Thursday, October 28, 2021

October 28 Radio History

In 1922...WEAF in New York broadcast the first collegiate football game heard over a widespread radio network.  Princeton played the University of Chicago at Stagg Field in the Windy City. The broadcast was carried on phone lines to New York City, where the network transmission began.

In 1940...comedian Henry Morgan‘s radio career took a turn for the better as he debuted ‘Here’s Morgan,’ a nightly 15-minute strip on Mutual's WOR NYC.  He began his radio career as a page at New York City station WMCA in 1932, after which he held a number of obscure radio jobs, including announcing.

He strenuously objected to the professional name "Morgan". What was wrong with his own name, Henry van Ost, Jr.? he asked. Too exotic, too unpronounceable, he was told. "What about the successful announcers Harry von Zell or Westbrook Van Voorhis?" he countered. But it was no use, and the bosses finally told Henry he could take the job or leave it.

Thus began a long history of Henry's having arguments with executives.

In 1945...CHUM launched as a dawn-to-dusk radio station.

On May 27, 1957, at 6 AM, owner Allan Waters switched the station to a "Top 50" format that had proven itself popular in some U.S. cities; Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" was the first song played. "1050 CHUM" pioneered rock and roll radio in Toronto, and was noteworthy for hosting many noteworthy rock concerts including, among others, visits to Maple Leaf Gardens by Elvis Presley (1957) and The Beatles (1964, '65, and '66). While the station was rising to the top of the popularity ratings in Toronto in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it also built a new transmitter in Mississauga, Ontario (a few miles west of the current Toronto city line) along the Lake Ontario shoreline, and raised its power to its current 50,000 watts (DA-2) around the clock.

In the late 1950s, CHUM was calling itself "Radio One", as its ratings continued to increase. An important part of CHUM's success was the station's unpredictable morning man Al Boliska, who joined CHUM in October 1957, after working at station CKLC in Kingston, Ontario. By 1959, Boliska had made a name for himself as a disc jockey who got listeners talking. He also made them laugh, and became known for telling what he called the "World's Worst Jokes". Boliska also did a number of stunts, such as taking part in a professional wrestling match with Whipper Billy Watson. When he lost, that led to another stunt, where Boliska stayed away from his show for several days, saying he was now too discouraged by the loss to do his show. A hypnotist was called in, and Boliska's self-esteem was restored. Boliska left CHUM in late 1963 to go 'across the street' to CKEY.

He was replaced by WKBW Buffalo radio & TV personality Jay Nelson, popularly known as "Jungle Jay" from his role as host of a children's show on Buffalo's Channel 7 which was also popular among Toronto youngsters. Nelson was Morning Host for more than 20-years on CHUM.

CHUM became well known for its zany contests. In the 1950s and '60's, it was contests such as 'The Walking Man', where listeners had to spot CHUM's mystery walking man using only clues given out on the air. The 1970s' "I Listen to CHUM" promotion had DJs dialing phone numbers at random and awarding $1,000 to anyone who answered the phone with that phrase. In 1976, there was the CHUM Starsign promotion. Listeners wore a button featuring their astrological sign. If CHUM's 'Starsign spotter' saw you wearing your Starsign, you won prizes such as money or concert tickets to major events.

In 1946....Sky King debuted on ABC radio.  The radio seriedswas based on a story by Roy Winsor, the brainchild of Robert Morris Burtt and Wilfred Gibbs Moore, who also created Captain Midnight. Several actors played the part of Sky, including Earl Nightingale and John Reed King.

"Radio premiums" were offered to listeners, as was the case with many radio shows of the day. For example, the Sky King Secret Signalscope was used on November 2, 1947, in the "Mountain Detour" episode. Listeners were advised to get their own for only 15 cents and the inner seal from a jar of Peter Pan Peanut Butter, which was produced by the sponsor, Derby Foods. The Signalscope included a glow-in-the-dark signaling device, whistle, magnifying glass, and Sky King's private code. With the Signalscope, one could also see around corners and trees.

The premiums were innovative, such as the Sky King Spy-Detecto Writer, which had a "decoder" (cipher disk), magnifying glass, measuring scale, and printing mechanism in a single package slightly over two inches long. Other notable premiums were the Magni-Glo Writing Ring, which had a luminous element, a secret compartment, a magnifier, and a ballpoint pen, all in the crown piece of a "fits any finger" ring.

The radio show continued until 1954, broadcasting simultaneously with the first portion of the television version.

In 1950...Jack Benny's radio program on CBS made the transitioned to CBS Television where it stayed until 1964 before moving to NBC-TV for its final year. His weekly radio show ran from 1932 to 1955.

In 1953...Red Barber resigned after 14 seasons as the radio voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Prior to the 1953 World Series, Barber was selected by Gillette, which sponsored the Series broadcasts, to call the games on NBC along with Mel Allen. Barber wanted a larger fee than was offered by Gillette, however, and when Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley refused to back him, Barber declined to work the Series and Vin Scully partnered with Allen on the telecasts instead.

As Barber later related in his 1968 autobiography, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat, he was rankled by O'Malley's lack of support, and this – along with a dispute over the renewal of Barber's $50,000 a year contract – led to his departure from the Dodgers' booth later that October, when he joined Mel Allen on the New York Yankees broadcast team.

In 1961...While working as a clerk at a record store in Liverpool, England, Brian Epstein was first asked asked by a customer for a copy of "My Bonnie", the new single by a group called The Beatles.

Brian Epstein
Epstein first noticed the Beatles in issues of Mersey Beat and on numerous posters around Liverpool created by his commercial artist associate Tony Booth, before he asked Mersey Beat editor Bill Harry who they were. Harry had previously convinced Epstein to sell the magazine in the store where he worked.  The Beatles were featured on the front page of its second issue. The Beatles had recorded the "My Bonnie" single with Tony Sheridan in Germany.  Epstein would later say that customer Raymond Jones walked into his record shop and asked him for the "My Bonnie" single, which made Epstein curious about the group.  Taylor later claimed that he had used the name of Jones (a regular customer) to order the single and paid the deposit, knowing that Epstein would notice it and order further copies.

Harry and McCartney later repudiated Epstein's story, as Harry had been talking to Epstein for a long time about the Beatles—the group that he promoted the most in Mersey Beat—with McCartney saying, "Brian knew perfectly well who the Beatles were; they were on the front page of the second issue of Mersey Beat".  On 3 August 1961, Epstein started a regular music column in the Mersey Beat called "Stop the World—And Listen To Everything In It".

In 1963...New York radio personality Murray the K played "She Loves You" by the Beatles. This is believed to be the first time a Beatles song was played in the U.S.

However, the claim is disputed by several.   Pacific Northwest deejay Pat O'Day maintains that it was not Murray the K that played the first ever Beatles record in the US but in fact it was played in Seattle at Pat's station KJR 950 AM. (Date undisclosed)

WLS in Chicago charted it for the weeks of March 8 and March 15, 1963 (peaking at #35), before dropping it off. Some fairly exhaustive research at Kent Kotal’s Forgotten Hits establishes pretty clearly that WLS was the first station in America to play The Beatles, in late February 1963, nearly a year before the outbreak of Beatlemania across the country.

In 1986... Stanley E. Hubbard's KOB sells the company's Albuquerque, New Mexico radio stations, KOB-AM and KOB-FM, the AM station changed call sign to KKOB 770 AM.

KOB was founded at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Las Cruces (now New Mexico State University) by Ralph Willis Goddard, and began broadcasting tests in 1919 under the call letters 5XD. On April 5, 1922 the station began regular operation as KOB, a callsign which had belonged to marine radio aboard the Princess Anne before its February 2, 1920 shipwreck on Rockaway Shoals, Long Island. New Mexico A&M sold the station after Goddard was electrocuted while adjusting the transmitter on December 31, 1928. In 1933 the station moved to Albuquerque, and was later bought by the Albuquerque Journal.

KOB 770 AM (50kw-Night Pattern)
In 1948, Tom Pepperday, owner and publisher of the Journal, signed on KOB-TV, the first television station between the Mississippi River and the West Coast. The stations passed to Time-Life in 1952 and to Hubbard Broadcasting in 1957. Hubbard Broadcasting sold the radio stations in 1986. In order to trade on the well-known KOB calls, the new owners simply added an extra "K" to the radio station's call letters.

KOB was involved in a 38-year-long dispute with New York City station WABC (originally WJZ) over the use of the 770 kHz frequency. KOB was moved there from 1030 to make room for WBZ in Boston.

While the FCC requested that WJZ install a directional antenna to allow the stations to operate over large areas, the station refused to comply, encroaching on the range KOB was intended to cover.

Only after reaching the U.S. Supreme Court was the issue settled, when the FCC assigned KOB to a new license class. KKOB and WABC became sister stations when Citadel Broadcasting purchased ABC Radio in 2007; Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.

Bwana Johnny
In 2005…Top 40 radio personality Rick "Bwana Johnny" Johnson died of heart failure at the age of 56.

Bwana had been a popular disc jockey at KYA 1260 AM S-F in the late 1960s.

Before coming to the Bay Area in 1969, "Beautiful Bwana" worked at KLOG Kelso, Wash., WUBE Cincinnati and KJR Seattle. He moved on to WWDJ New York as music director and afternoon-drive jock (1971-1973) and had a stint for a year at WFUN Miami before returning to his hometown, Portland, Ore., as "Crazy Dick Simms" on the Rose City's legendary KISN in 1975.


  • Jazz singer Cleo Laine is 94. 
  • Actor Joan Plowright is 92. 
  • Actor Jane Alexander is 82. 
  • Actor Dennis Franz (“NYPD Blue”) is 77. 
  • Actor-singer Telma Hopkins (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 73. 
  • Actor Annie Potts is 69. 
  • Songwriter-music producer Desmond Child is 68. 
  • Drummer Stephen Morris of New Order is 64. 
  • Singer-guitarist William Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain is 63. 
  • Actor Mark Derwin (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” ″Life With Bonnie”) is 61. 
  • Lauren Holly is 58
    Actor Daphne Zuniga (“Melrose Place”) is 59. 
  • Actor Lauren Holly is 58. 
  • “The Talk” co-host Sheryl Underwood is 58. 
  • Actor Jami Gertz is 56. 
  • Actor Chris Bauer (“True Blood”) is 55. 
  • Actor-comedian Andy Richter is 55. 
  • Actor Julia Roberts is 54. 
  • Fiddler Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown) is 53. 
  • Actor Jeremy Davies (“Lost,” “Justified”) is 52. 
  • Singer Ben Harper is 52. 
  • Country singer Brad Paisley is 49. 
  • Actor Joaquin Phoenix is 47. 
  • Actor Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones,” ″Star Wars” films) is 43. 
  • Singer Justin Guarini (“American Idol”) is 43. 
  • Singer Brett Dennen is 42. 
  • Guitarist Dave Tirio of Plain White T’s is 42. 
  • Actor Matt Smith (“The Crown,” ″Dr. Who”) is 39. 
  • Actor Finn Wittrock (“American Horror Story: Freak Show”) is 37. 
  • Actor Troian Bellisario (“Pretty Little Liars”) is 36. 
  • Singer-rapper Frank Ocean is 34. 
  • Actor Lexi Ainsworth (“General Hospital”) is 29. 
  • Actor Nolan Gould (“Modern Family”) is 23.

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