THURSDAY in Broadcast History .. April 7th


ON THIS DAY in 1897

gossip columnist/broadcaster Walter Winchell was born in Minneapolis.  He was the first to break the journalistic taboo against exposing the private lives of public figures, permanently altering the shape of journalism and celebrity. He broke into radio in 1930, and two years later had his own weekly quarter hour, the Jergens Journal, on the NBC Blue network (which became ABC.) “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea.”  The Journal, gossipy news mixed with his opinion, was on the air for most of the next 30 years.  Later his star would brighten for a new generation when he narrated the TV series The Untouchables.  He died a recluse of prostate cancer Feb. 20 1972 at age 74.

In 1908, orchestra conductor, arranger and composer Percy Faith was born in Toronto. He began by playing music for silent films in the city’s movie houses, later turning to arranging and composing when his hands were severely burned in an accident. After a stint at the C-B-C from 1933 to 40, Faith moved to the U-S and became an arranger-conductor for Columbia Records. He worked with Tony Bennett and other singers, plus his own orchestra and chorus. His “Theme From a Summer Place” won the 1960 Grammy for Record of the Year. Percy Faith died Feb 9 1976 at age 67.

In 1915, Billie Holliday, probably the greatest jazz singer ever, was born Ellinore Harris in Baltimore. Her greatest recordings — “Strange Fruit,” “God Bless the Child” and “Yesterdays” — were made in 1939 and ’40.  Holliday was jailed for a narcotics offence in 1948, and died in a New York hospital of liver failure July 17, 1959 while facing another possession charge. The 1972 film “Lady Sings the Blues” is based on her life.

In 1918, bigband clarinetist Peanuts Hucko was born in Syracuse NY.  He played with a succession of bands before, during & after WWII, including Charlie Spivak, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Ray McKinley, Eddie Condon, and Jack Teagarden.  In the 50’s he was busy in New York as a studio musician for CBS and ABC. In the 1970’s he led & toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, as well as playing with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra on ABC TV.  He died after a lengthy illness Jun 19 2003 at age 85.

In 1919, bandleader/pianist/arranger Ralph Flanagan was born in Lorain Ohio. He played in & arranged for the orchestras of Sammy Kaye, Blue Barron, Charlie Barnet, Gene Krupa, Tony Pastor, Boyd Raeburn, & Alvino Rey. He formed his own big band in 1949 which repopularized the Glenn Miller sound on such hits as Nevertheless, Rag Mop, Harbor Lights, Slow Poke, & Hot Toddy.  He died Dec 30 1995 at age 76.

In 1927, phone lines were used for the first time to send TV images from Washington DC to New York City.  The audience to the demonstration saw an image of Commerce Secretary (& soon to be US president) Herbert Hoover.

In 1950, yodeler/falsetto-voiced country singer Slim Whitman was in Shreveport making his debut on KWKH Radio’s “Louisiana Hayride.”

In 1954, Gee, by The Crows, became the first rhythm and blues single to gain attention on pop music charts. Gee, written by William Davis, the baritone of The Crows, made it to #17 on the pop music chart. This was also one of the first songs by a black group to be played on white radio stations. The group split up in the late 1950s.

In 1956, the first national rock and roll series, Alan Freed’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Dance Party’, made its debut on the CBS Radio network.

Also in 1956, neophyte English author Arthur Hailey had a script accepted and presented just 20 days after it was submitted to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The TV drama, Flight into Danger, garnered an unprecedented audience response.

Still in 1956, Little Richard’s soon-to-be classic “Long Tall Sally” was released in the US by Specialty Records.

Again in 1956, The Platters made their television debut on the’ “Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show” from CBS-TV’s Studio 50 in New York.

in 1957, on CBS-TV’s “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Buddy Knox sang “Party Doll,” Jimmy Bowen performed “I’m Stickin’ With You,” while Ferlin Husky offered his huge #1 country hit  “Gone.”  And the cast of the Broadway hit “A Face in the Crowd” did a scene from the show.

In 1958, RCA Victor released the Elvis Presley single “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck.”

That same day in 1958, Mercury Records released “Twilight Time” by The Platters which would soon become their 3rd #1 single.

Still in 1958, as the 45 had become the format of choice for single records the Capitol label officially stopped issuing 78 rpm disks.

In 1959, at the Bradley Studio in Nashville Marty Robbins recorded his biggest hit “El Paso.”  In fact he recorded a whole album, “Gunfighter Ballads
And Trail Songs,” on this one day.

In 1960, at the Olmstead Studio in New York City Connie Francis recorded her first #1 hit single “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” for the MGM label.


Today’s Birthdays:

Country singer Bobby Bare is 81.

Actress Yvonne Lime (Happy, Father Knows Best) is 81.

Singer Charlie Thomas of The Drifters is 79.

Actress Roberta Shore (The Virginian) is 73.

Singer Patricia Bennett of The Chiffons is 69.

Singer John Oates of Hall and Oates is 67.

Drummer John Dittrich of Restless Heart is 65.

Singer Janis Ian is 65.

Actress Alexandra Neil (One Life to Live, Ryan’s Hope) is 61.

Actress Elaine Miles (Northern Exposure, The Rez) is 56.

Singer Mark Kibble of Take 6 is 52.

Actor Bill Bellamy (Last Comic Standing, Fastlane) is 51.

Rock musician Dave “Yorkie” Palmer (Space) is 51.

Actor Matt Servito (Banshee, One Life to Live) is 51.

Former CKNW Legislative Reporter/talk show host Sean Leslie is 48. 

Former football player-turned-analyst Tiki Barber is 41.

Actress Heather Burns (20 Good Years, The $treet) is 41.

Actor Kevin Alejandro (True Blood, Southland) is 40.

Actress Rachel Duncan (Almost Home, The Torkelsons) is 31.

Actor Ed Speleers (Downton Abbey) is 28.

Actress Jessica Sara (Just for Kicks) is 24.

Toronto-born actress Cristine Prosperi  (Degrassi: The Next Generation) is 23.

Actor Conner Rayburn (According to Jim) is 17.


Chart Toppers

Oh, What It Seemed to Be – The Frankie Carle Orchestra (vocal: Marjorie Hughes)
Personality – Johnny Mercer
You Won’t Be Satisfied – The Les Brown Orchestra (vocal: Doris Day)
Guitar Polka – Al Dexter

The Ballad of Davy Crockett – Bill Hayes
Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White – Perez Prado
Unchained Melody – Les Baxter
In the Jailhouse Now – Webb Pierce

Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
Twist and Shout – The Beatles
Suspicion – Terry Stafford
Understand Your Man – Johnny Cash

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia – Vicki Lawrence
Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye) – Gladys Knight & The Pips
Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got) – Four Tops
Super Kind of Woman – Freddie Hart & The Heartbeats

I Love Rock ’N Roll – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
We Got the Beat – Go-Go’s
Make a Move on Me – Olivia Newton-John
Bobbie Sue – The Oak Ridge Boys

Coming Out of the Dark – Gloria Estefan
I’ve Been Thinking About You – Londonbeat
You’re in Love – Wilson Phillips
Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House – Garth Brooks

Bye Bye Bye – ’N Sync
Maria Maria – Santana featuring The Product G&B
Amazed – Lonestar
How Do You Like Me Now?! – Toby Keith

Right Round – Flo Rida
Poker Face – Lady Gaga
Dead And Gone – T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake
It Won’t Be Like This for Long – Darius Rucker


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