Friday, October 15, 2021

October 15 Radio History

In 1909...Radio, TV news anchor Robert Trout was born Robert Albert Blondheim (Died at age 91 November 14, 2000). He is best remembered for his radio work before and during World War II for CBS News. He was regarded by some as the "Iron Man of Radio" for his ability to ad lib while on the air, as well as for his stamina, composure, and elocution.

Robert Trout
Trout was born in Washington, D.C.; he added the Trout name early in his radio career. He entered broadcasting in 1931 as an announcer at WJSV, an independent station in Alexandria, VA. In the summer of 1932 WJSV was acquired by CBS, bringing Trout into the CBS fold. (WJSV is now WFED 1500 AM in Washington, D.C.) He was the man who used the on-air label "fireside chat" in reference to radio broadcasts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression and World War II.

Trout was behind the microphone for many of broadcasting's firsts. He was the first to report on live congressional hearings from Capitol Hill, first to transmit from a flying airplane and, by some definitions, the first to broadcast a daily news program, creating the news anchorman role.

It was Bob Trout in the mid-1930s who passed on to a then-new CBS executive, Edward R. Murrow, the value of addressing the radio audience intimately, as if the announcer was talking to one person. Trout played a key role in Murrow's development as a broadcaster, and the two would remain colleagues until Murrow departed the network in 1961, and friends until Murrow's death in 1965.

On Sunday night, March 13, 1938, after Adolf Hitler's Germany had annexed Austria in the Anschluss, Trout hosted a shortwave "roundup" of reaction from multiple cities in Europe—the first such multi-point live broadcast on network radio. The broadcast included reports from correspondent William L. Shirer in London (on the annexation, which he had witnessed firsthand in Vienna) and Murrow, who filled in for Shirer in Vienna so that Shirer could report without Austrian censorship.

The special gave Trout the distinction of being one of broadcasting's first true "anchormen" (in the sense of handing off the air to someone else as if it were a baton). It became the inspiration for the CBS World News Roundup, a forerunner of television's CBS Evening News, which began later in 1938 and to this day continues to air each weekday morning and evening on the CBS Radio Network.

Trout anchored the network's live early morning coverage of the June 6, 1944 Normandy invasion on D-Day by the allied forces and was behind the microphone when the bulletins announcing the end of World War II in Europe, and later Japan, came over the air.

One overlooked aspect of Trout's career was his annual appearance on bandleader Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve specials on CBS-TV. From 1955 through 1961, Trout would report from Times Square during the broadcast, and count down the final seconds to midnight (Eastern Standard Time) for the start of the new year.

Trout remained at CBS through the early 1970s. He later worked for ABC, serving mostly as a correspondent based in Madrid, where he lived for most of the last two decades of his life.

In 1914...ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers) was founded

In 1935...In Seattle, radio station KCPB became KIRO, as new owner Saul Haas increased the power to 500 watts on 650 kc.  Now with 50,000 watts at 710 kHz, and with sister stations on the FM and TV spectrums, the KIRO call letters are among the best known and most revered on the West Coast.

The “PCB” stood for “Pacific Coast Biscuits,” flagship product of Seattle’s Centennial Flour Mills. The station began broadcasting on April 27, 1927, as KPCB on 650 kilocycles. Its founder was Moritz Thomsen of the Pacific Coast Biscuit Company (hence the call sign KPCB) and it was powered at 100 watts. Among its announcers was Chet Huntley, later of television's Huntley-Brinkley Report.

In 1935, Saul Haas's Queen City Broadcasting Company took over the station. Queen City increased the power to 500 watts.  Haas, who was well connected in liberal politics and the business community, wanted a simple, pronounceable, and recognizable call sign for his new station. He chose KIRO, which is usually pronounced like the capital of Egypt, "Cairo."

In 1937, KIRO was assigned the AM 710 frequency and was granted an increase in power to 1,000 watts. Soon after, KIRO acquired the Seattle CBS Radio Network affiliation rights from KOL AM 1300. Known as "The Friendly Station," KIRO personalities broke from the formal announcing style that was commonplace during the early days of radio. KIRO carried CBS's dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio."

On June 29, 1941, a new, 50,000-watt transmitter on Maury Island became operational. From the 1930s through the 1950s, KIRO recorded countless hours of CBS programming for time-delayed rebroadcast to its Pacific Time Zone listeners. These electrical transcriptions are, in many cases, the only recordings made of World War II-era news coverage over the CBS Network. The discs were donated to the University of Washington in the early 1960s and are now held at the National Archives as the Milo Ryan Phonoarchive Collection.

From 500 watts, KIRO ultimately beat every other station in the Northwest and, with permission from the FCC, went to 50,000 watts during the summer of 1941. To accomplish the boost, KIRO built a glamorous new transmitter building and antenna array on Vashon/Maury Island.

When the U.S. entered World War II later that year, the government froze all pending power boosts for radio stations, leaving KIRO the only 50,000-watt powerhouse west of the Twin Cities and north of San Francisco for the next five years. The nighttime signal went as far as Alaska and northern California.

In 1951...."I Love Lucy" turns 70. The beloved TV sitcom debuted on CBS in 1951. Airing for six seasons, "I Love Lucy" was an immediate sensation, finishing four seasons as the top-rated program in primetime.

In 1960...The Beatles (minus Pete Best) and two members of Rory Storm’s Hurricanes (Ringo Starr and Lou Walters) recorded a version of George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ in a Hamburg recording studio. The track, which was cut onto a 78-rpm disc, marked the first session that included John, Paul, George, and Ringo together. Two years later, the group would hire Ringo permanently.

In 1971...singer Rick Nelson was booed off the stage when he didn’t stick to all oldies at the seventh Annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival show at Madison Square Garden, New York. He tried to slip in some of his new material and the crowd did not approve.

The negative reaction inspired Nelson to write his last top-40 entry, Garden Party, which, ironically, was his biggest hit in years.

In 1973...The US Supreme Court upholds a 1971 FCC directive that bans radio stations from airing songs that glorified drugs.

Circa 1966

In 1975...the Music stopped on Pittsburgh's KQV 1410.  Whether they knew it as “14-K”, “14-KQV”, or “Groovy QV” many considered it was one of the great Top40 stations in the country. It was 44 years ago today that the music stopped in favor of an all-news format.

George Hart and Billy Soule did their final music show together. Taft executives were monitoring from Cincinnati, and the decision was made to pull the plug on the show at 10:30 p.m. Their final song was “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” by Neil Diamond. Bob Harvey finished the night with “Those Were the Days” by Mary Hopkin.

For more on KQV: Click Here and Click Here.

In 1985...Radio, TV personality Ted Steele died (Born July 9, 1917). He was host of several radio and television programs. He also held administrative positions at radio stations and had his own media-related businesses.

Steele joined KMPC in Los Angeles, California, as an announcer and producer in 1937.

On December 4, 1939, Steele began a 13-week series, Home Harmonies, on WMCA in New York City; the 15-minute programs featured Steele playing the Novachord.  In 1940, he had a program using just his own name as the title, Ted Steele, on WFIL in Philadelphia.  In 1941, Steele played himself on Boy Meets Band on the NBC Blue Network.

He was on WOR in New York City in 1943, playing the Navachord and leading his orchestra in tunes from the 1920s.  In 1947, Steele had a daily half-hour morning farm program on KYW in Philadelphia. The show contained a mix of recorded music and farm news. He was also KYW's farm director.

Beginning November 17, 1947, Steele had a six-day-a-week disc jockey program on WMCA.  In 1949, he and his the-wife, Doris, were co-hosts of Mr. and Mrs. Music, a combination talk-disc jockey program, on WMCA.

He returned to WMCA in 1958, signing a three-year contract that allowed him to continue doing his television program on WOR-TV.

Ted Steele's Bandstand is the precursor of Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

On December 31, 1962, Steele returned to the airwaves in New York City as host of At Your Service, a daily afternoon "women's appeal" program on WCBS.  In 1967, he began working on WPEN in Philadelphia with a morning program.

In 1967, he also took over Saturday night Monitor.  Click Here and listen on a Saturday night in November of that year. Features "Abe Weatherwise," a feature on Wilt Chamberlain & more.

In 1970, he had a morning show on WBAL in Baltimore.

Dick Shepherd
In 2001...Former NYC personality Jay Stone suffered a heart attack and died when his car crashed in Hawaii.  He was in his mid-50s.  Stone was raised in Los Angeles and worked at radio stations across the country in the '70s and '80s before moving to Hawaii, where he most recently was morning show host for Oldies KGMZ 107.9 FM.

In 2012...NYC Radio personality Dick Shepard personality died in Florida at age 90.

Better known to his WNEW listeners, as Shepard Richard A., he also worked at WABC Radio in the late 50s before the Top 40 era.  During the 1960s, he appeared as a commercial, on-camera announcer on some ABC TV game shows and was a busy voice-over talent  during parts of his five decades in New York.  Shep also did air work at WMGM 1050 AM and WPAT 930 AM.

Richard Carpenter is 75

  • Singer Barry McGuire is 86. 
  • Actor Linda Lavin (“Alice”) is 84. 
  • Drummer Don Stevenson of Moby Grape is 79. 
  • Actor Victor Banerjee (“A Passage to India”) is 75. 
  • Musician Richard Carpenter of The Carpenters is 75. 
  • Singer Tito Jackson is 68. 
  • Actor Larry Miller (“The Nutty Professor”) is 68. 
  • Kimberly Schlapman is 52
    Actor Jere Burns (“Good Morning, Miami,” ″Dear John”) is 67. 
  • TV chef Emeril Lagasse is 62. 
  • Drummer Mark Reznicek (The Toadies) is 59. 
  • Singer Eric Benet is 55. 
  • Actor Vanessa Marcil (“Las Vegas,” ″Beverly Hills 90210″) is 53. 
  • “Trading Spaces” host Paige Davis is 52. 
  • Actor Dominic West (“The Wire”) is 52. 
  • Singer Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town is 52. 
  • Singer Ginuwine is 51. 
  • Singer Jaci Velasquez is 42. 
  • Actor Brandon Jay McLaren (TV’s “Ransom”) is 41. 
  • Singer Keyshia Cole is 40. 
  • Actor Vincent Martella (“Everybody Hates Chris”) is 29.

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