Monday, September 25, 2023

Radio History: September 25

➦In 1922...WOAI San Antonio signed on the air. At first, it broadcast on 1190 kilocycles with only 500 watts. Over the next several years WOAI was issued permits by the Federal Radio Commission to move the transmitter site and increase its power from 500 to 1,000 watts; then to 2,000 watts, and then 5,000; and finally to 50,000 watts in 1930.

Meaning of call letters: World Of Agriculture Information.

During The Golden Age of Radio, WOAI was an NBC Red Network affiliate, airing its schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, soap operas, game shows, children's shows and big band broadcasts. For more than four decades, WOAI was owned by Southland Industries, Inc.

Because it went on the air in the earliest days of broadcasting, the station's call sign begins with a "W." Stations in Texas were in the W territory before 1923, when the dividing line became the Mississippi River. From that point, nearly all stations in Texas received "K" call letters. But WOAI has been grandfathered with its unusual call sign.

Today, WOAI is currently the westernmost station to have "W" call signs. There are still about two dozen W stations in states west of the Mississippi River.

In 1941, WOAI was moved to clear channel frequency 1200 kHz.

➦In 1933...The Tom Mix Radio Show was heard for the first time on NBC. The show ran until June 1950.

Thomas Edwin Mix was born Thomas Hezikiah Mix on January 6, 1880 and died October 12, 1940. He was an American film actor and the star of many early Western movies between 1909 and 1935. Mix appeared in 291 films, all but nine of which were silent movies. He was Hollywood's first Western star and helped define the genre as it emerged in the early days of the cinema.

Mix himself never appeared on these broadcasts (his voice, damaged by a bullet to the throat and repeated broken noses, was not fit for radio) and was instead played by radio actors: Artells Dickson (early 1930s), Jack Holden (from 1937), Russell Thorsen (early 1940s) and Joe "Curley" Bradley (from 1944). Others in the supporting cast included George Gobel, Harold Peary and Willard Waterman.

Here's the Tom Mix tie-in to the call sign of Hubbard Radio's WTMX Chicago.

WKBI AM in St. Marys PA went on in 1950. This was the first of a group of stations that would become the Allegheny Mountain Radio Network headed up by Cary Simpson. In 1966, WKBI-FM went on the air Licensed to Ridgeway, Elk County PA's County seat.

In the 70's WKBI-FM changed formats from Top 40 to Country and at that time changed call letters to WTMX in honor of one of Hollywood's early famous cowboys of the silver screen, Tom Mix. Mix was born in Southern Elk county.

WTMX would become WKBI-FM again in 1983.

In Chicago, WCLR changed it's call sign to WTMX in 1989.

(H/T: Jim Linn Jacksonville.)

➦In 1967...Announcer Bob Hall, Host of Music Til Dawn on WCBS 880 AM died. His program "Music Till Dawn" premiered on April 13, 1953.

➦In 1975...While performing "Lonely Teardrops" onstage at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, NJ during a Dick Clark oldies revue, Jackie Wilson collapsed from a heart attack, bashing his head on the stage and lapsing into a come from which he will remain until his death in 1983. Radio-TV personality Dick Clark paid for Wilson's care, since he himself had no insurance.

Video features Wilson on the TV Show Shindig with Billy Preston on the keyboards.

➦In 1978…Radio actor Bret Morrison died from a heart attack at age 66 (Born May 5, 1912). He was best known as the voice of the mysterious crusader for law and order on radio's The Shadow. He was also a popular cabaret singer.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Morrison entered radio during the 1930s while he was still in Chicago High School. He began with The First Nighter Program. In 1937, he was in the cast of Lucky Girl, a Monday-Friday drama broadcast on WGN in Chicago.

Morrison portrayed the Shadow longer than any other actor, spending 10 years in the role in two separate runs. Bill Johnstone played the Shadow until early 1943. Morrison replaced Johnstone in April, 1943, continuing until 1944. John Archer (1944–45) was followed by Steve Courtleigh (1945). Morrison then returned from 1945 until 1954. For many, he was the definitive voice of the Shadow, though his delivery was much less sinister than Orson Welles, who also portrayed the Shadow during its first full year run.

➦In 1989...Jacor launched CHR "Power 93 The Power Pig" in Tampa.

A year earlier, Jacor Broadcasting bought WFLA-FM 93.3 and its sister station, WFLA-AM 970, and switched the FM’s format and calls to oldies WFLZ “Z93.” The format lasted only about a year.

After a weekend of stunting, including an hour of an urban contemporary micro-format, WFLZ flipped to Top 40 on September 25, 1989 at 8:15 AM to compete against local CHR WRBQ Q105 (the first song under the new format was "Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul). The station became "Power 93" or "The Power Pig", and aggressively targeted Q105 with promotions such as handing out "Screw The Q" t-shirts at various on the street events.

The station took over first place in 72 days and became one of the most legendary radio stations of all time.

The first full-time Power Pig on-air lineup in October 1989 included Dr. Don Carpenter and the “Three Little Pigs” – Jack Harris, BJ Harris, and PD Marc Chase – on the morning show.

In middays was long-time Tampa radio vet Dave Mann; afternoons were led by former Q105'er Jon 'Rock N Roll' Anthony, and nights were hosted by Tim and Tom.

The original Beaver Stevens held down 10pm-2am, and Russell ‘The Love Muscle’ handled overnights from 2am-6am. The Pig continued its double-entendres on the weekends, too, with Hot "Dickie" Damn, Booger, Hardin Long, Jason (Mason's illegitimate son) Dixon, Jomama Johnson, Boner, and Brian Christopher.


Ratings for “The Power Pig” took off with listeners 12+ and 18-34 who bought specially-designed T-shirts imprinted with “Screw the Q” on them from the station’s pink-colored mobile unit dubbed “The Pig Van.” Lawsuits ensued and, in the end, Q105 took quite a beating and switched to country in 1993 (Today the station airs Classic Hits). In 1995 WFLZ dropped its aggressive approach and re-imaged itself more mainstream Top 40 as “93.3 FLZ The New Music Revolution” and, in 2000, “The #1 Hit Music Channel”.

➦In 2001…XM Satellite Radio launched fulltime on-air programming. It was set to officially launch on September 12, but due to the September 11 attacks, the kickoff was postponed to the 25th.

On that day, XM began signing subscribers in the Dallas and San Diego area, then slowly worked north and east until subscribing was open to all of U. S. as of November 12th, according to Marlin Taylor, one of XM's original Program Directors.

On July 29, 2008, XM and former competitor Sirius Satellite Radio formally completed their merger, following FCC approval, forming SiriusXM Radio, Inc. On November 12, 2008, Sirius and XM began broadcasting with their new, combined channel lineups. On January 13, 2011, XM Satellite Radio, Inc. was dissolved as a separate entity and merged into Sirius XM Radio, Inc. Prior to its merger with Sirius, XM was the largest satellite radio company in the United States.

➦In 2003...Bob Murphy called his final MLB NY Mets radio broadcast.

Murphy (September 19, 1924 – August 3, 2004) spent 50 years doing play-by-play of games on television and radio. The Oklahoman was best known for announcing the New York Mets, from their inception in 1962 until his retirement in 2003. He was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award in 1994.

Murphy's broadcasts were known for his optimistic outlook. He would rarely be critical of players and would always strive to emphasize the positive. According to Gary Thorne, who was his partner in the Mets radio booth from 1985 to 1988, Murphy felt that, "the game was to be enjoyed and he sought out the joy in that day's game to bring to the fans."

Murphy, despite his long association with the Mets, never openly rooted for the team from the booth. Listeners knew that he was happier when the Mets won, as evidenced by his mention of a "happy recap" after a Mets win and a "recap" after a Mets loss, but he never referred to the Mets as "we" and, reflecting his love of the game, he would sound equally excited when a good play was made against the Mets as he would when the Mets made a similar play.

From the Mets' first game in 1962 through the post-Tom Seaver days of 1978, on radio and television, the Mets games were announced by the trio of Murphy, along with Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner. Nelson left after the 1978 season and was replaced by Steve Albert. Albert broadcast the Mets for three seasons.

Prior to 1982, the Mets announcers had done television and radio on a rotational system. While two were on TV, the other would take over on radio.

However, in 1982, Murphy was taken out of the television booth, in order to announce the games on radio only. He was joined by Steve Lamar, who also strictly did radio for the Mets. Murphy became known for "painting the word picture;" many say that play-by-play of baseball on radio requires a lot more skill than television, because on radio, the broadcaster must be able to inspire the listener's imagination. For the rest of his career, with the exception of emergency situations, Murphy announced exclusively from the radio booth.

➦In 2005…Longtime radio personality Jerry Kaye died at age 67. He was part of a powerhouse lineup of disc jockeys that made KJR-AM the dominant station in Seattle in the 1960s. Program Director Pat O'Day hired Kay at a Yakima station in 1957, then brought him to Seattle in 1961 (Kay was born Jerry King, but changed his name when he came to Seattle, because of a competing station with that name as its call letters). He later moved to Chicago's rock giants, WLS-AM and WCFL-AM, returning to the Seattle area to work for such stations as KBSG, KHIT, KSPL and KJR.

➦In 2010…Radio-TV show announcer Art Gilmore died at age 98 (Born - March 18, 1912). His voice was heard on radio and television programs, children's records, movies, trailers, radio commercials, and documentary films. He also appeared in several television series and a few feature films.

Art Gilmore
In 1935, he got hired to work as an announcer for Seattle's KOL Radio. In 1936, he became a staff announcer for the Warner Brothers' radio station KFWB in Hollywood and then moved to the CBS-owned station KNX as a news reader. During World War II, he served as a fighter-director U.S. Navy officer aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean.

Leaving the Navy, he decided to become a professional singer and returned to Hollywood. With a group of notable Hollywood radio stars, including Edgar Bergen, Ralph Edwards and Jim Jordan, Gilmore founded Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters in 1966. At the time of his death, he was Chairman Emeritus of PPB.

Gilmore's announcing voice became a part of many classic radio programs. Drawing his inspiration from the radio sports commentators of the 1930s, he became the announcer for Amos 'n' Andy, The Adventures of Frank Race, Dr. Christian, Sears Radio Theater, Stars over Hollywood, The Golden Days of Radio and other radio shows. It was Gilmore who introduced Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong, reminding listeners to request free religious literature at the conclusion of "The World Tomorrow" on radio and television.

With the advent of television, Gilmore heralded The George Gobel Show, The Red Skelton Show, An Evening with Fred Astaire and many others. He narrated 156 episodes of Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford, 39 segments of Mackenzie's Raiders with Richard Carlson, and 41 episodes of Men of Annapolis. His television appearances included The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Adam-12, Emergency!, Dragnet and The Waltons.

Lee Thornton
➦In 2013…News correspondent Lee Thornton died from cancer at age 71 (Born - November 14, 1941). As a journalist and correspondent she worked for CBS, CNN, NPR, and was professor at Howard University and the University of Maryland. She was also the first African American woman to cover the White House. She was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2013.

Lee Thornton started working for CBS in 1974. In 1977, CBS promoted her to report on President Jimmy Carter's Administration and she became the first African American woman to cover the White House. Afterward, she was at a CBS affiliate in Detroit before joining National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" news program as a weekend host in 1982. After hosting NPR news program, she went to Howard University to be a professor of broadcast journalism.

After a brief time at Howard, she went to the University of Maryland, College Park to teach at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism in 1997.

Cheryl Tiegs is 76
  • Polka band leader Jimmy Sturr is 82. 
  • Actor Josh Taylor (“Days of Our Lives,” “Valerie’s Family”) is 80. 
  • Actor Robert Walden (“Lou Grant”) is 80. 
  • Actor Michael Douglas is 79. 
  • Model Cheryl Tiegs is 76. 
  • Actor Mimi Kennedy (“Dharma and Greg”) is 75. 
  • Actor Anson Williams (“Happy Days”) is 74. 
  • Actor Mark Hamill is 72. 
  • Actor Colin Friels is 71. 
  • Actor Michael Madsen is 65. 
  • Actor Heather Locklear is 62. 
  • Actor Aida Turturro (“The Sopranos”) is 61. 
  • Actor Tate Donovan (“The O.C.”) is 60. 
  • TV personality Keely Shaye Smith (“Unsolved Mysteries”) is 60. 
  • Actor Maria Doyle Kennedy (“Orphan Black,” ″The Tudors”) is 59. 
  • Actor Jason Flemyng (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” ″The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”) is 57. 
  • Actor-singer Will Smith is 55. 
  • Actor Hal Sparks (“Queer as Folk”) is 54. 
  • Actor Catherine Zeta-Jones is 54. 
  • Actor Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) is 50. 
  • Actor Clea DuVall (“Heroes”) is 46. 
  • Actor Robbie Jones (“One Tree Hill”) is 46. 
  • Actor Joel David Moore (“Avatar”) is 46. 
  • Actor Chris Owen (“American Pie” films) is 43. 
  • Rapper T.I. is 42. 
  • Actor Lee Norris (“One Tree Hill”) is 42. 
  • Actor-rapper Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) (“Atlanta,” ″Community”) is 40. 
  • Actor Zach Woods (“Silicon Valley,” ″The Office”) is 39. 
  • Actor Jordan Gavaris (“Orphan Black”) is 34. 
  • Actor Emmy Clarke (“Monk”) is 32.
  • In 1960..Emily Post, American authority on social behaviour and writer (Etiquette), dies at 86
  • In 1975..Bob Considine, American journalist and author (Babe Ruth Story), dies at 68
  • In 1980..John Bonham, English rock drummer (Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love"), dies from asphyxiation after heavy alcohol intake at 32
  • In 1984..Walter Pidgeon, Canadian actor (Mrs Miniver, Madame Curie), dies from a stroke at 87
  • In 2005..Don Adams [Yarmy], American comedian and Emmy Award-winning actor (Get Smart; Tennessee Tuxedo; The Bill Dana Show), dies from complications of lymphoma at 82
  • In 2012..Andy Williams, American pop singer ("Moon River"; "Days of Wine and Roses"), dies from bladder cancer at 84
  • In 2016..Arnold Palmer, American golfer (7 major titles; US Masters 1958, 60, 62, 64), dies of heart failure at 87
  • In 2016..Rod Temperton, British pop musician and songwriter ("Boogie Nights"; "Thriller"; "Give Me the Night"; "Yah Mo B There"), dies of cancer at 66

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