The Big Show was radio 90-minute variety program featuring top-name comics, stage, screen and music talent, and was aimed at keeping American radio in its classic era alive and well against the rapidly growing television tide. For a good portion of its two-year run (November 5, 1950-April 20, 1952), it was hosted by legendary stage actress and personality Tallulah Bankhead,
The Big Show began November 5, 1950 on NBC with a stellar line-up of guests: Fred Allen, Mindy Carson, Jimmy Durante, José Ferrer, Portland Hoffa, Frankie Laine, Russell Knight, Paul Lukas, Ethel Merman, Danny Thomas and Meredith Willson.
The show's success was credited to Bankhead's notorious wit and ad-libbing ability in addition to the show's superior scripting. She had one of the funniest writers in the business on her staff: Goodman Ace, the mastermind of radio's legendary Easy Aces. She included renowned ad-libbers in the show—particularly Fred Allen (he and his longtime sidekick and wife, Portland Hoffa, appeared so often they could have been the show's regular co-hosts) and Groucho Marx, both of whom appeared on the first season's finale and appeared jointly on three other installments.
As Bankhead recorded in her memoirs, she took the show because she needed the money but nearly changed her mind when she feared she'd be little more than a glorified mistress of ceremonies with nothing to do but introduce the feature performers. "Guess what happened?" she continued. "Your heroine emerged from the fracas as the Queen of the Kilocycles. Authorities cried out that Tallulah had redeemed radio. In shepherding my charges through The Big Show, said the critics, I had snatched radio out of the grave. The autopsy was delayed."
➦In 1961…The U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved FM stereo broadcasting.
In the late 1950s, several systems to add stereo to FM radio were considered by the FCC. Included were systems from 14 proponents including Crosby, Halstead, Electrical and Musical Industries, Ltd (EMI), Zenith, and General Electric. The individual systems were evaluated for their strengths and weaknesses during field tests in Uniontown, Pennsylvania using KDKA-FM in Pittsburgh as the originating station.
The Crosby system was rejected by the FCC because it was incompatible with existing subsidiary communications authorization (SCA) services which used various subcarrier frequencies including 41 and 67 kHz. Many revenue-starved FM stations used SCAs for "storecasting" and other non-broadcast purposes. The Halstead system was rejected due to lack of high frequency stereo separation and reduction in the main channel signal-to-noise ratio.
The GE and Zenith systems, so similar that they were considered theoretically identical, were formally approved by the FCC in April 1961 as the standard stereo FM broadcasting method in the United States and later adopted by most other countries.[
➦In 1985...Flashback..From the pages of Radio&Records...
➦In 2007...a survey was released which said 54% of Americans thought firing talk show host, Don Imus, several days earlier, was justified for his comments about the Rutgers women basketball team.
➦In 2011…Former Los Angeles radio personality (KFWB, KRLA, KEZY, KFI) Ted Quillin, the first to play a Ritchie Valens record on the radio and portrayed by Rick Dees in the film "La Bamba," died at age 81.
Quillin's years in radio include: KFWB–Hollywood, 1958–61; KRLA–Pasadena, 1962–64; KORK–Las Vegas, 1964–1966, KFI- L.A, 1969; KFOX-Long Beach 1969-71; XPRS-1972, and finally, KORK-Las Vegas, 1972, when he became a permanent resident of Las Vegas.
In 2005 Ted was inducted into the Broadcasters' Hall of Fame in Nevada.