Thursday, September 29, 2022

September 29 Radio History

➦In 1907...Gene Autry born (Died at age 91  – October 2, 1998). He was nicknamed The Singing Cowboy. Autry was the owner of a television station, several radio stations in Southern California, and the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels Major League Baseball team from 1961 to 1997.

Autry was the owner of a television station, several radio stations in Southern California, and the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels Major League Baseball team from 1961 to 1997.

From 1934 to 1953, Autry appeared in 93 films, and between 1950 and 1956 hosted The Gene Autry Show television series. During the 1930s and 1940s, he personified the straight-shooting hero—honest, brave, and true—and profoundly touched the lives of millions of Americans. Autry was also one of the most important pioneering figures in the history of country music, considered the second major influential artist of the genre's development after Jimmie Rodgers. 

Gene Autry
His singing cowboy films were the first vehicle to carry country music to a national audience.  In addition to his signature song, "Back in the Saddle Again", and his hit "At Mail Call Today", Autry is still remembered for his Christmas holiday songs, most especially his biggest hit "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" as well as "Frosty the Snowman", "Here Comes Santa Claus", and "Up on the House Top".

Autry is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and is the only person to be awarded stars in all five categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for film, television, music, radio, and live performance.

From 1940 to 1956, Autry had a huge hit with a weekly show on CBS Radio, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch. His horse, Champion, also had a CBS-TV and Mutual radio series, The Adventures of Champion. In response to his many young radio listeners aspiring to emulate him, Autry created the Cowboy Code, or Ten Cowboy Commandments. These tenets promoting an ethical, moral, and patriotic lifestyle that appealed to youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts, which developed similar doctrines. The Cowboy Code consisted of rules that were "a natural progression of Gene's philosophies going back to his first Melody Ranch programs—and early pictures."

He also sold several radio stations he owned, including KSFO in San Francisco, KMPC in Los Angeles, KOGO in San Diego, and other stations in the Golden West radio network.

➦In 1920...Joseph Horne Company's department stores sell radios that are already equipped with headphones and a button for tuning. In The Pittsburgh Sun the price is stated to be $10 or equivalent to over a hundred dollars today.

Radio receiver circa 1920

In 1920 the tuned radio frequency receiver (TRF) had a major improvement. The local oscillator and audio amplifier that were invented around that time were milestone improvements for the radio receiver.  The radio receiver became simpler and cheaper than before because the loud speaker could now be integrated with the chassis of radio.

➦In 1926...NBC incorporated. NBC is the oldest major broadcast network in the United States.  The network started programming Nov. 15 with 24 stations.

In 1923, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) acquired control of WJZ in Newark, New Jersey, from Westinghouse, and moved the station to New York City. The same year, RCA obtained a license for station WRC in Washington, D.C., and attempted to transmit audio between WJZ and WRC via low-quality telegraph lines, in an attempt to make a network comparable to that operated by American Telephone & Telegraph.

AT&T had created its own network in 1922, with WEAF in New York serving the research and development function for Western Electric's research and development of radio transmitters and antennas, as well as AT&T's long-distance and local Bell technologies for transmitting voice- and music-grade audio over short and long distances, via both wireless and wired methods. WEAF's regular schedule of a variety of programs, and its selling of commercial sponsorships, had been a success, and what was known at first as "chain broadcasting" became a network that linked WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island and AT&T's WCAP in Washington.

Since AT&T refused access of its high-quality phone lines to competitors, RCA's New York-Washington operated with un-insulated telegraph lines which were incapable of good audio transmission quality and very susceptible to both atmospheric and man-made electrical interference. In 1926, however, the management of AT&T concluded that operating a radio network was incompatible with its operation of America's telephone and telegraph service, and sold WEAF and WCAP to RCA for approximately one million dollars. As part of the purchase, RCA also gained the rights to rent AT&T's phone lines for network transmission, and the technology for operating a quality radio network.

On September 13, 1926, RCA chairman of the board Owen D. Young and president James G. Harbord announced the formation of the National Broadcasting Company, Inc., to begin broadcasting upon RCA's acquisition of WEAF on November 15. "The purpose of the National Broadcasting Company will be to provide the best programs available for broadcasting in the United States. ... It is hoped that arrangements may be made so that every event of national importance may be broadcast widely throughout the United States," announced M.H. Aylesworth, the first president of NBC, in the press release.

➦In 1930...Lowell Thomas made his debut on the CBS Radio Network. He replaced the fast-talking radio news pioneer Floyd Gibbons on the nightly, 15-minute newscast.

Lowell Thomas
He delivered a nightly news and commentary program. After two years, he switched to the NBC Radio network but returned to CBS in 1947. In contrast to today's practices, Thomas was not an employee of either NBC News or CBS News. Prior to 1947 he was employed by the broadcast's sponsor, Sunoco. When he returned to CBS to take advantage of lower capital-gains tax rates, he established an independent company to produce the broadcast which he sold to CBS.

He hosted the first-ever television-news broadcast in 1939 and the first regularly scheduled television news broadcast (even though it was just a simulcast of his radio broadcast), beginning on February 21, 1940, on NBC Television. While W2XBS New York carried every TV/radio simulcast, it is not known if the two other stations capable of being fed programs by W2XBS, W2XB Schenectady and/or W3XE Philadelphia carried all or some of the simulcasts.

➦In 1940..."Double or Nothing," was first heard on the Mutual Broadcasting Network. The game show aired until 1954.

➦In 1946...The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective made its debut on ABC Radio. It was a radio series based loosely on the private detective character Sam Spade, created by writer Dashiell Hammett for The Maltese Falcon. The show ran for 13 episodes on ABC in 1946, for 157 episodes on CBS in 1946-1949, and finally for 51 episodes on NBC in 1949-1951. The series starred Howard Duff (and later, Steve Dunne) as Sam Spade and Lurene Tuttle as his secretary Effie, and took a considerably more tongue-in-cheek approach to the character than the novel or movie. The announcer was Dick Joy.

➦In 1953...Comedian Danny Thomas debuted in the family comedy Make Room for Daddy on ABC-TV. Danny had negotiated a deal that would allow him to retain an ownership interest in his programs, an arrangement so successful that it allowed him to give something back to the world, in the form of his philanthropic efforts to build St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. “All I prayed for was a break,” he once told an interviewer, “and I said I would do anything, anything, to pay back the prayer if it could be answered. All I needed was a sign of what to do and I would do it.”

➦In 1957...MLB National League Giants played their last game in New York. It aired WMCA 570 AM.

➦In 1961...Radio, TV Personality Bill Cullen aired his last show at WNBC 660 AM NYC

Bill Cullen
Cullen's broadcasting career began in Pittsburgh at WWSW radio, where he worked as a disc jockey and play-by-play announcer or color commentator for Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Hornets games. In 1943, Cullen left WWSW to briefly work at rival station KDKA before leaving Pittsburgh a year later to try his luck in New York. A week after arriving in New York he was hired as a staff announcer at CBS. To supplement his then-meager income, he became a freelance joke writer for some of the top radio stars of the day including Arthur Godfrey, Danny Kaye, and Jack Benny;  he also worked as a staff writer for the Easy Aces radio show.

His first venture into game shows was in 1945 when he was hired as announcer for a radio quiz called Give And Take. Between 1946 and 1953 he also worked as announcer for various other local and network shows, including the radio version of Mark Goodson and Bill Todman's first game show, Winner Take All, hosted by Ward Wilson; Cullen took over as host four months later when Wilson left.

After a brief stint at WNEW-AM in 1951 he later hosted a popular morning show at WRCA radio from 1955 to 1961. His last regular radio job was as one of the hosts of NBC Radio's Monitor from 1971 to 1973.

➦In 1970...Edward Everett Horton died at age 84 from cancer.  He had a long career in film, theater, radio, television, and voice work for animated cartoons.

From 1945-47, Horton hosted radio's Kraft Music Hall. An early television appearance came in the play Sham, shown on The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre on December 13, 1948. During the 1950s, Horton worked in television. One of his best-remembered appearances is in an episode of CBS's I Love Lucy, in which he is cast against type as a frisky, amorous suitor, broadcast in 1952. In 1960, he guest-starred on ABC's sitcom The Real McCoys as J. Luther Medwick, grandfather of the boyfriend of series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed).

He remains, however, best known to the Baby Boomer generation as the venerable narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959–61), an American animated television series that originally aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964, on the ABC and NBC television networks.

➦In 1973..Shooting at KGO 810 AM San Francisco.

Jim Dunbar
A deranged young gunman fired three shots at Jim Dunbar's head while the talk show host was conducting a radio interview, shortly after 10 a.m., at KGO's studio at 277 Golden Gate avenue.

Although the gunman was just a few feet away when he fired, the bullets were deflected by a bulletproof glass window between the studio and the sidewalk outside.

Dunbar shouted to an aide to telephone police as the gunman ran inside the station's offices. "Hey, will you guys call the cops on that? . . ." his listeners heard Dunbar say. "Whew! I just had a man take a shot at me."

Once inside the station, the gunman shot Ben Munson,  an advertising account executive for KGO radio.  He died. Then, with several executives in pursuit, the youth passed Dunbar's view twice before heading for Hyde street.  The young man shot himself in the head outside Hastings College of the Law and died two hours later at San Francisco General Hospital.

The station said reported the youth believed "KGO radio was controlling his mind."

➦In 2012...KZOK Seattle radio personality Donny Bonaduce received a painful bite on the cheek from a female fan who had asked for a kiss.  It happened at a Tacoma casino where Bonaduce was to emcee a concert.  The onetime star of TV’s Partridge Family was treated with antibiotics and did not press charges.

Jerry Lee Lewis is 87


  • Filmmaker Robert Benton (“Kramer vs. Kramer”) is 90. 
  • Singer Jerry Lee Lewis is 87. 
  • Actor Ian McShane (“American Gods,” “Deadwood”) is 80. 
  • Jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty is 80. 
  • TV theme composer Mike Post is 78. 
  • Actor Patricia Hodge is 76. 
  • Guitarist Mike Pinera of Iron Butterfly is 74. 
  • Singer-guitarist Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad is 74. 
  • TV personality Bryant Gumbel is 74. 
  • Country singer Alvin Crow is 72. 
  • Actor Drake Hogestyn (“Days of Our Lives”) is 69. 
  • Singer Suzzy Roche of The Roches is 66. 
  • Comedian Andrew “Dice” Clay is 65. 
  • Actor Roger Bart (“Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” ″Desperate Housewives”) is 60. 
  • Erika Eleniak is 53
    Singer-bassist Les Claypool of Primus is 59. 
  • Actor Ben Miles (“The Crown”) is 56. 
  • Actor Jill Whelan (“Love Boat”) is 56. 
  • Bassist Brad Smith of Blind Melon is 54. 
  • Actor Erika Eleniak (“Baywatch”) is 53. 
  • Singer Devante Swing of Jodeci is 53. 
  • Actor Emily Lloyd is 52. 
  • Actor Natasha Gregson Wagner is 52. 
  • Actor Rachel Cronin (“Ed”) is 51. 
  • Guitarist Danick Dupelle of Emerson Drive is 49. 
  • Actor Alexis Cruz (“Shark,” “Touched by an Angel”) is 48. 
  • Actor Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) is 42. 
  • Actor Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”) is 42. 
  • Actor Kelly McCreary (“Grey’s Anatomy”) is 41. 
  • Guitarist Josh Farro (Paramore) is 35. 
  • Actor Doug Brochu (“Sonny With A Chance”) is 32. 
  • Singer and “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips is 32. 
  • Singer Halsey is 28.

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