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Music History Events: Radio

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October 28, 2004 Eminem gets his own radio channel on Sirius satellite radio. He launches the Shade 45 channel with a gathering called the Shady National Convention, which also promotes his album Encore.

October 6, 2004 On his radio show, Howard Stern announces his move to satellite radio, where he will broadcast on Sirius, which gets a huge bump in subscribers. The move to satellite frees Stern from the shackles of the FCC, which doesn't regulate satellite. He and his crew are free to swear like sailors and talk dirty, which they often do. It also means fewer commercials.

September 14, 2001 Program directors at Clear Channel Communications, the largest owner of radio stations in the United States, begin circulating a list of songs that might be considered offensive in light of the September 11 attacks.More

August 24, 1998 Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats and Live Aid fame begins hosting a show on the London radio station XFM. In his first broadcast, he announces (incorrectly) that Ian Dury has died.More

September 28, 1991 Thanks to a proliferation of "New Country" radio stations and more accurate reporting, country music goes mainstream as Garth Brooks' Ropin' the Wind becomes the first country album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart.More

January 1, 1990 The Clearwater, Florida, radio station WKRL becomes the first "All Led Zeppelin" station, kicking off the format flip with 24 straight hours of "Stairway To Heaven." The all-Zep rotation lasts two weeks, after which they become more of a traditional Classic Rock station (they also switch their call letters to WXTB).

February 11, 1980 WKRP in Cincinnati, a TV series that takes place at a rock radio station, runs an episode devoted to the tragic events of December 3, 1979 when 11 fans were killed at a Who concert at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati.

April 28, 1978 The movie FM, about a radio station with a motley collection of DJs, debuts in theaters. Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffett and REO Speedwagon all appear in the film, and Steely Dan does the theme song. FM is the basis for the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati, which appears later in the year.

September 11, 1974 WROV-AM in Roanoke, Virginia, starts playing the The Doobie Brothers album cut "Black Water" in honor of a local tributary of the same name. The resounding response from listeners prompts a single release two months later, and in March 1975, the song becomes a #1 hit.

April 15, 1972 Billy Joel plays a concert at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia which is broadcast by the local radio station WMMR. After the show, the station puts his performance of "Captain Jack" in rotation, and Joel builds a following. This leads to a contract with Columbia Records, which releases Joel's breakthrough album, Piano Man, in 1973.

July 4, 1970 Casey Kasem debuts the radio show American Top 40, where he counts down the Billboard hits (the #1 song: "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" by Three Dog Night). He hosts the show until 2004, when Ryan Seacrest takes over.More

December 2, 1957 Al Priddy, a disc jockey at the Portland, Oregon, radio station KEX, is fired for playing the Elvis Presley version of "White Christmas," which the station has banned, their program manager saying it "desecrates the Spirit of Christmas and transgresses the composer's intent." The story makes national news, but it turns out to be a brilliant publicity stunt - Priddy is back on the air two weeks later, with the station claiming letters were pouring in to support the DJ. As part of the stunt, Priddy recorded the GM calling in to "fire" him for playing the song and played the conversation on his show before he left.

July 8, 1954 Dewey Phillips at WHBQ in Memphis becomes the first DJ to play an Elvis Presley song when he spins "That's Alright Mama" on his Red Hot & Blue show. The switchboard lights up, so Phillips keeps playing the song, giving Elvis some prime publicity early in his career.

January 1, 1940 W2XDG in New York becomes the first licensed FM station and begins broadcasting from the Empire State Building.

November 2, 1920 KDKA in Pittsburgh becomes the first commercially licensed radio station in the United States. They are not the first station on the air, but the first to get the broadcast license. With consumers unsure of the benefits of radio, the station announces results of the Harding-Cox presidential election, getting the news to those with a radio much faster than everyone who had to wait for the morning paper.

July 13, 1897 A US patent is granted to inventor Guglielmo Marconi for transmitting electrical signals, leading to the invention of radio.

September 10, 2015 Craig David breaks his hiatus with a guest slot on BBC Radio 1Xtra during a takeover by spoof garage and grime collective Kurupt FM, made popular by the BBC mockumentary People Just Do Nothing (also featuring grime MCs Big Narstie, Stormzy and MC Vapour). The session goes viral and helps launch David's comeback alongside the rising grime scene.More

October 29, 2012 While campaigning for the 2012 election, president Barack Obama takes time out to interview with radio station WIZF Cincinnati, to talk about his favorite music artists. Asked "what's on the presidential iPod?," Obama names Stevie Wonder, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan as his "old school" choices, Jay-Z, Eminem, and Fugees for newer artists, and John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Gil Scott-Heron amongst his favorite jazz artists.

May 3, 2006 Bob Dylan's first hosted radio show airs on XM Satellite Radio, with the legend playing favorite tracks by Prince, Wilco, Blur, LL Cool J, and Billy Bragg, among others.

March 28, 2005 On Rev. Jesse Jackson's internet radio show, Michael Jackson claims that his recent child-molestation charges are a racist conspiracy.

June 4, 2003 A grandfather who set up his own pirate radio station in Wakefield, Yorkshire, is under investigation by local broadcasting authorities. The man known as Ricky Rock had erected a 32-foot transmitter in his garden and had been playing hits by The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and Elvis Presley. Ricky said he set the station up because "talent-less boy bands and dance music" featured on local stations did not cater to the tastes of his generation.

September 25, 2001 The voice of Bob Marley ushers satellite radio onto the air, promising listeners greater variety on the dial - for a price - with the launch of XM Satellite Radio. It is the first worldwide broadcast of a satellite radio station.

November 6, 1999 Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), broadcasts one of the first online radio shows, which is called Rotten Radio. On the 4-hour webcast, Rotten allows callers and guests to say whatever they please free of censorship. The show lasts until August, 2000.

December 31, 1991 After 62 years, Radio Luxembourg, Europe's oldest commercial radio station, goes off the air for good.

January 23, 1991 The Albuquerque, New Mexico, radio station KLSK FM plays the Led Zeppelin song "Stairway To Heaven" over and over for 24 hours to inaugurate a format change to classic rock. It plays more than 200 times, eliciting hundreds of angry calls and letters. Police show up with guns drawn after a listener reports that the DJ had apparently suffered a heart attack, later because of suspicion that - this being eight days into the Gulf War - the radio station had been taken hostage by terrorists dispatched by Zeppelin freak Saddam Hussein. Weirdest of all, lots of listeners don't move the dial: "Turns out a lot of people listened to see when we would finally stop playing it."

April 12, 1989 David Cassidy's comeback begins when Los Angeles KLOS, to which the former Partridge Family singer is listening, wonders what happened to him. Before long, he's at the studio, performing three songs that land him a new record deal.

August 1, 1988 Cincinnati AM radio station WCVG changes its format, becoming the first US all-Elvis radio station. The burning love for the format dies out after a year, and on August 16, 1989, it switches to talk.

July 14, 1988 At the height of "Elvis is Alive" mania, Nashville radio station WYHY offers a million dollars to anyone who shows up at the studios with the King.

June 17, 1985 The famously reclusive Bob Dylan opens up on the syndicated radio show Rockline, taking calls from fans.

April 5, 1985 Thousands of radio stations play "We Are The World" simultaneously at 10:50 a.m. EST. In the next few weeks, the song goes to #1 in America and the UK.

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