Friday, September 24, 2021

September 24 Radio History

In 1933...Radio's first dramatic "Roses and Drums" show, was heard on WABC 880 AM (then a CBS station) in New York City. It was heard until 1936 and was originally an anthology program drawing its material from American history.
In 1934...Radio personalty Pat O'Day born Paul W. Berg (died August 4, 2020 at age 85). He is probably best known as the afternoon drive personality at Seattle's KJR 950 AM in the 1960s, he would eventually become program director and general manager. He owned KYYX 96.5 FM 96.5 Radio in Seattle in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. The frequency is now occupied by KJAQ.

Starting in 1967, O'Day served as race announcer and commentator during Seafair for various radio and TV stations, most recently KIRO TV. The television station, however, announced it was parting ways with O'Day in 2013 and he would not return to broadcast the race. He set the Guinness world record for water skiing non-stop (around Lake Washington) for 4 hours 52 minutes, in 1959.

He is responsible for bringing the Seattle music scene to national prominence.

In 1935...CKLW Windsor-Detroit lost its CBS affiliation to WJR Detroit, and hooked up with the Mutual network instead. When the CBC debuted a year later CKLW became an affiliate, but also remained connected to Mutual.

In 1942...Glenn Miller ended his Moonlight Serenade radio show on the CBS Radio Network. Miller (March 1, 1904 - presumably December 15, 1944), was an American jazz musician and bandleader in the swing era. He was one of the best-selling recording artists from 1939 to 1942, leading one of the best known "Big Bands". Miller's signature recordings include, "In the Mood", "Tuxedo Junction", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "Moonlight Serenade", "Little Brown Jug", and "Pennsylvania 6-5000". While traveling to entertain U.S. troops in France during World War II, Miller's plane disappeared in bad weather. His body was never found. Miller's recordings are still familiar refrains, even to generations born decades after Miller disappeared.

In 1948...U-S citizen Mildred Gillars, known as "Axis Sally" pleaded innocent to charges of treason. She was convicted and wound up serving 12 years behind bars for being a Nazi wartime radio propagandist.

Mildred Gillars
In 1934 she had moved to Dresden, Germany, to study music, later being employed as a teacher of English at the Berlitz School of Languages in Berlin. In 1940 she obtained work as an announcer with the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), German State Radio.

By 1941, as the U.S. State Department was advising American nationals to return home, Gillars chose to stay in Germany after her fiancé, Paul Karlson, a naturalized German citizen, said that he would never marry her if she returned to the United States. Shortly afterwards, Karlson was sent to the Eastern Front, where he died in action.

Until 1942 Gillars' broadcasts were largely apolitical. This changed when Max Otto Koischwitz, the program director in the USA Zone at the RRG, cast Gillars in a new show called Home Sweet Home.

Soon she acquired several names among her GI listeners, including Berlin Bitch, Berlin Babe, Olga, and Sally, but the one that became most common was "Axis Sally".

This name probably came from the time when, asked to describe herself on the air, Gillars had said she was "the Irish type… a real Sally."

In 1943, an Italian-American woman, Rita Zucca, also began broadcasting to American troops from Rome, using the name "Sally". Often the two women were thought to be one and the same.

Gillars' main programs from Berlin were:

Home Sweet Home Hour, from December 24, 1942, until 1945, a regular propaganda program the purpose of which was to make American forces in Europe feel homesick. A running theme of these broadcasts was the infidelity of soldiers' wives and sweethearts while the listeners were stationed in Europe and North Africa.

Midge-at-the-Mike, broadcast from March to late fall 1943, in which she played American songs interspersed with defeatist propaganda, anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks on Franklin D. Roosevelt.

G. I.’s Letter-box and Medical Reports 1944, directed at the US home audience in which Gillars used information on wounded and captured US airmen to cause fear and worry in their families.

She remained in Berlin until the end of the war. Her last broadcast was on May 6, 1945, just two days before the German surrender.

Gillars died of colon cancer in Columbus on June 25, 1988.

In 1950...Alan Samuel Colmes born (Died of lymphoma at age 66 – February 23, 2017). He was a radio and television host, liberal political commentator for the Fox News Channel, and blogger.

He was the host of The Alan Colmes Show, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show distributed by Fox News Radio that was broadcast throughout the United States on Fox News Talk on Sirius and XM. From 1996 to 2009, Colmes served as the co-host of Hannity & Colmes, a nightly political debate show on Fox News Channel. Beginning in 2015, Colmes supplied the voice of The Liberal Panel on Fox News Channel's The Greg Gutfeld Show.

Colmes began his career in stand-up comedy. He developed his radio career in the Northeast, eventually working at stations such as WABC, WNBC, WHN, WMCA and WEVD in New York, WNHC in New Haven, Connecticut, and WEZE and WZLX in Boston.

His radio career took off when WABC hired him for the morning drive time slot. He was billed as "W. Alan B. Colmes," as in the station's call sign. He moved to WNBC in 1987, but his tenure there would be short when NBC announced in 1988 it would close its radio division. When WNBC went off the air for the last time on October 7, 1988, Colmes' was the last voice heard.

He had been syndicated nationally, starting with his involvement with Daynet, a venture created by Colmes and other regional radio hosts. Daynet was sold to Major Networks, Inc. in 1994. Colmes kept his own show, which was distributed by Fox News Radio. He was hired by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in 1996. He was the co-host of Hannity & Colmes, beginning with the Fox News Channel launch on October 6, 1996, and ending on January 9, 2009.

In 1957...The MLB Dodgers played their last game Brooklyn and it aired on WMGM 1050 AM.

In 1960…Announcer Harlow Wilcox died at age 60 (Born - March 12, 1900). Radio shows for which Wilcox was announcer included Amos 'n' Andy, The Baby Snooks Show, Ben Bernie, Fibber McGee and Molly, Frank Merriwell, Hap Hazard, Hollywood Premiere, Suspense, The Victor Borge Show Your Electric Servant, Blondie, Boston Blackie and The Passing Parade.

Wilcox came from a show business-oriented family, with a father who played in the Ringling Brothers circus band and a sister who played violin both in vaudeville and in classical concerts. Harlow took vocal lessons and briefly performed on stage. He eventually decided to try radio and met Jim and Marian Jordan at a station in Chicago.

Wilcox became "one of the most successful announcers and pitchmen in radio." He was a pioneer in making commercials a part of a program's story rather than something simply inserted during a break.

Sonny Turner is 82
  • Singer Sonny Turner of The Platters is 82. 
  • News anchor Lou Dobbs is 76. 
  • Singer Phyllis ″Jiggs” Allbut Sirico of The Angels is 79. 
  • Actor Gordon Clapp (“NYPD Blue”) is 73. 
  • Actor Harriet Walter (“The Crown”) is 71. 
  • Actor Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules: Legendary Journeys”) is 63. 
  • Singer Cedric Dent (Take 6) is 59. 
  • Actor-writer Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) is 59. 
  • Drummer Shawn Crahan of Slipknot is 52. 
  • Drummer Marty Mitchell (Ricochet) is 52. 
  • Singer-guitarist Marty Cintron of No Mercy is 50. 
  • Guitarist Juan DeVevo of Casting Crowns is 46. 
  • Actor Ian Bohen (“Yellowstone,” TV’s “Teen Wolf”) is 45. 
  • Actor Spencer Treat Clark (“Animal Kingdom”) is 34. 
  • Actor Grey Damon (“Station 19”) is 34. 
  • Actor Kyle Sullivan (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is 33. 
  • Actor Ben Platt is 28.

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