Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17 Radio History

➦In 1912...broadcaster Arthur Gordon “Art” Linkletter was born in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan.

He migrated to California where he became internationally known as host of two long-running broadcasts: House Party, on CBS radio and television for 25 years, and the game show People Are Funny, which ran on NBC radio & TV for 19 years. Linkletter was famous for interviewing children on House Party and Kids Say the Darndest Things, which led to a successful series of books quoting children.

He died May 26, 2010 at age 97.

➦In 1934…FCC adopts Order No. 1

The Beach Boys
➦In 1962...The Beach Boys signed their first record contract with Capitol Records.

➦In 1981…Bruce Bradley did his final show on WBZ 1030 AM, Boston.

Bradley joined WBZ in 1960, when the station is still playing middle of the road pop music. Gradually, as the music becomes more top-40, “Juicie Brucie” Bradley’s night-time show became extremely popular.

The station moved from Top40 to Full-Service AC in 1974.

Bradley passed away in June 2013. Click Here for more.

➦In 2009…CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, anchorman of "The CBS Evening News" on television for 19 years (1962-1981) and called "the most trusted man in America," died of cerebrovascular disease at age 92.

He entered broadcasting as a radio announcer for WKY in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1936, he met his future wife, Mary Elizabeth Maxwell (known by her nickname "Betsy"), while working as the sports announcer for KCMO (AM) in Kansas City, Missouri. His broadcast name was "Walter Wilcox".  He would explain later that radio stations at the time did not want people to use their real names for fear of taking their listeners with them if they left.

In Kansas City, he joined the United Press in 1937. He became one of the top American reporters in World War II, covering battles in North Africa and Europe.  Cronkite was one of eight journalists selected by the United States Army Air Forces to fly bombing raids over Germany in a B-17 Flying Fortress part of group called the Writing 69th, and during a mission fired a machine gun at a German fighter.  He also landed in a glider with the 101st Airborne in Operation Market-Garden and covered the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he covered the Nuremberg trials and served as the United Press main reporter in Moscow from 1946 to 1948.

In 1950, Cronkite joined CBS News in its young and growing television division

➦In 2011…WRXP NYC drops Triple A format.

On June 21, 2011, it was announced that majority ownership of WRXP was acquired by Merlin Media LLC, a new entity headed by veteran radio executive Randy Michaels.   The sale, which the FCC approved in September 2011, included two other Emmis-owned stations in Chicago, WLUP-FM and WKQX. They then registered several domains for what the new format of the station would be, including a return of WYNY's country format, but many promoted an FM news format. WRXP's rock format ended with the song "Long Live Rock" by The Who.

After a brief period of dead air, WRXP (whose call sign was changed to WEMP on July 21) switched to a stunt of Adult Contemporary music branded as "101.9 FM New," a stunt that served as a transition to the station's new format.  "FM New" featured a live morning show that began at 6AM on July 18, hosted by veteran New York City radio personality Paul Cavalconte (who has been with 101.9 since 1998), with Jeff McKay (formerly of Shadow Traffic and WINS) providing traffic and weather updates(until the next day when Meteorologist Scott Derek began).   News reports and news blocks were gradually introduced beginning with a 3PM newscast on July 25, 2011, anchored by Dave Packer and Mike Barker.

Walt Sabo
On August 12, 2011, the station ended its Adult Contemporary stunt and went full-time all-news as "FM News 101.9," following in the footsteps of its Chicago sister station WWWN (the former and current WKQX), which flipped to all-news on July 29.  As conceived by Merlin's then-COO, Walter Sabo, "FM News" was what Sabo considered a "redefining" of the all-news format;  the on-air presentation was generally looser and conversational in tone, while an emphasis was placed on lifestyle, health, and entertainment features.  The initial news staff at WEMP included those with experience in New York radio, including WINS alums Catherine Smith, Alice Stockton-Rossini, and Brett Larson, as well as former WCBS anchor Therese Crowley and WRXP holdover Paul Cavalconte.

Over time, the "FM News" approach on WEMP would be adjusted: The reliance on lifestyle and entertainment features was decreased; the station turned towards a tighter, polished on-air presentation; and several new features were added, including "ten minutes of non-stop news," the "top 5 trending stories" leading off every hour, and hourly sports and business updates.  Coinciding with the on-air changes was a major promotional push, including television ads and promotions that tweaked WINS' longtime "22 minutes" slogan, with WEMP proclaiming "Give us 10 minutes, we'll give you the world."   (After WINS owner CBS Radio sent a cease-and-desist letter to Merlin Media, WEMP dropped its "world" slogan.) 

Merlin’s WEMP-FM  NYC dropped news in 2012 in favor of new rock format.

➥In 2015…Sportscaster Van Miller, the play-by-play voice of the National Football League's Buffalo Bills from 1960 to 1971 and then again from 1977 until his retirement in 2004, died at age 87

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