Saturday, July 30, 2022

July 30 Radio History


Vladimir Zworykin
➦In 1888...Vladimir Kosmich Zworykin born (Died - July 29, 1982). He was an American inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology. Zworykin invented a television transmitting and receiving system employing cathode ray tubes. He played a role in the practical development of television from the early thirties, including charge storage-type tubes, infrared image tubes and the electron microscope.  Zworykin, called the “Father of Television” invented the iconoscope in 1931 while in the employ of RCA, the parent company of NBC.  He died July 29 1982 on the eve of his 93rd birthday.

➦In 1914...John Meston born (Died  — March 24, 1979). He was a scriptwriter best known for co-creating with producer Norman Macdonnell the long-running Western series Gunsmoke. He developed storylines and wrote radio scripts and teleplays for 379 episodes for the series, which was first broadcast on CBS Radio in 1952, and then adapted to the "small screen", as well, airing on television from 1955 to 1975. In addition to his work on Gunsmoke, Meston also served as a writer and editorial supervisor for other radio programs such as Escape, Suspense, Lux Radio Theater, and Fort Laramie; and in the 1970s, he wrote several episodes for two other television series, Little House on the Prairie and Hec Ramsey.

After the war, Meston was hired by KNX Radio in Los Angeles to be an assistant in the station's editing department, and by October 1945, he was promoted to head of that department.

Station KNX by the 1940s already served as the center of West Coast operations for the entire CBS Radio network, so Meston's next career move was a transitional one to CBS, where in 1947, he began working once again as a censor, more specifically in the network's program practices department.

Meston's scripts dominated the radio series' presentations for years.   He died of a cerebral hemorrhage March 24 1979 at age 64.

➦In 1930...The Shadow debuted as the mysterious narrator of the radio program Detective Story Hour, which was developed to boost sales of Street and Smith's monthly pulp Detective Story Magazine.  When listeners of the program began asking at newsstands for copies of "That Shadow detective magazine", Street & Smith decided to create a magazine based on The Shadow and hired Gibson to create a character concept to fit the name and voice and write a story featuring him. The first issue of The Shadow Magazine went on sale on April 1, 1931, a pulp series.

On September 26, 1937, The Shadow radio drama, a new radio series based on the character as created by Gibson for the pulp magazine, premiered with the story "The Death House Rescue", in which The Shadow was characterized as having "the power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him". As in the magazine stories, The Shadow was not given the literal ability to become invisible.

The introduction from The Shadow radio program "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!", spoken by actor Frank Readick, has earned a place in the American culture.

The Shadow aired first aired on CBS.  It would be a radio favorite for the next 24 years, mostly on Sunday afternoons on Mutual.

➦In 1930...First broadcast of "Death Valley Days" on NBC Radio.  It was a radio and television anthology series featuring true accounts of the American Old West, particularly the Death Valley country of southeastern California. Created in 1930 by Ruth Woodman, the program was broadcast on radio until 1945 and became from 1952 to 1970 as a syndicated television series, with reruns (updated with new narrations) continuing through August 1, 1975. The radio and television versions combined to make the show "one of the longest-running western programs in broadcast history."

The series was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax Company (20 Mule Team Borax, Boraxo) and hosted by Stanley Andrews ("The Old Ranger") (1952–1964), Ronald Reagan (1964–1965), Rosemary DeCamp (1965), Robert Taylor (1966–1969), and Dale Robertson (1969–1970).

➦In 1937...the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) organized. It was part of the American Federation of Labor. The union was for all radio performers except musicians. The union later became The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) to include TV workers.

➦In 1942...Stage Door Canteen began its three-year run on CBS Radio. It was inspired by the

The Stage Door Canteen which was an entertainment venue for American and Allied servicemen that operated in the Broadway theatre district of New York City during World War II.

The official estimate of attendance on the canteen's opening night was 1,250, with 200 "actresses of varying importance" as hostesses and 75 "'name' actors" as busboys.  In addition to shows, the canteen offered off-duty military personnel opportunities to unwind in various ways, including dancing with hostesses and female entertainers, eating, and writing letters home. Food was provided free. Between 5 p.m. and midnight daily, the canteen served 200 gallons of coffee, and 5,000 cigarettes were smoked.

The CBS Radio series aired through 1945.

Arthur Peterson, Mercedes McCambridge, Helen Behmiller, Henrietta Ledro

➦In 1952...the popular radio soap opera, The Guiding Light, was seen for the first time on CBS-TV. It debuted on NBC radio Jan. 25 1937.  The daytime drama aired its final telecast Sept. 18 2009.

➦ In 1964...WNEW 1130 AM in New York banned all comedy records that “ridicule the United States Government, its processes, institutions, officials, lawmakers and political candidates.” The station said the new policy was triggered by a new album entitled “I’d rather Be Far Right Than President.” - an album that spoofs Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.

Says John Sullivan, vice president and general manager of WNEW -“I would say the situation came to a head because of national conventions and an election year. But the taste level of some of these comedy recordings has grown progressively worse and there is a lot of cheap, badly done stuff in the field. What I resent is that anyone can put something on a record and it is passed off as entertainment. The radio industry should take a look at what it plays.”WNEW plays music from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Steve and Eydie, Dean Martin and other popular non-rock artists.

➦In 1966...WOR 98.7 FM, New York changed it's programming to a Rock format.

The original WOR-FM disc jockeys were Scott Muni (formerly of WABC and WMCA), Murray “the K” Kaufman (formerly of WINS), Rosko (Bill Mercer) and Johnny Michaels.

According to, WOR-FM became extremely popular on college campuses.  It began to carve out an audience that had not been served by radio up until then.  It was achieving decent ratings (for an FM station) without taking audience away from the AM stations by appealing to new listeners.  This was significant.  A Columbia University survey of its undergraduates found that 93% listened to FM as well as AM and that they listened to WOR-FM for 3 1/2 hours daily as compared with AM stations WMCA (1 1/2 hours) and WABC (1 hour). WOR-FM grossed anywhere from $500 to $1000 a week from record company commercials because of its reach into the college campuses.

Even so, owner RKO wasn’t satisfied.  Bill Drake had been consulting RKO’s two West Coast stations; KHJ in Los Angeles and KFRC in San Francisco.  These were both extremely successful AM Top 40 stations built around the “Drake-Chenault” philosophy of playing just the hits while minimizing almost everything else.  In July of 1967 RKO hired Drake to consult its remaining radio properties which consisted of CKLW, Detroit; WRKO, Boston; WGMS, Washington DC; WHBQ, Memphis and, of course, WOR-FM.

The first sense of change came when memos appeared from management dictating to the air staff not to play certain cuts. Next the disc jockeys were removed from the new record listening sessions and not allowed to have input on the playlist. Next the playlist became all singles with only an occasional new record and it had to be from an established artist.

Murray the K had the highest rated FM show in New York; a 4 share on one ratings survey, a 3 on the next. This was higher than many AM shows and a terrific FM rating for New York.  He would have no part of these changes and his protests cost him his job.  He was fired by the station in September 1967.  His parting comment about the changes at WOR-FM was “Who can live with that?  Music has reached a maturity... people in radio are still treating it as if it is for teenie boppers."

Murray had a point. WOR-FM was different from the other RKO properties in that it was FM stereo as opposed to AM.  It had built a solid audience by attracting a different group of people.  Giving up on it after only a year seemed premature. Record companies had found the station highly valuable at influencing sales of rock albums especially of new artists and groups like Cream, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  The format was noted for playing new records first, often playing new artists that the local AM stations wouldn't play.

➦In 1984...The FCC increased the number of radio and television stations that a company may own from a total of 14 radio stations and 7 TV stations to a new ceiling of 24 radio stations and 12 TV stations.

➦In 2004...Shock personalities Opie and Anthony announced they were joining XM Satellite Radio beginning Oct. 4. They were yanked off the air back in August of 2002 after broadcasting a live account of a couple having sex inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

➦In 2012...Radio programmer on personality Al Brady Law died at age 67.

Brady first came to New York as Al Brady late in 1969 as the night jock at WOR FM. Late in 1970 he left for WINZ in Miami but promptly turned back up in New York as the night jock at WWDJ. He eventually moved to afternoons and then left again for Denver. But he returned once more, this time as program director at WWDJ. In 1973 he moved over to WXLO as program director.

In March of 1974, Al moved on to WNBC where did some weekend shows and was also the station's assistant program director. In September of 1974, he became the station's program manager, but only for a month. He would go back to weekends and the APD slot. In 1976, it was off to Boston and in 1978 he took over as program director of the NBC Owned and Operated stations. After a brief stint  in Washington, DC, he returned to New York, yet again, this time as program director of 77WABC. In 1979, WABC was still reeling from the "disco inferno" of the October/November, 1978 book where WKTU rocketed to the top. They were, in essence, trying to right the ship. Brady came under a lot of criticism when three of his moves involved letting go Harry Harrison, George Michael and Chuck Leonard. Al always defended his moves and always insisted it was the right thing to do. He always said he never regretted any of it.

From WABC, Brady returned to Boston and then one more time to New York where he was to assume the position of Vice President and General Manager of WYNY. Under his guidance, WYNY became a major presence in the New York market, finally cracking the ratings top 10 in the Summer, 1981 book.

From WYNY, al took over as Vice President of Programming of NBC Radio. After leaving this post, he moved around the country working at various radio stations.

Terry Lee
➦In 2013…Longtime Pittsburgh radio, TV personality Terry Lee (Trunzo) died of lung cancer at 70.

He started working as a DJ at teen dances at age 16. That launched his radio career at the former WESA-AM in Charleroi, which was followed by stints at stations in Carnegie and Canonsburg. At 21, he joined the former WMCK-AM in McKeesport, which later became WIXZ 1360. That little station was the place where Lee really began shaking up the airwaves. His evening show was one of the most popular in the city throughout the '60s.

In the late '60s throughout the '70s, Lee hosted dance shows on TV: "Come Alive" on the former WIIC (now WPXI) and "The Terry Lee Show" on WPGH and later on KDKA.

Paul Anka is 81


  • Blues guitarist Buddy Guy is 86. 
  • Singer Paul Anka is 81. 
  • Jazz saxophonist David Sanborn is 77. 
  • Actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger is 75. 
  • Actor William Atherton (“Die Hard” films”) is 75. 
  • Actor Jean Reno (“The Da Vinci Code,” ″Godzilla”) is 74. 
  • Actor Ken Olin is 68. 
  • Actor Delta Burke is 66. 
  • Actor Richard Burgi (“Desperate Housewives”) is 64. 
  • Singer-songwriter Kate Bush is 64. 
  • Lisa Kudrow is 59
    Country singer Neal McCoy is 64. 
  • Actor Laurence Fishburne is 61. 
  • Actor Lisa Kudrow (“Friends”) is 59. 
  • Guitarist Dwayne O’Brien of Little Texas is 59. 
  • Actor Vivica A. Fox is 58. 
  • Actor Terry Crews (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” ″Everybody Hates Chris”) is 54. 
  • Actor Simon Baker (“The Mentalist”) is 53. 
  • Director Christopher Nolan (“Memento,” ″Insomnia”) is 52. 
  • Actor Tom Green is 51. 
  • Drummer Brad Hargreaves of Third Eye Blind is 51. 
  • Actor Christine Taylor (“Dodgeball,” “The Brady Bunch Movie”) is 51. 
  • Comedian Dean Edwards (“Saturday Night Live”) is 49. 
  • Actor Hilary Swank is 48. 
  • Actor Jaime Pressly (“Mom,” “My Name Is Earl”) is 45. 
  • Singer-guitarist Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers is 42. A
  • ctor April Bowlby (“Drop Dead Diva,” ″Two and a Half Men”) is 42. 
  • Actor Yvonne Strahovski (“Chuck,” “The Handmaid’s Tale”) is 40. 
  • Actor Martin Starr (“Silicon Valley,” ″Freaks and Geeks”) is 40. 
  • Actor Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) is 38. 
  • Actor Joey King (TV’s “Fargo”) is 23.

  • Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared on this day in 1975 in what's believed to have been a mob hit. He was 62. Hoffa's body has never been found.

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