Monday, March 20, 2023

March 20 Radio History

➦In 1902... Nathan Stubblefield demonstrated ship-to-shore broadcast to multiple receivers in Washington, D.C., where voice and music transmissions were made over a third of a mile (535 meters) from the steamer Bartholdi, anchored in the Potomac River, to shore.

Stubblefield w/wireless phone
He later demonstrated wireless telephony in Philadelphia on May 30, 1902 to a distance of a half mile.

He joined wireless inventor Archie Frederick Collins and stock promoters in the Collins Wireless Telephone Company. In December, 1909 the company became came a part of the Continental Wireless Tel. & Tel. Company, with A. Frederick Collins as Technical Director. Stubblefield resigned as a director in December 1911, because of what he described in a letter as their sometimes-fraudulent stock promotion practices. The other principals of the company were later convicted of fraud.

However, he continued to experiment with wireless telephony, using large circular conduction coils to transmit voice frequencies to receiving stations. In 1903, he could transmit 375 feet without earth connections, using induction. In 1904, he could transmit 423 yards.

The total wire required for the transmitting and receiving coils was of a greater length than what would be required to simply interconnect the transmitter and receiver, but the invention would allow mobility.

On May 12, 1908, he received U.S. patent 887,357 for his Wireless Telephone, using the voice frequency induction system. He said in the patent that it would be useful for "securing telephonic communications between moving vehicles and way stations". The diagram shows wireless telephony from trains, boats, and wagons. In foreign patents he showed wireless telephony with cars. However, there is no indication that he was using voice-modulated continuous high frequency waves, as used for radio today.

➦In 1906...Oswald George Nelson was born (Died of cancer at age 69 – June 3, 1975).  He was a band leader, actor, director, and producer. He originated and starred in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, a radio and television series with his wife Harriet and two sons David and Ricky Nelson.

Earlier, he & wife Harriet Nelson were regulars on the Red Skelton radio show, before he developed The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for ABC radio from 1944 to ’54. It developed quite a following & moved to TV from 1952 to ’66.  As son Rick Nelson became a recording star in real life, the program focused more on him, ending each show with a performance.

➦In 1908...Frank Nicholas Stanton born in Muskegon, Mich. (Died at age 98 – December 24, 2006).  He was a broadcasting executive who served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973. He also served as the chairman of the Rand Corporation from 1961 until 1967.

Frank Stanton
Stanton helped lead the fight for color television. By 1950 CBS had been working on its field-sequential system of color TV for a decade. On October 11, 1950 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved CBS's system as the first official color standard for commercial broadcasting in the U.S., although subsequent court challenges delayed actual commercial broadcasting until June 25, 1951.

On that day, Stanton appeared on an hour-long special, Premiere, with Robert Alda, Faye Emerson, Ed Sullivan, Arthur Godfrey, William S. Paley and others to introduce the CBS color system.

CBS color broadcasting only lasted for four months. CBS suspended it when the manufacture of color television receivers was halted by the US government as part of the Korean War effort.  When the ban on color sets was rescinded in 1953, CBS announced that it had no plans to resume broadcasting using its field-sequential color system.  A major problem with the CBS system was that the video was not "compatible" with existing black-and-white TV sets. A competing dot-sequential color system being developed by RCA was compatible, and in late 1953, the FCC switched its approval to an RCA-based system of broadcasting color TV.

➦In 1922...WIP-AM, Philadelphia, signed-on.

Founded by Gimbels department store, the station first went on the air on as Philadelphia's first commercial radio station with the call sign WIP, which people mistakenly think stands for "Wireless In Philadelphia," "We're In Philadelphia" or "Watch Its Progress." In fact, WIP was a call sign randomly issued by the federal government.

In 1938, the station began a full 24 hour a day broadcast schedule and used the slogan "Philadelphia's Pioneer Station." In 1940, the station was granted a power increase to 5,000 watts and the transmitter site was moved to Bellmawr, NJ. The previous tower at 21st and Hamilton was dismantled and the property sold.

Wayne Cody
From the beginning, one of the most popular personalities on the station was children's show host "Uncle Wip." While Uncle Wip was portrayed by several people, one of the longest running was Wayne Cody. By 1933, Uncle Wip's "Kiddie Club" had over 500,000 names on its list, and over 750,000 by 1941. In addition to making numerous appearances, some of Uncle Wip's other activities included an Aviation Club, a "Toyland Parade" and a "Drum and Bugle Corps."

In 1958, WIP AM and FM were sold for $2,500,000 to WIP Broadcasting, Inc., a new syndicate headed by Benedict Gimbel, Jr., the station's former General Manager.

In 1960, the Metropolitan Broadcasting Division of Metromedia, Inc., owned by John W. Kluge, purchased WIP AM and FM for $2,700,000. This essentially ended any connection the station had with the Gimbel family or retail concern. On May 11, 1961, WIP's licensee name was changed to the parent company name, Metromedia, Inc.

Today the station call letters are WTEL, owned by Beasley Media Group and airs sports talk.

Bob and Ray

➦In 1922...."Ray" Goulding was born in Lowell MA (Died – March 24, 1990). He was a comedian, who, together with Bob Elliott formed the comedy duo of Bob and Ray.

Upon graduation from high school at age 17, Ray Goulding was hired as a $15-a-week announcer on local station WLLH, using the name 'Dennis Howard' to avoid confusion with his older brother Phil, an announcer in Boston radio at the time. A year later Ray was hired by Boston radio station WEEI under his own name

Bob & Ray's career spanned 5 decades, all the time satirizing radio & TV.  He said the billing “Bob and Ray” came from their first radio show “Matinee with Bob and Ray” which they thought sounded better than “Matinob with Ray and Bob”.  They had an NBC television show from 1971-1973.  Goulding died of kidney failure March 24, 1990, mere days after his 68th birthday.

➦In 1935...the Lucky Strike Hit Parade premiered on NBC, featuring the top 15 tunes of the week.  The show would be a Saturday night radio staple for the next 24 years…second in longevity only to Grand Ole Opry.

B Mitchel Reed
➦In 1965...B. Mitchel Reed aired his last show at at Top40 WMCA 570 AM in NYC.

He was known as "The Fastest Tongue in the West," for the voice speed. He had left KFWB Los Angeles for WMCA in his home state of New York on February 7, 1963. He soon became part of a team of disc jockeys known as "The Good Guys," among them Jack Spector, a fellow alum from Boys High School in Brooklyn who had graduated two years ahead of him.

By 1965, Reed decided to return to Los Angeles. His last show at WMCA was on March 20. Thousands of his fans cheered him at the airport upon his departure. Many fans who were thrilled of his return greeted him when he arrived in LA. This ushered in his second stint at KFWB and The Wide Wide Weird World of BMR.

Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell
➦In 1972...Marilyn Maxwell died from a heart attacked at age 50.  She started her professional entertaining career as a radio singer while still a teenager, before signing with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1942 as a contract player. Among the programs in which she appeared were Beat the Band and The Abbott and Costello Show.

Some of her film roles included Lost in a Harem (1944), Champion (1949), The Lemon Drop Kid (1951), and Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958). The song "Silver Bells" made its debut in The Lemon Drop Kid, sung by Maxwell and Hope.

She was also 'whistle bait' on Bob Hope’s many USO tours around the world.

➦In 1974...Chester Robert "Chet" Huntley died of lung cancer at age 62 (Born December 10, 1911). He was a TV newscaster, best known for co-anchoring NBC's evening news program, The Huntley-Brinkley Report, for 14 years beginning in 1956.

Chet Huntley, David Brinkley

Huntley began his radio newscast career in 1934 at Seattle's KIRO AM, later working on radio stations in Spokane (KHQ) and Portland. His time (1936–37) in Portland was with KGW-AM, owned by The Oregonian, a Portland daily newspaper. At KGW he was writer, newscaster and announcer. In 1937 he went to work for KFI in Los Angeles, moving to CBS Radio from 1939 to 1951, then ABC Radio from 1951 to 1955.  In 1955, he joined the NBC Radio network, viewed by network executives as "another Ed Murrow".

In 1956, coverage of the national political party conventions was a major point of pride for the fledgling broadcast news organizations. NBC News executives were seeking to counter the growing popularity of CBS' Walter Cronkite, who had been a ratings success at the 1952 conventions. They decided to replace their current news anchor, John Cameron Swayze, but there was a disagreement on who the new anchorman should be. The two leading contenders were Huntley and David Brinkley. The eventual decision was to have both men share the assignment. Their on-air chemistry was apparent from the start, with Huntley's straightforward presentation countered by Brinkley's acerbic wit.

➦In 1989…After 37 years, Dick Clark announced the end of his hosting of  "American Bandstand" on ABC-TV.

Dick Clark

American Bandstand premiered locally in late March 1950 as Bandstand on Philadelphia television station WFIL-TV Channel 6 (now WPVI-TV). Originally it was hosted by Bob Horn as a television adjunct to his radio show of the same name on WFIL radio, Bandstand mainly featured short musical films produced by Snader Telescriptions and Official Films, with occasional studio guests. This incarnation was an early predecessor of sorts of the music video shows that became popular in the 1980s, featuring films that are themselves the ancestors of music videos.

Horn, however, was disenchanted with the program, so he wanted to have the show changed to a dance program, with teenagers dancing along on camera as the records played, based on an idea that came from a radio show on WPEN, The 950 Club, hosted by Joe Grady and Ed Hurst. This more-familiar version of Bandstand debuted on October 7, 1952 in "Studio 'B'," which was located in their just-completed addition to the original 1947 building in West Philadelphia (4548 Market Street), and was hosted by Horn, with Lee Stewart as co-host until 1955.

Stewart was the owner of a TV/Radio business in Philadelphia and even though he was older, his advertising account was a large one for WFIL-TV at the time and was put on the program to appease the account. As WFIL grew financially and the account became less important, Stewart wasn't needed and was eventually dropped from the program.

On July 9, 1956, Horn was fired after a drunk-driving arrest, as WFIL and dual owner Walter Annenberg's The Philadelphia Inquirer at the time were doing a series on drunken driving. He was also reportedly involved in a prostitution ring and brought up on morals charges.  Horn was temporarily replaced by producer Tony Mammarella before the job went to Dick Clark permanently.

In late spring of 1956, the ABC television network asked their O&O's and affiliates for programming suggestions to fill their 3:30 p.m. (ET) time slot (WFIL had been pre-empting the ABC programming with Bandstand). Clark decided to pitch the show to ABC president Thomas W. Moore, and after some badgering the show was picked up nationally, becoming American Bandstand on August 5, 1957.

"Studio 'B'" measured 80' x 42' x 24', but appeared smaller due to the number of props, television cameras, and risers that were used for the show.

➦In 2005...NYC Radio, TV Personality  Theodore David Brown died (Born - May 5, 1924)  In 1953, Brown began working at WNEW 1130 AM as an air-personality.

He worked there off and on and at one point he worked at WMGM playing rock and roll. He returned to WNEW-AM and then worked at WNBC from the late 60s to the early 70s. At that point he went back to WNEW as afternoon drive air personality. He moved to mornings in 1978 and remained after WNEW began evolving in 1979 to Adult Standards/Big Bands by 1981. He continued working at WNEW until 1989 when he semi-retired.

From 1993-95, Brown worked mid-days at WRIV, a standards station in Riverhead, New York, and on WVNJ 1160 in Oakland, New Jersey, playing standards and big bands from early in 1996 to about 1998 when he suffered a stroke. He signed-off his show with the phrase "Put on the coffee Mama. I'm coming home."

➦In 2020..Singer Kenny Rogers died at age 81 from natural causes while under hospice care at his home in Sandy Springs, GA.

Kathy Ireland is 60

  • Actor Hal Linden is 92. 
  • Country singer-guitarist Ranger Doug of Riders in the Sky is 77. 
  • Blues musician Marcia Ball is 74. 
  • Drummer Carl Palmer (Asia; Emerson, Lake and Palmer) is 73. 
  • Guitarist Jimmie Vaughan (Fabulous Thunderbirds) is 72. 
  • Guitarist Jim Seales (Shenandoah) is 69. 
  • Actor Amy Aquino (“Bosch,” “Brooklyn Bridge”) is 66. 
  • Actor Vanessa Bell Calloway is 66. 
  • Director Spike Lee is 66. 
  • Actor Theresa Russell is 66. 
  • Actor Holly Hunter is 65. 
  • Drummer Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats) is 62. 
  • Model Kathy Ireland is 60. 
  • Actor David Thewlis (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”) is 60. 
  • Guitarist Adrian Oxaal of James is 58. 
  • Actor Jessica Lundy (“Party of Five,” “Hope and Gloria”) is 57. 
  • Actor Liza Snyder (“Yes, Dear”) is 55. 
  • Actor Michael Rapaport (“Boston Public”) is 53. 
  • Actor Alexander Chaplin (“Spin City”) is 52. 
  • Actor Cedric Yarbrough (“Speechless,” “Reno 911!”) is 50. 
  • Actor Paula Garces (“Harold and Kumar” films) is 49. 
  • Michael Genadry (“Ed”) is 45. 
  • Actor Bianca Lawson (“Pretty Little Liars”) is 44. 
  • Comedian Mikey Day (“Saturday Night Live”) is 43. 
  • Actor Nick Blood (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 41. 
  • Guitarist Nick Wheeler of All-American Rejects is 41. 
  • Actor Michael Cassidy (“People of Earth,” “The O.C.”) is 40. 
  • Actor Christy Carlson Romano (“Even Stevens,” “Kim Possible”) is 39. 
  • Actor Ruby Rose (“Orange Is the New Black”) is 37. 
  • Actor Barrett Doss (“Station 19″) is 34.
  • In 1972..Marilyn Maxwell, American actress and entertainer (Champion, The Lemon Drop Kid, East of Sumatra), dies of a heart attack at 50
  • In 1974..Chet Huntley, Newscaster (NBC Huntley-Brinkley Report), dies at 62
  • In 1994..Don Goddard, News anchor (ABC Evening News, 1958-59), dies at 89
  • In 2020..Kenny Rogers, Pop and country singer-songwriter ("The Gambler"; "Through the Years") and entrepreneur (Kenny Rogers Roasters), dies of natural causes at 81

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