Wednesday, November 23, 2022

November 23 Radio History

➦In 1887
...Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt in London.

In a 50 year acting career highlighted by four Frankenstein films, he found time to make an impact in horror radio & TV productions.  He is still heard today as the narrator of the annual TV cartoon favorite, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

He died at age 81 Feb 2, 1969 from emphysema.

For his contribution to film and television, Boris Karloff was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1737 Vine Street for motion pictures, and 6664 Hollywood Boulevard for television.

➦In 1889…In San Francisco, the Palais Royal Hotel installed the first coin-operated machine that, by about 1940, was known as a "jukebox." Juke, at the time, was a slang word for a a disorderly house, or house of ill repute.  The unit contained an Edison tinfoil phonograph with four listening tubes. There was a coin slot for each tube. 5 cents bought a few minutes of music. The contraption took in $1,000 in six months!

John Dehner

➦In John Dehner was born in Staten Island NY.  After starting as a Disney animator & radio deejay, he started playing heavies in films & on radio shows such as Gunsmoke, Suspense, Escape and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.  He starred in The Hermit’s Cave and Frontier Gentleman on radio, and was Palladin in CBS Radio’s Have Gun Will Travel.  TV series credits include Young Maverick, How the West was Won, Temperatures Rising, the Doris Day Show & the Don Knotts Show.  He died of emphysema & diabetes Feb 4 1992 at age 76.

➦In 1938…Bob Hope recorded his future theme song with actress Shirley Ross.  "Thanks For The Memory," debuted during the movie  "The Big Broadcast of 1938." And in 1996,  Hope set a record for the longest continuous contract in the history of Radio-TV when his last TV special aired. Hope had been with NBC for 60 years.

Hope's career in broadcasting began on radio in 1934. His first regular series for NBC Radio was the Woodbury Soap Hour in 1937, on a 26-week contract. A year later, The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope began, and Hope signed a ten-year contract with the show's sponsor, Lever Brothers. He hired eight writers and paid them out of his salary of $2,500 a week. The original staff included Mel Shavelson, Norman Panama, Jack Rose, Sherwood Schwartz, and Schwartz's brother Al. The writing staff eventually grew to fifteen.

The show became the top radio program in the country. Regulars on the series included Jerry Colonna and Barbara Jo Allen as spinster Vera Vague. Hope continued his lucrative career in radio into the 1950s, when radio's popularity began being overshadowed by the upstart television medium.

His final television special, Laughing with the Presidents, with host Tony Danza helping him present a personal retrospective of presidents of the United States known to Hope, a frequent White House visitor over the years. Following a brief appearance at the 50th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1997, Hope made his last TV appearance in a 1997 commercial.

Hope died July 27, 2003 at the age of 100.

➦In 1959…Alan Freed was dismissed from his daily WNEW-TV show, "The Big Beat," over allegations that he accepted money to play certain records. Freed denied any wrongdoing.

➦In 1962…The Beatles did a ten-minute audition for BBC Television at St. James' Church Hall in London. But the “Beeb” did not like them. Brian Epstein received a rejection letter. They eventually made it on the BBC in 1963.

➦In 1964…The BBC banned  The Rolling Stones after arriving late arriving for two BBC radio shows.  The BBC cited the group for their "unprofessionalism."

➦In 1967…San Francisco radio personality Tom Donahue, inventor of "classic rock" and "deep cut" radio, told Rolling Stone magazine, "Top Forty radio, as we know it today and have known it for the last ten years, is dead, and its rotting corpse is stinking up the airwaves."

➦In 1982...The FCC dropped its controls on duration & frequency of TV ads in the US.

➦In music legend Roy Acuff died of heart failure at age 89.

Considered the most influential figure in the history of country music, Acuff rose to fame in the 1930’s when radio was more important than records, so his chart hits were relatively few. But he made country standards of songs like “The Wabash Cannonball,” “The Great Speckle Bird,” “Fireball Mail” and “Night Train to Memphis.”

➦In 1993….FCC made C-QUAM AM stereo standard.  WBZ 1030 AM Boston aired Christmas music on Christmas Eve 1993 in C-Quam AM Stereo. This was recorded via skyway 480 miles from Boston in Lockport, NY, near Buffalo.

➦In 2004…Sports radio talk show host Pete Franklin died at age 76 (Born - September 22, 1927). He   nicknamed "The King" and "Pigskin Pete" and is widely credited with pioneering the more aggressive, acerbic and attention-grabbing form of the genre, which has since been adopted by generations of sports media personalities, and bringing it to a multinational listening audience.

His first broadcasting job was for Armed Forces Radio, and his first radio station job was in 1952 in Oakdale, Louisiana. "I worked 70 hours a week, and my main job was to get to the station early and kill the snakes with a baseball bat," he said of his Louisiana assignments. "They came out of the swamp to the heat of the generator. And I read the farm news. The glamour of show business."

Pete Franklin
He later worked at radio stations in North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, California and Texas, often as a disc jockey. He worked as operations director for WOIO in Canton, Ohio, before moving to WERE 1300 AM in Cleveland in 1967 to host a sports talk show from 7 to 11 PM, after which he hosted a multi-subject talk show from midnight until 5 AM.

The zenith of Franklin's career came when he hosted Sportsline on 50,000-watt Cleveland AM station WWWE "3WE 1100 AM (now WTAM) from 1972 to 1987. Arguably the most popular host on the station, he was popular for his extensive knowledge, outspoken opinions, gruff demeanor and rude banter with callers. Among his trademarks were playing the sound of a flushing toilet as he cut off callers he considered offensive, playing funeral music when the Indians were hopelessly out of contention for the season in question (thus giving them a "proper burial", usually in midsummer given their poor play at that time), his winner and the loser of the day preceded by appropriate introductory music for each, and boasting that his station’s nighttime signal could be heard "over 38 states and half of Canada" (a claim still stated on air by WTAM talk-show hosts to this day).

His caustic personality was a primary reason why "3WE" lost its status as the flagship station of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers in 1981 when he feuded with team owner Ted Stepien. Franklin and Cavaliers' radio voice Joe Tait openly questioned Stepien's ability to operate the team after multiple poor trades and unwise free agent signings leading to a depletion of talent. He went so far as to refer to Stepien again and again by his initials, "T.S.", which Franklin said stood for "Too Stupid." (Ultimately, the NBA itself agreed with this assessment, seizing operational control of the franchise from Stepien for what it considered destroying its financial viability, and instituting what would be known as the "Stepien Rule".) Stepien retaliated by canceling WWWE's radio contract and firing Tait.

Franklin popularized several regular callers by giving them nicknames like "The Swami", "The Prosecutor", and "Mr. Know-It-All." The latter eventually became Franklin's full-time replacement, and today his show is known as the "Mike Trivisonno Show".

In August 1987, Franklin announced he had been hired by upstart all-sports station WFAN 660 AM  in New York City to be its afternoon host starting the following month. His initial contract with the station was for two years and $600,000.  But his act wore thin in the Big Apple, where critics and callers alike disliked his condescending style. After much controversy and dismal ratings, he resigned in July 1989 two months before the end of his contract, and was replaced by the Mike and the Mad Dog program.

He returned to Cleveland and "3WE" immediately afterward. The station even held a press conference to herald his homecoming, but management dropped him after a year.  He moved west, working at KNBR 680 AM in San Francisco from 1991 to 1997 and mostly hosting his own show.

Franklin returned for a third time to the WTAM airwaves in 1998, briefly hosting Sportsline but from a studio in his California home. He joined KNBR's sister station KTCT 1050 AM in 1999, and finished his broadcasting career there in 2000.

Bob Connors
➦In 2014…Veteran radio personality Bob Connors died from cancer at age 80 (Born December 12, 1933).  He spent 33 of his 47 years at WTVN in Columbus, Ohio as the station's morning host.

His broadcasting career lasted more than 60 years.

Conners began his broadcasting work while in high school at WKBI in St. Marys and continued at WJET in Erie, PA. He served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958, then resumed broadcasting roles at KSON and KDEO in San Diego, California, and WEEP in Pittsburgh. He began his career at WTVN in 1964 after moving to Columbus. After a three-year interlude as the afternoon personality at WBNS-AM in Columbus from 1973 to 1976, he returned to WTVN where he was named morning show host in 1978.

Bruce Hornsby is 68

  • Actor Franco Nero (“Django,” “Camelot”) is 81. 
  • Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (“Basic Instinct,” ″Showgirls”) is 78. 
  • Comedy writer Bruce Vilanch (“Hollywood Squares”) is 75. 
  • Singer Bruce Hornsby is 68. 
  • Actor Maxwell Caulfield (“The Colbys”) is 63. 
  • Actor John Henton (“The Hughleys,” ″Living Single”) is 62. 
  • “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts is 62. 
  • Singer-guitarist Ken Block of Sister Hazel is 56. 
  • Drummer Charlie Grover (Sponge) is 56. 
  • Actor Salli Richardson-Whitfield (“Family Law”) is 55. 
  • Actor Oded Fehr (“The Mummy”) is 52. 
  • Rapper Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound is 50. 
  • Actor Page Kennedy (“Desperate Housewives”) is 46. 
  • Actor Kelly Brook (“Smallville”) is 43. 
  • Actor Lucas Grabeel (“High School Musical”) is 38. 
  • TV personality Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (“Jersey Shore”) is 35. 
  • Singer-actor Miley Cyrus is 30. 
  • Actor Austin Majors (“NYPD Blue”) is 27. 
  • Actor Olivia Keville (“Splitting Up Together”) is 20.

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