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Canada Day in Broadcast History .. July 1st


ON THIS DAY in 1901

the “mother of the soap opera” Irna Phillips was born in Chicago.

In 1902, comedian/raconteur Myron Cohen was born in Poland.  He appeared on Toast of the Town & The Ed Sullivan Show at least 33 times, and another 10 times on The Tonight Show.  He died Mar 10, 1986 at age 83.

In 1907, pioneer sportscaster Bill Stern was born in Rochester NY.  From his first football game over WHAM in his home town, his flair for the dramatic was present in all his work, including the Colgate Sports Newsreel & the Gillette Friday Night Fights on NBC Radio. Later he joined ABC, and was the announcer on the first televised boxing match. He died after a heart attack Nov 19 1971 at age 64.

In 1923, the first permanent radio network, the AT&T web, was set up between WEAF New York and WMAF near Boston.

Mackenzie King

In 1927, Prime Minister Mackenzie King dedicated Ottawa’s Peace Tower carillon in the first Trans-Canada radio network broadcast hookup over telephone and telegraph lines; celebrating the Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary) of Confederation.

In 1934, the Federal Communications Commission, as mandated in the Communications Act of 1934, replaced the Federal Radio Commission as the regulator of broadcasting in the United States.

In 1935, Benny Goodman‘s big band recorded Jelly Roll Morton’s King Porter Stomp for RCA Victor Records, featuring trumpeter Bunny Berigan. Many people considered this Fletcher Henderson-arranged Goodman classic marked the beginning of The Swing Era.

In 1941, both CBS & NBC were granted licenses for their flagship New York TV stations, W2XBS (now WCBS) channel 2, and WNBT, now WNBC channel 4.

Still in 1941, the Bulova Watch company sponsored the first TV commercial. Remember “It’s Bulova Watch Time?”  It was broadcast over WNBT-TV in New York City, and was a familiar advertising message on TV, radio and in print for many years. That first TV ad, incidentally, cost the watchmaker nine dollars!

In 1948, the CBC bought CKY Winnipeg from Manitoba Government Telephones, switching call letters to CBW with 50,000 watts two months later.

In 1952, Hall of Fame sportscaster Jim Robson broke into radio at CJAV Port Alberni (B.C.). He was only 17 years of age and quickly migrated to Sports, doing play-by-play for the Alberni Athletics basketball team, including their win of the 1955 Canadian Senior Men’s Championship game.

Elvis Presley and a hound dog

In 1956, an apparently sanitized Elvis Presley appeared on NBC- TV’s ‘The Steve Allen Show’ in a tuxedo and sang ‘Hound Dog’, to a real live Hound Dog.  New York TV critic John Crosby panned the performance, describing Elvis as an ‘unspeakable, untalented and vulgar young entertainer.’ The Presley appearance helped Allen trounce his CBS-TV competition ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in the ratings.


Also in 1956, Brenda Lee went into a recording studio for the first time, at the age of eleven (recording her version of Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya.”)

In 1958, the CBC debuted nationwide TV broadcasts as the new Trans-Canada microwave relay system went into operation.

Also in 1958, 19-year-old Frankie Avalon made his first appearance on American Bandstand, lip-synching to his first Top Ten hit “De De Dinah.”

In 1962, CBS-TV aired an Ed Sullivan Show that had been taped at the Moulin Rouge Nightclub in Paris, headlined by Connie Francis.

Also in 1963, Toronto’s CFRB-FM became CKFM with completely separate programming. For most of its life to date (16 years) the station had been simulcasting the schedule of CFRB 1010 AM.  Its seminal program director and manager Bill Ballentyne would join CKFM the following year.

In 1965, bandleader & composer Claude Thornhill died at age 55.

Also in 1965, The Beatles‘ album “Beatles VI” was certified as a Gold Record.

In 1966, Toronto CTV station CFTO-TV transmitted the first colour television in Canada.

In 1967, Scott McKenzie scored his first hit with the single, San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair). The song became an anthem for the Love Generation and the young people of flower power. McKenzie also co-wrote a hit for the Beach Boys in 1988, called Kokomo.

Also in 1967, The Association scored their second and last No.1 single with ‘Windy’.

Still in 1967, the Beatles‘ album “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” went to #1 on the album charts, and stayed there for 15 weeks.

In 1968, CHUM-FM radically changed formats from classical music to progressive rock.

In 1969, in Memphis Sam Phillips sold Sun Records, one time home to Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, to new owner Shelby Singleton.

Still in 1969, a car crash in Scotland injured John Lennon and his son Julian, along with Yoko Ono and her daughter Kyoko.  (A notoriously poor driver, John drove his white Austin Maxi into a ditch.) The adults required numerous stitches, the kids were only severely shaken up.

Jimi Hendrix 

In 1970, Jimi Hendrix recorded his first session at Electric Ladyland Studios, New York.

In 1971, the album “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull was certified Gold.

In 1972, “Song Sung Blue” by Neil Diamond topped the singles charts, his second song to do so.

Also in 1972, a special “American Bandstand” featured Michael Jackson performing “Ben,” “Rockin’ Robin” & “I Wanna Be Where You Are.”

In 1975, the Captain & Tennille received their first gold record with “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

In 1976, Image result for   Connie Francis won her lawsuit against the hotel where she was sexually assaulted in 1974, and was awarded $2.5 million.

In 1977, only the first two stations, Toronto and Ottawa, were operational as Canada’s CKO All-News network signed on for the first time, on the FM band. Stations in London, Calgary and Vancouver would join the network before year’s end.   Awash in red ink CKO went silent at noon eastern time Nov 10, 1989.

Also in 1977, opening the North American leg of their ‘In The Flesh’ tour, the UK’s Pink Floydplayed the first of four sold out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York.

In 1978, Foreigner’s future Top Five single “Hot Blooded” was released.

In 1979, Sony introduced the portable audio device known as the Walkman.

Doobie Brothers

Also in 1979, the Doobie Brothers celebrated their 10th anniversary with an all-star jam session at the Friar’s Club in Los Angeles.

In 1980, although it had been Canada’s de facto national anthem since 1939, an act of Parliament on this day made “Oh Canada” the country’s official national anthem.


In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that candidates for federal office had an “affirmative right” to go on national television. The ruling limited a TV network’s right to determine when political campaigns begin and who may buy time.

Also in 1981, bass player Rushton Moreve, a founding member of Steppenwolf, died in a Southern California motorcyle accident at age 32. He had been fired from the group in 1969. Their biggest hit was “Born to Be Wild” in 1968.

Still in 1981, Nanaimo’s 2nd radio station CKEG AM 1350 signed on with 10,000 watts.

George Voskovec

Again in 1981, actor George Voskovec, who played on all the 1950’s live TV drama anthologies, and in Nero Wolfe & Skag in 1980-81, died at age 76.

In 1983, John Bongiovi signed with Mercury Records. The label, wanting to make his name easier to spell, suggested stage names such as Johnny Lightning. The compromise they settled on was Jon Bon Jovi.

In 1984, the album “Animalize” was released by KISS. It would sell a million copies and be certified ‘Platinum’ by the end of the year.

In 1986, JR COUNTRY 93.7 signed on at 9:37 am with Waylon Jennings’ “Are You Ready for the Country”.
The same day, CKDA Victoria moved from AM 1220 to AM 1200.

In 1987, WFAN-AM, New York became America’s first 24/7 Sportstalk Radio station.

Also in 1987, the Grateful Dead released one of their more commercially successful LPs, “In The Dark.”

In 1989, Milli Vanilli scored their first Billboard No.1 single with ‘Baby Don’t Forget My Number.’

Michael Landon

In 1991, actor Michael Landon, who had three blockbuster TV hits in Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Highway to Heaven, died at age 54 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

Also in 1991, the cable channel Court TV was born. The network broadcast entire trials, both famous and low profile. It was a unique addition to the already changing climate of TV information/entertainment.

Wolfman Jack

In 1995, one of the world’s most famous deejays Wolfman Jack collapsed and died of a heart attack at age 57, at his home in Belvidere, in northeastern North Carolina. Fans first learned to love the Wolfman in 1963 on 250,000-watt XERF (Del Rio TX – Ciudad Acuna, Mexico), heard all over North America. You may also remember him as, that’s right, Wolfman Jack, in the 1973 movie American Graffiti. And he’s the same Wolfman The Guess Who sang about in their 1974 hit Clap for the Wolfman.

In 1996, WBSI TV replaced WNYC on channel 31 in New York City

In 1997, actor Robert Mitchum, who lit up the small screen in the mini-series Winds of War, & War and Remembrance, died of lung cancer & emphysema at age 79.

In 1998, singer Martina McBride joined the Lilith Fair lineup in Oklahoma City, making her the first contemporary country artist to guest on the popular festival’s female-dominant bill.

Still in 1998, a track from metal-funk band White Zombie‘s 1993 Geffen album “La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One” had the dubious distinction of being played repeatedly to ward off paparazzi at the wedding of Barbra Streisand and James Brolin. The hardcore song “Thunder Kiss ’65” was played at ear-splitting levels for four hours straight from a van parked outside Streisand’s Malibu villa, incensing photographers and preventing reporters from hearing the ceremony inside. The couple honeymooned on a boat in the nearby Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast.

In 1999, singer/actor Guy Mitchell, who had 1950’s hits with Heartaches By The Number, Singing The Blues, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Belle Belle My Liberty Belle, My Truly Truly Fair, The Roving Kind, and My Heart Cries for You, died while undergoing cancer surgery at age 72.

In 2000, actor Walter Matthau, who starred in scores of anthology dramas in TV’s first decade, before becoming a major comedic force on the big screen, suffered a fatal heart attack at age 79.

In 2002, The Who played their first show without bassist John Entwistle, who had died the week earlier. The show was in Los Angeles.

In 2003, jazz flutist Herbie Mann died of prostate cancer at age 73.  Mann was among the first jazz musicians to specialize on the flute and was perhaps jazz music’s preeminent flautist during the 1960s.

Marlon Brando

In 2004, actor Marlon Brando, whose small screen appearances were limited to star turns in The Godfather Saga & Roots: The Next Generation, died of a pulmonary fibrosis at age 80.

Also in 2004, Glen Campbell began serving his sentence of 10 nights in jail along with two years of probation for a November 2003 drink-driving, hit-and-run collision. The 68 year old music star was also assigned 75 hours of community service and fined $900.

In 2005, Four Tops singer Renaldo “Obie” Benson died at age 69 in a Detroit hospital from lung cancer. The Four Tops sold over 50 million records and had hits including ‘Reach Out (I’ll be There)’ and ‘I Can’t Help Myself.’

Luther Vandross

Also in 2005, R&B and soul singer-songwriter, record producer Luther Vandross died at age 54, two years after suffering a major debilitating stroke.

His ‘Never Too Much’, was a No.1 R&B hit; he worked with Diana Ross, Carly Simon, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey and David Bowie. Vandross had won four Grammys for his final album ‘Dance With My Father.’

In 2006, Busta Rhymes was at No.1 on the Billboard album chart with The Big Bang, the hip-hop artist’s seventh album release.

In 2008, Whitesnake guitarist Mel Galley, died at the age of 60 from cancer of the oesophagus. Galley also played with Trapeze, Glenn Hughes, Cozy Powell and the Blue Jays.

Also in 2008, BBC Radio 4 aired a Beatles interview given to Scottish TV on April 30, 1964, in which John Lennon and Paul McCartney discussed how they met and the way they worked together composing.  Said John, “We write them [songs] on an old piano, anything that’s lying around.”  “Normally we just sit down and bash it out,” added McCartney. The interview had turned up in a film can in a damp garage in south London.

Also in 2009, five weeks after it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, “21st Century Breakdown” by Green Day was certified gold for shipments of 500,000 copies.

In 2010, actress/singer Ilene Woods, who provided the voice of Cinderella in the 1950 Disney animated feature film, died at age 81 after suffering for several years with Alzheimer’s.

Paul Jenkins

In 2011, an 8-foot statue of pioneer rocker Chuck Berry, funded by donations, was erected along the St. Louis Walk of Fame. It would be officially dedicated July 29th.

In 2013, actor Paul Jenkins, who will perhaps be best remembered as Professor Parks on The Waltons (1974-76), and as Ed on Dynasty(1981), died following a brief illness at age 74.   He also had small roles on such TV series as M*A*S*H, Columbo, The Partridge Family and Kojak.


Also in 2013, Canadian rockers Avril Lavigne and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger tied the knot at Cannes, France. They would honeymoon at Portofino Italy.

In 2015, prolific UK session drummer Bruce Rowland, whose 40-year career included recording work for a long list of artists, and stints with Fairport Convention and Joe Cocker’s Grease Band, succumbed to cancer at age 74.

Image result for paul simon forest hills
Paul Simon

In 2016,  singer/songwriter Paul Simon ended the U.S. section of his Stranger to Stranger tour with a concert at Forest Hills Stadium in suburban New York City.

Also on 2016, Prince‘s Purple Rain wardrobe went for $192,000 at a Profiles in History auction in L.A. The late singer’s white ruffled shirt and black-and-white, leather-sleeved blazer worn in the film sold for $96,000 each.

In 2017, in the early morning hours, a shootout occurred at the Power Ultra Lounge nightclub in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. Twenty-eight people were injured and one hospitalized.

In 2018, Panic! At The Disco scored its second #1 on the Billboard 200 with “Pray For The Wicked” (2016’s “Death Of A Bachelor” was the first). Opening week sales of 180,000 equivalent album units included 151,000 traditional album sales.

In 2020, TV legend Hugh Downs succumbed to a heart ailment at age 99.

In 2020, Olivia de Havilland died in Paris at 104

Today’s Birthdays

Actress-dancer Leslie Caron (Falcon Crest, Master of the Game) is 93.

Actor Jamie Farr (MASH) is 90.

Actress Jean Marsh (Upstairs, Downstairs 1 & 2, Doctor Who) is 90.

Dancer Twyla Tharp is 83.

Montreal-born actress Genevieve Bujold (Hallmark Hall of Fame) is 82.

Singer Deborah Harry of Blondie is 79.

Actor Terrence Mann (Sense8, The Dresden Files) is 73.

Actor Daryl Anderson (Lou Grant) is 73.

Singer Victor Willis of the Village People is 73.

Singer Fred Schneider of the B-52’s is 73.

Ottawa-born actor Dan Aykroyd (The Real Ghostbusters, Sat. Night Live) is 72.

Actor/voicist Brian George (The Big Bang Theory, The Expanse, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Kim Possible) is 72.

Actress Lorna Patterson (Private Benjamin, Goodtime Girls) is 68.

Actor Alan Ruck (Spin City, Greek, The Bronx is Burning) is 68.

Actor Tim Abell (Soldier of Fortune Inc.) is 66.

Edmonton-born radio & TV hostess Marilyn Denis (CTV, CityTV, CHUM-FM) is 66.

Actor Dale Midkiff (The Magnificent Seven, Time Trax) is 65.

R&B singer Evelyn “Champagne” King is 64.

Chatham Ont.-born country singer Michelle Wright is 63.

Actor Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Men of a Certain Age, Homicide) is 62.

Actor Dominic Keating (Star Trek: Enterprise) is 62.

Actor Ritchie Coster (True Detective, Luck, Jonny Zero, As The World Turns) is 57.

Ladysmith BC-born actress Pamela Anderson (Baywatch, Home Improvement, VIP, Stacked) is 57.

Actor Henry Simmons (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., NYPD Blue, Shark) is 54.

Bassist Mark Pirro of Polyphonic Spree is 54.

Actress Julianne Nicholson (Eyewitness, The Red Road, Masters of Sex, Boardwalk Empire, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Ally McBeal) is 53.

Actress Melissa Peterman (Baby Daddy, Working Class, Reba) is 53.

Rapper Missy Elliott is 53.

Actress Claire Forlani (NCIS:Los Angeles, Camelot, CSI:NY) is 52.

Actress/writer Jill Kargman (Odd Mom Out) is 50.

Drummer Bryan Devendorf of The National is 49.

Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens is 49.

Drummer Bryan Devendorf of The National is 49.

Actor Thomas Sadoski (Life in Pieces, The Newsroom) is 48.

Actress Kellie Bright (EastEnders) is 48.

Actress Kathy Wagner (Sisters, Undressed, Billy) is 47.

Actress Liv Tyler (The Leftovers) is 47.

Actress Hillary Tuck (Honey I Shrunk The Kids:The TV Show, Hang Time) is 47.

Actress Hilarie Burton (One Tree Hill, White Collar, Extant) is 42.

Actress Lynsey Bartilson (Grounded for Life) is 41.

Ontario-born actor Jared Keeso (Letterkenny, 19-2, The Guard, Monster Warriors) is 40. 

Actor Evan Ellingson (CSI: Miami, 24) is 36.

Actress Hannah Murray (Game of Thrones, Skins) is 35.

Actor Mitch Hewer (Skins) is 35.

Actors Stephen and Andrew Cavarno (Party of Five) are 32.

Actress Raini Rodriguez (Austin & Ally)  is 31.

Singer Chloe Bailey of Chloe X Halle is 26.

Actress Storm Reid (Chicago P.D., NCIS: Los Angeles) is 21.

Chart Toppers – July 1


Laura – The Woody Herman Orchestra
Dream – The Pied Pipers
Sentimental Journey – The Les Brown Orchestra (vocal: Doris Day)
At Mail Call Today – Gene Autry

Little Things Mean a Lot – Kitty Kallen
Hernando’s Hideaway – Archie Bleyer
Three Coins in the Fountain – The Four Aces
Even Tho – Webb Pierce

Sukiyaki – Kyu Sakamoto
Blue on Blue – Bobby Vinton
Easier Said Than Done – The Essex
Act Naturally – Buck Owens

Song Sung Blue – Neil Diamond
Outa-Space – Billy Preston
Lean on Me – Bill Withers
Eleven Roses – Hank Williams, Jr.

Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes
A Woman Needs Love (Just like You Do) – Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio
The One that You Love – Air Supply
Blessed are the Believers – Anne Murray

Step By Step – New Kids on the Block
Do You Remember? – Phil Collins
Hold On – En Vogue
Love Without End, Amen – George Strait

I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys
Livin’  La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin
Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me) – Blessid Union Of Souls
Write This Down – George Strait

Take a Bow – Rihanna
Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry
Better as a Memory – Kenny Chesney

Today in Broadcast History compiled by Ron Robinson 


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