This is the Broadcast History section of
The Broadcast Archive
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
- Story: Uncle Don *really* said something about his feelings for
his "little friends" and was promptly fired.
Reality: Not true! This canard has
been around for a long time, especially as promulgated via a faked
"recreation" by Kermit Schafer on his "blooper" records.
A good investigation of this claim has been done by David Mikkelson.
A fuller treatment is fouind in the book
The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story
by Jan Harold Brunvand.
- Story: Harry Von Zell introduced the President, ready to give a live
speech, as "Hoobert Heever."
Reality: Not quite! Another story
propagated by Schafer. There was a germ of truth here. Von Zell did make
that slip, but in an entirely different setting. This is shown on
the snopes.com site. HOWEVER,
Warning: watch out for popunder ads! Snopes is a bad, unfriendly site that
uses underhanded advertising!
- Story: The radio operator who heard the distress
call from the Titanic was David Sarnoff, who stayed at his post for long
hours until nothing more could be done.
Reality: Not true! Sarnoff was not
on duty that night. In fact, the department store and radio station were
closed that evening. However, the Press Relations department found Sarnoff
to be a good "story" to feed the newspapers, and
"anointed" him as "hero." At the time, Sarnoff was very
grateful for the fame ... it surely didn't hurt his rise in the RCA empire.
- Story: David Sarnoff wrote a "prescient"
memo predicting the course of broadcasting, including the use of "music
boxes" to send programming to all sorts of listeners.
Reality: Not quite! There is a rather fair
amount of evidence that this memo was back dated. The actual date of the
memo seems to be several years later. Also, while Sarnoff fancied himself a
true prophet of the future ... he also made predictions like this one in
1956: "[by 1976] Jet-propulsion and rocket-type vehicles, using nuclear
fuels, will travel at speeds as high as five thousand miles an hour with
greater safety and comfort..."
- Story: The first commercial was broadcast on WEAF
in August 1922.
Reality: Not true! This claim was
made in a book by an AT&T employee. However, paid programs (similar to
the WEAF broadcast) were sponsored in March 1922 in Seattle on KFC, and in
April 1922 on WGI, Medford Hillside, MA. Correspondence still exists from
the DOC to the Radio Inspector for District 1 (Mr. Kolster) from April 18,
1922 through May 1922 relating to the sale of "advertising for which a
fixed charge is set at $25.00 for a fifteen minute period."
- Story: Before it was "coined" for use in
the "Broadcasting" industry, the word "broadcast" was
only used to mean "spreading seed in a field".
Reality: it was also used, at least in the United States, to
mean "distribute information widely", as in sending out pamphlets.
As an example, you can do a search for the word "broadcast" at: http://raven.cc.ukans.edu/carrie/kancoll/books/cutler/main/preface.html
- Story: The FCC is about to pass a law forbidding
Reality: Not true. This has
been circulating for YEARS, and never was true to begin
with. The message relates to a Rulemaking
(RM 2493) the FCC DENIED in AUGUST 1975.
(The Rulemaking is here.) Furthermore, the
petitioners were Jeremy Lansman and Lorenzo
Milam; Madalyn Murray-O'Hair and her
family had NOTHING to do with it. And, to top it off,
the actual petition was not about banning religious broadcasts.
Unfortunately, this continues to be one of those stories that new users of
the Internet "stumble" over and, without any attempt to verify the
veracity of the content, email all their friends in "alarm."
Amazingly, the FCC still gets hundreds of calls a month about it. The FCC
even had to add a special voicemail box for those seeking information.
There is a complete explanation at this location on the
and this pdf. Even the Atheists
decline to take credit for this.
- Story: Alan Freed was the man who invented the term
Rock & Roll.
Reality: Unsure. This one is another of those that requires some
sort of documentation, but rarely is it offered. We offer several
the late Dick Novak (Portland , OR DJ) was said to have used the phrase when
playing "Rock Around the Clock" ("... and the kids were
rolling in their cars") in the early 1950s;
(2) In the Wynonie Harris song "Good Rockin' Tonight," Wynonie apparently ad
libs into the second chorus "rock .. and roll".... this being in
1947 (on the King label).
- (3) The Boswell Sisters recorded a song titled "Rock and Roll"
for Brunswick Label in 1934.
- (4) Ella Fitzgerald recorded "Rock It For Me" in 1937 with the line,
"So won't you satisfy my soul with the rock and roll."
There likely other possibilities ...
- Story: CDs can be made to sounds better if a green
marker is applied to the edge.
Reality: Not true. And
it doesn't matter if you use a black marker, red marker, or blue marker.
There is no credible evidence that there is any measurable change in the
audio output of a CD with any marking on the edge, nor has there been anyone
who can tell with any accuracy during a blindfold test the difference
between marked and unmarked CDs.
If you have more info, please pass it on.
Story: Rick Sklar was the Program Director that
invented the Rock & Roll format.
Story: The FCC outlawed the "Seven Words" of George Carlin.
- Got a piece of broadcast "history" that isn't?
Let me know!