Thursday, May 25, 2023

May 25 Radio History

➦In 1905...Journalist Joseph C. Harsch born (Died at age 93 – June 3, 1998) was a newspaper, radio, and television journalist. He spent more than sixty years writing for the Christian Science Monitor

Harsch made his first broadcasts during the time he was in Berlin as bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor, filling in sporadically for William L. Shirer who was the noted Berlin correspondent for CBS. After Harsch returned to the United States, he joined CBC in 1943. For the next six years Harsch broadcast his news analysis on WTOP, Washington D.C.

Because of his background in London, Harsch was hired by the BBC when influential broadcaster Raymond Gram Swing gave up his post with the weekly radio program American Commentary. Harsch alternated his coverage from Washington with Clifton Utley, who reported from Chicago.

In 1953, Harsch shifted his allegiance to NBC, serving as a news analyst for four years before returning to London as the senior European correspondent for the network. ABC became his broadcast home in 1967, when he was a commentator for the network until 1971, assigned to the American Entertainment Network effective 1/1/68.

Lindsey Nelson
➦In 1919...sportscaster Lindsey Nelson born (Died at age 76 – June 10, 1995), He was best known for his long career calling play-by-play of college football and New York Mets baseball.

Nelson spent 17 years with the Mets and three years with the San Francisco Giants. For 33 years Nelson covered college football, including 26 Cotton Bowls, five Sugar Bowls, four Rose Bowls, and 14 years announcing syndicated Notre Dame games. He is in 13 separate Halls of Fame. Fans remember a talented broadcaster, an expert storyteller, and a true sports enthusiast. From his colorful jackets to his equally colorful broadcasts and enthusiastic manner of speaking, Nelson established himself as one of the industry's leading sportscasters.

Nelson broke into broadcasting in 1948 following a short career as a reporter in Columbia, Tennessee, for the Columbia Daily Herald newspaper, He was the first play-by-play announcer for the "Vol Network," which was set up to broadcast the UT Vols games.

➦In 1985...CBS resumed weekly national play-by-play baseball on radio for the first time in 20 years as Brent Musburger called the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. The Mutual Broadcasting System was the last radio network to have offered regular-season coverage of baseball back in the 1960’s.

➦In 2013...Veteran radio talk show host Gene Burns died from a stroke at age 72.  In his early twenties, Burns was hired as news director for radio station WWHG in his hometown of Hornell, New York, before moving on to WSBA in York, PA. He began his career as talk radio host at WCBM in Baltimore in the mid-1960s. While at WCBM, Burns did two major international assignments, going to Vietnam  in 1968 and the Middle East in 1969.

Gene Burns
Following a brief stint with WEEI in Boston, Burns served as a talk show host as well as program director at WKIS-AM in Orlando, FL, beginning in 1971. He would remain there until 1981, when he departed for WCAU in Philadelphia in 1981. He then returned to Orlando and WKIS in the early 1980s and was named the station's operations manager in 1984.  In 1985, Burns returned to Boston, hosting a talk show on WRKO for eight years.

In 1993, Burns moved to New York City and began hosting a nationally syndicated talk program from the studios of WOR.

In 1995, he began broadcasting for KGO-AM in San Francisco. He hosted a talk show of political and social commentary called The Gene Burns Program on weeknights, as well as a program that focused on wine and fine dining in the San Francisco Bay Area called Dining Around with Gene Burns which was broadcast weekly on Saturdays.

Harry Birrell
➦In 2013...Harry Birrell, a Los Angeles radio news reporter and anchor at KNX for more than 30 years, died of complications from interstitial lung disease at 85.

Birrell joined KNX in 1968 and was a regular weekday anchor on the all-news station until 1993, when he retired. But  he continued to file daily reports of Ventura County news from his home in Thousand Oaks until January 1999.

The Radio and Television News Assn. of Southern California recognized Birrell with multiple Golden Mike awards for excellence in local broadcast journalism.

He was born Henry Walker Birrell in Steubenville, Ohio, on March 5, 1928, but he was known throughout his life as Harry. He attended Miami University before beginning his radio career in Beaver Falls, Pa., in 1949. He criss-crossed the country working as a broadcaster before arriving at KNX.

➦In 2017...Frank Sweeney, radio broadcaster and a pageantry legend, died at the age of 84.

He became known as “Swingin’ Sweeney” during his radio broadcasting career, which began in 1952. He was a radio personality on many stations across the country including WKNR, Keener 13 in Detroit, KYW Radio, then in Cleveland and Ohio Valley’s WKWK Radio, where he was also the station’s Operations Manager. Throughout his career in radio, he met and interviewed dozens of celebrities, including John Lennon.

Sweeney launched an equally successful career in pageantry in 1970, when he became the chairman of the pageant production and consulting firm, Sweeney Group based in Wheeling, VW, which handled several state events for the Miss USA Pageant system.

In 1977, Sweeney founded the Miss Teen All American pageant and just a year later, he joined Miss Universe, Inc., as Senior Vice President, which took him to New York City where he lived until his passing.

Karen Valentine is 76


  • Actor Ann Robinson (“War of the Worlds”) is 94. 
  • Actor Ian McKellen (“Lord of the Rings”) is 84. 
  • Country singer Jessi Colter is 80. 
  • Actor-singer Leslie Uggams is 80. 
  • Director-Muppetteer Frank Oz is 79. 
  • Actor Karen Valentine is 76. 
  • Actor Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”) is 76. 
  • Singer Klaus Meine of Scorpions is 76. 
  • Actor Patti D’Arbanville (“New York Undercover”) is 72. 
  • Actor Connie Sellecca is 68. 
  • Singer-guitarist Paul Weller of The Jam is 65. 
  • Actor-comedian Mike Myers is 60. 
  • Actor Joseph Reitman (“The Perfect Storm”) is 55. 
  • Actors Sidney and Lindsay Greenbush (“Little House on the Prairie”) are 53. 
  • Actor Jamie Kennedy (“Scream”) is 53. 
  • Actor Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures,” “The Help”) is 53. 
  • Actor Justin Henry (“Kramer Vs. Kramer,” “Sixteen Candles”) is 52. 
  • Rapper Daz Dillinger of Tha Dogg Pound is 50. 
  • Actor Erinn Hayes (“Kevin Can Wait”) is 47. 
  • Actor Cillian Murphy (“The Dark Knight,” ″Batman Begins”) is 47. 
  • Actor Ethan Suplee (“My Name Is Earl”) is 47. 
  • Actor Lauren Frost (“Even Stevens”) is 38. 
  • Actor Ebonée Noel (TV’s “FBI”) is 33. 
  • Musician Guy Lawrence of Disclosure is 32.

  • In 1946..Patty Smith Hill, American composer, teacher and songwriter ("Happy Birthday To You"), dies at 78
  • In 1960..Victor "Vic" Tayback, Actor (Mel Sharples-"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore "), dies of a heart attack at 60
  • In 2007..Charles Nelson Reilly, Actor, comedian and gameshow panelist (Match Game, Ghost & Mrs Muir), dies at 76

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