THURSDAY in Broadcast History .. Jan. 22nd


ON THIS DAY in 1889

the Columbia Phonograph Company began distributing and selling Edison phonographs and phonograph cylinders in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Delaware, and derived its name from the District of Columbia, which was its headquarters.

On this day in 1909, comedic actress Ann Sothern was born Harriette Lake in rural North Dakota.  She starred as Maisie in both network & syndicated radio. On TV she headlined Private Secretary & The Ann Sothern Show, and had a running role on Here’s Lucy.  She died of heart failure March 15 2001 at age 92.

On this day in 1918 actor Richard Eastham was born in Opelousas Louisiana. He had feature roles in TV’s Wonder Woman, Bright Promise & Falcon Crest, as well as scores of guest roles. Hhe suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years and died from complications at age 89 on July 10, 2005.

On this day in 1924, one of the strongest AM signals on the Pacific coast, KGO San Francisco began broadcasting.

Also this day in 1924, outstanding jazz trombonist/composer J J Johnson was born in Indianapolis. In his early twenties he developed a remarkable, flawless technique and was the first trombonist to rise to the challenge of bebop music, remaining unchallenged at the forefront of modern jazz throughout his career.  Diagnosed with prostate cancer he committed suicide Feb 4 2001 at age 77.

On this day in 1931, singer Sam Cooke (below) was born in Clarksdale, Miss., the son of a minister. His biggest hit was the No. 1 song “You Send Me.” He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He was shot to death at a motel Dec. 11 1960 at age 33.

Also in 1931, Clyde McCoy and his orchestra recorded “Sugar Blues”. The tune became McCoy’s theme song, thanks to its popularity on Columbia Records, and later on Decca, selling over a million copies.

On this day in 1934, actor Bill Bixby was born in San Francisco.  He starred in three hit TV series, Incredible Hulk, My Favorite Martian, and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.  Bixby died of prostate cancer Nov. 21 1993 at age 59.

On this day in 1940, “The Right to Happiness” written by radio soap diva Irna Phillips was first aired on the CBS Radio Network.  The daytime serial had begun on NBC Blue three months earlier.  And it would switch between CBS & NBC two more times during its 21 year run.

On this day in 1945, Columbia Records released what would be Doris Day‘s first #1 song, “Sentimental Journey,” by Les Brown & His Orchestra, Brown having helped write the melody. Ms. Day, as the band’s new singer, had her name in much smaller print on the 78’s label.

“Journey” reached #1 status coincidental with the end of World War II that May, and became an unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans.

On this day in 1947, KTLA, Channel 5, in Hollywood, began operation as the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River. It broadcast from a garage on the Paramount Studios lot.  The opening broadcast emceed by Bob Hope was titled “Western Premiere of Commercial Television” and featured many Hollywood celebrities.

On this day in 1949, at 3:30 pm New Westminster MP Tom Reid threw the switch to increase CKNW’s power from 250 to 1000 watts. The station had been operating for 4-and-a-half years, and had been at 1320 khz since Jan. 1.

On this day in 1955, Porter Wagoner, already a star of radio’s Ozark Jubilee,  made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. He officially joined the Opry two years later.

On this day in 1956, New Westminster’s Raymond Burr starred for the 1st time as Captain Lee Quince in the debut of “Fort Laramie” on CBS radio. The program was produced with the same high quality “sound patterns” that distinguished the radio version of “Gunsmoke.”

On this day in 1959, Buddy Holly made his last recordings, alone with an acoustic guitar and tape recorder in his New York apartment.  He did ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’, ‘Crying, Waiting, Hoping’, ‘That’s What They Say’, ‘What To Do’, ‘Learning The Game’ and ‘That Makes It Tough’. After his death in a plane crash 11 days later, the tracks would be overdubbed and released posthumously by Coral Records.

Also in 1959, pop singer Jimmie Rodgers was the guest receiving the surprise tributes from friends and associates on NBC-TV’s “This Is Your Life,” hosted by Ralph Edwards.

On this day in 1960, CBS-TV devoted two hours of prime time to “The Fabulous Fifties,” a salute to the previous decade.  The Leland Hayward production starred Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison, Dick Van Dyke and Suzy Parker, with Henry Fonda and Jackie Gleason as narrators.

Also this day in 1960, soul singer Sam Cooke left Keen Records and signed with RCA Victor on this, his 29th birthday.

On this day in 1962, singer Gene Chandler made his TV debut on “American Bandstand,” a week after his “Duke of Earl” had made it to the national music charts.

On this day in 1963, Gerry & the Pacemakers held their first recording session, producing “Away from You” and “Pretend.”

Also in 1963, The Drifters were in New York City to record their next Top Ten single, “On Broadway,” featuring lead vocalist Rudy Lewis and a solo by Phil Spector on lead guitar.

On this day in 1966, English actor Herbert Marshall, who starred on US radio for 6 seasons in The Man Called X, died at age 75 after a heart attack.

Also this day in 1966, the Beach Boys began working on their classic “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by recording the instrumental track at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles.

Still in 1966, following an unusual snowfall in Memphis that totalled about four inches, Elvis Presley and his entourage built a snowman in front of his Graceland mansion, then engaged in a high-spirited snowball fight.

On this day in 1967, the Lovin’ Spoonful and Johnny Mathis headlined CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show; comedians included the team ofJerry Stiller and Anne Meara; and Canada’s early star of movie musicals Ruby Keeler took a bow from the audience.

On this day in 1968, the NBC-TV comedy show, “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, debuted from “beautiful downtown Burbank.” (It received the official go-ahead after a successful pilot special that had aired in 1967.)

The weekly show, produced by George Schlatter and Ed Friendly, then Paul Keyes, used 260 pages of jokes in each hour-long episode. The first 14 shows earned “Laugh-In” four Emmys.  The fast-paced laughfest made 22-year old Goldie Hawn a star and ran for six seasons.

On this day in 1969, following his success as a TV summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers, Glen Campbell debuted his own CBS TV variety show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.”  It played weekly for more than three years.

Also in 1969, The Beatles first recorded “Don’t Let Me Down.” But a version they taped the following week was chosen to be released as the B-side for “Get Back.”

On this day in 1971, John & Yoko began recording “Power to the People,” a future Top 20 hit single, at the Ascot Sound Studios in London.  Phil Spector was co-producer.

On this day in 1972, the medical action show “Emergency,” based on an LA County Fire Department, starring Robert Fuller, Julie London, Bobby Troup and Randolph Mantooth, debuted on NBC-TV. It would continue for 131 episodes over the next seven years.

Also in 1972, Don McLean‘s album ‘American Pie’ started a seven week run at No.1 on the Billboard album chart.

On this day in 1974, Carly Simon‘s fast-selling album “Hotcakes,” featuring the hits “Mockingbird”, {with then-husband James Taylor) and “Haven’t Got Time For The Pain”, was certified as a Gold Record.

On this day in 1976, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “Theme from `Mahogany’ (Do You Know Where You’re Going to),” by Diana Ross.

On this day in 1977, the song “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder topped the charts but only stayed there for a week.

On this day in 1978, NBC-TV aired the three-hour special “Fifty Years Of Country Music“, with an all-star cast and host Glen Campbell.

On this day in 1979, Victoria radio station CJVI AM900 began using VI-90 branding.  The station left AM in 2000 thanks to a novel frequency swap with Camosun college FM station CKMO. Today Victoria’s first radio license has evolved into Rogers Broadcasting’s Jack FM at 103.1 MHz.

On this day in 1981, a picture of a naked John Lennon, taken hours before his death by the noted photographer Annie Leibovitz, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

On this day in 1983, the then-new 24-hour music video network MTVstarted broadcasting to the US west coast after being picked up by Group W Cable in Los Angeles.

On this day in 1984, Barry Manilow sang the U.S. National Anthem at Super Bowl XVIII.

On this day in 1987,  Phil Donahue became the first TV talk show host to tape programs inside the Soviet Union. Donahue appeared in Leningrad, Kiev and Moscow. The shows were seen by Russian TV audiences later in the year.

On this day in 1988, character actor Parker Fennelly died at age 96. He is best remembered as New Englander Titus Moody on the Fred Allen radio show, and for his TV commercials for Pepperidge Farms.

On this day in 1990, Guns ‘N’ Roses guitarist Slash used profanity numerous times on live television while accepting an American Music Award.

On this day in 1991, L.L. Cool J’s album “Mama Said Knock You Out” was certified platinum by the RIAA.

On this day in 1994, the bald star of TV’s Kojak Telly Savalas died of prostrate cancer aged 72.  In the Kojak series he played a New York City detective with a fondness for lollipops and whose trademark line was “Who loves ya, baby?”

Also in 1994, the song “All for Love” by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, & Sting topped the charts and stayed there for 3 weeks.

Still in 1994, well into his second decade in modern country music Dwight Yoakum was finally inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

On this day in 1997, rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Holden, best known for his hit single “Love You So”, suffered a fatal heart attack in Mexico at age 57. “Love You So” was Holden’s only hit, reaching number seven on the Billboard chart in June of 1960.

On this day in 1998, singer Toni Braxton filed for Chapter 7 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, listing liabilities of more than $1 million.

Also this day in 1998, rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg filed suit for $10 million against Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, its parent Coopers & Lybrand and former Gelfand accountant Steven Cantrock, charging they mismanaged his money.

On this day in 2001, CHUM announced that it and seven of its other AM stations across the country would join Sports station CFGO Ottawa, to form The Team Sports Radio Network. The move to All Sports was made four months later, but the Toronto flagship CHUM returned to Oldies after little more than a year.

Also in 2001, Chubby Checker guest-starred as the homeless “Mr. Bo” on Fox-TV’s “Ally McBeal.”

On this day in 2002, Pat Summerall announced that he would leave his NFL broadcasting partner, John Madden, after they called the Super Bowl for Fox Sports. The two had worked together for 21 years.

On this day in 2004, big band leader Billy May, who arranged and recorded with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, died of heart failure at age 87.

Also in 2004, singer Ryan Adams broke his left wrist as he fell from the stage during a gig in Liverpool. A fan observed, “he went down with a thud and we couldn’t believe he was trying to continue singing.”

On this day in 2008, Australian-born actor Heath Ledger was found dead in a Manhattan apartment. He was 28 years old. The NYC medical examiner said Ledger died of an accidental overdose of painkillers, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and other prescription drugs. Prior to his breakthrough to stardom in the films Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight, he started in three Aussie TV series, Sweat, Home & Away, and Roar.

Also in 2008, Ringo Starr walked off the syndicated TV program “Live With Regis And Kelly,” rather than cut his performance of the title song from his ‘Liverpool 8’ album from 4:15 to 2:30.

On this day in 2010, Bono and The Edge of U2, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Rihanna, Jay-Z and Sting were among the stars performing on the Hope for Haiti Telethon. The commercial-free live telecast of the fundraiser for the earthquake ravaged country ran on MTV, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CNN, among others, without commercial interruption.

On this day in 2012, actor/newsman/announcer/narrator Dick Tufeld, the voice of the robot in the 60’s TV series “Lost In Space,” died of congestive heart failure at age 85.  His career began in 1940-50’s network radio as an announcer for ABC’s “Amazing Mr. Malone” and “Space Patrol.”

Also this day in 2012, two veteran US sportscasters “shuffled off this mortal coil.” Andy Musser, a voice of the Philadelphia Phillies for 26 years, died at age 84. And a 40-year voice of Milwaukee sports Jim Irwin succumbed to kidney cancer at age 87.

On this day in 2014, veteran Boston TV newsman Chet Curtis died of pancreatic cancer at age 74. For more than 25 years he co-anchored news on WCVB with his then-wife, Natalie Jacobsen. In all Curtis had anchored in|Boston for 46 years.

Also in 2014, Quebec City-born actor Pierre Jalbert,  who co-starred in the 1960’s in 115 episodes of the TV series ‘Combat’, died at age 89, of complications from a heart attack.


Today’s Birthdays:

Actress Diana Douglas (Paper Chase, The Cowboys, Days of Our Lives) is 92.

Actress Piper Laurie (Twin Peaks, Traps, Skag) is 83.

TV chef Graham Kerr (Galloping Gourmet) is 81.

Actor Seymour Cassel (Heist, Good Company, Under Suspicion) is 80.

Actor John Hurt (I Claudius, Watership Down) is 75.

Singer Steve Perry (former Journey lead vocalist) is 66.

Country bassist Teddy Gentry of Alabama is 63.

Actor Chris Lemmon(Thunder In Paradise, Knots Landing) is 61.

Actor John Wesley Shipp (One Life to Live, Dawson’s Creek,The Flash) is 59.

Actress Linda Blair (Scariest Places on Earth, Sarah T: Portrait of a Teenaged Alcoholic) is 56.

Actress Diane Lane (Lonesome Dove, A Streetcar Named Desire) is 50.

Country singer Regina Nicks of Regina Regina is 50.

Rap DJ-actor Jazzy Jeff is 50.

TV host Guy Fieri (Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, Minute to Win It) is 47.

Actress Olivia D’Abo (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Wonder Years) is 46.

Singer Marc Gay of Shai is 46.

Actress Katie Finneran (Michael J. Fox Show, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, Wonderfalls) is 44.

Actor Gabriel Macht (Suits, The Others) is 43.

Actor Balthazar Getty (Brothers & Sisters, Alias, Into the West) is 40.

Toronto-born actress Jennifer Spence (Continuum, SGU Stargate Universe) is 38. 

Actor Christopher Kennedy Masterson (Malcolm in the Middle, The Road Home) is 35.

Jazz/R&B singer/songwriter Lizz Wright is 35.

Singer Willa Ford is 34.

Singer Kelton Kessee of Immature is 34.

Actress Beverley Mitchell (7th Heaven) is 34.

Guitarist Ben Moody (The Fallen, Evanescence) is 34.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Orianthi is 30.

Actress Sami Gayle (Blue Bloods) is 19.


Chart Toppers – Jan. 22

Slowpoke – Pee Wee King
Sin (It’s No) – Eddy Howard
Shrimp Boats – Jo Stafford
Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way – Carl Smith

Wonderland by Night – Bert Kaempfert
Exodus – Ferrante & Teicher
Calcutta – Lawrence Welk
North to Alaska – Johnny Horton

Raindrop Keep Fallin’ on My Head – B.J. Thomas
Venus – The Shocking Blue
I Want You Back – The Jackson 5
Baby, Baby (I Know You’re a Lady) – David Houston

Le Freak – Chic
Y.M.C.A. – Village People
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? – Rod Stewart
I Really Got the Feeling – Dolly Parton

The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson
Need You Tonight – INXS
Could’ve Been – Tiffany
One Friend – Dan Seals

Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton
Don’t Let Go (Love) – En Vogue
I’m Still in Love with You – New Edition
It Matters to Me – Faith Hill

Stickwitu – Pussycat Dolls
Check on It – Beyoncé Knowles
Don’t Forget About Us – Mariah Carey
Jesus, Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood


  1. I remember the day of the increase in power for CKNW. The ceremony came between Bill Rea’s Roundup and Warren Barker’s Ranger’s Cabin. Names on hand would likely have been Hal Davis, Les White, Bill Hughes, Bill Fox, etc. Can any ancient NW listeners remember the name of the orchestra that aired live from a dance hall in the evening ? Okay, I’ll come up with it …..Harry (Varcoe) and his Melody Men from the Town Hall Ballroom on Pender Street, on the north side of where it met Georgia Street on the way to Stanley Park.

  2. Thanks for remembering, Chuck. I wish my aging brain had that degree of detailed recall.
    I do remember as a pre-teen visiting Bill Rae’s Roundup as a member of the studio audience (with my mother) but I think it was at CKMO, before Bill got NW going.

    Yes, believe it or not there was an audience for a record show with some live singers. A much less sophisticated era.


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