Saturday, October 16, 2021

October 16 Radio History

In 1923...Prolific songwriter Bert Kaempfert born in Hamburg, Germany. He wrote "Strangers in the Night" for Frank Sinatra, "Spanish Eyes" by Al Martino, "Danke Schoen" for Wayne Newton, "L-O-V-E" by Nat King Cole, and many others) and performed "Wonderland By Night" in 1960 and signed The Beatles to a recording contract.

In 1939...Listeners first heard "The Right to Happiness” to the NBC Blue Network. The 15-minute daytime drama turned out to be one of the longest-running radio shows of its kind. It moved over to CBS in 1941, then back to NBC in 1942. Fourteen years later “Right to Happiness” returned to CBS where it stayed until its final days in 1960

In 1951...Singer Richard Penniman, known as Little Richard, made his first recordings for RCA Camden at the studios of WGST Radio in Atlanta. It took another four years and working in New Orleans' French Quarter to turn him into a rock 'n' roll star.

In 1954...Elvis Presley made his famous first radio appearance on the KWKH Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, LA. He appeared weekly for $18. His sidemen, Bill Black and Scotty Moore, were paid $12 each.

In 1960...Sportscaster Arch McDonald died at age 59 from a heart attack (Born - May 23, 1901). He served as the voice of Major League Baseball's Washington Senators from 1934 to 1956 (with the exception of 1939, when he broadcast the New York Yankees and Giants).

McDonald was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. During the early 1930s, he broadcast for the Chattanooga Lookouts, and won the first The Sporting News "Announcer of the Year" award in 1932—a remarkable achievement, considering that the Lookouts were a Class A team. Senators owner Clark Griffith jumped him straight to the big club in 1934, and he immediately became a hit. He was one of the first to use "ducks on the pond" as a term for players on base, and was notable for singing an old country tune, "They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree", after a big Senators play.

He was best known, however, for his studio re-creations of road games—a common practice in the 1930s, when line charges were too expensive for live road coverage. The radio listeners would hear the click of the ticker tape code for HR, and the announcer would convey, "It's a long fly ball to deep center, going,going ....... gone. It's a Home Run" For many years, it was common for Senators fans to crowd around McDonald's studio at a drug store on G Street to watch his recreations.

In 1939, he became the first full-time voice of the Yankees and Giants, working the second half of the season alongside a young Mel Allen. In that same year, he aired the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame on CBS. However, his homespun style didn't play well in New York, and he was back in Washington for the 1940 season.

For the most part, McDonald called losing baseball; the Senators only finished higher than fifth four times during his tenure. However, he was named "Announcer of the Year" again in 1942. During the 1940s, he began calling Washington Redskins and college football games.

McDonald was forced off Senators broadcasts by a sponsor change in 1956, but remained behind the mic for the Redskins.

In 1984…Announcer Kenneth Lee Carpenter died at age 84 (Born - August 21, 1900). He was best known for being the announcer for singer and actor Bing Crosby for 27 years.

Carpenter moved to Hollywood in 1929, one year after resolving to move there after listening to radio legend Graham McNamee call the Rose Bowl. The 1930 Census reveals he was employed as a newspaper copywriter. Not long afterward, he became a staff announcer for KFI radio. As part of that job, Carpenter announced USC and UCLA football games for the Pacific Coast and the NBC radio networks from 1932 until 1935. In 1935, Carpenter announced the Rose Bowl for NBC radio.

Ken Carpenter
Carpenter became the color man for Bill Stern for all NBC-originated radio programming from Los Angeles from 1938 until 1942, which included the Rose Bowl. "Those Rose Bowl games were a big break for me, as they made me known to clients and advertising agencies in the East, so I had a jump on other local men when the big commercial shows started originating in L.A. in the mid-1930s," Carpenter later said.

In 1936, Carpenter became Crosby's announcer after Crosby began hosting the Kraft Music Hall radio variety program. Carpenter continued to announce for Crosby on various programs for the next 27 years. Crosby famously once called Carpenter "the man with the golden voice."Carpenter also was known for ringing the chimes on many of Crosby's shows.

Carpenter also announced for Al Jolson and Edgar Bergen as well. By virtue of his extensive announcing career, he wound up with un-credited roles in well-known movies, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Susan Slept Here.

From 1949 until 1952, Carpenter was the announcer for the NBC Radio sitcom The Halls of Ivy. He was also the announcer for Lux Radio Theater from 1952 through the end of the series in 1955; from 1955 until 1957, Carpenter hosted NBC's Lux Video Theatre program during its summer seasons. Other programs for which Carpenter was an announcer on radio included The Great Gildersleeve, The Chase and Sanborn Program (featuring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy) and a stint on The Life of Riley from 1947 through 1949.

In 1999...Personality Jean Parker Shepherd Jr. died (Born - July 26, 1921). He was an storyteller, radio and TV personality, writer and actor. He was often referred to by the nickname Shep. With a career that spanned decades, Shepherd is known for the film A Christmas Story (1983), which he narrated and co-scripted, based on his own semi-autobiographical stories.

Jean Shepherd

Shepherd began his broadcast radio career in early 1945 on WJOB in Hammond, Indiana, later working at WTOD in Toledo, Ohio, in 1946. He began working in Cincinnati, in January 1947 at WSAI, later also working at Cincinnati stations WCKY and WKRC the following year, before returning to WSAI. From 1951 to 1953, he had a late-night broadcast on KYW in Philadelphia, after which he returned to Cincinnati for several shows on WLW. After a stint on television, he settled in at WOR radio New York City, at the end of February 1955, and on an overnight slot in 1956, where he delighted his fans by telling stories, reading poetry (especially the works of Robert W. Service), and organizing comedic listener stunts.

Shepherd began his broadcast radio career on WSAI in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1948. From 1951 to 1953 he had a late-night broadcast on KYW in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after which he returned to Cincinnati for a show on WLW. "Shep," as he was known, settled in at WOR radio New York City, New York on an overnight slot in 1956, where he delighted his fans by telling stories, reading poetry, and organizing comedic listener stunts.

When he was about to be released by WOR in 1956 for not being commercial, he did a commercial for Sweetheart Soap, not a sponsor, and was immediately fired. His listeners besieged WOR with complaints, and when Sweetheart offered to sponsor him he was reinstated. Eventually, he attracted more sponsors than he wanted—the commercials interrupted the flow of his monologues.

During late 1958 and early 1959, while in the Army and stationed at Nike Missile Battalion Hq's in Connecticut, I'd go home to eastern PA a lot of weekends and be driving back on Sunday nights, listening to him the entire way. One week he told a story of being in basic training where he and a buddy got into trouble. Punishment was scrubbing the Company street with scrub brushes and buckets of water. This saga took at least an hour for him to tell; when all was said and done, the punch line was "the Company street was dirt!

He left WOR in 1977. His subsequent radio work consisted of only short segments on several other stations including crosstown WCBS 7880 AM. His final radio gig was the Sunday night radio show "Shepherd's Pie" on WBAI-FM in the mid-1990s, which consisted of his reading his stories uncut, uninterrupted and unabridged.

Throughout his radio career, he performed entirely without scripts. His friend and WOR colleague Barry Farber marveled at how he could talk so long with very little written down. Yet during a radio interview, Shepherd once claimed that some shows took several weeks to prepare.

Angela Lansbury is 96


  • Actor Angela Lansbury is 96. 
  • Actor Peter Bowles (“Victoria,” ″Rumpole of the Bailey”) is 85. 
  • Actor Barry Corbin (“One Tree Hill,” ″Northern Exposure”) is 81. 
  • Bassist C.F. Turner of Bachman-Turner Overdrive is 78. 
  • Actor Suzanne Somers is 75. 
  • Guitarist Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead is 74. 
  • Producer-director David Zucker is 74. 
  • Actor Martha Smith (“Animal House,” ″Scarecrow and Mrs. King”) is 69. 
  • Wendy Wilson is 52
    Actor Andy Kindler (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) is 65. 
  • Actor-director Tim Robbins is 63. 
  • Guitarist Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet) is 62. 
  • Singer Bob Mould (Husker Du) is 61. 
  • Actor Randy Vasquez (“JAG”) is 60. 
  • Bassist Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is 59. 
  • Actor Christian Stolte (“Chicago Fire”) is 59. 
  • Actor Terri J. Vaughn (“All of Us,” ″The Steve Harvey Show”) is 52. 
  • Singer Wendy Wilson of Wilson Phillips is 52. 
  • Rapper B-Rock of B-Rock and the Bizz is 50. 
  • Singer Chad Gray of Mudvayne is 50. 
  • Actor Paul Sparks (“Boardwalk Empire”) is 50. 
  • Actor Kellie Martin (“Christy,” ″Life Goes On”) is 46. 
  • Singer-songwriter John Mayer is 44. 
  • Actor Jeremy Jackson (“Baywatch”) is 41. 
  • Actor Caterina Scorsone (“Grey’s Anatomy”) is 41. 
  • Actor Brea Grant (“Heroes”) is 40. 
  • Actor Kyler Pettis (“Days of Our Lives”) is 29.

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