Herb Oscar Anderson passed away this morning. In the 1960’s HOA was the Morning Mayor of New York on 77 WABC, the legendary radio station that inspired me to get into the business.
Herb didn’t share an appreciation of Sixties youth culture and music with his fellow WABC jocks, in particular Cousin Brucie and Dan Ingram. His taste ran more to Lawrence Welk, but being a fan of the Lennon Sisters myself that’s fine with me, and I enjoyed hearing HOA every morning while getting ready for school.
Herb was the #1 morning DJ in New York when he decided to leave WABC in September, 1968. Harry Harrison was hired away from WMCA to take over the highly-coveted shift, and a month later my family moved from Connecticut to Massachusetts.
Where else, but on the BBC World Service, can you hear a surprisingly interesting documentary about the world’s largest auction of farm equipment, held monthly in England? The World Service also has The Arts Hour, with Paul McCartney talking about his trip to Lagos, Nigeria, recording “Band of the Run.”
I have just purchased a new book called “The Network: The Battle for the Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age,” about a subject that interests me greatly. The relationship of the brilliant engineer Edwin Armstrong and David Sarnoff, the CEO of RCA. Sarnoff saw the potential of radio broadcasting that was made possible by Armstrong’s AM circuit wizardry, and used it to build the mighty NBC network. He failed, however, to see the significance of Armstrong’s invention of FM, to the point where the FCC had to force Sarnoff into accepting FM for TV sound.
It’s a classic modern tragedy of an independent inventor being crushed by a giant corporation. Keeping in mind that Sarnoff also rolled over Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of all-electronic television, I do not yet know if the book’s author, Scott Woolley, sees Sarnoff as having been completely in the wrong. Based upon a segment on last Friday’s Marketplace, I get the impression that Woolley might favor the view that Armstrong should have accepted reality and given up the fight.
… and a retro piece, from 1965, about about the relationship between radio and Rock and Roll. It’s recommended by Herb Oscar Anderson, or HOA as he was known when he was the Morning Mayor on 77 WABC in the 1960’s.