Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Radio History: November 14

➦In 1901...singer Morton Downey was born in Wallingford Connecticut. His national radio appearances began in 1930, in 1932 he was voted Radio Singer of the Year. In 1949 he debuted on TV, hosting the show Star of the Family in the 1950′s.

He died of a stroke at age 83, Oct. 25 1985.

➦In 1920...singer Johnny Desmond was born in Detroit.   He was featured on Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club (radio& TV), and was a regular on TV’s Your Hit Parade, Face the Music & Songs for Sale.   He died from cancer Sept. 6 1985 at age 64.

➦In 1921...Chicago radio station KYW broadcast the first opera by a professional company. Listeners heard ‘Samson Et Dalila’ as it was being performed at the Chicago Auditorium.

The first words ever broadcast in Chicago were, "My God, but it's dark in here!"

Mary Gardner
According to radio historian Rich Samuels, they were spoken by Mary Garden, world-class soprano and director of the Chicago Grand Opera Association. They were uttered 98 years ago tonight on radio station KYW, licensed to the Westinghouse Manufacturing and Electric Company.

Ms. Garden said what she said because she couldn't see: the area where she was standing was lit by a single bare light bulb.

In 1934, the assignment of clear channels took a frequency away from Illinois and gave it to Pennsylvania, resulting in Westinghouse moving KYW to Philadelphia.  KYW used the frequency of 1020 AM at the time.

In March 1941, KYW changed frequencies to 1060 AM as part of a nationwide shift of radio frequencies mandated by the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. KYW and the other Westinghouse radio stations remained with NBC after RCA was ordered by the FCC to break up its radio networks, aligning with the former Red Network (the predecessor of modern-day NBC) in 1942. KYW acquired a television counterpart when Westinghouse bought WPTZ (channel 3) – the nation's third commercial television station and NBC's second television affiliate – in 1953.

In June 1955, Westinghouse agreed to trade KYW and WPTZ to NBC in exchange for the network's properties in Cleveland, WNBK TV and WTAM-AM-FM. Westinghouse also received $3 million in cash compensation.  The main impetus for the trade was NBC's desire to acquire an owned-and-operated television station in the fourth-largest American television market. NBC had to seek a waiver for the swap since KYW and NBC Radio's New York City flagship, WRCA (now WFAN) were both clear channel stations; at the time, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of clear-channel stations with overlapping nighttime coverage.

After clearing final regulatory hurdles, the swap went into effect on February 13, 1956. NBC took over the Philadelphia stations, rechristening 1060 AM as WRCV (for the RCA-Victor record label), and Westinghouse moved the KYW call letters to Cleveland.

However, almost immediately after the trade was finalized, Westinghouse complained to the FCC and the Department of Justice about NBC's coercion and an lengthy investigation was launched.  In August 1964, NBC's license for WRCV radio and television was renewed by the FCC – but only on the condition that the 1956 station swap be reversed.  Following nearly a year of appeals by NBC, Westinghouse regained control of WRCV-AM-TV on June 19, 1965 and subsequently restored the KYW call letters to the radio station (the television station became KYW-TV at this point).  To this day, the KYW stations insist that they "moved" to Cleveland in 1956 and "returned" to Philadelphia in 1965.

➦In 1922...The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) began its domestic radio service.

➦In 1994...FCC adopted EAS rules.

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national warning system in the United States put into place on January 1, 1997, when it superseded the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which in turn superseded the CONELRAD System.

It is jointly coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The EAS regulations and standards are governed by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC.

As with its predecessors, the system is primarily designed to allow the president to address the country via all radio and television stations, in the event of a national emergency. Despite this, neither the system nor its predecessors have been used in this manner, due to the ubiquity of news coverage in these situations. In practice, it is more commonly used to distribute information regarding imminent threats to public safety, such as severe weather situations (including flash floods and tornadoes), AMBER Alerts of child abductions, and other civic emergencies.

Authorized organizations are able to disseminate and coordinate emergency alerts and warning messages through EAS.

➦In 1996...WMXV 105.1 FM in NYC  premiered new Modern Adult Rock format, branding as as "The Buzz", with calls of WDBZ becoming official on November 29, 1996.

"The Buzz" turned out to be a failure, however, and less than a year later (August 5, 1997) switched back to its old call letters of WNSR and became a Hot AC station (later just strict AC) by the end of 1997. WNSR was also short-lived, when in January 1998, they started the "Big 105" phase.

Calls were changed to WBIX on April 13, 1998, and the format evolved back to Hot AC, and later Modern AC.

On December 4, 1998, 105.1 switched to a format that was sweeping the country: Jammin' Oldies - dance/disco music from the 60's to the 80's.

The station initially held a contest to name themselves. On Christmas Eve 1998, the name chosen was "Jammin' 105". Calls were officially changed to WTJM on March 1, 1999.

In 2001, with the Jammin' Oldies craze dying down, WTJM refocused their playlist somewhat, to become a borderline Urban AC with the slogan "Jammin' 105-1: The Heart & Soul Of New York."

On March 14, 2002, 105.1 switched to a Rhythmic CHR format as "Power 105.1", going head-to-head with "Hot 97".

On April 12, 2002, 105.1 changed calls to WWPR. Today, the station is owned by iHeartMedia.

➦In 2000...Radio/TV Newsman Robert Trout, who spent 68 years at CBS, died of congestive heart failure at 91.

➦In 2016...Gwen Ifill, a groundbreaking journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns during three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, & NBC: and, latterly, was co-anchor on The PBS News Hour and host of Washington Week, died of uterine cancer at age 61.

➦In 2016...country singer Holly Dunn succumbed to ovarian cancer at age 59.

James Young is 74
  • Actor Kathleen Hughes (“Babe”) is 95. 
  • Guitarist James Young of Styx is 74. 
  • Musician Stephen Bishop is 72. 
  • Pianist Yanni is 69. 
  • Actor Laura San Giacomo (“Just Shoot Me”) is 62. 
  • Actor D.B. Sweeney is 62. 
  • Rapper Reverend Run of Run-DMC is 59. 
  • Actor Patrick Warburton (“The Tick,” ″Seinfeld”) is 59. 
  • Singer Jeanette Jurado of Expose’ is 58. 
  • Bassist Brian Yale of Matchbox Twenty is 55. 
  • Singer-music producer Butch Walker (Marvelous 3) is 54. 
  • Actor Josh Duhamel (Film’s “Transformers,” TV’s “Las Vegas”) is 51. 
  • Drummer Travis Barker of Blink-182 is 48. 
  • Drummer Robby Shaffer of MercyMe is 48. 
  • Actor Brian Dietzen (“NCIS”) is 46. 
  • Rapper Shyheim is 46. 
  • Bassist Tobin Esperance of Papa Roach is 44. 
  • Actor Olga Kurylenko (“Quantum of Silence”) is 44. 
  • Comedian Vanessa Bayer (“Saturday Night Live”) is 42. 
  • Actor Russell Tovey (“Quantico”) is 42. 
  • Actor Cory Michael Smith (“Gotham”) is 37. 
  • Actor Graham Patrick Martin (“Major Crimes,” “Two and a Half Men”) is 32.

  • In 1997..Eddie Arcaro, American Racing Hall of Fame jockey (Triple Crown 1941 Whirlaway, 1948 Citation), dies of liver cancer at 81
  • In 2000..Robert Trout, American newscaster (ABC), dies at 91
  • In 2016..Gwen Ifill, journalist and writer, 1st African American woman to host US public affairs program, dies of cancer at 61
  • In 2016..Holly Dunn, American country singer (Daddy's Hands), dies of cancer at 59
  • In 2018.. Katherine "Scottie" MacGregor, American actress (Little House On The Prairie - "Harriet Oleson"), dies at 93

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