Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Radio History: December 5

➦In 1901...Walter Elias Disney born (Died at age 65 – December 15, 1966).  He was the founder of the Disney entertainment empire and an animator, voice actor and film producer. 

Mickey & Friend
A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Born in Chicago in 1901, Disney developed an early interest in drawing. He took art classes as a boy and got a job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. With Ub Iwerks, Walt developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years.

➦In 1902...Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first readable wireless radio signals 3,200 km across the Atlantic from his station at Glace Bay, Cape Breton to Poldhu in Cornwall, England.

➦In 1906...Radio, TV writer, producer and director William Spier was born in NYC (Died at age 66 - May 30, 1973). He is best known for his radio work, notably Suspense and The Adventures of Sam Spade.

Spier began his career on the editorial staff of Musical America magazine, eventually becoming its chief critic.   His radio career began in 1929, when he produced and directed The Atwater Kent Hour, an hour-long Sunday night presentation of Metropolitan Opera artists.

Spier was chief of the writers' department and director of development at CBS in 1940, when he was co-producer of Suspense and Duffy's Tavern. In 1947, he won a Mystery Writers of America award for The Adventures of Sam Spade. A 1949 magazine article said Spier "is generally rated radio's top-notch creator of suspense-type dramas."

➦In 1925...WIBX Utica NY signed-on. WIBX 1460 AM would move around the dial until 1948

According to the WIBX website,  at the time WIBX began transmitting, there were about 1,600 radio stations operating throughout the United States. It was estimated that when WIBX signed on the air, only about 19-percent of households actually had radio receivers and it wouldn't be until the late 1930s that radios would be considered standard features in cars. 

Over the years, WIBX's programming would change significantly. In the 1930s, WIBX would become an affiliate of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and would broadcast programs from "the Golden Age of Radio" including dramas, comedies, soap operas, and sports; as well as newscasts which would become the standard for the top and bottom of every hour. In the 1950s, the sports talk program Sportswatch debuted and would continue until 2013, with many legendary hosts that would move on to the national scene. Through the 1960s and 70s, WIBX would become known for its Middle of the Road (MOR) format which would include a mixture of music and personality, sports, nationally syndicated programs and news. In the late-1980s, WIBX dropped music and moved towards the news-talk format that it runs today, that features Rush Limbaugh's nationally syndicated program and its affiliation with Fox News Radio.

Bing Crosby
➦In 1936...Bing Crosby started hosting the Kraft Music Hall radio show on NBC.

The program debuted June 26, 1933 as a musical-variety program featuring orchestra leader Paul Whiteman and served to supplement print advertising and in-store displays promoting Kraft products. During its first year the show went through a series of name changes, including Kraft Musical Revue, until it finally settled on Kraft Music Hall in 1934. Paul Whiteman remained the host until December 6, 1935. Ford Bond was the announcer.

Bing Crosby was host until May 9, 1946. Other entertainers who appeared regularly during Crosby's tenure included Connie Boswell, Victor Borge, and Mary Martin. A review in Billboard magazine commented, "It is a tribute to Bing Crosby, program's highlight, that the Music Hall seems to survive all talent change -- these changes simply pointing up the fact that the show is completely dependent on Crosby."

For the advertising managers at Kraft, it was imperative that advertising and entertainment be kept separate. For this reason, Kraft insisted that an announcer, not cast members, read its commercials.

➦In 1952..Mutual Radio broadcast “The Green Hornet” for the final time. The show left the air after 15 years on Mutual, NBC and ABC. “The Green Hornet” reappeared in 1966, this time on TV.

➦In 1955...Disc-Jockey Alan Freed‘s movie “Rock Rock Rock” (with Connie Francis singing for Tuesday Weld) opened to packed theaters in New York City. Other artists featured were Chuck Berry, LaVern Baker, Teddy Randazzo, The Moonglows, The Flamingos, and The Teenagers with Frankie Lymon.

➦In 1967... Top 40 WMCA 570 AM  was rated by Billboard magazine as the most influential in selling single records in New York.

A typical music meeting is held on Tuesday. Usually on hand - the station’s Program Director - Ruth Meyer, music assistants Joe Bogart and Frank Costa and several WMCA deejays.  WMCA says its policy is to select records that the station believes will become hits or those that are already established hits in other cities. WMCA says “it will not play dirty records.”

➦In 2011...Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith, who in the heyday of Monday Night Football shared the ABC broadcast booth with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage at age 72.

Jim Messina is 76
  • Actor Jeroen Krabbe (“The Fugitive”) is 79. 
  • Opera singer Jose Carreras is 77. 
  • Singer Jim Messina (Loggins and Messina, Poco) is 76. 
  • Actor Morgan Brittany (“Dallas”) is 72. 
  • Actor Brian Backer (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) is 67. 
  • Country singer Ty England is 60. 
  • Singer-guitarist John Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls is 58. 
  • Country singer Gary Allan is 56. 
  • Comedian Margaret Cho is 55. 
  • Actor Alex Kapp Horner (“The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is 54. 
  • Actor Kali Rocha (“Liv and Maddie,” “Man with a Plan”) is 53. 
  • Bassist Regina Zernay of Cowboy Mouth is 51. 
  • Actor Paula Patton (“Precious”) is 48. 
  • Actor Amy Acker (“Person of Interest,” ″Angel”) is 47. 
  • Actor Nick Stahl (TV’s “Carnivale,” film’s “Terminator 3”) is 44. 
  • Actor Adan Canto (“Designated Survivor”) is 42. 
  • Singer Keri Hilson is 41. 
  • Actor Gabriel Luna (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 41. 
  • Actor Frankie Muniz (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is 38. 
  • Actor Ross Bagley (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) is 35.
  • In 2002..Roone Arledge, American sports broadcasting executive (President ABC Sports - Monday Night Football; ABC News), dies of prostate cancer at 71
  • In 2005..Danny Williams, British pop singer, known as "Britain's Johnny Mathis" ("Moon River"; "White on White"), dies of lung cancer at 63
  • In 2008..Beverly Garland [Fessenden], American actress (My Three Sons, Scarecrow and Mrs. King), dies at 82
  • In 2010..Don Meredith, American football player and broadcaster (b. 1938)
  • In 2012..Dave Brubeck, American jazz pianist ("Take Five") and composer (Gates of Justice), dies from heart failure at 91
  • In 2013..Nelson Mandela, South African anti-apartheid activist, political prisoner (1962-90) and President of South Africa (1994-99), dies of a lung infection at 95
  • In 2021..Bob Dole, American politician (Senate Republican leader, 1985-96, Presidential candidate in 1996), dies of lung cancer at 98
  • In 2022..Kirstie Alley, American Emmy Award-winning actress (Cheers - "Rebecca"; Look Who's Talking; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), dies of colon cancer at 71

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