Monday, July 8, 2024

Radio History: July 8

➦In 1954
…Memphis' leading Top40 station of the day earned a historical first when personality Dewey Phillips, played a recording of "That's Alright Mama" by Elvis Presley, a young truck driver and budding musician, marking the first time an Elvis recording was broadcast on the radio.  Phillips played the song a total of 14-times based on strong listener reaction. 

Phillips started his radio career in 1949 on WHBQ, and was the city's leading radio personality for nine years and was the first to simulcast his "Red, Hot & Blue" show on radio and television.

Phillips' on-air persona was a speed-crazed hillbilly, with a frantic delivery and entertaining sense of humor. However, he also had a keen ear for music the listening public would enjoy, and he aired both black and white music, which was abundant in post-World War II Memphis, a booming river city which attracted large numbers of rural blacks and whites (along with their musical traditions). He played a great deal of rhythm and blues, country music, boogie-woogie, and jazz as well as Sun Records artists.

Phillips briefly hosted an afternoon program on WHBQ-TV/13 in the mid-1950s. It mostly consisted of Phillips playing records while he and others clowned around in front of the camera.

Though Phillips was not involved in the payola scandals of the time, he was fired in late 1958 when the station adopted a Top 40 format, phasing out his freeform style. He spent the last decade of his life working at smaller radio stations, seldom lasting long. A heavy drinker and longtime drug user (mainly painkillers and amphetamines, which contributed to his manic on-air behavior), Phillips died of heart failure at age 42.

➦In 1957...Radio Personality Herb Oscar Anderson debuted at 77 WABC (first time, before station flipped to Top40.)

➦In 1960...Storer Broadcasting Company purchased 1010 WINS radio in New York City for $10 million.

It was the highest price paid for a radio station at the time. Many great radio personalities including Murray the K, Bruce Morrow and Alan Freed were stars on WINS Radio. WINS, under Storer ownership, also aired some very clever promotions, including the clay tablet, ostensibly of Egyptian origins, found in the back seat of a taxicab.  Upon closer examination, it read, “Everybody’s mummy listens to 10-10 WINS!”

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, as the transistor radio became popular, especially with young people who could carry radios with them everywhere, rock and roll solidified as a genre, thanks in large measure to what became known as Top 40 radio. In New York, four stations battled in the category: 570 WMCA, 1050 WMGM, 770 WABC, and WINS. While WMCA was only 5,000 watts, it was at the bottom end of the dial, which gave it better coverage than might be expected for its power. The other three were all 50,000 watts, but only WABC was both non-directional and a clear channel station. Of those three, WINS was the most directional (aimed straight at New York's inner boroughs), with a weaker signal than the others toward the New Jersey suburbs and the Jersey Shore.

Newspaper Clipping

In 1962, WMGM adopted a beautiful music format under its previous call letters, WHN, while WINS was purchased by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. WMCA enjoyed some early success after WINS and WMGM left the Top 40 format. But WABC became the dominant Top 40 station in New York City by 1965. On April 18, 1965, around 8 p.m., WINS bowed out of Top 40 competition with the song "Out in the Streets", by The Shangri-Las,

On April 19, 1965, after weeks of speculation, WINS changed its format radically. It became the third radio station in the United States to attempt all-news programming, going with the new format around the clock. WINS immediately established a template for its format with an easily identifiable, distinctive Teletype sound effect playing in the background. Most other all-news stations later dropped this, but WINS continues to use it to this day despite Teletype machines themselves becoming obsolete by the mid-1980s. WINS used memorable slogans such as "All news, all the time"; "The newswatch never stops"; "Listen two, three, four times a day"; and "You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world". The latter tagline was a reference to WINS's format clock, which returns to the top stories every twenty minutes.

➦In 1979…Radio-TV quiz show host John Reed King died at age 64 following a heart attack.

King was one of the announcers for The American School of the Air on CBS, and he had one of the top-rated radio shows of the 1930s in New York City with Missus Goes A-Shopping. He was also an announcer for the radio version of Death Valley Days and for The Jack Berch Show.

He worked at KDKA radio and television in Pittsburgh during the 1960s. He was a morning news anchor and hosted a daily talk show on television. In 1970, he was a news anchor at KGO 810 AM and KGO-TV, the ABC owned-and-operated television station in San Francisco, California.

Kevin Bacon is 66
  • Drummer Jaimoe Johanson of The Allman Brothers is 80. 
  • Actor Jeffrey Tambor is 80. 
  • Actor Kim Darby is 77. 
  • Actor Jonelle Allen (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”) is 76. 
  • Children’s singer Raffi is 76. 
  • Actor Anjelica Huston is 73. 
  • Actor Kevin Bacon is 66. 
  • Actor Robert Knepper (“Prison Break,” “iZombie”) is 65. 
  • Guitarist Graham Jones of Haircut 100 is 63. 
  • Singer Joan Osborne is 62. 
  • Actor Rocky Carroll (“NCIS”) is 61. 
  • Actor Michael B. Silver (“Instinct,” ″NYPD Blue”) is 57. 
  • Actor Billy Crudup (TV’s “The Morning Show,” film’s “Almost Famous”) is 56. 
  • Actor Michael Weatherly (“NCIS,” ″Dark Angel”) is 56. 
  • Singer Beck is 54. 
  • Country singer Drew Womack of Sons of the Desert is 54. 
  • Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is 51. 
  • Guitarist Stephen Mason of Jars of Clay is 49. 
  • Actor Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us,” ″Gilmore Girls”) is 47. 
  • Actor Lance Gross (“House of Payne”) is 43. 
  • Actor Sophia Bush (“Chicago P.D.,” ″One Tree Hill”) is 42. 
  • Guitarist Jamie Cook of Arctic Monkeys is 39. 
  • Actor Maya Hawke (“Little Women,” ″Stranger Things”) is 26. 
  • Actor-musician Jaden Smith (“The Pursuit of Happyness”) is 26.

  • In 1967..Vivien Leigh, English actress (Gone With The Wind; A Streetcar Named Desire), dies of tuberculosis at 53
  • In 1985..Phil Foster, American comedian (Frank De Fazio-Laverne & Shirley), dies at 72
  • In 1990..Howard Duff, Actor (Flamingo Road, Knots Landing), dies of a heart attack at 76
  • In 1991..James Franciscus, Actor (Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Mr Novak, Longstreet), dies of emphysema 57
  • In 1994..Dick Sargent [Richard Stanford Cox], American actor (Darren in "Bewitched"), dies of cancer at 64
  • In 1999..Pete Conrad, American astronaut (b. 1930)
  • In 2006..June Allyson, Actress ("Too Young to Kiss"; "The DuPont Show with June Allyson"), dies of respiratory failure and bronchitis at 88
  • In 2011..Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States (1974-77) and founder of the Betty Ford Center clinic, dies at 93
  • In 2012..Ernest Borgnine, Academy Award-winning actor (Marty; From Here To Eternity; McHale's Navy; The Poseidon Adventure), dies from renal failure at 95
  • In 2015..Ken Stabler, American Pro Football HOF quarterback (4 x Pro Bowl; NFL MVP, First-team All-Pro 1974; Super Bowl 1976; Oakland Raiders), dies of colon cancer at 69
  • In 2022..Larry Storch, American stage and screen comic and character actor (F Troop - "Cpl. Agarn"; Tennessee Tuxedo - "Prof. Whoopee"), dies at 99

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