Denison (“Major Crimes,” “The Closer”) is 72. 
  • Actor Debbi Morgan (“Power”) is 70. 
  • Jazz guitarist Peter White is 67. 
  • Crystle Stewart is 42
    Actor Betsy Brantley (“Deep Impact”) is 66. 
  • Actor Gary Cole is 65. 
  • Bassist Randy Bradbury of Pennywise is 57. 
  • Actor Kristen Johnston (“3rd Rock From the Sun”) is 54. 
  • Singers Gunnar and Matthew Nelson of Nelson are 54. 
  • Bassist Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden) is 53. 
  • Actor Enuka Okuma (“Rookie Blue”) is 49. 
  • Actor Moon Bloodgood (“Falling Skies”) is 46. 
  • Actor Jon Bernthal (“The Walking Dead,” “Daredevil”) is 45. 
  • Singer The-Dream is 45. 
  • Actor Charlie Weber (“How To Get Away With Murder”) is 43. 
  • Drummer Rick Woolstenhulme of Lifehouse is 42. 
  • Actor Crystle Stewart (“For Better or Worse”) is 42. 
  • Rapper Yung Joc is 41. 
  • Actor Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Hidden Figures”) is 35. 
  • Drummer Jack Lawless of DNCE and The Jonas Brothers is 34. 
  • Actor Malachi Kirby (2016′s “Roots”) is 32.

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