Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15: Happy Birthday, Alan Freed!

December 15: Happy Birthday, Alan Freed!


Chuck Berry sang it, Jerry Lee Lewis sang it...and Alan Freed “penned” it. “It” being rock-n-roll and Alan Freed was the Disc Jockey to bring the famous label to the forefront of America by mixing the radio airwaves with country, blues and jazz.

Born in 1921, Alan Freed stepped over the line to attract the attention of America's youth and to see them as the hot demographic to pitch his music discovery towards. Freed wanted to be a bandleader, but when an ear infection destroyed that dream, the trombone player from Ohio focused in on radio. It was in his capacity as a disc jockey at various radio stations that Freed developed his appreciation for music and to bring to life the rich blends he was discovering and make it appreciated by the teenagers, then filtered to older folks. By 1958, Alan Freed would become embroiled in a scandal in the music business known as payola. major record companies would pay disc jockeys to play certain records, thus showing a favoritism over other performers. Alan Freed ended up being the most notable of the airwave kings to come under criminal prosecution. It was felt by many that he became the scapegoat for the industry because he catered to a huge black population, and racial tensions were beginning to rise at this time. Alan Freed never had the popularity he once held and his last couple of radio stations placed heavy restrictions upon his style. Alan Freed died in 1965 at the age of 43.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14: Happy Birthday, Dan Dailey

There's no business like show business. Like no business I know! Just ask Dan Dailey, who starred in the film by that name. Dailey was a song-and-dance man, a hoofer with a unique style, not quite Fred Astaire but an entertainer of millions nonetheless. He was twice nominated for an Oscar (Best Actor, When My Baby Smiles At Me and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for When Willie Comes Marching Home) and took home a Golden Globe for Best Actor (for the TV series The Governor & J.J.)

Dailey's prodigious career is also made distinctive because of the outstanding actors with whom he starred. These included Johnnie Ray, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and John Wayne.

Dan Dailey, like most big stars of the mid-century era, made many appearances on some of the most prestigious radio programs such as Lux Radio Theatre, Screen Directors Playhouse, and Philco Radio Time. On Lux  he reprised roles on his films Tomahawk, Mother Wore Tights, and Blue Heaven.

Dailey was born today in 1905, and we salute him and thank him for the memories!

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12, 1901: Marconi receives the first Transatlantic Radio Transmission


December 12, 1901: St. John's Newfoundland became the location where scientist Italian Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal transmission

Known as the master of long-haul communications, Marconi received the Nobel prize in physics for his contributions in wireless telegraphy. Afterwards, he became a successful businessman of his era when he commercialized his radio invention.

His scientific discoveries led to the gradual golden age of radio.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 10, 1927: The first WSM Barn Dance Broadcast


December 10, 1927: George Hay introduce the WSM Barn Dance at The Grand Ole Opry for the first time on this day.

The Grand Ole Opry began just five years after commercial radio was born in the United States. In 1925, WSM was  formed. National Life hired  George D. Hay as WSM's first program director. Hay, started his career on radio at WLS, Chicago. He created a barn dance show. Hay called himself "The Solemn Old Judge" and launched what would become the WSM Barn Dance, along with championship fiddler Uncle Jimmy Thompson.

Hay's popular weekly broadcasts were renamed the Grand Ole Opry in 1927. When WSM radio increased the power of its transmission to 50,000 watts in 1932, the Opry, which aired every Saturday night, could be heard by most of the United States and parts of Canada.

For more great radio western music see:

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 5, 1952: The Green Hornet airs for the last time on Mutual

 
December 5, 1952: Mutual Broadcasting System or MBS hosted The Green Hornet for the last time. Its broadcast took place fifteen years later on Mutual, ABC, and NBC.

The Green Hornet aired on radio in the 1930's, then went on to comics, television, and film. Still captivating years later, the feature film was introduced in January 2011.