Saturday, May 14, 2022

May 15 Radio History

 ➦In 1923...WJZ moved to New York City.

The WJZ call sign was first used on what is now WABC in New York City. The original Westinghouse Electric Corporation, whose broadcasting division is a predecessor to the current broadcasting unit of CBS Corporation, launched WJZ in 1921, located originally in Newark, New Jersey.

WJZ was sold in 1923 to the Radio Corporation of America, who moved its operations to New York, and in 1926 WJZ became the flagship station for the NBC Blue Network.  NBC Blue would become the American Broadcasting Company in 1942. ABC later established WJZ-FM and WJZ-TV at the same time in 1948.

In 1953 ABC merged with United Paramount Theatres, and changed the call letters of their New York area stations to WABC, WABC-FM (now WPLJ) and WABC-TV. Four years later, Westinghouse Broadcasting acquired Baltimore television station WAAM (channel 13) and changed its call letters to WJZ-TV, which remained an ABC affiliate until 1995 when the station switched to CBS.

➦In 1933...the radio serial “Today’s Children” was heard for the first time.  The woman who would soon become a soap opera icon, Irma Phillips, who was an NBC Blue network program-features writer, starred in the role of Mother Moran.  Today’s Children became the #1 radio soap by 1938.

➦In 1961...Peter Tripp of WMGM 1050 AM in NYC found guilty of 35 counts of "commercial bribery".  Tripp was a Top-40 countdown radio personality from the mid-1950s, whose career peaked with his 1959 record breaking 201 hour wakeathon (working on the radio non-stop without sleep to benefit the March of Dimes). For much of the stunt, he sat in a glass booth in Times Square. After a few days he began to hallucinate, and for the last 66 hours the observing scientists and doctors gave him drugs to help him stay awake. Tripp suffered psychologically, after the stunt, he began to think he was an imposter of himself, and kept that thought for some time.

His career soon suffered a massive downturn when he was involved in the payola scandal of 1960. Like several other disc jockeys (including Alan Freed) he had been playing particular records in return for gifts from record companies. Indicted only weeks after his stunt, it emerged that he had accepted $36,050 in bribes. Despite his claim that he "never took a dime from anyone", he was found guilty on a charge of commercial bribery, receiving a $500 fine and a six-month suspended sentence.

Even his wakeathon record did not endure for long. Other DJs had quickly attempted to beat it (such publicity stunts being common in radio broadcasting at the time) and Dave Hunter, in Jacksonville, Florida, soon claimed success (225 hours). Six years after Tripp's record, it was smashed by high school student Randy Gardner, who lasted 11 days.

Peter Tripp
After leaving WMGM, Tripp was unable to re-establish himself in the world of radio, drifting from KYA in San Francisco to KGFJ in Los Angeles and finally WOHO in Toledo, Ohio, before quitting the medium in 1967. Returning to L.A., he had more success working in physical fitness sales and marketing. He diversified into freelance motivational speaking, writing and stockbroking before settling into a Palm Springs, California retirement.

Overall he had spent twenty years in broadcasting: he began with WEXL in Royal Oak, Michigan, in 1947 then on to Kansas City, Missouri in 1953 where he worked for KUDL (where he adopted the nickname "The Bald Kid In The Third Row", apparently a description made by a parent upon spotting him among many rows of new-borns in a hospital shortly after his birth) and then WHB (restyling himself as "The Curly-headed Kid In The Third Row"; he was not, in reality, bald) where he was pioneer in the Top-40 format. It was in 1955 that he landed his ill-fated job with WMGM in New York, presenting "Your Hits of the Week".

Tripp died in 2000 at the age of 73 following a stroke, leaving two sons and two daughters. His four marriages all ended in divorce.

➦In 1984...Canadian broadcaster Gordon Sinclair suffered a heart attack following his regular midday broadcast on CFRB Toronto; he died two days later, two weeks short of his 84th birthday.  He is best remembered for his many years on CBC-TV’s Front Page Challenge.

➦In 2001...XM Satellite Radio completes satellite system

XM Satellite Radio (XM) is one of two satellite radio (SDARS) services in the United States and Canada, operated by Sirius XM Radio. It also provided pay-for-service radio, analogous to cable television. Its service included 73 different music channels, 39 news, sports, talk and entertainment channels, 21 regional traffic and weather channels and 23 play-by-play sports channels. XM channels were identified by Arbitron with the label "XM" (e.g. "XM32").

From 2008...

The company has its origins in the 1988 formation of the American Mobile Satellite Corporation (AMSC), a consortium of several organizations originally dedicated to satellite broadcasting of telephone, fax, and data signals. In 1992, AMSC established a unit called the American Mobile Radio Corporation dedicated to developing a satellite-based digital radio service; this was spun off as XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. in 1999. The satellite service was officially launched on September 25, 2001.

From 2005...

On July 29, 2008, XM and former competitor Sirius Satellite Radio formally completed their merger, following Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, forming SiriusXM Radio, Inc. with XM Satellite Radio, Inc. as its subsidiary. On November 12, 2008, Sirius and XM began broadcasting with their new, combined channel lineups. On January 13, 2011, XM Satellite Radio, Inc. was dissolved as a separate entity and merged into Sirius XM Radio, Inc.

Fred White
➦In 2013…Longtime Kansas City Royals broadcaster Fred White died of complications from cancer at 76.

White was best known for the 25 years, 1974-98, that he teamed with Denny Matthews in the Royals' radio booth.

White, originally from Homer, Ill., did his first baseball broadcasts calling American League games in Hastings, Neb.

He became the voice of Kansas State University athletics in the 1960s-70s and was sports director of WIBW in Topeka. He was nationally known for his TV basketball coverage, notably in the Big Eight and later the Big 12.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler is 41


  • Actor-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti is 86. 
  • Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 86. 
  • Singer Lenny Welch is 83. 
  • Actor-singer Lainie Kazan is 80. 
  • Actor Gunilla Hutton (“Petticoat Junction,” ″Hee Haw”) is 80. 
  • Lenny Welch is 83
    Actor Chazz Palminteri (“Analyze This,” ″Mulholland Falls”) is 76. 
  • Musician Brian Eno is 74. 
  • Actor Nicholas Hammond (“The Sound of Music”) is 72. 
  • Musician Mike Oldfield is 69. 
  • Actor Lee Horsley (“Matt Houston”) is 67. 
  • Rapper Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is 61. 
  • Actor David Charvet (“Melrose Place”) is 50. 
  • Actor Russell Hornsby (“Grimm”) is 48. 
  • Actor David Krumholtz (“Numb3rs”) is 44. 
  • Bassist David Hartley of The War On Drugs is 42. 
  • Actor Jamie-Lynn Sigler (“The Sopranos”) is 41. 
  • Actor Alexandra Breckenridge (“The Walking Dead,” ″American Horror Story”) is 40. 
  • Guitarist Brad Shultz of Cage the Elephant is 40. 
  • Guitarist Nick Perri (Shinedown) is 38.

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