Friday, May 13, 2022

May 13 Radio History

➦In 1941...Singer Richie Valens born Richard Steven Valenzuela (Died at age 17 – February 3, 1959) was a rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted eight months and abruptly ended when he died in a plane crash.

During this time, he had several hits, most notably "La Bamba", which he had adapted from a Mexican folk song. Valens transformed the song into one with a rock rhythm and beat, and it became a hit in 1958, making Valens a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement. He also had the American number 2 hit ''Donna''.

On February 3, 1959, on what has become known as "The Day the Music Died", Valens died in a plane crash in Iowa, an accident that also claimed the lives of fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as pilot Roger Peterson. Valens was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

➦In the middle of WWII. Adolph Hitler and his Nazi occupiers of the Netherlands and other European countries confiscated all radios.

➦In 1956... after 16 years on CBS Radio, “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch,” aired its final episode. The half-hour  broadcast for Wrigley’s Gum featured 10 to 15 minute western action skits featuring Autry and his sidekick Pat Buttram, plus musical selections by “the ‘Singing Cowboy.” Autry went on to be owner of a chain of West Coast radio stations, Golden West Broadcasters, and LA TV station KTLA.

➦In 1963...Station Manager Marlin Taylor (1st employee) and Sales Manager Jerry Lee (2nd employee) launched David L. Kurtz's new Philadelphia FM, WDVR, Delaware Valley Radio.

Now know as WBEB 101.1 FM, the station was also known as WEAZ during 1980s, before becoming WBEB-FM in 1993.

In spite of having a poor signal for its' first four years, WDVR became the top-rated FM in the Hoope Ratings within three months, pioneering the Beautiful Music format.

(Photo Courtesy of Marlin Taylor)

The station featured pop tunes reworked in the form of instrumentals. They played two vocalists per hour, as the instrumentals would be based on the works of such artists as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Neil Diamond and The Carpenters. By the 1980s, the station increased the amount of music with vocalists to four per hour as they also added more artists suited to an adult contemporary format. Also in 1980, WDVR changed its call letters to WEAZ, and began using the slogan EAZY 101 with Patrick O'Neal (later Robert Urich) as its spokesperson. By 1984, EAZY 101 became the #1 rated station in Philadelphia.

In 1988, the station dropped Beautiful Music for a soft adult contemporary format. This format change came after research tests showed that people who grew up after the advent of rock and roll did not like instrumental music. With the format change, the station was satellite-delivered, but by the next year, some of the airstaff returned. By 1990, the station's name was shortened to "EZ 101". The station would shift to a mainstream adult contemporary format in 1993, and its call letters would eventually change to WBEB, B101.

Airchecks form 1982-84...

On December 10, 2013, WBEB announced they would be rebranding as "MoreFM at 101.1". The DJs and format would stay the same. The name change took place on December 26. With the name change, the station dropped their "Saturday Night 80's" program.

On July 19, 2018, Entercom announced that it would acquire WBEB for $57.5 million. To comply with FCC ownership limits, Entercom divested Country WXTU 92.5 FM back to its previous owner Beasley Broadcast Group. WBEB was, at that time, one of the last major-market radio stations to be independently owned. The sale closed September 28, 2018.

On November 8, 2018, WBEB returned to its previous "B" branding as B101.1.

➦In 1973.."The Beatles 1962-1966" Red was released in 1973 along with "The Beatles 1967-1970" Blue album.   The album was compiled by Beatles manager Allen Klein. Even though the group had success with cover versions of songs, most notably with "Twist and Shout", which made No. 2 on the Billboard charts, only songs composed by the Beatles were included. Also noteworthy is the exclusion of any George Harrison compositions from the era (e.g. "Taxman"), with the result that all the included tracks are Lennon-McCartney originals. In contrast, the companion 1967–1970 compilation includes several Harrison-penned songs, and even one written by Ringo Starr.

➦In of the most prolific organists in the Golden Age of Radio, Rosa Rio died at age 107.

Known as "Queen of the Soaps," Rio worked for 22 years in radio, providing the organ background music for 24 radio soap operas and radio dramas, and playing an average of five to seven shows per day.  Some days she went from one program immediately to another—as when Lorenzo Jones and Bob and Ray were adjacent on NBC's schedule during the early 1950s—with less than 50 seconds to run from one NBC studio to another.  Some of the programs she played for included Bob and Ray, Ethel and Albert, Front Page Farrell, Lorenzo Jones, My True Story, The Shadow and When a Girl Marries.

During World War II she had her own radio show, Rosa Rio Rhythms.

➦In 2016…Retired advertising executive Bill Backer died at the age of 89.

He became an ad industry legend for creating the slogans "Things go better with Coke", further defining the product as "the real thing", and convinced the world that Miller Lite was "everything you ever wanted in a beer, and less", and should be consumed at "Miller Time".

In 1971, Backer created the Coca-Cola campaign and accompanying song "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)".

His advertising career started in the mailroom of McCann Erickson in 1953, rising to creative director in 1972, and vice chairman of the agency in 1978. In 2015, when the AMC television series Mad Men concluded with fictional character Don Draper's conception of the "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing..." campaign while the character was working at McCann Erickson, media outlets contacted Backer, asking him if he was the basis of the Don Draper character. He told the New York Times, "I'm not Don Draper".

In 1979, he co-founded Backer & Spielvogel (with Carl Spielvogel), which eight years later became Backer, Spielvogel & Bates Worldwide, Inc., one of the world's largest marketing and advertising communications companies. This worldwide corporation had 178 companies in 55 countries, and employed 8,500 persons—1,000 Americans and 7,500 nationals of the countries in which business was being conducted.

In 1999, Advertising Age included his name in a list of the top 100 players in advertising history.

➦In 2019...actress/singer Doris Day succumbed to pneumonia at age 97.  In the 1950’s and 60’s she had a string of hit movies, but that followed her radio career.   She sang weekly on NBC Radio’s Bob Hope Show, was the gal singer for part of the 1947 season of Your Hit Parade, and recorded many smash hits for Columbia Records. When her hit movies ended she starred for five seasons in her own self-titled sitcom on CBS.

Debbie Ryan is 29

  • Actor Buck Taylor (“Gunsmoke,” ″Gods and Generals”) is 84. 
  • Actor Harvey Keitel is 83. 
  • Actor Zoe Wanamaker (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) is 74. 
  • Actor Franklyn Ajaye (“Car Wash,” TV’s “Deadwood”) is 73. 
  • Singer Stevie Wonder is 72. 
  • Actor Leslie Winston (TV: “The Waltons”) is 66. 
  • Comedian Stephen Colbert (“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”) is 58. 
  • Stevie Wonder is 72
    Drummer John Richardson of The Gin Blossoms is 58. 
  • Actor Tom Verica (“American Dreams”) is 58. 
  • Singer Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish) is 56. 
  • Actor Susan Floyd (“All My Children”) is 54. 
  • Drummer Andy Williams of Casting Crowns is 50. 
  • Actor Brian Geraghty (“The Alienist,” ″Boardwalk Empire”) is 47. 
  • Bassist Mickey Madden of Maroon 5 is 43. 
  • Actor Iwan Rheon (“Game of Thrones”) is 37. 
  • Actor Lena Dunham (“Girls”) is 36. 
  • Actor Robert Pattinson is 36. 
  • Actor Candice Accola King (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 35. 
  • Actor Hunter Parrish (“Weeds”) is 35. 
  • Bassist Wylie Gelber of Dawes is 34. 
  • Actor Debby Ryan (“Jessie”) is 29.

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