Tuesday, August 2, 2022

August 2 Radio History

➦In 1922...Alexander Graham Bell died at age 75 (Born - March 3, 1847).  He was a Scottish-born American inventor, scientist, and engineer who is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone. He also founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.

Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876. Bell considered his invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.

Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils, and aeronautics. Although Bell was not one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society, he had a strong influence on the magazine while serving as the second president from January 7, 1898, until 1903.

Bell died of complications arising from diabetes on August 2, 1922, at his private estate in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  Bell had also been afflicted with pernicious anemia. His last view of the land he had inhabited was by moonlight on his mountain estate at 2:00 a.m. While tending to him after his long illness, Mabel, his wife, whispered, "Don't leave me." By way of reply, Bell signed "no...", lost consciousness, and died shortly after.

➦In 1964...Comedic radio actor Jack Kirkwood died just days short of his 70th birthday. He had a well know repeated role on The Bob Hope Show.  Some called Kirkwood Bob Hope's second banana, but in actuality Bob Hope often played the straight man to Jack Kirkwood's hijinks.

His contributions to golden age of radio was extensive.  He was on such shows as The Bob Hope Show, Edgar Bergen, Ozzie & Harriet, The Alan Young Show, Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny Program, the star-studded show train Railroad Hour, and many more.

➦In 1983...WHTZ 100.3 FM, licensed to Newark, NJ signed-on with Scott Shannon and the "Morning Zoo". It went from "worst to first" in just a few months.

The station went on the air at 6:08 AM.  The first two songs ever played on the station were "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, followed by "America" by Neil Diamond.

Initially, the station called themselves by their new call letters, but by late August, they began calling themselves "WHTZ Newark, New York's New Z100". The station signed on from its new and still-incomplete studio in Secaucus, transmitting from the old FM tower site in West Orange, New Jersey, as their antenna was not moved to the top of the Empire State Building until August 4 at 6 AM.

Z100 was the second station that summer to attempt to bring the Top 40 format back to New York, with rock station WPLJ having begun the evolution to top 40 in June. WHTZ was programmed to remind listeners of one-time AM powerhouse WABC, which had gone from a tight Top 40 format to leaning Disco in early 1979 to leaning adult rock later in 1979, to leaning adult contemporary in 1980 and then evolving to Adult Contemporary/Talk in 1981, before it finally flipped to an all-talk format on May 10, 1982.

Within 74 days of signing on, WHTZ had climbed from last place to first in the New York Arbitron ratings book. Over the years, Z100 stayed with a top 40 format, with WPLJ behind them in the ratings.

➦In 1993...Shamrock Broadcasting, a Disney company, officially takes ownership of Cleveland's WMMS 100.7 FM & WHK 1420 AM from Malrite.

➦In 2004...Sportscaster Bob Murphy died at age 79 (Born - September 19, 1924). He spent 50 years doing play-by-play of Major League Baseball games on television and radio. The Oklahoman was best known for announcing the New York Mets, from their inception in 1962 until his retirement in 2003. He was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award in 1994.

Bob Murphy

The Tulsa Oklahoma-born Murphy made his first appearance in a baseball broadcast booth with the minor league Muskogee Reds. His first major league job was with the Boston Red Sox in 1954, working alongside Curt Gowdy. In 1960, he moved to the Baltimore Orioles for two seasons, replacing Ernie Harwell.

Murphy's call of Roger Maris' record-tying 60th home run of the 1961 season became an audition tape that landed him a job with the expansion New York Mets in 1962.

Murphy's broadcasts were known for his optimistic outlook. He would rarely be critical of players and would always strive to emphasize the positive. According to Gary Thorne, who was his partner in the Mets radio booth from 1985 to 1988, Murphy felt that, "the game was to be enjoyed and he sought out the joy in that day's game to bring to the fans."

Murphy, despite his long association with the Mets, never openly rooted for the team from the booth. Listeners knew that he was happier when the Mets won, as evidenced by his mention of a "happy recap" after a Mets win and a "recap" after a Mets loss.

Murphy occupied the broadcasting booth in every stadium in the National League, including Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, which was named after his brother, Jack, a popular San Diego sportswriter.

From the Mets' first game in 1962 through the post-Tom Seaver days of 1978, on radio and television, the Mets games were announced by the trio of Murphy, along with Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner. Nelson left after the 1978 season and was replaced by Steve Albert. Albert broadcast the Mets for three seasons.

Prior to 1982, the Mets announcers had done television and radio on a rotational system. While two were on TV, the other would take over on radio.

However, in 1982, Murphy was taken out of the television booth, in order to announce the games on radio only. He was joined by Steve Lamar, who also strictly did radio for the Mets. Murphy became known for "painting the word picture;" many say that play-by-play of baseball on radio requires a lot more skill than television, because on radio, the broadcaster must be able to inspire the listener's imagination. For the rest of his career, with the exception of emergency situations, Murphy announced exclusively from the radio booth. Left to turn his attention strictly to the radio listener, Murphy thrived. Murphy was paired with Gary Thorne from 1985–88, and Thorne was his broadcast partner for his memorable call of Bill Buckner's error in game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Gary Cohen—the current TV voice of the Mets and Murphy's longest tenured partner after Kiner and Nelson—shared the booth with him from 1989 through his 2003 retirement.

In 1994, Bob Murphy was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame as a recipient of the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award. There is a display about Murphy in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, as there is for former Mets partner Nelson, who had also won the award. In addition to this honor, Murphy was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1984.

He was voted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

➦In 2014…Longtime Atlanta Braves broadcaster Pete Van Wieren died at age 69 (Born - October 7, 1944). A native of Rochester, NY, he was a  sportscaster best known for his long career calling play-by-play for Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves.

From 1976 to 2008, he called the team's television and/or radio broadcasts, teaming with a number of on-air partners including Ernie Johnson, Don Sutton and Skip Caray (who was hired by the club at the same time as himself).  Johnson originally nicknamed Van Wieren "The Professor" because Van Wieren looked like pitcher Jim Brosnan. The moniker stuck for his in-depth knowledge of the game and thorough preparation before broadcasts.

Along with Caray, Van Wieren was inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame in 2004,  joining an impressive list in Braves history that already included Hank Aaron, Lew Burdette, Del Crandall, Tommy Holmes, Ernie Johnson, Eddie Mathews, Phil Niekro, Dale Murphy, Kid Nichols, Ted Turner, Johnny Sain and Warren Spahn.

On December 18, 2006, the Braves announced that Van Wieren had signed a three-year contract to continue doing Braves broadcasts on the radio.

On October 21, 2008, Van Wieren unexpectedly announced his retirement from broadcasting effective immediately, after 33 seasons with the Braves. His departure came less than three months after the death of his longtime on-air partner Skip Caray.

On November 4, 2009, Van Wieren was diagnosed with cutaneous B-cell lymphoma. He suffered a relapse and additional rounds of chemotherapy after a recurrence in the fall of 2010. On August 2, 2014, Van Wieren died from complications of lymphoma.

Garth Hudson is 85


  • Keyboardist Garth Hudson of The Band is 85. 
  • Singer Kathy Lennon of The Lennon Sisters is 79. 
  • Actor Joanna Cassidy is 77. 
  • Actor Kathryn Harrold is 72. 
  • Marci Miller is 37
    Actor Butch Patrick (“The Munsters”) is 69. 
  • Music producer and Garbage drummer Butch Vig is 67. 
  • Singer Mojo Nixon is 65. 
  • Actor Victoria Jackson (“Saturday Night Live”) is 63. 
  • Actor Apollonia is 63. 
  • Actor Cynthia Stevenson (“Men In Trees,” ″Hope and Gloria”) is 60. 
  • Actor Mary-Louise Parker is 58. 
  • Director-actor Kevin Smith (“Clerks,” ″Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”) is 52. 
  • Actor Sam Worthington (“Terminator Salvation”) is 46. 
  • Actor Edward Furlong is 45. 
  • “Today” meteorologist Dylan Dreyer is 41. 
  • Actor Marci Miller (“Days of Our Lives”) is 37. 
  • Singer Charli XCX is 30. 
  • Actor Hallie Eisenberg is 30.

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