April 1947

Product synergy?   Bob Hope's radio program was sponsored for many years by PEPSODENT Toothpaste.  And at the same time he was a stakeholder in a SOFT DRINK! 

"Say, Bing, I wonder if we should've invested in a cola flavored with IRIUM instead?"

[Go here for a closeup of the small theater adverts on above right.]
....in gorgeous Technicolor!

(If you missed It's a Wonderful Life, I'm afraid you're out of luck.  That film was such a bomb you won't ever see that one again.  Not even on that new invention called "TV.")

Click to read larger version

And I'll bet I paid more for my car (Honda Civic) than folks in 1947 paid for new home in Mountain Brook!

Edwin Armstrong was an electrical engineer who pioneered the concept of FM broadcasting in the 1930s.  And RCA (parent company of NBC and the "Microsoft" of broadcasting in the '30s and '40s) wanted the whole silly idea of "non-fading, static free" FM radio quashed, believing it would threaten 'standard' (i.e., AM) broadcasting ... not to mention taking up valuable space which RCA sought for television.

In 1954, distraught over all the mounting legal bills for this renegade inventor, Armstrong -- neatly dressed in coat, hat and gloves -- took his own life, jumping from the 13th floor window of his apartment.

Here's a short bio of Edwin Armstrong.

FM remained a stepchild for the time being.  For instance, WAFM was little more than a repeater station for its 'main' AM sister, WAPI.  Sports events and specialty programs aside, stations like WAFM (which evolved into the present-day WYSF 94.5) wouldn't come into their own until the 1970s.  Meanwhile, the FM band was basically a money-losing 'niche' service, catering to jazz and classical music lovers and, yes, afficionados of easy listening (i.e. "elevator music").

FM would not be a serious contender in Birmingham until 1977, when stations like K-99, KICKS 106, WZZK and WBHM brought "88-108" to life! 

And today, FM is far and away the dominant radio medium.  Mr. Armstrong had the last laugh.

03/28/2007 -- 923 PM EDT

Shall we move along?