Saturday, December 2, 2023

Radio History: December 3

➦In 1927...singer Andy Williams was born in smalltown Iowa.   After singing with three siblings in The Williams Brothers quartet on midwest radio as early as 1938, he became a featured soloist on NBC-TV’s Tonight Show, hosted in the early 50’s by Steve Allen.  Later he was host of his own TV series (1962-71) and a number of Christmas specials on NBC.  Most of his 44 albums were featured on MOR radio stations throughout his life.  He succumbed to bladder cancer Sept. 25 2012 at age 84.

➦In 1928…NBC radio gave birth to what would be the longest run of any semi-classical music broadcast.  It began as The Firestone Hour, evolving soon into the 30-minute Voice of Firestone, which aired o Monday evenings for 28-years.  It was also a simulcast on NBC TV beginning in 1949, it moved to ABC in 1954 and ended its almost 35-year run on ABC-TV in 1963.

➦In 1948...Bing Crosby's song "White Christmas" debuted on the U.S. music charts. That was 7 years after it was first sung on a radio show sponsored by the Kraft Company on Christmas Day, 1941.

A Young Paul Harvey
➦In 1950...ABC Radio began airing Paul Harvey news and comment nationwide.

Paul Harvey Aurandt broadcast News and Comment on weekday mornings and mid-days, and at noon on Saturdays on the ABC Radio Network.  He also voiced his famous "The Rest of the Story" segments. From the 1950s through the 1990s, Harvey's programs reached as many as 24 million people a week. Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers.

Harvey made radio receivers as a young boy. He attended Tulsa Central High School where a teacher was "impressed by his voice." On her recommendation, he started working at KVOO in Tulsa in 1933, when he was 14. His first job was helping clean up. Eventually he was allowed to fill in on the air, reading commercials and the news.

While attending the University of Tulsa, he continued working at KVOO, first as an announcer, and later as a program director. Harvey, at age nineteen spent three years as a station manager for KFBI AM, now known as KFDI, a radio station that once had studios in Salina, Kansas. From there, he moved to a newscasting job at KOMA in Oklahoma City, and then to KXOK, in St. Louis in 1938, where he was Director of Special Events and a roving reporter.

Harvey then moved to Hawaii to cover the United States Navy as it concentrated its fleet in the Pacific. He was returning to the mainland from assignment when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He eventually enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces but served only from December 1943 to March 1944.

Harvey then moved to Chicago, where in June 1944, he began broadcasting from the ABC affiliate WENR. In 1945, he began hosting the postwar employment program Jobs for G.I. Joe on WENR.

Harvey added The Rest of the Story as a tagline to in-depth feature stories in 1946.

On April 1, 1951, the ABC Radio Network debuted Paul Harvey News and Comment "Commentary and analysis of Paul Harvey each weekday at 12 Noon". Paul Harvey was also heard originally on Sundays; the first Sunday program was Harvey's introduction. Later, the Sunday program would move to Saturdays.

Harvey died on February 28, 2009, at the age of 90 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.

➦In 1955...Elvis Presley's first single release for RCA Victor.  No, it wasn’t ‘Hound Dog’ or ‘Heartbreak Hotel.’ The first two sides were actually purchased from Sam Phillips of Sun Records: ‘Mystery Train’ and ‘I Forgot to Remember to Forget.’  RCAVictor called Elvis "The most talked about personality in recorded music in the last 10 years."

➦In 1961…The Beatles met Brian Epstein for the first time at his Liverpool record store, NEMS. That evening they discuss Epstein's management of the group.

➦In 1968...Elvis' comeback TV special aired on NBC. Taped the previous summer, it included Elvis’s first appearance before an audience in more than seven years. The special was a powerful performance after years of generally mediocre movies.

➦In 1979...Shadow Traffic made its debut in the NYC market.

The company originated in 1975 by Michael Lenet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The name was derived from Lenet’s handle, or nickname; he called himself the "Silver Shadow."  Lenet began the operation as an informal traffic reporting service that was provided over citizens' band radio. Soon after, Lenet began providing traffic information to various radio stations in Philadelphia.

(NY Times photo)

The company grew and expanded into other markets, beginning in 1978 with Chicago, Illinois. New York City followed in December, 1979.  This expansion continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s. During that time the company began offering news, weather, and sports services to its affiliates. The primary business philosophy was to provide broadcast services at little or no cost to their affiliates. The majority of the revenue was brought in through sponsorship deals; direct sponsoring of the traffic reports themselves did this.

In March, 1996 Shadow Broadcast Services was partially acquired by Westwood One, and then was fully owned by Westwood One in May, 1998. By that time Shadow Broadcast Services had affiliate relations with more than 350 radio and TV stations in 15 major markets.

In March, 1999 Shadow Broadcast Services formed what was referred to as a “strategic alliance” with SmartRoute Systems, which was a technology based company that provided traffic information and data for local DOT (Department of Transportation) and broadcast use. This partnership eventually dissolved when the acquisition of Metro Networks took place by Westwood One, which was announced in June, 1999, and then completed in September of that same year. Westwood One merged their two companies together to form Metro Networks/Shadow Broadcast Service, commonly abbreviated as Metro/Shadow. In June, 2000 Westwood One announced its acquisition of SmartRoute Systems. That company was eventually combined under the Westwood One umbrella of subsidiaries, which include Metro/Shadow.

In September, 2008 Westwood One announced that they were reducing their Metro/Shadow operations centers from 60 offices to 13 regional hubs. Metro/Shadow claimed to have more than 1,800 traffic reporters, with radio and TV affiliates in all of the major US markets.

On April 29, 2011, Westwood One sold Metro Networks to iHeartMedia (then known as Clear Channel Communications) for $119.25 million. Metro Networks' traffic service was eventually folded into Total Traffic Networks later that year, with Clear Channel keeping the Total Traffic name for the operation.

➦In 1991...Disc jockey Alan Feed posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

➦In 2003...Canadian broadcast pioneer Allan Waters died in his sleep at the age of 84. Waters founded 1050/CHUM, once one of Canada's most prominent Top 40 radio stations.

Allan Waters
Waters worked in a drug company and quit in 1954 and with partner Jerry Grafstein purchased a then money-losing station, 1050 CHUM. From this small humble station, Waters built his media empire.

Getting ideas from a visit to Florida, Waters returned to Toronto and introduced the CHUM Chart, CHUM Chicks and CHUM bugs to attract teenage listeners.

Waters expanded from radio into the television market by buying Barrie CBC affiliate CKVR in 1969, four television stations in the Maritimes in 1972 which formed the CTV-affiliated Atlantic Television System (ATV), and then Toronto's fledgling CITY in 1978. Today CHUM consists of 33 radio stations, 12 television stations and 21 specialty channels, including MuchMusic, Bravo and Space.

Waters stepped down from the Board of Directors on October 29, 2005.

➦In 2007...Don Imus aired for the first time on WABC, NYC. On January 22, 2018, Imus announced that the show would air its final episode on March 29, 2018. While his contract with then-owner Cumulus Media was set to end in December, the company requested that he retire sooner as a cost-savings measure due to the company's bankruptcy.

Ozzy Osbourne is 75
  • Singer Jaye P. Morgan (“The Gong Show”) is 92. 
  • Singer Ozzy Osbourne is 75. 
  • Singer Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship is 74. 
  • Bassist Paul Gregg of Restless Heart is 69. 
  • Actor Steven Culp (“Desperate Housewives”) is 68. 
  • Actor Daryl Hannah is 63. 
  • Actor Julianne Moore is 63. 
  • Actor Brendan Fraser is 55. 
  • Singer Montell Jordan is 55. 
  • Actor-comedian Royale Watkins is 54. 
  • Actor Bruno Campos (“Nip/Tuck,” ″Jesse”) is 50. 
  • Actor Holly Marie Combs (“Charmed”) is 50. 
  • Actor Liza Lapira (“The Equalizer”) is 48. 
  • Actor Lauren Roman (“Bold and the Beautiful”) is 48. 
  • Musician Daniel Bedingfield is 44. 
  • Actor Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”) is 44. 
  • Actor Anna Chlumsky is 43. 
  • Actor Jenna Dewan (“The Resident,” ″Supergirl”) is 43. 
  • Actor Brian Bonsall (“Family Ties”) is 42. 
  • Actor Dascha Polanco (“Orange Is the New Black”) is 41. 
  • Singer-songwriter Andy Grammer is 40. 
  • Drummer Michael Calabrese of Lake Street Dive is 39. 
  • Actor Amanda Seyfried (“Mamma Mia”) is 38. 
  • Actor Jake T. Austin (“The Fosters,” ″Wizards of Waverly Place”) is 29.

  • In 1926..Charles Ringling, American circus owner (Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus), dies at 63
  • In 1957..Frank Gannett, American newspaper publisher (Gannett), dies at 81
  • In 2015..Scott Weiland, American rock singer-songwrite (Stone Temple Pilots; Velvet Revolver), dies of an accidental drug overdose at 48

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