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March 2011
 Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Join Discussion  (114 Comments)
Reagan Shooting on Radio and TV

On this 30th anniversary of the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, we once again turn to the good old Internet for direct access to archival recordings of radio and TV coverage of the aftermath.

Among the highlights:

YouTube has this clip of an ABC TV bulletin anchored by Frank Reynolds (who later got very angry on-air when James Brady was erroneously reported dead)

And this broadcast fan website has several radio airchecks from that day (of varying audio quality) from Fort Wayne, IN station WOWO

Tonight's network news broadcasts are also likely to have looks back to 1981, as well as interviews with author of the just-published book about the event, Rawhide Down.

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

 Monday, March 28, 2011 Join Discussion  (0 Comments)
Bringing Home Royal Events to the States, Now and Then

The item in last week's news that the upcoming Royal Wedding in the UK will be available as a near instantaneous download on iTunes calls to mind a much earlier era of media coverage of the Royals.

Sig Mickelson's The Decade That Shaped Television News: CBS in the 1950s is one of the best books about the early days of network video journalism, and one of the most fascinating chapters recounts the great efforts expended by the American TV networks to cover the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

The tale involves a three-way battle between ABC, NBC and Mickelson's CBS to be first on the air in the United States with moving images of the coronation. ABC negotiated rights to images transported to Canada for the CBC, but NBC and CBS both employed various aircraft (including a Boeing Stratocruiser outfitted with a film editing suite, so that the raw footage could be edited into a special program during the transatlantic flight; and a World War II surplus P-51 Mustang fighter plane owned by Jimmy Stewart to carry the film on the final leg of the journey to New York).

In the end, Mickelson writes, it was hardly worth the effort, and everybody suffered the wrath of New York Times radio and TV critic Jack Gould, who characterized NBC and CBS's coverage as having a "depressing lack of understanding, judgment and common sense." (Mickelson, p. 108)

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

 Monday, March 21, 2011 Join Discussion  (0 Comments)
52-Hour Radio Marathon Breaks Record

It's nice to know that in 2011, radio is still the preferred medium for good old-fashioned stunts, such as the 52-hour marathon broadcast made late last week in the UK on BBC Radio 1.

According to a story on the BBC website, Chris Moyles and Dave Vitty broke the previous Guinness record of 51.5 hours (for a DJ team) and raised 2.4 million pounds for the charitable organization Comic Relief.

The record for the longest radio broadcast of any kind is apparently held by Italian DJ Stefano Venneri who stayed on the air for more than 100 hours a few years back.

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

 Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Join Discussion  (0 Comments)
Massive Archive of Sports Broadcasts at Library of Congress

It was announced earlier this month that a private collector named John Miley has sold to the Library of Congress a massive collection of rare recordings of American sports broadcasts spanning much of the 20th century.

According to a New York Times article published last week, Miley began making his own audio recordings in the late 1940s using a wire recorder. Miley also traded with other collectors over the years, acquiring earlier audio recordings as well as sports broadcasts from the television era.

Some of the items in the Miley collection include:

The final game of the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 29, 1957 in Philadelphia with Vin Scully

Harold Arlin’s 1920 inaugural broadcast on KDKA in Pittsburgh

Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn heavyweight championship fights in 1941 and 1946

Sandy Koufax’s first no-hitter in 1962

The Library of Congress plans to digitize the Miley recordings over the next few years and then make them available to the public via listening stations at the library. Copyright and other intellectual property issues are such that the recordings, unfortunately, will not be widely available via the Internet.

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

 Monday, March 14, 2011 Join Discussion  (0 Comments)
Danny Stiles Passes Away at 87

Longtime New York area radio host and oldies progenitor Danny Stiles died in Manhattan this past Friday (March 11, 2011), according to an in the New York Times.

Mr. Stiles first took to the airwaves in 1947 at Newark, New Jersey's WHBI, adopting the sobriquet "Midnight Dan" for an overnight rhythm and blues show. He then moved to WNJR to host "The Kit Kat Club."

But it was with nostalgia that Mr. Stiles ultimately made his broadcasting mark, and nostalgia that kept him on the air and popular with a certain nostalgic slice of the listening audience up until his death. As he told the Times for an earlier story, “In their minds I am speaking into a circular, spring-suspension carbon microphone.”

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

 Friday, March 04, 2011 Join Discussion  (0 Comments)
60 Years of the Fisheries Broadcast on the CBC

The Fisheries Broadcast on CBC
CBC's Fisheries Broadcast
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Fisheries Broadcast, a popular public affairs radio program that first came on the air in the eastern Maritime Provinces on March 5, 1951.

A clip of the show from 2003 is available here; and a feature story about the program and the anniversary was broadcast Friday (March 4, 2011) on the nightly CBC radio newscast The World at Six (I have not yet been able to find the discrete audio file online, but a streaming version of the entire newscast is available here).

Happy Birthday to the Fisheries Broadcast!

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

 Tuesday, March 01, 2011 Join Discussion  (49 Comments)
Live Broadcasting Rural High School Sports

On a recent cross-state trip to Spokane, I was dial twisting the car radio through the AM band and stumbled across a staple of rural radio broadcasting that I'd forgotten about inside my urban bubble: live high school sports.

The station was KMAX-AM (at 840 on the dial) and I'd tuned in just as the Colton Wildcats and the Garfield-Palouse Vikings boys' basketball teams were battling through the final minutes of a game in Colfax, WA that would send one team to the state playoffs, and would end the season for the other.

Sound quality was as expected (as if the play-by-play was being sent from the arena to the station via regular phone line) and the call was a bit uneven and sometimes hard to follow, but it was one of the most exciting live sports broadcasts I'd heard in a long time. The action came right down to the final seconds before Colton took the lead and won the game, heading to the state playoffs for the first time in their history.

Social media is great, but live remote continuous broadcasting is something that radio can still do better than any other medium, transporting a mass audience to the scene of compelling action better and far less expensively than any other format.

A quick web search this morning shows that the Colton boys take on Columbia Adventist as part of the state tournament this Thursday night in Spokane. Next step is to figure out how I can tune in from 300 miles away.

(Posted by Feliks Banel)

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