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Music History Events: Radio

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August 19, 1983 Having been sporadic since it was originally shut down in 1968, "pirate radio" station Radio Caroline makes its comeback on board the ship Ross Revenge in the North Sea's international waters. Six years to the day later, it would be shut down again.

February 18, 1973 The nationally syndicated radio concert series The King Biscuit Flower Hour premieres, featuring Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

March 15, 1972 As a publicity stunt, the Los Angeles radio station KHJ plays Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" for 90 minutes straight. Concerned listeners call the police, who show up at the station to find no laws - except good taste - are being broken.

March 8, 1971 Radio Hanoi, which is a propaganda radio station set up by the North Vietnamese army to broadcast to American troops serving in Vietnam, goes on the air with a recording of Jimi Hendrix' version of The Star-Spangled Banner.

October 10, 1970 The head of the FCC issues a statement in rebuttal to Vice President Spiro Agnew's complaint that radio stations were playing too many songs about drugs. The statement reads: "If we really want to do something about drugs, let's do something about life... The song writers are trying to help us understand our plight and deal with it. It's about the only leadership we're getting. They're not really urging you to adopt a heroin distribution program, Mr. Vice President."

August 14, 1967 Britain's new Marine Broadcasting Offences Act goes into effect, forcing all but one of the country's famous "pirate" (i.e., unlicensed) radio stations off the air. Radio Caroline remains on the air for another six months or so.

December 23, 1964 Boasting a hipper, more commercial staff of on-air DJs, Radio London, Britain's third major "pirate radio" station, begins broadcasting from MV Galaxy, a former American vessel used as a minesweeper in WWII.

November 24, 1964 The UK's first commercial radio station, Radio Manx, begins broadcasting from the Isle of Man.

March 28, 1964 Radio Caroline, the UK's first all-day English-language "pirate" radio station, begins broadcasting from the Fredericia, a former Danish ferry, in the North Sea.

October 25, 1962 The Beatles give their first-ever radio interview, on Radio Clatterbridge, a closed-circuit radio station serving Cleaver and Clatterbridge Hospitals in Wirral, near Liverpool. Paul is quoted as saying "John is, in fact, the leader of the group."

March 7, 1962 The Beatles record their first radio show, performing three cover songs for the BBC show Teenager's Turn - Here We Go in front of a live audience at the Playhouse Theatre in Manchester, England. It's their first appearance wearing suits.

February 8, 1960 The "payola" hearings begin, as the US government cracks down on the practice of paying for airplay on radio stations.

November 20, 1959 Alan Freed, who is an influential DJ on the radio station WABC and host of the TV show Alan Freed's Big Beat Party, is fired from both outlets when he refuses to sign a statement saying he took payola, which was the practice of record companies paying for airplay.

June 2, 1958 Alan Freed, who popularized R&B music by playing it for a white audience, moves from WINS in New York to WABC. Freed put on a lot of concerts featuring the artists he played, and WINS had suspended him over a show in Boston where a riot broke out.

December 15, 1957 Mitch Miller and Sammy Davis, Jr. blast rock and roll in a syndicated radio talk show hosted by Davis. However, MGM label president Arnold Maxim disagrees, stating he sees no end to the fad in the near future.

December 6, 1957 Elvis Presley visits radio station WDIA in Memphis and meets two of his idols, Little Junior Parker and Bobby Bland.

March 5, 1955 Elvis Presley makes yet another appearance on the Shreveport radio show Louisiana Hayride, which is this time also carried over the TV airwaves by local station KWKH, making this Presley's first television appearance.

November 18, 1954 ABC Radio stations ban Rosemary Clooney's "Mambo Italiano" due to what it considers "offensive lyrics," more than likely the exaggerated Italian patois and words "goombah" and "gidrool."

February 20, 1949 Rick Nelson joins the cast of his parents' radio show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which will make the leap to television in 1952.

November 21, 1944 The Mutual radio network broadcasts the first episode of The Roy Rogers Show, also featuring the Whippoorwills and The Sons Of The Pioneers.

June 4, 1942 Johnny Mercer's label, Capitol Records, becomes the first record company to give an album to a radio station when he gives one to a Los Angeles DJ. It's a brilliant move, as the station plays the record and promotes it. In coming years, labels will try all sorts of tricks to get their records played on radio.

March 1, 1941 The world's first commercial FM radio station, Nashville's W47NV, begins broadcasting.

December 31, 1940 After forming the rival company BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.), radio stations in the United States stop playing music licensed by ASCAP (the American Society of Publishers and Composers) in a dispute over fees. The boycott lasts 10 months, with stations filling airtime with non-ASCAP songs, mostly older tunes in the public domain.

January 5, 1940 The FCC hears the first demonstration of FM radio.

August 18, 1937 The first FM (frequency modulation) radio station in the US, Boston's WGTR (now WAAF), is granted its construction permit by the FCC.

May 1, 1931 Kate Smith makes her radio show debut with the twice-weekly Kate Smith Sings show on NBC.

February 5, 1931 Eddie Cantor makes his debut radio appearance, singing on Rudy Vallee's Fleischmann Hour.

December 10, 1927 The Nashville radio show "WSM Barn Dance" becomes "The Grand Ole Opry."

February 18, 1927 The "first great voice of the air," Jessica Dragonette, makes her radio debut on Cities Service Concerts.

November 15, 1926 The first network radio broadcast, four-and-a-half hours of varied performances from New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel and other remotes around the country, airs on the new National Broadcasting Company (soon to be known as NBC).

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