[AMRadio] Winter Solstice AM Broadcast Propagation recollections


Robert Nickels ranickel at comcast.net
Wed Dec 21 00:02:20 EST 2016


On 12/20/2016 8:55 PM, donroden at hiwaay.net wrote:
> WLS "COLOR" weather radar ..( and why was that cool on black and white 
> AM ? )
> ( yes, the TV connection ) 

Exactly so.   But before the Color Radar, back when WLS switched from 
The Barn Dance station to rock and roll in 1960, they bought a memorable 
set of jingles sung by the Anita Kerr Singers, including the famous 
"Radar Weather Eye" which can be heard at 1:25:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLu4UVorDSo

The jingle featured a long instrumental bed for the announcer to 
describe the weather including what was forecast using the newfangled 
radar gizmo.    I think this set the stage for how radio stations tried 
to incorporate visual elements into programming and probably triggered 
the idea that visionary program director Chuck Blore exploited a year 
later to create the "Color Radio" format for a chain of radio stations 
across the US.  Color Radio and channel numbers became the metaphor for 
moving his stations into the forefront of their markets, just as color 
television was doing in the visual media.

The most recognizable Color Radio station was Los Angeles's "KFWB 
Channel 98".     You can hear the Johnny Mann Singers jingles and read 
all about Color Radio at   http://www.colorradio.com

But the most interesting part of this story to me was discovering that 
in this case "art" imitated "life".   As explained at the link below,  
noted LA film score composer heard the six note KFWB musical signature 
at the end of the Johnny Mann jingles and approached the station about 
making a full-length instrumental record based on it.   The result is 
called "Image" (parts 1 and 2) and is a nice jazzy tune that actually 
hit #1 in Los Angeles!

http://bayarearadio.org/audio/kewb/kewb_theme-song_1961.shtml

I'm a bit nuts for this kind of radio history so thanks for indulging 
me.  Band conditions suck anyhow ;-)

73, Bob W9RAN



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