Thursday, September 9, 2021

September 9 Radio History

➦In 1908...Early radio actor, announcer Ed Prentiss born (Died at age 83 – March 18, 1992). He was perhaps best known for portraying the title role on the radio version of Captain Midnight. He was announcer on another kid’s radio favorite, Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy.

He was also the narrator for a number of daily hour of NBC radio soap operas.

➦In 1926... the National Broadcasting Company was created by RCA, the Radio Corporation of America.

NBC is the oldest major broadcast network in the United States. In 1986, control of NBC passed to General Electric (GE), with GE's $6.4 billion purchase of RCA. GE had previously owned RCA and NBC until 1930, when it had been forced to sell the company as a result of antitrust charges.

After the 1986 acquisition, the chief executive of NBC was Bob Wright, who remained in that position until his retirement. He was succeeded by Jeff Zucker. The TV network is currently part of the media company NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, which formerly operated NBCUniversal in a joint venture with General Electric from 2011 to 2013 (and before that, jointly owned by GE and Vivendi). As a result of the merger, Zucker left NBC and was replaced by Comcast executive Steve Burke.

The radio network officially launched Nov. 15, 1926.  On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided its programming into two networks, called the Red and the Blue. Legend has it that the color designations originated from the push-pins early engineers used to mark affiliates of WEAF (red pins) and WJZ (blue pins), or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils.

The two NBC networks did not have distinct identities or "formats", and, beginning in 1929, they shared use of the distinctive three-note "NBC chimes". The NBC Red Network, with WEAF as its flagship station and a stronger line-up of affiliated stations, often carried the more popular, "big budget" sponsored programs. The Blue Network and WJZ carried a somewhat smaller line-up of often lower-powered stations and sold air time to advertisers at a lower cost. NBC Blue often carried newer, untried programs (which, if successful, often moved "up" to the Red Network), lower cost programs and unsponsored or "sustaining" programs (which were often news, cultural and educational programs). In many cities in addition to New York, the two NBC affiliated stations (Red and Blue) were operated as duopolies, having the same owners and sharing the same staff and facilities.

On April 5, 1927 NBC reached the West Coast with the launching of the NBC Orange Network, which rebroadcast Red Network programming to the Pacific states and had as its flagship station KGO in San Francisco. NBC Red then extended its reach into the Midwest by acquiring two 50,000–watt clear-channel signals, Cleveland station WTAM on October 16, 1930 and Chicago station WMAQ (coincidentally, a CBS Radio Network charter affiliate) by 1931. On October 18, 1931, Blue Network programming was introduced along the NBC Gold Network, which broadcast from San Francisco's KPO. In 1936 the Orange Network name was dropped and affiliate stations became part of the Red Network. The Gold Network adopted the Blue Network name.

In a major move in 1931, RCA signed crucial leases with the new Rockefeller Center management that resulted in it becoming the lead tenant of what was to become in 1933 its corporate headquarters, the RCA Building, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Under the terms of the lease arrangement, this included studios for NBC and theaters for the RCA-owned RKO Pictures. The deal was arranged through the Center's founder and financier, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., with the chairman of GE, Owen D. Young, and the president of RCA, David Sarnoff.

In 1987 NBC sold its remaining radio network operations to Westwood One, which continued using NBC identification for some of its programming until 2014. Beginning in 2016, NBC Radio News has been distributed in conjunction with iHeartMedia.

Elvis outside the Lamar-Airways Shopping Mall in Memphis 1954
➦In 1954...Young Elvis Presley performed at the opening of Lamar-Airways shopping mall in Memphis, and met audience member Johnny Cash for the first time. In November 1954, Presley performed on Louisiana Hayride—the Opry's chief, and more adventurous, rival. The Shreveport-based show was broadcast to 198 radio stations in 28 states.

➦In 1956...Elvis made the first of three appearances on Ed Sullivan's CBS show. (Sullivan had previously announced he would never have such an act on, but ratings prevailed and Sullivan offered Elvis a record $50,000 for the three shows.) With actor Charles Laughton filling in for an ailing Sullivan. Elvis performed "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," "Ready Teddy," and "Hound Dog."  A record 54 million viewers -- nearly 83 percent of the nation's sets! -- were tuned-in.

➦In 1958...Stereo records and phonographs were introduced.

➦In 1965...The Hollywood Reporter printed an advertisement looking for ‘Madness rock & roll musicians, singers wanted for acting roles in new TV show. Parts for 4 insane boys.’  From the ad, The Monkees were born.

➦In 1974...George Michael aired first show at 77WABC. From December of that year...

➦In 1997…MLB Hall of Famer and Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Richie Ashburn died.  Starting in 1963 Ashburn became a radio and TV color commentator. He first worked with long-time Phillies announcers Bill Campbell and Byrum Saam. In 1971 Campbell was released by the Phillies and Harry Kalas joined the team. Ashburn worked with two future Ford C. Frick Award winners, Saam and Kalas, for the next few years. Saam retired in 1976, and Ashburn continued working with Kalas for the next two decades, the two becoming best friends. Kalas often referred to Ashburn as "His Whiteness", a nickname Kalas would use for the rest of his life for the man he openly adored.

According to his mother, Ashburn planned on retiring from broadcasting at the end of the 1997 season. He died of a heart attack at age 70 on September 9, 1997, in New York City after broadcasting a Phillies-Mets game at Shea Stadium.

➦In 2018...CBS announced the resignation of their longtime CEO Les Moonves amid accusations he sexually harassed and assaulted numerous women;  a stunning downfall for one of the industry’s most powerful figures.

Dee Dee Sharp is 76
  • Actor Topol (“Fiddler on the Roof”) is 86. 
  • Singer Inez Fox is 79. 
  • Singer Dee Dee Sharp is 76. 
  • Guitarist John McFee of The Doobie Brothers is 71. 
  • Actor Tom Wopat is 70. 
  • Musician-producer Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) is 69. 
  • Actor Angela Cartwright (“The Danny Thomas Show,” ″Lost In Space”) is 69. 
  • Actor Hugh Grant is 61. 
  • Michelle Williams is 40
    Actor Charles Esten (“Nashville”) is 56. 
  • Actor Constance Marie (“George Lopez”) is 56. 
  • Actor-comedian Adam Sandler is 55. 
  • Model Rachel Hunter is 52. 
  • Actor Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) is 50. 
  • Actor Henry Thomas (“E.T.”) is 50. 
  • Actor Goran Visnjic (“ER”) is 49. 
  • Jazz singer Michael Buble’ is 46. 
  • Actor Michelle Williams (“Brokeback Mountain,” ″Dawson’s Creek”) is 41. 
  • Singer Paul Janeway of St. Paul and the Broken Bones is 38. 
  • Actor Kelsey Asbille (“One Tree Hill,” “Teen Wolf”) is 30. 
  • Contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle is 30. 
  • Country singer Hunter Hayes is 30.

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