Monday, April 17, 2017

April 17 Radio History



Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake
➦In 1905...actor Arthur Lake was born in smalltown Kentucky.  He is forever memorable and beloved for bringing Dagwood Bumstead, the bumbling husband of Blondie, to life in radio, television and film. The radio version ran weekly for 11 years, from 1939-50, debuting on CBS, and later on each of the major networks.  Lake suffered a heart attack and died Jan. 9 1987 at age 81.

➦In 1922...San Francisco pioneer radio station KPO (later KNBR) went on the air from the 6th floor of Hale Bros. Dep’t Store.  It began with a power of 50 watts at 833 khz.


➦In 1923...Newscaster Harry Reasoner was born. He died Aug. 6, 1991 at 68.  After WW2, Reasoner went into radio with CBS in 1948 and then worked for the United States Information Agency in the Philippines. When he returned stateside, he went into television and worked at station KEYD (later KMSP) in Minneapolis. Reasoner later joined CBS News in New York, where he eventually hosted a morning news program called Calendar on top of doing commentator and special news narration duties.

After a stay of several years in the '70s at ABC. Reasoner returned to CBS and 60 Minutes where he remained until his retirement on May 19, 1991.  He died three months after his retirement from a blood clot in the brain received from a fall at his home in Westport, CT


➦In 1934...WLW Cincinnati licensed to operate at 500kW.



In January 1934 WLW began broadcasting at the 500 kilowatt level late at night under the experimental callsign W8XO. In April 1934 the station was authorized to operate at 500 kilowatts during regular hours under the WLW call letters. On May 2, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a ceremonial button that officially launched WLW's 500-kilowatt signal.  As the first station in the world to broadcast at this strength, WLW received repeated complaints from around the United States and Canada that it was overpowering other stations as far away as Toronto.


In December 1934 WLW cut back to 50 kilowatts at night to mitigate the interference, and began construction of three 50 ft. tower antennas to be used to reduce signal strength towards Canada. With these three antennas in place, full-time broadcasting at 500 kilowatts resumed in early 1935.

However, WLW was continuing to operate under special temporary authority that had to be renewed every six months, and each renewal brought complaints about interference and undue domination of the market by such a high-power station. The FCC was having second thoughts about permitting extremely wide-area broadcasting versus more locally oriented stations, and in 1938, the US Senate adopted the "Wheeler" resolution, expressing it to be the sense of that body that more stations with power in excess of 50 kilowatts are against the public interest. As a result, in 1939 the 500-kilowatt broadcast authorization was not renewed, bringing an end to the era of the AM radio superstation.  Because of the impending war and the possible need for national broadcasting in an emergency, the W8XO experimental license for 500 kilowatts remained in effect until December 29, 1942.

In 1962 the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation again applied for a permit to operate at 750 kilowatts, but the FCC denied the application.


➦In 1935…After more than a year as a local program on WENR in Chicago, "Lights Out" debuted to a national audience on NBC Radio. In June of 1936, Chicago writer Arch Oboler took over from series creator Wyllis Cooper and stayed with the program until 1943. The series continued until the summer of 1947.



➦In 1964…Washington's FBI lab reported it could not determine the lyrics to "Louie Louie."




➦In 1965…RCA and the LearJet Corporation announced the development of the combination 8 track tape player and car radio that would become available in next fall's new cars.


➦In 1970...the Apollo 13 astronauts splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft en route to the Moon.


➦In 1971..."Joy To The World" by Three Dog Night peaked at number one on the pop singles chart, where it remained for six weeks.


Anthony Perkins, Peter Potter, Troy Donahue
➦In 1983...Peter Potter, DJ on KMPC, KFWB, KLAC L-A and host of the ABC-TV Show Juke Box Jury in the '50s, died at 78


➦In 1986...WRFM 105.1 FM NYC switched from beautiful music to soft rock as WNSR.

➦In 1994…Former NBC and CBS newsman Peter Hackes, seven-year host of the daily radio program "Mature Focus" for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), died after a heart attack at 69.

➦In 1996...Bob Grant did last show at WABC NYC.

Grant was hired by WABC in 1984 and at first hosted a show from 9-11 p.m., before moving to the 3-6 p.m. afternoon time slot. The Bob Grant Show consistently dominated the ratings in the highly competitive afternoon drive time slot in New York City and at one point the radio station aired recorded promos announcing him as "America's most listened to talk radio personality." The gravel-voiced Grant reminded listeners during the daily introduction that the "program was unscripted and unrehearsed".

Grant's long stay at WABC ended when he was fired for a remark about the April 3, 1996 airplane crash involving Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Grant remarked to caller named, Carl of Oyster Bay, "My hunch is that (Brown) is the one survivor. I just have that hunch. Maybe it's because, at heart, I'm a pessimist." When Brown was found dead, Grant's comments were widely criticized, and several weeks later, after a media campaign, his contract was terminated.

After being fired, Grant moved down the dial to WOR to host his show in the same afternoon drive-time slot. Grant's age began to show while broadcasting at WOR. He was less engaging with the callers, and not as energetic during his broadcasts. For a time, the Bob Grant show went into national syndication, but has been a local only show since 2001. Grant and his WABC replacement Sean Hannity would sometimes throw jabs at each other. Hannity defeated Grant in the ratings from 2001–2006.

Grant's WOR run ended on January 13, 2006. After several fill-in stints at WABC, Grant returned to WABC in August 2007.  His finals stint lasted less than a year and a half, until his regular nightly show was pulled by WABC in late November 2008 as part of a programming shuffle stemming from the debut of Curtis Sliwa's national show, and later Mark Levin's show expanding to three hours, leaving no room for Grant.


➦In 1998...Photographer Linda McCartney, wife of former Beatles member Paul McCartney, died of cancer. She was 56.

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