Saturday, September 16, 2023

Radio History: September 16

➦In 1914...Allen Albert Funt born (Died at age 84 – September 5, 1999). He was a radio, TV producer, director, writer and personality best known as the creator and host of Candid Camera from the 1940s to 1980s, as either a regular television show or a television series of specials. Its most notable run was from 1960 to 1967 on CBS.

Allen Funt
Trained in commercial art, Funt worked for an advertising agency in their art department, but he eventually moved to its radio department. Among his first jobs for radio, he wrote for Truth or Consequences and assisted US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt with her radio commentaries.

Drafted into the military during World War II and stationed in Oklahoma, Funt served in the Army Signal Corps, eventually making radio shows. He began his signature program on ABC Radio as The Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947, and it ran until September 23, 1948. The program was revived on CBS June 6 – August 29, 1950.

He soon experimented with a visual version by doing a series of theatrical short films also known as Candid Microphone. These film shorts served as a springboard for his entrance into television on August 10, 1948. The show ran on all three major TV networks and in syndication while hosted by Allen Funt until he was sidelined by a stroke in 1993. The syndicated version of Candid Camera was broadcast from 1974 to 1979; his co-hosts included, at various times, John Bartholomew Tucker, Phyllis George and Jo Ann Pflug.

Andy Russell
➦In 1919....Singer and radio personality Andy Russell born (Died  – April 16, 1992). He sold 8 million records in the 1940s singing in a romantic, baritone voice and in his trademark bilingual English and Spanish style. He had chart-busters, such as "Bésame Mucho", "Amor", and "What a Diff'rence a Day Made". He made personal appearances and performed on radio programs, most notably Your Hit Parade, in several movies, and on television. During this initial phase of his career, his popularity in the United States rivaled that of crooners Frank Sinatra and Perry Como.

By 1944, he had become a well enough regarded pop vocalist to be invited to perform on radio programs.

On November 9, he debuted on his own radio show on the "Blue" network, or NBC, called The Andy Russell Show, which broadcast out of Hollywood.  He was the host and featured vocalist. In addition, he would invite guests to appear on his program, such as Dinah Shore and Johnny Mercer.

On Sunday nights over CBS radio, Russell was also a featured vocalist on the Old Gold Show, which was the name of the cigarette company that sponsored the program.

with Groucho
Next up was an invitation to appear as a vocalist on The Jackie Gleason - Les Tremayne Show on NBC radio. Unlike his eponymous show which was broadcast from Los Angeles, California, it was necessary for Russell to take the train out to the East Coast, as this show originated from New York. It was reported that during the trip, he got sick because he had never been on a train before.

Also, in addition to duties as a vocalist, Russell played straight man to Jackie Gleason, the legendary comic and performer who would later be the star of the classic television program The Honeymooners. He would do this later in a motion picture with Groucho Marx, too.

From September 3, 1945 to May 27, 1946, Russell appeared on the CBS radio comedy show, The Joan Davis Show, which originated out of New York City.  Finally, and most notably, starting on April 26, 1946, Russell began to appear as featured vocalist on the pop music radio program Your Hit Parade. This popular program aired on Saturdays, 9:00-9:30 pm on NBC radio and was broadcast out of New York City.

After five months in New York, he was so popular that Lucky Strike cigarettes, the sponsor of the show, agreed to pay for the show to be broadcast out of its Los Angeles studios in order to appease Russell who was homesick. The shows from Hollywood began on September 21, 1946. He stayed on the program for 2 seasons, which led to huge popularity for the singer.

➦In 1919...Lawrence "Larry" Dobkin born (Died at age 83 – October 28, 2002).  He was a prolific performer during the Golden Age of Radio. His voice was used to narrate the classic western Broken Arrow (1950). His film performances include Never Fear (1949), Sweet Smell of Success (1957) and North by Northwest (1959). He announced the landmark television series Naked City (1958–1963), closing each episode with the statement, "There are eight million stories in the naked city, and this has been one of them."

Dobkin w/Vincent Price
A former child actor, Dobkin began working in radio to pay for his studies at the Yale University School of Drama. He understudied on Broadway before serving with a radio propaganda unit of the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. When he returned to network radio he was one of five actors who played the detective Ellery Queen in The Adventures of Ellery Queen.  In The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe (1950–1951), Dobkin played detective Archie Goodwin opposite Sydney Greenstreet's Nero Wolfe.

While playing Louie, The Saint's cab-driving sidekick on NBC Radio in 1951, he was asked to step into the lead role of Simon Templar to replace Tom Conway for a single episode — making Dobkin one of the few actors to portray Leslie Charteris' literary creation.

His other radio work included Escape (1947–1954), Gunsmoke (1952–1961), Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (1956–1960), and the anthology series Lux Radio Theater. "The few of us who are left," Dobkin said of his radio days not long before he died, "keep telling each other that we never had it so good."

➦In 1928...WGL changed call letters to WOV in New York (now WADO 1280 AM).

This station was launched as WGL on January 30, 1927, and was owned by the International Broadcasting Corporation. WGL president Colonel Lewis Landes stated on the inaugural broadcast,

"The International Broadcasting Corporation's aim is to adhere to truth, to be free of partisanship, religious or political."

WGL was the first station to protest the frequency allocations of the Federal Radio Commission in May 1927. WGL was authorized to move to 1170 AM, but wanted to go to 720, occupied by WOR.

When WOR was awarded the 710 frequency, both stations went to court, with WOR eventually winning the case. Finally in June 1927, WGL moved to 1020 AM and shared time with Paterson station, WODA.

In August 1927, studio manager Charles Isaacson announced one of the city's first attempts at local news coverage. WGL was organizing listeners to volunteer as radio reporters and call the station with breaking news stories.

On September 16, 1928, WGL changed calls to WOV and was sold to Sicilian-born importer John Iraci. The WGL call sign was then picked up by a Fort Wayne station, which uses them to this very day.

➦In 2011...Philly/NYC Radio News Anchor John "Jack" O'Rourke died.   He was known to thousands of listeners for nearly 20 years as a Newsradio KYW 1060 sportscaster.

He had also been with the station in the late 1960s as a news anchor and City Hall Bureau Chief, before joining NBC News in 1969, where he anchored newscasts on WNBC 660 AM and the NBC Radio Network.  He remained there for 20 years in a variety of positions, including Executive Producer of Sports from 1983 to 1989.

While with NBC News, he received a George Foster Peabody Award, a major journalism prize.

➦In 2011...Citadel Broadcasting merged with Cumulus Media.

Starting in June 2010, Cumulus made multiple unsuccessful offers to buy out Citadel Broadcasting after its emergence from bankruptcy.   In February 2011, Cumulus was again said to be in "exclusive negotiations" to acquire Citadel for $2.5 billion paid to Citadel shareholders, according to CNBC.

Some Citadel shareholders were said to have been pushing the board to consider a sale.  On March 10, 2011, Citadel Broadcasting stations announced via email that Cumulus had purchased Citadel Broadcasting. Citadel was made up of 225 radio stations in over 50 markets, as well as Citadel Media, one of the largest radio networks in the United States.

The deal was finalized on September 16, 2011, after acceptance by the FCC and Citadel's shareholders.   As part of the deal, Cumulus Media will have to place 14 stations into a separate trust to comply with ownership limits.

In an effort to focus on accretive large market consolidation as well as further de-leveraging of their balance sheet, Cumulus and Townsquare Media ink a deal to swap 65 radio stations in 13 markets, with majority of the 65 stations being sold to Townsquare.

➦In 2014...Clear Channel announced a change in name to iHeartMedia.

Clear Channel Communications, Inc. was founded by Lowry Mays and B. J. "Red" McCombs in 1972, and later taken private by Bain Capital, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners through a leveraged buyout in 2008. As a result of this buyout, Clear Channel Communications, Inc. began to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CC Media Holdings, Inc. On September 16, 2014, CC Media Holdings, Inc. was rebranded iHeartMedia, Inc.; and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., became iHeartCommunications, Inc. On March 14, 2018, the company filed to operate under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, dealing with a debt load in excess of $20 billion.

The company owns 850 full-power AM and FM radio stations in the U.S., making it the nation's largest owner of radio stations.

The name "Clear Channel" came from AM broadcasting term, referring to a channel (frequency) on which only one station (or a very limited number of station) transmits. In the U.S., clear-channel stations have exclusive rights to their frequencies throughout most of the continent at night, when AM signals travel far due to skywave. The company's new name is intended to reflect its growing digital business. Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc., explained: "We have a company that's doing progressive stuff, and yet we're named after AM radio stations."

George Chakiris is 91

  • Actor-singer Janis Paige (“Please Don’t Eat The Daisies”) is 101. 
  • Actor George Chakiris (“West Side Story”) is 91. 
  • Singer Betty Kelley of Martha and the Vandellas is 79. 
  • Drummer Kenney Jones (Small Faces, Faces, The Who) is 75. 
  • Actor Susan Ruttan (“L.A. Law”) is 75. 
  • Actor Ed Begley Jr. is 74. 
  • Singer David Bellamy of the Bellamy Brothers is 73. 
  • Actor Mickey Rourke is 71. 
  • Comedian Lenny Clarke (“Sirens,” “Rescue Me”) is 70. 
  • Jazz guitarist Earl Klugh is 70. 
  • Actor Christopher Rich (“Reba,” ″Murphy Brown”) is 70. 
  • TV weatherman Mark McEwen is 69. 
  • Illusionist David Copperfield is 67. 
  • Country singer Terry McBride is 65. 
  • Actor Jennifer Tilly is 65. 
  • Actor Jayne Brook (“Chicago Hope”) is 63. 
  • Singer Richard Marx is 60. 
  • Comedian Molly Shannon (“Saturday Night Live”) is 59. 
  • Singer Marc Anthony is 55. 
  • Talk show host Tamron Hall is 53. 
  • Comedian Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation,” ″Saturday Night Live”) is 52. 
  • Actor Toks Olagundoye (“Castle”) is 48. 
  • Singer Musiq is 46. 
  • Rapper Flo Rida is 44. 
  • Actor Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”) is 42. 
  • Actor Sabrina Bryan (“The Cheetah Girls”) is 39. 
  • Actor Madeline Zima (“The Nanny”) is 38. 
  • Actor Ian Harding (“Pretty Little Liars”) is 37. 
  • Actor Kyla Pratt (“Fat Albert,’” “Dr. Doolittle”) is 37. 
  • Singer Teddy Geiger is 35. 
  • Actor Bailey De Young (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) is 34. 
  • Musician-actor Nick Jonas of The Jonas Brothers is 31.

  • In 1977..Maria Callas, American soprano (Carmen), dies in Paris at 53
  • In 2003..Sheb Wooley, American vocalist (Purple People Eater, Hee Haw), dies at 82
  • In 2009..Mary Travers, American folk singer (Peter Paul & Mary - "Puff" (The Magic Dragon)"; "Leaving On A Jet Plane"), dies of leukemia at 72

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