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Friday in Broadcast History .. August 7th


ON THIS DAY in 1885

Billie Burke

actress/comedienne Billie Burke was born to a show business family in Washington DC.

After a bigscreen career which is best remembered in her portrayal of Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, she starred in her own Saturday morning radio show on CBS as a scatterbrain with a heart of gold.  Later she played the same character on the Eddie Cantor Radio Show, and guested a few times on TV, including two dramatic roles on CBS-TV’s Playhouse 90.  She died May 14, 1970 at age 84.

In 1906, actress Ernestine Wade was born in Jackson Mississippi.  She is best remembered as Sapphire Stevens, the shrewish wife of The Kingfish on radio & TV’s Amos ‘n’ Andy.  She died April 15 1983 at age 76.


In 1926, satirical humourist/advertising guru Stan Freberg was born in Pasadena. He is remembered and revered for his creativity, as an author, recording artist, animation voice actor, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer and advertising creative director. His best-known works include “St. George and the Dragonet“, John & Marsha, Green Christmas, Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, his role on the television series Time for Beany, and a number of classic commercials. The 15 episodes of his 1957 CBS radio show are fondly recalled by OTR fans. He died from pneumonia April 7 2015 at age 88.

Bunny Berigan

In 1937, Bunny Berigan and his orchestra recorded his theme song “I Can’t Get Started” for RCA Victor Records.  The song had been introduced on Broadway by Bob Hope.

In 1941, TV station WNBT, Channel 4 in New York City, broadcast the first audience-participation show. Studio guests played charades as part of the fun.   Now known as, NewsChannel 4, the station signed on the air as WNBT on July 1, 1941, at 1:29 p.m. This historic event was the beginning of commercial television in the United States. But the imminent start of WWII for America put TV on the back burner for another five years.

William Gargan


In 1949, Martin Kane, Private Eye was first heard on Mutual radio.

William Gargan starred on the Sunday afternoon program.

In 1954, “Sh-Boom” by The Crew Cuts hit #1 for 7 weeks on the Billboard Pop Music chart and showed a growing popularity of R&B music amongst the white population.  The Crew Cuts were from Toronto, but the original similarly sounding recording was by the Chords and charting at the same time.

Also in 1954, Elvis Presley appeared at the Eagles Nest in Memphis, the first of 12 shows that year at the venue in his hometown. The ad in the local paper read; “See and hear Elvis singing That’s All Right and The Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

In 1957, 16-year-old Paul Anka made his U.S. television debut on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, lip-synching to his first hit “Diana.”

In 1958, Dion and the Belmonts made their first television appearance on ABC-TV’s American Bandstand, performing “No One Knows.”

In 1964, Dean Martin recorded his future Top Ten hit “The Door Is Still Open to My Heart.”

In 1965, the UK band Herman’s Hermits featuring singer Peter Noone went to No.1 on the Billboard pop singles chart with ‘I’m Henry VIII I Am’.

Also in 1965, the lead singer of the UK’s Dave Clark Five, Mike Smith suffered two broken ribs in Chicago after he was pulled off the stage by some rabid fans.

In 1970, Christine McVie joined Fleetwood Mac as the group’s first female member. McVie was married to bass player John McVie. The keyboard player & vocalist quit touring with the group in 1991.

In 1971, The Bee Gees started a four week run at No.1 on the Billboard pop singles chart with ‘How Can You Mend A Broken Heart’. It was the group’s tenth US hit and first No.1.

Also in 1971, Homer of country’s comedic music duo ‘Homer & Jethro’ suffered a fatal heart attack at age 51.  His real name was Henry D. Haynes.

Bruce Morrow


In 1974, legendary New York deejay Cousin Brucie (Bruce Morrow) did his last show on WABC, and moved over to WNBC.

In  1975, the Rolling Stones received a gold album for “Made in the Shade”.



In 1976, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” by Elton John & Kiki Dee. The song was the first on which John sings to hit No. 1 on the British charts.

In 1982, Fleetwood Mac started a five-week run at No.1 on the Billboard album chart with ‘Mirage’. It was the band’s third album chart topper.

In 1984, soul singer Esther Phillips died from liver and kidney failure due to drug use, at the age of 48.  She had the 1975 hit single ‘What A Difference A Day Makes’.

In 1987, Madonna upset a lot of people in her hometown of Bay City, Michigan, when she called it a “smelly little town” on NBC-TV’s “Today” show.


In 1991, Paul Simon gave a free concert in New York’s Central Park, much as he had in 1981 with partner Art Garfunkel. The performance eventually became the album “Paul Simon’s Concert In The Park.”

In 1993, the rap trio Cypress Hill saw their Black Sunday hit #1 on U.S. LP charts. The group, which brought a Latin flavor to hip-hop, was made up of Sen Dog (real name Senen Reyes), B-Real (real name Louis Freese) and D.J. Muggs (real name Larry Muggerud). A sampling of the cuts: I Wanna Get High, Legalize It, Hits from the Bong, Cock the Hammer, Hand on the Glock and the single smash Insane in the Brain. Said B-Real, “I never dreamed it would be number one.” Surprised us too.


In 1995, Ottawa-born Alanis Morissette‘s biting “You Oughta Know” soared to No. 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart and was the most requested tune on rock radio.



In 1996, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that two former members of Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers waited too long to claim that they were cowriters of the group’s legendary 1955 hit “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”. A lower court ruling had cleared the way for royalties to go to Jimmy Merchant and Herman Santiago for writing the song with lead singer Frankie Lymon (he died of a heroin oberdose on Feb 28, 1968].

In 1997, the Alberta government released the forensic accounting review that found “the former directors of the CKUA Radio Foundation breached their fiduciary duty by receiving remuneration from CKUA without prior court approval”. Back on March 20th, the station’s 17 transmitters across the province had been shut down by its Board, citing lack of funds. A new Board was established on April 14th, and the station was back on the air 11 days later.

Also in 1997, Garth Brooks played to a crowd estimated at between 250,000 and 900,000 — with an HBO audience of more than 15 million.
The crowd at the free show was the largest ever for a concert in New York’s Central Park. Said Garth of the preparations required, “We rehearse indoors at a place here in New York. Then we rehearse with no sound for the camera guys, so they will hopefully be in the vicinity of what’s going on. And then the rest of it’s really, man, just fly by the seat of your pants. You know, once the show starts, all the rules are out the window.”

In 1998, the 7-year-old son of Grammy-winning producer Bill Bottrell fell to his death from a cliff on the Mendocino County coast in Northern California. Bottrell’s son, William, wandered away late in the afternoon and was later found at the bottom of the cliff. Bottrell won a Grammy for producing Sheryl Crow’s 1994 “All I Wanna Do.”

In 1999, it was Woodstock ’99 all over again when violence erupted outside a Dave Matthews Band concert in Hartford, Conn. Unruly behavior in the parking lot of the Meadows Music Theater required intervention by riot police and led to a total of 55 arrests.

In 2001, after an astonishing 73 years in show business, harmonica whiz Larry Adler died aged 87.  He was known for his original collaborations with George Gershwin, Kate Bush, Sting and Vaughan Williams and for his own virtuoso performances.

In 2002, three members of Oasis were injured when the taxi they were travelling in was involved in a crash during a US tour in Indianapolis. Noel Gallagher, Andy Bell and Jay Darlington were all taken to hospital and treated for cuts and bruises.


Also in 2002, former Boyzone Keith Duffy made his acting debut in the UK TV soap ‘Coronation Street’ playing the role of Peter Barlow’s old Navy mate Ciaran McCarthy.

In 2003, The Osmonds helped to unveil their new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Peter Jennings

In 2005, Canadian-born ABC TV news anchor Peter Jennings succumbed to lung cancer at age 67.

In 2006, the reality series Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels had its premiere on the A&E cable network. The show documents the lives of the KISS bassist/singer, his longtime partner actress-model Shannon Tweed, and their teenage children Nick and Sophie.


Also in 2006, singer/songwriter Barry Manilow cancelled several shows at the Las Vegas Hilton after he underwent an operation to repair torn cartilage in his hip. (Might he also have had a few facial nips & tucks? Hmmm.)

In 2007, Hal Fishman, the longest-serving news anchor in the history of American television (1960-2007 in LA), who made his last broadcast on KTLA eight days earlier, succumbed to colon cancer three weeks short of his 76th birtnday.

In 2008, in New York The Police taped an appearance on the cable TV show ‘Elvis Costello With . . .’  The group performed with Costello as the quartet rolled through songs by Cream and Jimi Hendrix.

Also in 2008, Elvis Presley‘s peacock jumpsuit, was sold at auction for $300,000, making it the priciest piece of Elvis memorabilia ever sold at an auction.                                                                               
The white outfit with a plunging V-neck and high collar featured a blue-and-gold peacock design, hand-embroidered on the front and back and along the pant legs.

In 2009, Willy DeVille died at the age of 58 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.  Doctors discovered the creator of the band Mink Deville had cancer earlier this year as he was preparing to undergo treatment for hepatitis C.

In 2011, Marshall Grant, who played standup bass in Johnny Cash’s original trio and helped create the legendary singer’s distinctive, rhythmic sound in the 1950s, died at age 83.  After playing with Cash for 25 years, Grant went on to manage the Statler Bros.

Randy Travis


In 2012, a naked and combative Randy Travis was arrested after he crashed his car into several barricades in a construction zone near his home 60 miles north of Dallas.

The country music star eventually pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and threatening a police officer, was fined $2,000, and put on probation for two years.


In 2013, singer Marilyn King, the youngest and last surviving member of the swing-era vocal group The King Sisters, who starred in ABC-TV’s ”The King Family Show’ in the 1960’s, died of cancer at age 82.

Also in 2013, the Rolling Stones scored their 50th Billboard 200 chart entry with “Hyde Park Live.” The 19-track set, culled from their live London shows, debuted at #19.

Art Finley


In 2015, San Francisco/Vancouver radio talk show host Art Finley collapsed and died  after suffering a heart attack while walking near his Vancouver home at age 88.

Also in 2015, as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, Aerosmith performed at the inaugural Concert for Legends at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, OH.



In 2016, actress Sagan Lewis, best known for her long-running role as Dr. Jacqueline Wade on  the NBC-TV medical drama “St. Elsewhere,” lost her six-year battle with cancer at age 63.

In 2017, CBS reported higher-than-expected sales and earnings in its most recent quarter as the broadcast company received a boost from college sports and internet streaming.

Also in 2017, Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now” was #1 on the Billboard 200. It sold over 100,000 copies during its debut week.


Today’s Birthdays

Toronto-born magician/professional debunker James “The Amazing” Randi is 92.

Former Victoria radio morning man Fraser McAlpine (CJVI, CKDA) is 83. 

Actress Marlyn Mason (Longstreet, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare) us 80.

Humorist/retired host Garrison Keillor {NPR radio’s A Prairie Home Companion) is 78.

Singer B.J. Thomas is 78.

Singer Lana Cantrell is 77.

Actor John Glover (Smallville) is 76.

Actor David Rasche (All My Children, Nurses) is 76.

Singer Harold Hudson of The Commodores is 71.

Country singer Rodney Crowell is 70.

Actress Caroline Aaron (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Young & the Restless, LateLine) is 68.

Actor Wayne Knight (Seinfeld, Hot in Cleveland)is 65.

Actor Julian Wadham (Masterpiece: Lord Mountbatten – The Last Viceroy) is 62.

Singer Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden is 62.

Actor David Duchovny (Aquarius, Californication, The X-Files) is 60.

Actress DeLane Matthews (Dave’s World, General Hospital) is 59.

Actress Maggie Wheeler (Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Ellen) is 59.

Actor Michael Desante (Sleeper Cell) is 58.

Actor Harold Perrineau (Lost, Oz) is 57.

Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts is 57.

Country singer Raul Malo of The Mavericks is 55.

Actor David Mann (Meet the Browns) is 54.

Actress Rachel York (One Life to Live) is 49.

Actress Sydney Penny (Thorn Birds, All My Children, The Bold & the Beautiful, Santa Barbara, St. Elsewhere) is 49.

Actor Greg Serano (Power, Wildfire) is 48.

Actor Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) is 46.

Actor Chico Benymon (Haunted Hathaways, Half & Half) is 46.

Actor Luca Calvani (The Bold & the Beautiful) is 46.

Actress Charlize Theron (Arrested Development, Hollywood Confidential) is 45.

Actor Hans Matheson (The Tudors) is 45.

Drummer Barry Kerch of Shinedown is 44.

Actor Cirroc Lofton (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) is 42.

Edmonton-born actor Eric Johnson (The Knick, Rookie Blue, Smallville) is 41.

Actor Simon Cassianides (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is 41.

Actor Randy Wayne (Sons and Daughters) is 39.

Actress Abbie Cornish (Klondike) is 38.

Actress Brit Marling (Babylon) is 38.

Actress Tina O’Brien (Coronation Street) is 37.

Actress Helen Flanagan (Coronation Street) is 30.

Actress Francesca Eastwood (Heroes Reborn, Oh You Pretty Things) is 27.

Actress Tessa Allen (General Hospital, Providence) is 24.

Vancouver-born actor Liam James (The Killing, Psych) is 24.


Chart Toppers – August 7th

The Gypsy – The Ink Spots
Doin’ What Comes Naturally – Dinah Shore
They Say It’s Wonderful – Frank Sinatra
New Spanish Two Step – Bob Wills

Rock Around the Clock – Bill Haley & His Comets
Ain’t That a Shame – Fats Domino
Learnin’ the Blues – Frank Sinatra
I Don’t Care – Webb Pierce

A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena) – Jan & Dean
Everybody Loves Somebody – Dean Martin
Dang Me – Roger Miller

The Morning After – Maureen McGovern
Live and Let Die – Wings
Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple
Lord, Mr. Ford – Jerry Reed

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Hurts So Good – John Cougar
Abracadabra – The Steve Miller Band
Honky Tonkin’ – Hank Williams, Jr.

(Everything I Do) I Do It for You – Bryan Adams
P.A.S.S.I.O.N. – Rythm Syndicate
Summertime – D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
She’s in Love with the Boy – Trisha Yearwood

It’s Gonna Be Me – ‘N Sync
Bent – Matchbox Twenty
I Wanna Know – Joe
I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack (featuring Sons of the Desert)

Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
Waking Up In Vegas – Katy Perry
You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
People Are Crazy – Billy Currington


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