Saturday, February 4, 2023

February 4 Radio History

➦In 1927...KGA-AM, Spokane, Washington signed-on.

For many years, KGA was a successful country music outlet. In 1994 it switched to a news/talk format. It now airs a sports format and simulcasts on a translator at 103.5 FM. KGA was a 50,000 watt clear-channel Class A station for most of its life, and could be heard after sunset around the Pacific Northwest, plus part of Western Canada.

On July 15, 2008, KGA reduced its nighttime power from 50,000 watts to 15,000 watts, surrendered its status as a Class A to Class B, and changed its directional antenna system. Class A stations have the widest coverage areas and best protection from interference from other stations. All of this was done so that its sister station, KSFN in Piedmont, California, could increase its nighttime power from 230 watts to 2,400 watts. The justification for this change was gaining several hundred thousand potential listeners in the San Francisco Bay Area while sacrificing KGA's smaller potential audience in the Pacific Northwest.

KGA 1510 AM (50Kw-D, 15Kw-N) Red=Local Coverage

➦In 1935...the CBS Radio Network first aired “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch”, one of the many soap operas written by Frank & Anne Hummert. It moved to NBC that September but was cancelled 27 months later.  The plot:  Mrs. Wiggs, facing eviction, scrabbles for survival with her number of children and hopes for the return of her husband, who left many years before, looking for gold in the Klondike.

➦In 1940...'Amanda of Honeymoon Hill' was a 15-minute daily radio soap opera produced by Frank and Anne Hummert. Broadway actress Joy Hathaway had the title role, sometimes described as "the beauty of flaming red hair." The series was broadcast from February 5, 1940, until April 26, 1946, initially on the Blue Network at 3:15 p.m. until August 1942. It then moved to CBS, airing at 10:30 a.m. until 1943 when it was heard at 11 a.m.

➦In 1977…, Fleetwood Mac‘s 11th album “Rumours” was released. The LP became their second to top Billboard’s album chart, staying #1 for 31 weeks. More than 17 million copies have been sold in the U.S.

➦In 1983...singer Karen Carpenter died at her parent’s home in Los Angeles of heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa. Her death, at the age of 32, brought about more public awareness of the disease, characterized by a loss of appetite brought on by mental illness.

➦In 1983…radio announcer & actor Jim Ameche succumbed to lung cancer at age 68.  He was radio’s first “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy,” and announcer for many network programs out of Chicago. The younger brother of Don Ameche later was director for the filmed TV series Julia.

Jim Ameche
When Ameche's older brother, Don Ameche, 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 also 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 and the TV pitchman for a Longines Symphonette Society mail-order record album featuring clips of old-time radio broadcasts.  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. He also recorded numerous radio ads in Phoenix, Arizona in his later years[citation needed].

He portrayed Alexander Graham Bell in the 1957 film The Story of Mankind, the role his brother Don had played in the film biography of Bell in 1939.  The two brothers' faces and voices were a close match.

➦In 1992...Veteran actor John Dehner died from emphysema & diabetes at age 76.  On radio he had played a succession of bad guys on Gunsmoke, Escape & other dramas, and was the star of two 1950’s westerns, Frontier Gentleman and Have Gun Will Travel.  On television he had recurring roles on The Doris Day Show, Gunsmoke, The Don Knotts Show, The Virginian, The Colbys, Baileys of Balboa, Rawhide, Tales of Wells Fargo, The Winds of War.

Dehner's early radio jobs included being a news editor and a disc jockey. While working at KFWB in Los Angeles, California, he was a member of a news team that won a Peabody Award for its reporting on the first United Nations conference.

Possessing a deep, resonant voice, Dehner had an extensive career as a radio actor and was once recognized by Radio Life Magazine as having the entertainment industry's "best radio voice".

He performed as a lead or supporting player in such series as The Whistler, Gunsmoke and Philip Marlowe. He also starred as Paladin in the radio version of Have Gun – Will Travel, one of the few times a show began on television and then was later adapted for radio. On CBS Radio in 1958, he starred in the series Frontier Gentleman.

➦In 1996...WYNY 103.5 FM in NYC dropped the Country music format it had aired since 1988. The last song played at 6:15 PM on WYNY was Garth Brooks', "The Dance."

Charlie Cook became the PD in 1992, replaced by Johnny Michaels, Fred Horton, Rusty Walker, and finally Chris Kampmeir (Now retired after several years as Operations Manager for iHeartMedia/Orlando).

103.5 resurrected the old calls of WKTU (which had been on 92.3 in the 1970's and early 1980's - but by this time, the WKTU calls were being used at a station in Ocean City NJ and when WKTU was acquired for 103.5 on February 28, 1996, the Ocean City station switched to WTKU.)

WKTU is now owned by iHeartMedia and airs a Rhythmic HotAC format.

➦In 2009...Chicago radio personality Ed Schwartz died (Born - May 5, 1946) . He was best known for hosting late-night radio programs from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. He was nicknamed "Chicago Ed."

A native of the Southeast Side of Chicago, Schwartz' interest in radio began as a youngster with the gift of a portable radio from his grandparents. He fell asleep each night tuned to the Jack Eigen Show on WMAQ (AM). When his part-time high school job took him to the WLS (AM) studios for a delivery, WLS personality Dex Card invited Schwartz to come into the studio and watch him broadcast. The experience made him even more determined to secure a job in radio. Schwartz attended Columbia College where he studied radio production. Some of Schwartz' classmates included Pat Sajak, Bob Sirott, and Bruce DuMont; he was the first of the group to get a broadcasting job.

The beginning of his on-air career was something of an accident. A half-hour before airtime, the usual late-night radio personality phoned the station to say he would not be in. WIND had made no arrangements for a replacement because of such short notice. Schwartz was there and was asked to fill in. It soon became his full-time overnight job, as the audience liked his style of honestly speaking his mind and addressing community concerns. During his programs, Schwartz led discussions on local Chicago issues.

Clint Black is 61

  • Actor Jerry Adler (“The Good Wife,” ″The Sopranos”) is 94. 
  • Actor Gary Conway (“Burke’s Law”) is 87. 
  • Drummer John Steel of The Animals is 82. 
  • Singer Florence LaRue of the Fifth Dimension is 81. 
  • Singer Alice Cooper is 75. 
  • Actor Michael Beck is 74. 
  • Actor Lisa Eichhorn is 71. 
  • Singer Tim Booth of James is 63. 
  • Country singer Clint Black is 61. 
  • Guitarist Noodles of The Offspring is 60. 
  • Bassist Dave Buchanan of Yankee Grey is 57. 
  • Actor Gabrielle Anwar (“The Tudors”) is 53. 
  • “Daily Show” correspondent Rob Corddry is 52. 
  • Actor Michael Goorjian (“Party of Five”) is 52. 
  • TV personality Nicolle Wallace (“The View”) is 51. 
  • Bassist Rick Burch of Jimmy Eat World is 48. 
  • Singer Natalie Imbruglia is 48. 
  • Rapper Cam’ron is 47. 
  • Singer Gavin DeGraw is 46. 
  • Singer Zoe Manville of Portugal.The Man is 39. 
  • Actor Ashley Thomas (“Salvation,” ″24: Legacy”) is 38. 
  • Actor Charlie Barnett (“Secrets and Lies,” ″Chicago Fire”) is 35. 
  • Actor Kyla Kenedy (“Speechless”) is 20.
  • In 2000..Phil Tonken, Radio and television announcer, dies at 80
  • In 2007..Barbara McNair, Singer ("Till There Was You") and actress (They Call Me MR. Tibbs), dies of throat cancer at 72
  • In 2016..Jimmie Haskell [Sheridan Pearlman], Arranger (Ricky Nelson; Chicago; Sheryl Crow), and film and television score composer, dies at 89
  • In 2016..Maurice White, Singer-songwriter (Earth, Wind & Fire - "Shining Star"), dies at 74

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