➦In 1922…WHK-AM, Cleveland, Ohio, signed-on-the-air.
WHK began on July 26, 1921 when experimental station 8ACS signed on under a license obtained by Warren C. Cox in the name of Cox Mfg. Co. He broadcast on a wavelength of 200 meters (which translates to a frequency of 1500 kHz) from his home at 3138 Payne Avenue. Only about 1000 listeners were able to hear the first broadcast, and most of them were members of the Cleveland Radio Association. By 1922, licensees were barred from broadcasting on 200 meters, so Cox applied for a commercial broadcasting license.
|Organist Helen Wyant circa 1931|
The station broadcast at a wavelength of 360 meters (a frequency of 830 kHz) which was the standard broadcast frequency for entertainment radio stations at the time. The station started broadcasting on March 5, 1922 from facilities located in the rear of a Radiovox store at 5005 Euclid Avenue. By 1924, WHK broadcasts had moved to 1060 kHz.
Warren Cox sold the station to Radio Air Service Corporation in 1925. In the following years, the station facilities underwent a series of moves, including 5105 Euclid Avenue, the Hotel Winton at 1025 Bolivar Road (later the Hotel Carter), the Standard Building at St. Clair and Ontario, the top floor of the Higbee Company on Public Square, and Carnegie Hall at 1220 Huron Road. By 1927, the station broadcasts were heard at 1130 kHz, and the station was broadcasting with 500 watts at night. By 1928, the station was located in the Engineer's Building at 1370 Ontario Avenue.
|WHK transmitter room circa 1930|
On March 29, 1941, WHK like most radio stations changed its frequency as a result of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. WHK moved from 1390 to 1420 kHz, the frequency it occupies today.
In August 1946, WHK received one of the earliest experimental FM licenses, under the call W8XUB, broadcasting at 107.1 MHz. Upon receipt of a commercial license, the station became WHK-FM at 100.7 MHz, and later in 1968, WMMS.
United Broadcasting sold WHK in 1958 to Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation, which became Metromedia two years later. The new owners soon adopted a rock and roll Top 40 format.
By the early 1960s WHK was Top 40 powerhouse, adopting the slogan "Color Radio" and "Color Channel 14." The station soared with fast-talking deejays like Johnny Holliday, who broadcast from "the glass cage" at 5000 Euclid, and dubbed the station's echo-chamber reverberation its "stratophonic sound." The "Action Central" newsroom included young reporters Tim Taylor and Dave Buckel.
When The Beatles made one of their North American tours in 1964, WHK outmaneuvered rival KYW-AM to sponsor the Beatles appearance at Cleveland Public Auditorium on September 15, 1964. In the mid-1960s, the WHK DJs adopted the name the "Good Guys" and included Joe Mayer. On the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album, a doll wears a sweater emblazoned with "Welcome The Rolling Stones" and "Good Guys", a possible reference to the WHK DJs or maybe a reference to WMCA in NYC.
Late in 1967, WHK stopped rocking to become "The Good Life Station," with easy-listening music and phone-in shows aimed at older listeners. Possibly the biggest reason for the format change at WHK, was the pressure put on the station by newcomer WIXY, an AM station at 1260 which started playing top 40 music in 1966.
Metromedia sold WHK and WMMS in 1972 to Malrite Broadcasting of Ohio (later Malrite Communications), and Malrite moved its headquarters to Cleveland. WHK dropped the beautiful music and tried a modified Top 40 format briefly again in 1973, called Cover Hits and developed by consultant Mike Joseph. The station ended up settling on a country music format in 1974 featuring controversial morning show talk host Gary Dee and famed Cleveland disk jockey Joe Finan as the "housewife's friend" from 10 am to 2 pm, until the eventual format change in '84.
Another notorious personality, Don Imus, also returned to Cleveland in 1978 to do afternoon drive on WHK- one of the few times that he would ever host a non-morning drive position in his entire career. Imus had previously had a morning show on WGAR (AM) for 1½ years, ending in 1971, and lasted at WHK until September 1979 when he returned to WNBC in New York.
Unable to service its growing debt, Malrite exited the radio business by selling off all their stations to Shamrock Broadcasting (Roy Disney's family-owned broadcasting company) in 1993. Shamrock in turn spun off WHK and WMMS to OmniAmerica, headed by former Malrite executive Carl Hirsch, on April 1994. Shortly thereafter, on May 16, 1994, WHK adopted a sports talk format featuring Tom Bush, Les Levine, Tony Rizzo and Pat McCabe, and dubbed itself "The Sports Voice of the Fan."
In 1996, WHK was sold to Salem Communications, while longtime sister station WMMS was sold to Nationwide Communications – the first time ever the two stations operated under separate ownership
➦In 1976...Billboard published a story about WCFL Chicago dropping its Top 40 Format:
|Chester Launch (Lum) and Norris Goff (Abner)|
Lum & Abner aired from 1931 to 1954. Modeled on life in the small town of Waters, Arkansas, near where Lauck and Goff grew up, the show proved immensely popular. In 1936, Waters changed its name to Pine Ridge after the show's fictional town.
Lauck and Goff had known each other since childhood and attended the University of Arkansas together where they both joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity. They performed locally and established a blackface act which led to an audition at radio station KTHS in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Prior to the audition, the two men decided to change their act and portray two hillbillies, due to the large number of blackface acts already in existence. After only a few shows in Hot Springs, they were picked up nationally by NBC, and Lum and Abner, sponsored by Quaker Oats, ran until 1932. Lauck and Goff performed several different characters, modeling many of them on the real-life residents of Waters, Arkansas.
When the Quaker contract expired, Lauck and Goff continued to broadcast on two Texas stations, WBAP (Fort Worth) and WFAA (Dallas). In 1933, The Ford Dealers of America became their sponsor for approximately a year. Horlick's Malted Milk, the 1934–37 sponsor, offered a number of promotional items, including almanacs and fictional Pine Ridge newspapers. During this period, the show was broadcast on Chicago's WGN (AM), one of the founding members of the Mutual Broadcasting System. Effective July 1, 1935, the program was also carried on WLW (Cincinnati, Ohio), KNX (Los Angeles, California), and KFRC (San Francisco, California). Along with The Lone Ranger, Lum and Abner was one of Mutual's most popular programs
Kaufman's big break came in 1958 after he moved to 1010 WINS-AM to do the all-night show, which he titled "The Swingin' Soiree." Shortly after his arrival, WINS's high energy star disk jockey, Alan Freed, was indicted for tax evasion and forced off the air. Though Freed's spot was briefly occupied by Bruce Morrow, who later became known as Cousin Brucie on WABC, Murray soon was moved into the 7-11 PM time period and remained there for the next seven years, always opening his show with Sinatra and making radio history with his innovative segues, jingles, sound effects, antics, and frenetic, creative programming.
|Cynthia Lennon, John and Murray|
➦In 2018...internationally known evangelist Billy Graham died, nine months short of his 100th birthday. As a preacher, his large indoor and outdoor rallies or “crusades” were widely broadcast on radio and television; some of his sermons were still being re-broadcast into the 21st century.
➦In 2019...Monkees bassist Peter Tork who played with the group from their earliest days as a made-for-TV band in the Sixties through their later reunion tours, succumbed to cancer at age 77.
- Actor Gary Lockwood (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) is 84.
- Actor-director Richard Beymer (“West Side Story,” “Twin Peaks”) is 80.
- Actor Peter McEnery is 81.
- Record company executive David Geffen is 78.
- Actor Tyne Daly is 75.
- Actor Anthony Daniels (C3P0 in “Star Wars” films) is 75.
Keyboardist Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads) is 72.
Jennifer Love Hewitt is 42
- Actor Christine Ebersole is 68.
- Actor William Petersen (“C.S.I.”) is 68.
- Actor Kelsey Grammer is 66.
- Singer Mary Chapin Carpenter is 63.
- Actor Kim Coates (“Bad Blood,” “Sons of Anarchy”) is 63.
- Actor Jack Coleman (“Heroes”) is 63.
- Actor Christopher Atkins is 60.
- Actor William Baldwin is 58.
- Actor Aunjanue Ellis (“Quantico”) is 52.
- Country singer Eric Heatherly is 51.
- Bassist Eric Wilson (Sublime) is 51.
- Bassist Tad Kinchla of Blues Traveler is 48.
- Singer Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops is 44.
- Actor Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) is 42.
- Actor Jennifer Love Hewitt is 42.
- Comedian-director Jordan Peele is 42.
- Actor Brendan Sexton III (“Boys Don’t Cry”) is 41.
- Opera/pop singer Charlotte Church is 35.
- Actor Ashley Greene (“Twilight”) is 34.
- Actor Elliot Page (formerly Ellen Page) (“Inception,” ″Juno”) is 34.
- Actor Corbin Bleu (“High School Musical,” ″Jump In!”) is 32.
- Actor Hayley Orrantia (“The Goldbergs”/former contestant “The X Factor”) is 27.
- Actor Sophie Turner (“Game of Thrones”) is 25.