Saturday, August 6, 2022

August 6 Radio History

➦In 1881...gossip columnist Louella Parsons was born in Freeport Illinois.  She was featured on a succession of big budget star vehicles on network radio, including Hollywood Hotel & Hollywood Premiere.  For six years she also had a 15 minute show business gossip show on Sunday night.  She died of arteriosclerosis Dec 9, 1972 at age 91.

➦In 1911...Lucille Désirée Ball born (Died  – April 26, 1989). She was an actress, comedian, model, entertainment studio executive and producer.

Lucille Ball
She was the star of the self-produced sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life with Lucy, as well as comedy television specials aired under the title The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.

Ball's career began in 1929 when she landed work as a model. Shortly thereafter, she began her performing career on Broadway using the stage names Diane Belmont. She later appeared in several minor film roles in the 1930s and 1940s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures, being cast as a chorus girl or in similar roles.

During this time, she met Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz, and the two eloped in November 1940. In the 1950s, Ball ventured into television. In 1951, she and Arnaz created the sitcom I Love Lucy, a series that became one of the most beloved programs in television history. The same year, Ball gave birth to their first child, Lucie Arnaz, followed by Desi Arnaz Jr. in 1953. Ball and Arnaz divorced in May 1960, and she married comedian Gary Morton in 1961.

She died of an aortic aneurism April 26, 1989 at age 77.

➦In 1915...Jim Ameche born in Kenosha, WI (Died  at age 67 – February 4, 1983). He was a familiar voice on radio, including his role as radio's original Jack Armstrong on Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.

Jim Ameche
When his older brother, Don, left his position as the host and announcer for The Chase and Sanborn Hour in the early 1940s, Jim took over for the remainder of the show's run. He also was heard as mountie Jim West on ABC's Silver Eagle (1951–55). Other shows Ameche was heard on included Grand Hotel, Hollywood Playhouse, and Big Sister. In the 1940s, he had several programs on WGN radio in Chicago.

He was heard on stations in Los Angeles and Palm Springs in the late 1950s and early 60s. For many years he was a popular local radio personality in the New York City area. By the late 1960s, he was working as an announcer on New York's WHN 1050 AM and the TV pitchman for a Longines Symphonette Society mail-order record album featuring clips of old-time radio broadcasts. In the 1960s he also read radio advertisements for Gibson wines.

For many years, he was the afternoon announcer on WQXR, the classical radio station of The New York Times, and was a familiar and beloved voice.

➦In 1939...1st broadcast of "Dinah Shore Show" on NBC radio.

➦In 1973...Wolfman Jack first aired on WNBC 660 AM, New York.

Wolfman Jack
The Wolfman was paid handsomely to join WNBC in New York in August 1973, the same month that American Graffiti premiered, and the station did a huge advertising campaign in local newspapers that the Wolfman would propel their ratings over that of their main competitor, WABC, which had "Cousin Brucie" (Bruce Morrow).

The ads would proclaim, "Cousin Brucie's Days Are Numbered", and they issued thousands of small tombstone-shaped paperweights which said, "Cousin Brucie is going to be buried by Wolfman Jack".

After less than a year, WNBC hired Cousin Brucie, and Wolfman Jack went back to California to concentrate on his syndicated radio show.

➦In 1982....WQXI (Atlanta) was first to use Harris Corp AM stereo system

➦In 1991...Broadcast journalist Harry Reasoner died at age 68 (Born - April 17, 1923). Reasoner workedfor ABC and CBS News, known for his inventive use of language as a television commentator, and as a founder of the 60 Minutes program. Over the course of his career, Reasoner won three Emmy Awards and a George Foster Peabody Award in 1967.

Harry Reasoner
He served in the Army during World War II and after the war, he then resumed his journalism career with The Minneapolis Times.  After going into radio with CBS in 1948, Reasoner worked for the United States Information Agency in the Philippines. When he returned to the US, he went into television and worked at station KEYD (later KMSP) in Minneapolis. Reasoner later joined CBS News in New York, in 1956, where he eventually hosted a morning news program called Calendar from 1961 to 1963, on top of doing commentator and special news narration duties.

In 1968, Reasoner teamed up with Mike Wallace to launch 60 Minutes, a new newsmagazine series. On 60 Minutes and elsewhere, he often worked with producer and writer Andy Rooney, who later became a well-known contributor in his own right.

In 1970, Reasoner was hired away from CBS by ABC to become an anchor on the network's newly revamped nightly newscast. At the time of his hire, the network's New York-based broadcast, ABC News, was anchored by Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds, both former colleagues of Reasoner at CBS. Beginning in December 1970, Reasoner was moved into Reynolds' position and the newscast became known as ABC Evening News.

Reasoner anchored the news alongside Smith until 1975, when he took the sole anchor position while Smith moved into a commentary role. The next year, however, ABC decided to pair Reasoner with a new co-anchor, former Today Show co-host Barbara Walters; ABC had gone to great lengths to hire her away from NBC. Walters and Reasoner did not enjoy a close relationship; Reasoner did not like sharing the spotlight with a co-anchor and also was uncomfortable with Walters' celebrity status.

➦In 1998…Sportscaster John Beasley "Jack" Brickhouse died of heart failure at age 82 (Born - January 24, 1916). Known primarily for his play-by-play coverage of Chicago Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948 to 1981, he received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1985, Brickhouse was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame along with the Voice of the Yankees Mel Allen and Red Sox Voice Curt Gowdy. Brickhouse served as the organization's Secretary/Treasurer and was a member of its board of directors.

He began his long broadcasting career when only eighteen, at Peoria radio station WMBD in 1934. Chicago radio station WGN hired him in 1940 to broadcast Cubs and White Sox games, largely on the recommendation of their top announcer, Bob Elson. His was the very first face shown when WGN-TV, Chicago's Channel 9, began broadcasting in 1948.

➦In 2008...Once known as  WWDJ in the '70s, 970 AM  WHTT became WNYM, under the ownership of the Salem Media Group. This change included adopting a conservative talk format.

John R. Gambling hosted a midday show on WNYM from April 2014 until September 2016.

➦In 2011...Songwriter and broadcaster Fred Imus, the younger brother of Don Imus, was found dead  in Tuscon, AZ at age 69.  Imus was a country music host on SiriusXM Radio.

➦In 2012...R. Peter Straus died at age 89 (Born February 15, 1923). He was a media proprietor and was president of WMCA 570 AM, and chairman of Straus News, a publisher of newspapers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He was the director of Voice of America from 1977 to 1979.

R Peter Straus
Straus, who took over WMCA in the late 1950s and turned it into one of the nation’s most innovative radio stations, broadcasting what are regarded as the first radio editorials and political endorsements and helping to popularize rock ’n’ roll.

The son of a radio entrepreneur and the scion of a family steeped in public service, Straus counted diplomats, cabinet officials, legislators and philanthropists among his forebears. He became a United Nations official, director of the Voice of America and administrator of American aid to Africa.

WMCA pioneered public service radio in New York. It was the first station in the country to run editorials on political and civic issues, with Mr. Straus himself reading opinions on the air, and the first to endorse a presidential candidate, backing John F. Kennedy in 1960.

In December 1963, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” wailed out over WMCA, and Beatlemania, with a big boost from the station, soon engulfed the region. It was hardly a surprise. WMCA had been playing rock ’n’ roll since the 1950s, and WMCA’s Top 40 format, along with that of its fierce rival WABC, dominated the New York airwaves through the 1960s. WMCA’s disc jockeys, known as the Good Guys, became almost as well known as the stars whose records they played.

After Straus converted the station to an all-talk format in 1970, WMCA was known for years as a forum for liberal causes. It was the first station to call for the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in the Watergate scandal, the first to ban cigarette advertising and the first to accept ads from abortion rights advocates and makers of contraceptives.

It broadcast “Call for Action” programs featuring an ombudsman to help listeners who had problems with government agencies, corporations and landlords, and “Crime Stoppers,” to help the police solve crimes.

Catherine Hicks is 71


  • Children’s music performer Ella Jenkins is 98. 
  • Actor-director Peter Bonerz is 84. 
  • Actor Louise Sorel (“Days of Our Lives”) is 82. 
  • Actor Ray Buktenica (“Rhoda”) is 79. 
  • Actor Dorian Harewood is 72. 
  • Actor Catherine Hicks (“Seventh Heaven”) is 71. 
  • Singer Pat MacDonald of Timbuk 3 is 70. 
  • Geri Halliwell Horner is 50
    Actor Stepfanie Kramer (“Hunter”) is 66. 
  • Actor Faith Prince is 65. 
  • Singer Randy DeBarge of DeBarge is 64. 
  • Actor Leland Orser (“ER”) is 63. 
  • Actor Michelle Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) is 60. 
  • Country singers Peggy and Patsy Lynn of The Lynns are 58. 
  • Actor Jeremy Ratchford (“Cold Case”) is 57. 
  • Actor Benito Martinez (“American Crime,” “The Shield”) is 54. 
  • Country singer Lisa Stewart is 54. 
  • Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense”) is 52. 
  • Actor Merrin Dungey (“Summerland,” ″Alias”) is 51. 
  • Singer Geri Halliwell Horner of Spice Girls is 50. 
  • Actor Jason O’Mara (“Life on Mars”) is 50. 
  • Actor Vera Farmiga (“Up In The Air,” ″The Departed”) is 49. 
  • Actor Soleil Moon Frye (“Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” ″Punky Brewster”) is 46.
  • Actor Melissa George (“Alias,” ″Grey’s Anatomy”) is 46. 
  • Singer Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes is 41. 
  • Actor Leslie Odom Jr. (stage: “Hamilton,” TV: “Smash”) is 41. 
  • Bassist Eric Roberts of Gym Class Heroes is 38.

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