‘‘ T H E  P L A T T E R  C H A T T E R  T H A T  M A T T E R S ’’

The Birth of Top 40 Radio...

The term "Top 40" for a radio format first appeared in 1960.

At his radio station KOWH in Omaha, Nebraska. Todd Storz invented the format by using what he saw from the repetition of plays on the jukebox to develop his platform.

The format was commercially successful, and Storz and his father Robert, under the name of the Storz Broadcasting Company, subsequently acquired other stations to use the new Top 40.

The Top 40 became a survey of the popularity of 45 rpm singles and their airplay on the radio. Some nationally syndicated radio shows featured a countdown of the 40 highest ranked songs on a particular music or entertainment publication.

Although such publications often listed more than 40 charted hits, such as the Billboard Hot 100, time constraints allowed for the airing of only 40 songs, hence, the term "top 40" gradually became part of the vernacular associated with popular music. And it remains in play today.

   A N D  R E C E N T L Y  A D D E D:

Wink Martindale

Winston Conrad Martindale was born on December 4, 1933, in Jackson, Tennessee, and started his career as a disc jockey at age 17 at WPLI in Jackson, earning $25 a week.

After moving to WTJS, he was hired away for double the salary by Jackson's only other station, WDXI.
"Mars Patrol"

He worked a total of three radio shows in Jackson before moving to Memphis to take an announcer job with WHBQ — all this before he was 20. Martindale's first break into television was in 1955 at WHBQ-TV as the host of Mars Patrol, a science-fiction themed television program which showcased Flash Gordon films in between interviews with local kiddies.

Hollywood beckoned, and Wink moved to California, where he landed bit parts in a couple of unforgettable movies and got announcing jobs with several Los Angeles radio stations. It looked like he was set to land a plum role as the host of a new TV show patterned after Dance Party, but at the last minute ABC handed American Bandstand to another newcomer named Dick Clark.

In 1959 Wink released a record album titled Deck of Cards. The collection of religious and inspirational songs, went to no. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold over a million copies. It also peaked at no. 5 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1963, the first of four visits to that chart.

Wink at KFWB in Los Angeles on June 2, 1965. [ LISTEN ] (17:19)
The “Principal of the Year” contest is in full swing.
At his tenure with WHBQ, Martindale became the host of the TV show Teenage Dance Party, where his friend Elvis Presley made an appearance on June 16, 1956.

TOP 10
LISTENING PARTY
[ LISTEN ] (36:14)

Also in 1959, he became morning man at KHJ in Los Angeles, California, moving a year later to the morning show at KRLA and finally to KFWB in 1962. He also had lengthy stays at KGIL from 1968 to 1971, KKGO/KJQI and Gene Autry's KMPC (now KSPN (AM)) from 1971 to 1979 and again from 1983 to 1987, the short-lived "Wink and Bill Show" on KABC during 1989, and KJQI from 1993 to 1994. In 1967, Martindale acted in a short futuristic documentary film about home life in the year 1999 produced by the Philco-Ford Corporation which predicted, among other things, Internet commerce.

Martindale's first game-show hosting job was on the show What's This Song?, which he hosted for NBC (credited as "Win Martindale") from 1964 to 1965. From 1970 to 1971, he hosted a similar song-recognition game show, Words and Music, again on NBC.

His first major success came in 1972, when he took the emcee position on a new CBS game show, Gambit. He spent four years hosting the original Gambit and later hosted a Las Vegas-based revival for 13 months in 1980-81.

Wink's other television game show credits include Moments to Remember, Instant Recall, Debt, Trivial Pursuit, Tic Tac Dough, The Last Word, High Rollers, Headline Chasers, Can You Top This?, Words and Music, How's Your Mother-in-Law?, Dream Girl of '67, What's This Song?, and Gambit.

WHERE DID WINK WORK? Here is the list: WPLI, WHBQ, KHJ (pre-Drake), KRLA, KFWB, KGIL, KKGO/KJQI, KMPC, KABC and KJQI.


Some materials found on this page were originally published by the following: Memphis Flyer, Airchexx.
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...and In Rode the Disc Jockeys

“DJs” have had a key role in shaping radio listener's musical tastes since the 1950s. They reflected national and local musical trends, exposed audiences to new music, and in some cases produced records and managed artists. Many DJs became celebrities, actively engaged and influential in the national music scene.

DJs came into being as a result of changes in the radio industry after the advent of television in the 1950s. In the earlier years of radio broadcasting, programming featured mainly live entertainment such as dramas, comedy acts, and studio orchestras and singers. When television came into widespread use, the audience for this type of programming largely abandoned radio for the new medium. In response, radio stations began offering a new type of entertainment by having their announcers play records on the air.

Thus was born the “disc jockey” or “DJ.”