Wednesday, May 30, 2018

May 30, 1908 Mel Blanc was born


On this day in 1908, Mel Blanc was born.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

May 29: Happy Birthday, John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy developed a theory of electromagnetism in 1802, paving the way for radio communication. All right, maybe he wasn't born until today in 1917, but this is a radio blog! He must've been some radio pioneer of something. Did he host a show with George Burns?

We all know Kennedy was one of the most noted presidents, uncommonly charismatic, controversial, and bold. Kennedy's speeches are some of the most memorable in American history: he was a quote machine.

The medium of radio carried to us the unveiling of the goal to place a man on the moon; the establishment of the Peace Corps; a word on the bussing controversy in Birmingham; and of course grave addresses on (and in) the Cuban Missile Crises. Over radio, Kennedy intoned "ich bin ein Berliner" and "ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country."

JFK's strident, nearly staccato delivery and his New England accent made his voice unmistakable and iconoclastic. Of the many birthday salutes today, here's one from the world of radio, which was a big part of the JFK presidency.

Friday, April 27, 2018

April 27, 1932: The First Recorded News Coast to Coast Broadcast

 
April 27, 1932: The unforgettable moment on this day was the explosion of the Hindenburg airship at Lakehurst, NJ. The disaster was reported by NBC's broadcaster Herbert Morrison and became the first recorded coast-to-coast broadcast.

The Hindenburg disaster occurred on Thursday, May 6, 1937. The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg burst into flames during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Lakehurst Naval Air Station was located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst, New Jersey. 97 people on board lost their lives to the disaster, and there were 35 fatalities as well as one death among the ground crew.

The disaster became spectacular newsreel footage, as well as the subject of some spectacular photographs. Herbert Morrison made radio recordings of eyewitness reports from the landing field, which were then broadcast the next day on NBC. The actual cause of the fire remains unknown, although a variety of hypotheses have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire. The incident shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airships and marked the end of the zeppelin era.

This and many other memorable moments in radio history can be heard in Old Time Radio's Great Moments in Radio History Collection.