Saturday, January 1, 2022

January 2 Radio History

➦In 1904... Bernardine Flynn born (Died at age 73  – March 20, 1977). She was a radio actress and announcer best known for playing the role of Sade Gook on the long-running comic radio serial Vic and Sade.

Bernadine Flynn
Flynn graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (Class of 1926), moving to Chicago in 1927. In Chicago, Flynn became a radio actress and announcer. She was used as a radio announcer, a rarity for women in the 1920s, as she was known for controlling her emotions. This quality of not becoming emotional was exploited in the Vic and Sade show, where she would play the role of straight man to the comic daffiness.

One of Flynn's earliest activities on radio was on WJZ in New York City. She replaced Virginia Carter in the ingenue's role on the Empire Builders program. The following year, she was heard on Rin Tin Tin. Also in the summer of 1931, she portrayed Mrs. Jones in The Private Affairs of the Jones Family. Sponsored by Montgomery Ward, the show was one of four tested by the company to test audience response. A newspaper story about it related, "Miss Flynn [has] been heard in many dramatic productions from Chicago stories." She was heard in Malik Mystery Drama in 1932.

In 1932, Paul Rhymer chose Flynn to play Sade as the character lacked a sense of humor. Even in the most humorous of situations, Flynn's emotional self-control ensured that Sade would never break character.  The 15-minute program was aired from 1932 to 1945, and in 1946, it was put back on the air as a one-hour show.

Flynn and Durward Kirby co-starred in Daytime Radio Newspaper in 1943. The 15-minute program on CBS had Kirby delivering straight news items and Flynn handling human-interest reports.

➦In 1904...Singer and radio actor James Melton born (Died from pneumonia at age 56 – April 21, 1961)  He was a popular singer in the 1920s and early 1930s, later began a career as an operatic singer when tenor voices went out of style in popular music around 1932–35.

John Melton
Melton usually catered to popular music fans, singing romantic songs and popular ballads in a sweet style. He was born in Moultrie, Georgia but was raised in Citra, FL. In 1920, he graduated from high school in Ocala, and then attended the University of Florida, Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia. He received vocal instruction from Gaetano de Luca in Nashville from 1923 to 1927 before moving to New York where he studied with Beniamino Gigli's teacher, Enrico Rosati. Melton also worked in dance bands, playing saxophone in a college jazz ensemble and performing with Francis Craig's Orchestra in Atlanta in 1926.

The following year, he began singing on New York radio for no pay. He joined "Roxy's Gang", a cabaret group led by Samuel Roxy Rothafel, who worked with the Sieberling Singers. He made records for Victor Records, singing as one of the tenors with The Revelers and for Columbia Records with the same group under the pseudonym of The Singing Sophomores. He frequently sang with popular singer Jane Froman and appeared with her in film as well.

Melton recorded his first songs under his own name for Columbia in the autumn of 1927. On radio, Melton was heard on The Firestone Hour in 1933, on Ward's Family Theater in 1935, The Sealtest Sunday Night Party (1936), The Palmolive Beauty Box Theater (1937), The Song Shop (1938), the Bell Telephone Hour (1940), Texaco Star Theater (1944) and Harvest of Stars (1945). In 1941, a newspaper columnist described Melton as "currently one of radio's busiest singers."  In the thirties, Melton also sang and acted on the Jack Benny Radio Shows.

➦In 1908...announcer Ben Grauer was born in New York City. Grauer's greatest fame lies in his legendary 40-year career in radio. In 1930, the 22-year-old Benjamin Franklin Grauer joined the staff at NBC. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a senior commentator and reporter. He was the designated announcer for the popular 1940s Walter Winchell's Jergens Journal. Perhaps, most importantly, he was selected by Arturo Toscanini to become the voice of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Grauer took over as announcer in late 1942, and remained until the orchestra was disbanded in June 1954. Toscanini said he was his favorite announcer.

Ben Grauer
Starting in 1932, Grauer covered the Olympic Games, presidential inaugurations and international events. During his radio career, Grauer covered nearly every major historic event, including the Morro Castle fire, the Paris Peace Conference and the US occupation of Japan. Millions remember his NBC coverage of the New Year's celebrations on both radio and TV. Between 1951 and 1969, Grauer covered these events 11 times live from New York's Times Square. He continued covering New Year's Eve for Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve specials on CBS in the 1970s, with his last appearance on December 31, 1976, the year before both he and Lombardo died.

From the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s, Grauer's reports were part of the NBC television network's The Tonight Show, where he worked with Johnny Carson and prior to that, Jack Paar, and Steve Allen. Grauer was also one of NBC Radio's Monitor "Communicators" from 1955 to 1960.

Grauer as the host of WNBT-TV's (later WNBC-TV) tenth anniversary special. He provided the commentary for NBC's first television special, the opening in 1939 of the New York World's Fair. In 1948, Grauer, working with anchor John Cameron Swayze, provided the first extensive live network TV coverage of the national political conventions.

In 1954, NBC began broadcasting some of their shows in living color, and in 1957, the animated Peacock logo made its debut. It was Grauer who first spoke the now famous words, "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC," behind the Peacock graphic. During his 40-year broadcast career, he hosted numerous TV programs on NBC, including game shows, quiz shows, concerts and news programs.

Grauer suffered a heart attack at age 68 and died May 31 1977.

Courtesy of

➦In 1921...KDKA 1020 AM in Pittsburgh aired the first religious program on radio.  Listeners heard Dr. E.J. Van Etten of the local Calvary Episcopal Church preach. The service became a regular Suday program and aired until 1962.

➦In 1930...Pop singer and radio personality Julius La Rosa born (Died  of natural causes at age 86 – May 12, 2016). Hired  in 1951 to be a member of Arthur Godfrey’s performer on his radio & TV shows, Larosa has the distinction of being fired on the air after he hired an agent and manager, contrary to Godfrey’s wishes.  Godfrey told the press Larosa was terminated because he “lacked humility.”

In 1970, the singer/actor became a very successful and amiable disc jockey at one of America's biggest radio stations in the top market, Metromedia's WNEW 1130 AM (now WBRR) in New York City.

➦In 1936...Bing Crosby began a 10-year tenure as host of the "Kraft Music Hall" on the NBC Radio Network.

➦In 1944...WJZ 770 AM (later WABC) transmitter moved to Lodi, NJ.

WABC made its first broadcast as a federally-licensed commercial radio station on October 1, 1921, as WJZ, owned by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and was originally based in Newark, New Jersey. The call letters stood for their original home state, New Jer(Z)sey.

WJZ Studio - Date Unknown

In July 1926, WEAF also became an RCA station and on November 15, 1926, both WJZ (then on 660 kHz) and WEAF (then on 610 kHz) were under the umbrella of the newly formed National Broadcasting Company.

On January 1, 1927, the NBC Blue Network debuted, with WJZ as the originating station. WJZ and the Blue Network presented many of America's most popular programs, such as Lowell Thomas and the News, Amos 'n' Andy, Little Orphan Annie, America's Town Meeting of the Air, and Death Valley Days. Each midday, The National Farm and Home Hour brought news and entertainment to rural listeners. Ted Malone read poetry and Milton Cross conveyed children "Coast To Coast on a Bus," as well as bringing opera lovers the Saturday matinée Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.

In 1942, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that no broadcaster could own more than one AM, one FM and one television station in a single market. On January 23, 1942, the FCC approved the transfer of WJZ's operating license from Radio Corporation of America to the Blue Network, Inc.  A year later, on October 12, 1943, WJZ and the NBC Blue Network were sold to Edward J. Noble, then the owner of WMCA. Technically, this spun off network was simply called "The Blue Network" for little over a year.

On June 15, 1945, "The Blue Network" was officially rechristened the American Broadcasting Company, when negotiations were completed with George B. Storer, who had owned the defunct American Broadcasting System and still owned the name.

In November 1948, WJZ and the ABC network finally got a home of their own when studios were moved to a renovated building at 7 West 66th Street. On March 1, 1953, WJZ changed its call letters to WABC, after the FCC approved ABC's merger with United Paramount Theatres, the movie theater chain owned by Paramount Pictures which, like the Blue Network, was divested under government order.  The WABC call letters were once used previously on CBS Radio's New York City outlet, before adopting their current WCBS identity in 1946.

William Bendix
After acquiring Channel 13 WAAM in Baltimore, Maryland in 1957, Westinghouse applied to change the calls to WJZ-TV in honor of its pioneer radio station.  The FCC granted the unusual request (perhaps because Westinghouse was highly regarded as a licensee by both the industry and the FCC at that time), and the Baltimore TV station, now owned and operated by CBS, retains the call letters to this day, along with sister radio stations WJZ 1300 AM and WJZ 105.7 FM.

➦In 1953...After ten years on radio starring William Bendix, and a one-year TV version with Jackie Gleason as the title character, "The Life of Riley" with William Bendix began a six-season run on NBC-TV.  Life of Riley radio show aired from January 16, 1944 - June 8, 1945 on the Blue Network/ABC and aired September 8, 1945 - June 29, 1951 on NBC.

➦In 1959...the CBS Radio Network dropped the curtain on four soap operas. Our Gal Sunday, This is Nora Drake, Backstage Wife and Road of Life all signed off for the last time.

Courtesy of Bob Dearborn

➦In 1981...The late-night radio feature “Night Time America” with Hamilton, Ont.-born host/producer Bob Dearborn began as a live satellite-distributed music program.  The show was a groundbreaking five-hour music and call-in show originating in New York City on the RKO Radio Network.

Eventually,  the program was heard on 154 affiliate radio stations throughout the U.S., from Bangor to Hilo, from West Palm Beach to Fairbanks, and in major cities including Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, San Diego, Memphis, Cincinnati, Sacramento, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Buffalo, and New Orleans. (Airchecks, Click Here)

Dearborn began his radio career in Hamilton, Ontario at the age of 15.  He later moved on to the U.S., stopping first at WPRO in Providence and then WIXY Cleveland, WPTR Albany, WKNR Detroit, and WCFL Chicago. Between WPRO and WIXY, Dearborn helped launch and spent a year as production manager of WRTH-St. Louis. And he was involved in radio station ownership and management in the last half of the 1980s. Along with three friends, he co-owned 10 stations (5 AM/FM combos ... in Bath/Brunswick, Maine; Utica, NY; Birmingham, AL, Knoxville, TN and Nashville, TN). They were at  the end of the '80s.

He also made a couple stops in Tampa Bay to do mornings  – at WDAE (1976-77) and WPLP (1979-80) – and then joined Pittsburgh’s WTAE. In January 1981 RKO Radio hand-picked him to host its syndicated all night music show. Broadcast from Manhattan, it ran for four years live.

For the next sixteen years he was back in Chicago with WJMK-FM and sister station WJJD-AM before moving to Seattle to program adult standards KIXI. Dearborn also hosted mornings at CHWO-Toronto in 2003 and retired in 2009. (H/T:

Margot Stevenson
➦In 2004..legendary agriculture broadcaster Orion Samuelson at age 69, aired his last farm report on WGN 720 AM, concluding a 43 year run.

➦In 2011...longtime stage actress Margot Stevenson died at age 98. In 1938 she had played the female lead Margo Lane on radio’s The Shadow, opposite Orson Welles.

➦In 2007...WNEW-FM NYC adopted a soft contemporary format called "Fresh" and 7-days later changed call letters to WWFS.

The 102.7 FM frequency was first assigned in the mid-1940s as WNJR-FM from Newark, New Jersey. Intended to be a simulcasting sister to WNJR (1430 AM, now WNSW), the FM station never made it to the air despite being granted several extensions of its construction permit. WNJR gave up and turned in the FM license to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1953.

In 1955 the FCC awarded a new permit for 102.7 FM to a group called Fidelity Radio Corporation, based in West Paterson, New Jersey. The station was later granted the call sign WHFI, and a year later the community of license was moved back to Newark from West Paterson. Once again, the owners failed to put the station on the air.

In November 1957, the WHFI construction permit was purchased by the DuMont Broadcasting Corporation, which already owned WABD (later WNEW-TV) and earlier in the year bought WNEW radio.  In January 1958, WHFI was renamed WNEW-FM and DuMont completed its build-out, moving the license to New York City. The station finally came on the air on August 25, 1958, partially simulcasting WNEW 1130 AM with a separate popular music format.  DuMont Broadcasting, meanwhile, would change its corporate name twice within the next three years before settling on Metromedia in 1961.

Billboard - December 1967

WNEW-FM's early programming also included an automated middle-of-the-road format, followed quickly by a ten-month-long period (July 4, 1966, to September 1967) playing pop music—with an all-female air staff. The gimmick was unique and had not before been attempted anywhere in American radio. The lineup of disc jockeys during this stunt included Margaret Draper, Alison Steele (who stayed on to become the "Night Bird" on the AOR format), Rita Sands, Ann Clements, Arlene Kieta, Pam McKissick, and Nell Bassett. The music format, however, was a pale copy of WNEW (AM)'s adult standards format and only Steele, Sands, and Bassett had broadcast radio experience. The all-female disc jockey lineup endured for more than a year, changing in September 1967 to a mixed-gender staff.

On October 30, 1967, WNEW-FM adopted a progressive rock radio format, one that it became famous for and that influenced the rock listenership as well as the rock industry.

Today, WNEW-FM airs a hot AC format and is owned by Entercom Communications.

Ed Goodman

➦In 2015…Veteran radio personality Ed Goodman, who logged almost five decades on the air in St. Louis, died of cancer. Goodman began on local radio with KSHE and other stations in the 1970s and 1980s, and then began an 18-year stint at KEZK in 1992.

Kate Bosworth is 39


  • TV host Jack Hanna (“Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild”) is 74. 
  • Actor Wendy Phillips (“I Am Sam”) is 70. 
  • Actor Cynthia Sikes (“St. Elsewhere”) is 68. 
  • Actor Gabrielle Carteris (“Beverly Hills, 90210″) is 61. 
  • Actor Tia Carrere is 55. Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. is 54. 
  • Model Christy Turlington is 53. 
  • Actor Renee Elise Goldsberry (Broadway’s “Hamilton”) is 51. 
  • Actor Taye Diggs (“The Best Man,” ″How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) is 51. 
  • Singer Doug Robb of Hoobastank is 47. 
  • Actor Dax Shepard (“Parenthood”) is 47. 
  • Sax player-guitarist Jerry DePizzo Jr. of O.A.R. is 43. 
  • Singer Kelton Kessee of Immature and of IMX is 41. 
  • Musician Ryan Merchant of Capital Cities is 41. 
  • Actor Kate Bosworth is 39. 
  • Actor Anthony Carrigan (“Barry,” “Gotham”) is 39. 
  • Musician Trombone Shorty is 36. 
  • Singer Bryson Tiller is 29.

Here's To A Prosperous 2022

Media Confidential Returns With New Postings Monday, January 3


January 1 Radio History

➦In 1923...the very first radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl aired in Los Angeles over KHJ radio — some 42 years before 93/KHJ became Boss Radio.

➦In 1925...Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of the famous Metropolitan Opera made their singing debuts on radio. The broadcast over New York’s WEAF Radio soon to be the NBC flagship.

➦In 1927...The Blue Network aired its first program.   The Blue Network (previously the NBC Blue Network) was the on-air name of the now defunct American radio production and distribution service, which ran from 1927 to 1945. Beginning as one of the two radio networks owned by the National Broadcasting Company, the independent Blue Network was born of a divestiture in 1942, arising from anti-trust litigation, and is the direct predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC..see below) - organized 1943-1945 as a separate independent radio network and later TV broadcaster.

The Blue Network dates to 1923, when the Radio Corporation of America acquired WJZ Newark from Westinghouse (which had created the station in 1921) and moved it to New York City in May of that year. When RCA commenced operations of WRC, Washington on August 1, 1923, the root of a network was born, though it did not operate under the name by which it would later become known. Radio historian Elizabeth McLeod states that it would not be until 1924 that the "Radio Group" formally began network operations.

The core stations of the "Radio Group" were RCA's stations WJZ and WRC; the Westinghouse station WBZ, then in Springfield, Massachusetts; and WGY, the General Electric station in Schenectady, New York.

RCA's principal rival prior to 1926 was the radio broadcasting department of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company. AT&T, starting in 1921, had been using this department as a test-bed for equipment being designed and manufactured by its Western Electric subsidiary.

The RCA stations operated at a significant disadvantage to their rival chain; AT&T used its own high-quality transmission lines, and declined to lease them out to competing entities, forcing RCA to use the telegraph lines of Western Union, which were not as well calibrated to voice transmission as the AT&T lines.

Nevertheless, the WJZ network sought to compete toe-to-toe with the AT&T network, which was built around WEAF (today's WFAN). For example, both stations sent announcer teams to cover the 1924 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Promotional material produced in 1943 claimed certain "firsts" in broadcasting by WJZ, such as the first educational music program in April 1922, the first World Series broadcasts in 1922, and the first complete opera broadcast, The Flying Dutchman, from the Manhattan Opera House.

RCA (as well as its consortium partners General Electric and Westinghouse) were to receive a break in 1926, when AT&T made a corporate decision to exit the broadcasting business and focus on its telecommunications business.

The Decatur Review (Illinois) for Sunday, December 12, 1926 reported the following in an article describing a broadcast to be sponsored by the Victor Talking Machine Company and aired the following New Year's Day, January 1, 1927, which is a description of this first Blue Network broadcast—note that it makes it clear that January 1, 1927 marked the debut of the Blue Network:

"TWO BIG NETWORKS: The network to be used for the first concert will consist of a combination of chains of stations affiliated with WEAF and WJZ, New York. It is also announced that this opening Victor program inaugurates a new chain system to be operated by the National Broadcasting Company, with WJZ as the "key" station. This new chain, which will be known as the "blue" network, will allow simultaneous broadcasting from WJZ through WBZ, Springfield and Boston, KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago. For broadcasting of the first program, therefore, the "blue" network will be joined with the "red" network, as the WEAF chain is designated, as well as other stations in various cities. Following the New Year's night program, the concerts will be given bi-monthly, through the "blue" network (...)

Allegedly, the color designations came from the way the networks were represented on maps, with red lines (or pushpins) denoting the WEAF network circuits, and blue the WJZ circuits.

➦In 1927...the very first coast-to-coast network radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl was made. Graham McNamee provided the play-by-play on NBC Radio.The Rose Bowl football game was aired for the first time, coast-to-coast, on network radio.

➦In 1930..."The Cuckoo Hour" was broadcast for the first time on the NBC-Blue Network (it later became the ABC Radio Network).

➦In 1934...the classic radio horror show Light’s Out was heard for the first time on WENR Chicago. The show became an ‘almost midnight’ NBC thriller 16 months later.

➦In 1940…Broadcasting from the Empire State Building in New York City, radio station W2XDG, the first FM station licensed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, became the first to broadcast with the new Frequency Modulation technology.\

➦In 1941...Lorne Greene was appointed first announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's new national radio news service. His authoritative baritone on nightly wartime newscasts caused him to be nicknamed ‘The Voice of Doom’, nearly two decades before his reincarnation as Pa Cartwright on NBC-TV’s popular western series, Bonanza.

➦In 1947...WKSE, Buffalo signed on as WHLD-FM in 1947. It changed its call sign to WZIR in 1980, WRXT in 1984, and the current call sign in 1985.  It currently runs a Top 40 format, which has been in place since September 1984. The station is now owned by Entercom.

➦In 1950... 26-year-old disc jockey Sam Phillips opened his Memphis Recording Service (later renamed Sun Studios) at the corner of Union and Marshall in the Tennessee city. Some 3 and 1/2 years later, Elvis Presley walked in and spent $3.98 to make his first recording.

➦In 1953...legendary Hank Williams died at the young age of 29 from a drug/alcohol-related heart attack.  Hank wrote or co-wrote: “Cold, Cold Heart”, “Half as Much”, “Jambalaya”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “Hey, Good Lookin”, & “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die.” Indisputedly the biggest star in the history of country music, Williams’ legacy is being carried on by his son, Hank Williams, Jr.

➦In 1961...WLTW 106.7 FM In NYC signed-on the air as WRVR, a religious station owned by Riverside Church that also played some jazz. A remnant of this period is a 5 A.M. Sunday morning sermon from the church that aired on the station. As time went on, WRVR was a full-time jazz station with a strong following, but low ratings.

In 1976 WRVR was purchased by Sonderling Broadcasting, owner of WWRL, with the hope that it could move to an urban format and compete against WBLS, which had cut into WWRL's ratings. However, community opposition prevented the format change and WRVR remained a jazz station under Sonderling ownership. At that time it developed the precursor to what would later become known as the "smooth jazz" format.

In 1980 Viacom bought the Sonderling chain, and the station adopted a country music format as "Kick" WKHK. The station was known as "Kick 106.7 FM." The format change, from jazz to country, took place in the middle of the night. The change brought many protests from New York jazz fans, and a petition to the FCC to deny the station's license renewal, which was denied.  

The WRVR calls were then moved to Memphis, TN.

However, ratings were low, as they were unable to compete with WHN, which also had a country music format at the time. In 1988, a new jazz station appeared on the New York airwaves, with the call letters WQCD "CD101.9" later changing calls to WEMP, then back to WRXP, and now WFAN-FM.

On January 23, 1984, Viacom dropped country and changed the calls to WLTW. The station became an MOR station known as "Lite FM 106.7 WLTW". the station is now top rated and owned by iHeartMedia.

➦In 1968...the ABC Radio Network split into 4 networks: the Information, Entertainment, Contemporary and FM networks.

ABC Radio originally began after the split of NBC Red and NBC Blue (later Blue Network) networks with ABC taking over operations from RCA in 1943 before adopting its name 2 years later.

ABC Radio was known to broadcast the first nationwide report of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was shot in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas at 18:30 UTC on November 22, 1963 and ABC Radio's Don Gardiner anchored the network's initial bulletin at 1:36:50 EST, minutes before any other radio or television network followed suit.

Despite a number of different owners (Capital Cities Communications and later Disney), the radio division remained under ABC's wing until June 12, 2007 when it was sold to Citadel Broadcasting as well as its O&O stations (not including Radio Disney and ESPN Radio nor its affiliates) in a restructuring effort. The radio division has kept the ABC name for about 2 years until Citadel renamed it Citadel Media. Then sometime in September 2011, Cumulus Media has absorbed the now-defunct Citadel Broadcasting and rebranded it to the current Cumulus Media Networks. In 2013, Cumulus Media Networks merged with Dial Global Radio Networks to form Westwood One.

➤ABC Radio Networks Tribute Website: Click Here

On August 7, 2014, the Walt Disney Company announced that ABC will relaunch its radio network division on January 1, 2015. When its current distribution deal with Cumulus comes to an end, ABC will revamp its radio programming services under a new deal with Skyview Networks. ABC will continue to make its radio news programming as ABC News Radio.

Alison Steele
➦In 1968...Alison Steele started at AOR WNEW 102.7 FM.

Steele was born in Brooklyn, New York. In the 1950s while running errands for a local television station at the beginning of her career, at the age of nineteen, she met and married orchestra leader Ted Steele, who was twenty years her senior. They eventually went their separate ways.

Steele achieved her greatest following as a disc jockey on WNEW-FM, where she hosted the night shift in a new format when contemporary rock music began to be featured on FM radio. FM stations broadcast in high fidelity and, typically, had featured classical or instrumental music in the New York market. This all changed in the 1960s when this station led the switch to FM stations for the musical preferences of the counter culture of the 1960s and 1970s. After a major change in station programming from a briefly instituted all-female middle of the road (MOR) music format to what was becoming known as progressive rock radio occurred at WNEW-FM, she took the new late night position.

Steele acknowledged that she did not know much about progressive rock when she started the program, and apparently, neither did the management of the station, but the new programming was being extended to the growing market. Steele was given complete freedom to plan and present her program. In the process, she developed her persona as The Nightbird, and acquired a massive, loyal audience. Her audience was estimated in 1971 at approximately 78,000 nightly, with the majority of listeners being men between the ages of 18 and 34.

Steele began her show by reciting poetry over Andean flute music, before introducing her show in her well-known sultry, smoky voice with,

“The flutter of wings, the shadow across the moon, the sounds of the night, as the Nightbird spreads her wings and soars, above the earth, into another level of comprehension, where we exist only to feel. Come, fly with me, Alison Steele, the Nightbird, at WNEW-FM, until dawn.”

She then made a transition to recordings of some of the more exceptional and experimental music being recorded at the time, as well as featuring the best of the familiar favorites of her audience.

Her show became an instant hit and did much to push WNEW 102.7 FM into the forefront of progressive rock radio. At one point, she also served as the music director of the station. Steele became the first woman named as Billboard Magazine FM Personality of the Year.

Steele left WNEW-FM 102.7 in 1979 and worked as a writer, producer, and correspondent for Limelight on CNN until 1985. Steele held several positions that overlapped during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s. She worked as a disc jockey on New York's WNEW from 1980–1981. She served as the announcer for the daytime soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, from 1981 to 1984, after replacing Dwight Weist; Her announcing jobs on SFT started in the final months on CBS and the first few years on NBC. In late 1984/early 1985 she left Search and was replaced by The Edge Of Night's announcer Hal Simms. For a number of years, Steele was also the "disc jockey" for the pop/rock in-flight audio entertainment channel on board Trans World Airlines.

From 1989 to 1995, she was on WXRK along with some work for VH1.

Steele died of stomach cancer on September 27, 1995, aged 58.

➦In 1968…Billboard magazine reported Record Albums  have started to outsell 45-RPM singles.

➦In 1971...We no longer heard “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” or heard the “Marlboro Theme” on US radio and TV. As of this date tobacco ads representing $20 million dollars in advertising were banned from broadcast.

➦In 1974...NBC Radio Network began on-the-hour news, 24 hours-a-day.

➦In 1975...NBC launched the NBC News and Information Service (NIS) in 1975.  It allowed local radio stations to launch all-news formats, providing affiliates with up to 55 minutes of news per hour.

NBC aired the service on its Washington station, WRC.  It also added the all-news format on its network-owned FM stations in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.

Many stations signed on with the service, but by 1976, NBC was not sure if its network would ever become profitable.  Affiliates got a six-month notice that the service would end.  NIS closed in 1977.

Keith Olbermann
➦In 1992...The ESPN Radio Network launched.

ESPN Radio launched on January 1, 1992. Keith Olbermann hosted the first program. The top story that night was that Danny Tartabull signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent.

At first, ESPN Radio broadcast only on weekends. By 1996, it expanded to weekdays with a show hosted by The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nancy Donnellan. One hour of that show was simulcast on ESPN2 (1-2 p.m. Eastern time). Two years later, Tony Bruno and Mike Golic were brought together for a new morning show, the "Bruno & Golic Morning Show" which aired until Bruno left the network in 2000. Mike Greenberg was named as Bruno's replacement, and the morning show became "Mike & Mike", which still airs today (and is also simulcast on ESPN2). In January, 2010, Mike & Mike celebrated their 10 year anniversary on ESPN Radio. Dan Patrick was a mainstay in afternoons until his departure from ESPN in 2007.

Gradually, ESPN added more dayparts and became a 24-hour service.

➦In 1997...The FCC's EAS Rules went into effect

➦In 2006...Former Chicago radio personality, Alan Stagg, died of complications from pneumonia.

A classic rock disc jockey with a deep, booming voice--"He had the voice of God, if God was a cowboy," said his onetime boss the late-Bill Gamble.  Stagg was on the air in Chicago for most of the 1990s on stations that included WCKG-FM and WDRV-FM.

"Sanctuary" aired in the late 1990s on WXCD-FM, where Gamble was program director. A re-creation of the early days of FM radio, "Sanctuary" was a free-form melange of rock from the 1960s and 1970s, audio clips from movies and other sources, and Stagg's sometimes skewered take on life. Wind chimes tinkled in the background.

Alan Stagg
"He did radio like actors do theater; it wasn't just time and temp," said Gamble, now program director at 92.5 "The Wolf" in Denver. "He created theater of the mind."

The show later migrated to WCKG-FM, where Stagg was hired by former station executive Jeff Schwartz.

"To me, `Sanctuary' is exactly what radio is all about," said Schwartz, now a radio and media consultant. "It was like the hippier version of [former Chicago rock jock] Ron Britain's `Subterranean Circus.'"

Allan Stagg was the longest-running of several names Stagg used professionally, but he also used the name in everyday life, his wife said. Stagg grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and started as an intern at a local radio station while in high school.

He knew he wanted to get into radio ever since having listened to the far-reaching signal of Chicago's WLS 890AM as a boy. "He loved Dick Biondi," his wife told the Chicago Tribune.

Stagg's radio career took him throughout Michigan and to stations in Colorado and Oregon before he arrived in Chicago in the late 1980s. Voice-over work supplemented his income, supplanting it when his stations changed formats or program directors and he found himself out of a job.


  • DeeDee Pfeiffer s 58
    Actor Frank Langella is 84. 
  • Singer-guitarist Country Joe McDonald of Country Joe and the Fish is 80. 
  • Comedian Don Novello (Father Guido Sarducci) is 79. 
  • Actor Rick Hurst (“The Dukes of Hazzard”) is 76. 
  • Rapper Grandmaster Flash is 64. 
  • Actor Renn Woods is 64. 
  • Actor Dedee Pfeiffer (“Cybill”) is 58. 
  • Actor Morris Chestnut (“The Brothers,” ″The Best Man”) is 53. 
  • Singer Tank is 46. 
  • Actor Eden Riegel (“The Young and the Restless”) is 41. 
  • Bassist Noah Sierota of Echosmith is 26.

Friday, December 31, 2021

R.I.P.: Betty White, TV's Golden Girl

Daily Mail screenshot 12/31/21

Betty White, the trailblazing television star whose more than eight-decade career saw her go from unforgettable roles on “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to becoming a cultural icon in her 80s and 90s, has died just weeks before her 100th birthday.

Law enforcement sources told TMZ the 99-year-old icon passed at home Friday morning, reports The NY Post.

The eight-time Emmy winner had just spoken to People for this week’s issue celebrating what would have been her birthday and said that she was “in such good health.”

“I try to avoid anything green. I think it’s working,” she quipped at the time.

White held the record for the longest TV career of any entertainer — making her debut in 1939 when the medium was just an experiment and going on to appear as an actress, host and in-demand guest well into her 90s.

But she’ll be best remembered for her scene-stealing roles in two pioneering sitcoms — as the promiscuous cooking show host Sue Ann Nivens on the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s and sweet-natured simpleton Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls” in the 80s.

“If an actor can get one great character in their career that’s something,” Syracuse University TV professor Robert Thompson told The Post. 

“Those two shows are her great legacy … because people will continue to watch that stuff. They’ve really got classic status.”

White was born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park on Jan. 17, 1922, the only child of parents Tess, a homemaker, and Horace White, an electrical engineer.

The family moved to California a few years later — eventually winding up in Los Angeles, where the future star grew up in the shadow of Hollywood.

She was bitten by the showbiz bug when she wrote herself into the lead role of a school play. She then scored her first TV gig just a month after graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1939 — singing “The Merry Widow” on an experimental local channel.

The appearance, at age 17, came months before the medium was introduced to the masses at the New York World’s Fair.

In 1952, White co-created and starred in a Saturday-night sitcom called “Life with Elizabeth” — becoming one of TV’s rare female producers and earning her first Emmy nomination.

She continued her pioneering role both in front and behind the camera with the short-lived NBC talk show “The Betty White Show” in 1954.

Some stations in the South threatened to pull the show off the air over the inclusion of African-American tap dancer Arthur Duncan in the cast, but White famously told them to “live with it.”

“She was probably one of the nicest, grandest, greatest people I’ve had the chance to meet in my life,” said Duncan in 2018. “Whenever she walked into a room, it lit up.”

During the 1960s, White became a regular guest on TV game shows — where she met her third and final husband, “Password” host Allen Ludden, who she stayed with until he died in 1981.

In 1973, the already popular “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was looking to cast the character of Sue Ann Nivens, described in the script as an “an icky-sweet Betty White type” — and ended up hiring the real thing.  

Nivens — a cooking show hostess at Mary Richards’ fictional TV station — was “cloyingly sweet on the surface and something of a dragon underneath, with a tinge of nymphomania,” White wrote in her 1995 memoir. “I was born for the role!”

For the 1970s, a character like that was “a big deal,” Thompson said.

“Sue Ann Nivens was a woman who enjoys sex and does things that allow her to satisfy that enjoyment. Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens was doing in the 1970s what ‘Sex and the City’ wouldn’t get around to the late 1990s,” he said.

The job netted White her first — and second — prime-time Emmy awards.

She followed the statue up with a third when she was cast on NBC’s “The Golden Girls” in 1985.

Initially, 63-year-old White was expecting to play the man-hungry Blanche Devereaux, but the pilot director felt it was too similar to her character on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” so instead she was gifted with the loveably dim-witted Rose Nylund. 

Remembering Those Who Passed During 2021

R.I.P.: Dave Hughes, Popular DCRTV Blogger Was 63

Dave Hughes, whose popular blog about the radio and television industry in the nation’s capital and Baltimore markets, has died at age 63, according to Neal Augenstein at WTOP.

Dave Hughes, whose newsy gossip blog focused on the radio industry in the Washington and Baltimore markets years before the creation of Twitter and Facebook.

Patricia Hughes tells WTOP her brother, Dave, died on Dec. 27 — apparently of a heart attack.

“He was fine, then suddenly gone,” she said. “Dave was an amazing brother and a dear friend — I will miss him terribly.”

Hughes was born in New York City in 1958, lived in Reston, Virginia for years, and moved to North Carolina approximately two years ago. “Dave loved radio and TV his entire life,” said his sister.

Jim Farley was vice president of news and programming at WTOP in 1997, when DCRTV first launched.

“It was a funny little operation, run by a quirky guy,” said Farley. “A real radio junkie, not a regular journalist.”

Farley said Hughes launched the site shortly after “the Washington Post abandoned its radio column — DCRTV became the only game in town.”

According to Augustein, in the days before social media became the most prominent source of industry gossip, DCRTV’s short news blurbs — often leaked, without attribution by people employed by local radio and television stations were considered a “must read,” by local media personalities.

“People in the radio business like to know what’s going on in their industry,” said Farley. “DCRTV got some scoops, and he also got some things dead wrong.”

Unburdened by the tenets of  journalism, well-placed gossip often appeared on DCRTV before local radio and television stations issued press releases.

Rutland Radio: 40-Year Vet Terry Jaye Airs Final Show

Terry Jaye
After more than 40 years on Vermont radio stations, Terry Jaye is signing off today … although he expects he will not be gone forever, according to The Rutland Herald.

Terry Jarrosak, 66, who has been an on-air personality for WJJR 98.1 FM, is planning to broadcast his last regular show today. On Thursday, he explained a life in radio provided a connection to the community, which adopted him as part of their morning.

“For me, it was never about, ‘Hey, let’s play another great song.’ I mean, I’m going to play these songs over and over and over again. It wasn’t about playing the next great hit song. It was about what happens between the songs. Having fun with the public, doing stuff that meant something,” he said.

Jarrosak is from the Rutland area and went to school in West Rutland, where he worked on PEG-TV while a high school sophomore, and Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts, where he majored in theater, before going to Castleton State College where he majored in communications.

He recalled that Bob Gershon, now a professor emeritus, who taught communications for 40 years, had convinced him to come back to the college where Jarrosak went on to teach classes on radio and television for 20 years. He added that a number of the students from those classes went on to work in radio and broadcasting.

Jarrosak, who said he adopted the on-air name “Terry Jaye” early in his career, which started in 1978 in

Bennington at WHTC-FM.

“It was a brand-new FM station. As a matter of fact, no one listened to FM. Everyone listened to AM back in those days. FM was the new thing. AM was where you wanted to be, so they stuck me on the FM station,” he said.

He went on to WSYB 1380-AM and 100.1-FM, around 1979 and realized that’s where he wanted to be.

He noted a number of “great mentors” including Jack Healey; Bob Bascomb; Alex Dunn; Brian Collamore, who is now a state senator representing Rutland County; Ralph Smith and Dick Noble, who had been the station manager.

Nanci Gordon, who had been Jarrosak’s on-air partner for almost 20 years, said she remembers that she and Jarrosak were known in the community as “Mr. and Mrs. Rutland.”

“The first morning show we did together was March 4, 1991. It was the bicentennial of the state of Vermont, which is why I remember it so vividly. At the end of the show, he closed the show, saying, ‘Freedom and unity forever.’ And I remember thinking, ‘This is gonna be good. We’re going to work well together.’ And, indeed, within two months, I felt like we had been working together for years,” she said.

Hong Kong Cracks Down On Media

The collapse of Hong Kong's last big pro-democracy news outlet, Stand News, caps one of the world's most dramatic declines in press freedom this year, reports Bloomberg.

From he closure of Jimmy Lai's Apple Daily newspaper in July to the raid, arrests and asset seizures that precipitated Stand News's shuttering Wednesday, the global financial hub has gone from being one of Asia's most free-wheeling media markets to one of its most regulated. In addition to employing a national security law that carries sentences as long as life in prison, Hong Kong authorities have began charging journalists and internet users under a colonial-era sedition law that can jail a writer for up to two years.

While Hong Kong's crackdown is unique to events in the former British colony, where Beijing is eager to prevent a return of the mass democracy demonstrations of two years ago, similar changes were seen across the globe in 2021. Governments — threatened by pandemic-fueled economic upheaval and emboldened by former President Donald Trump's campaign against "fake news" — appear poised for more steps to silence critical coverage in the year ahead. 

In China, journalist Zhang Zhan is reportedly close to death amid a hunger strike in protest against her four-year jail sentence for reporting on Covid-19. Employees of Twitter Inc. who didn’t delete accounts criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government faced the threat of prosecution in India, the world’s biggest democracy. In Russia, authorities this month targeted two human-rights groups for closure, including one that tracks political prisoners. Iran, Egypt and Zimbabwe all moved to weaken journalists’ ability to report on the reality of the pandemic. 

Journalism was completely or partly blocked in almost three-quarters of the 180 countries ranked in the latest survey by non-government organization Reporters Without Borders.  The group found that 488 journalists were in jail, an all-time high since it began compiling numbers in 1995. 

"Press freedom is on the back foot,” said Keith Richburg, director of the University of Hong Kong's Journalism and Media Studies Center and president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong. “Trump helped create echo chambers of fake news, where anything that criticizes you is fake.”

"What's happening in Hong Kong is part of a pattern of retrenchment,” he added. “The scope of countries where the press is actually free is getting smaller and smaller. Countries play lip service to the idea of press freedom without actually practicing it."

The takedown of Stand News was more than just a blow to the local opposition. It marked the erasure of an influential organ of civic debate. The online platform founded in 2014 had in recent months investigated poor labor conditions and city officials receiving gift baskets from beleaguered property developer China Evergrande Group. The closure was the latest of several shocks since China imposed the national security law in June 2020 and began to crack down on Hong Kong civil institutions where criticism of the Communist Party once flourished. Over the past 12 months, some of the city’s largest labor unions have disbanded, international non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International have left town and a new legislature was elected under a system that vetted candidates for their loyalty to the ruling party. More than 160 people have now been arrested by the local national security department.

FCC Urged to Delay 5G Wireless Rollout

The top airlines trade group filed an emergency request with the Federal Communications Commission Thursday asking for a delay in the rollout of new 5G wireless service near airports that it says threatens to disrupt flights.

Bloomberg reports Airlines for America, which represents the 10 major U.S. passenger and cargo airlines, said more time is needed to resolve the dispute. It’s calling on the regulatory agency to delay use of airwaves near dozens of international airports, including Newark Liberty in New Jersey, John F. Kennedy in New York and George Bush Airport in Houston.

The FCC had awarded wireless network providers AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. access to new spectrum, called C-Band, with plans for new 5G service to begin Jan. 5. The airline group said the agency “has never provided a reasoned analysis of why it has rejected the evidence submitted by the aviation interests.”

An FCC spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Airlines and other aviation-industry groups have been warning that there could be significant flight disruptions if the 5G airwaves were expanded, saying they could interfere with aircraft equipment. So-called radar altimeters, which beam radio waves at the ground to determine a plane’s altitude, use frequencies that are close to those to be used by the new 5G service. 

The Federal Aviation Administration on Dec. 23 issued a Safety Alert for Operators warning that “a wide range” of aircraft safety devices could malfunction and laid out the process it will follow to issue specific restrictions on flights if needed. 

The wireless companies said they would roll out the 5G service at temporarily reduced power in the coming months to alleviate fears, but airline groups say the offer isn’t enough. CTIA, a trade group representing the wireless industry, said that active 5G networks using the same spectrum band work safely in almost 40 countries.

December PPMs Day 3: Portland, Charlotte, Orlando +9 More Markets

Nielsen on Thursday, December 30,  2021 released the third batch of December 2021 PPM data for the following markets:

21  Portland OR

23  Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC

25  San Antonio

27  Sacramento

28  Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo

29  Pittsburgh

30  Orlando

31  Las Vegas

33  Cincinnati

34  Kansas City

35  Cleveland

36  Columbus OH

Click Here To View Topline Numbers For Subscribing Nielsen Stations

Wake-Up Call: COVID Cases Surge Worldwide

The total number of new COVID cases across the world now tops one million a day on average, according to The New York Times. The United States, Canada and most of Western Europe are hardest hit. Sixteen states and Puerto Rico have reached their highest levels yet in the pandemic.

Although 78,000 people are in hospitals for COVID treatment in the U.S., the death rate remains significantly lower than earlier in the pandemic. Early data suggest that the new Omicron variant is more contagious but less deadly than the Delta strain.

New York City is once again the epicenter of the pandemic, with 44,000 new cases recorded Thursday. About 30 percent of the Fire Department's emergency medical service personnel are out sick.
The Centers for Disease Control has issued an advisory urging travelers to avoid cruise ships, whether or not they're vaccinated. The Cruise Lines International Association said it was "disappointed" and "perplexed" at the decision.

CHECK IT OUT: The New York Times maps the virus county by county.

A ray of hope came from South Africa, where the omicron strain emerged. The South African government says infections have peaked and are declining as fast as they rose. "It was a flash flood more than a wave," said Fareed Abdullah of the South African Medical Research Council.

🔥BOULDER RESIDENTS FLEE WILDFIRES: More than 30,000 residents of Boulder County, Colorado, have been ordered to evacuate to escape wildfires fanned by powerful winds up to 80 miles per hour. The entire populations of Superior and Louisville were ordered to flee. There were at least three active fires yesterday.

➤TRUCKER'S 110-YEAR SENTENCE COMMUTED: Colorado Governor Jared Polis has reduced the 110-year prison sentence of a truck driver convicted of vehicular homicide to 10 years. More than five million people signed a petition asking for a reduced sentence for Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos. Four people died in the fatal accident after the truck's brakes failed on I-70 in Lakewood.


WSJ Poll, Graphic

🍬STUDY..A FAN OF BLACK COFFEE AND DARK CHOCOLATE? IT’S IN YOUR GENES:  If you prefer your coffee black then you probably also prefer dark, bitter chocolate. Northwestern University researchers say coffee drinkers with the genetic variant that reflects a faster metabolism of caffeine prefer bitter, black coffee, and those same individuals prefer plain tea over sweetened tea, as well as dark chocolate over milk chocolate. It’s believed these people also prefer plain coffee and tea because they associate the bitter flavor with the boost in mental alertness they crave from caffeine, and it has nothing to do with the taste. Researcher Marilyn Cornelis explains, “It’s possible these people are just very sensitive to the effects of caffeine, and they also have that learned behavior with other bitter foods.” Future studies will try to look into the genetic preference for other bitter foods, which “are generally linked to more health benefits.”

➤HERE’S WHY YOUR KIDS LIKE FIDGET TOYS:  Fidget toys, such as fidget spinners and pop toys, are very popular with kids. But why do kids like them so much? Richard Gottlieb, CEO of Global Toy Experts says fidget toys allow for manipulative play, similar to the satisfaction one gets from twirling a pencil around one’s fingers. Their collectability also makes them fun for kids, as they come in a variety of shapes and colors. Gottlieb says fidget toys also allow play that’s not about achieving any particular result, which could be a big reason why they are so popular. He adds, “The average kid works 60 hours a week if we consider anything overseen by an adult work. Sometimes the only place they get to relax is in the back seat of the car, and something like the fidget spinner or Pop It is portable, and they can just sit back and engage with it.” Another expert says the toys might be tapping into an unconscious need to train a child's fine motor skills, or a way to compensate for the lack of movement demanded by our daily schedules.
🏈 HALL OF FAME FINALISTS ANNOUNCED: The finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2022 have been announced, and they include three players in their first year of eligibility. They are defensive end/outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, wide receiver Andre Johnson and wide receiver/returner Devin Hester.

CHECK IT OUT: For the full list of finalists, click here.

🏀BUCKS MAKE IT 5 IN A ROW: The Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to five games in a row last night with a 136-118 victory over the Orlando Magic. Giannis Antetokounmpo alone scored 33 points.
Yesterday's scheduled Golden State Warriors game against the Denver Nuggets was postponed. The NBA said the Nuggets didn't have enough healthy players.

🏈PANTHERS QUARTERBACK INJURED: Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Nick Patti was injured during the first quarter of the Peach Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans yesterday. Davis Beville, a sophomore, stepped in to replace Patti. Michigan State won the game, 31-21.

🏈SOUTH CAROLINA DEFEATS NORTH CAROLINA: The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 38-21 in the Duke's Mayo Bowl in Charlotte on Thursday. Yes, the Mayo Bowl. South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer got drenched with more than four gallons of the stuff after his team won. We don't know what they did to the coach of the losing team.
CHECK IT OUT: Beamer takes a bath (below).

🏈PURDUE DEFEATS TENNESSEE 48-45: The Purdue Boilermakers won the Music City Bowl in Nashville over the Tennessee Volunteers by 48-45. It has been Purdue's best season since 2003.