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Dateline: Events/Headlines – Week Of May 15, 1980 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts



In The News

Mt. St. Helens explodes into a volcanic eruption that caused at least six deaths and widespread damage across the Pacific Northwest. Geologists call it the largest volcanic eruption in historic times in the contiguous United States.

Mud and debris from Mt. St. Helens traps two square miles of water 200 feet deep and officials fear a wall of mud and water might be loose on two towns with 50,000 residents.

Rioting in Miami - Sniper fire, arson and looting force authorities in Miami to order a dusk-to-dawn curfew and call in 1,100 National Guard troops. 19 are dead with 165 injured.  The uprising began when thousands of blacks angrily protested a not-guilty verdict that cleared four white former policemen who had been accused of the beating death of Arthur McDiffie – a black Miami insurance executive last December. 

President Carter flies within three miles of the volcanic summit of Mt. St. Helens in southwest Washington and declares: “Someone described it as the moonscape, but the moon looks like a golf course compared to what’s up there. So far, 98 are confirmed dead.

Out of money, underdog George Bush abandons the June 3 California primary to Ronald Reagan.

Industrial production plunged by 1.9% and new housing construction declines to a five-year low.

Cuban refugees - 10 passengers drown when their grossly overloaded 35-foot pleasure craft capsizes and sinks in choppy seas about 28 miles north of Havana.

Secretary of State Edmund Muskie rebukes the French government for failing to consult the United States or any of its allies before French President Valery Guscard d’ Estaing met Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev last weekend.

President Carter, citing hotel profits, tells industry officials he is displeased with their response to his voluntary price restraint program and said the government will publicize those not in compliance. 

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge orders the Board of Education to implement an expanded school desegregation plan covering grades 1 through 9 in September.

Cuba apologizes to the U.S. for the buzzing by two Cuban MIG-21’s of an unarmed U.S. Coast Guard helicopter during a Cuban refugee event. 


Sports news – May 15, 1980

 At Austria International Track Meet - Daley Thompson of Great Britain breaks the world decathlon record set by Bruce Jenner of the U.S. at the 1976 Olympic games, by amassing 8,622 points, bettering Jenner’s mark of 8,618.   

Playoffs - Magic Johnson - a 20-year-old rookie, leads the Los Angeles Lakers to a big upset – as the 76er lose 123-107. Johnson scored 42 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.


Radio news – May 15, 1980

Jay Clark is taking over as WABC radio operations directory (but he’ll be programming as well), says he has no specific plans for the station.  “I’m going to first look at the total operation and get acquainted with WABC and the people of New York,” said Clark.

More WABC – Programming Mike Joseph, the man who first consulted WABC when it went top-40 in 1960, declines a $1 million deal to do it again, despite long negotiations with general manager Al Racco. Racco turned to Joseph after Al Brady left a few last month. Why not Rick Sklar – the erstwhile programmer of WABC during its heyday. Racco and Sklar don’t like each other. Racco reportedly doesn’t want Sklar near the station. Joseph says he wanted to take along-term approach to fixing WABC, complete with research - while Racco wanted a quick fix. 

New York’s WXLO-FM (98.7) has replaced its weekly airing of “American Top 40” with Casey Kasem with the syndicated “Weekly Top 30” hosted by Mark Elliott. Heard on some 510 radio stations -  “AT40” will move to rival WNBC. Mark Elliott’s show is heard on some 200 stations.

Legendary DJ Murray the K Returns To Radio. He’s Been Off The Air Since 1976.

WKTU-FM, formerly “Disco 92” is now, what PD Paul Zarcone calls “progressive urban.” The station is adding more news and sports in its mix

KFXM San Bernardino – Lineup – Rich Watson, Todd Kelly, Craig Powers, Randy rabbit, Ron Sanchez, Scott Lockwood.


Television news – May 15, 1980

Challenge to HBO and Showtime – At the National Cable Television Assn. gathering in Dallas. Columbia Pictures, MCA Inc, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century-Fox give the industry a preview of “Premiere” – their new joint venture pay-TV channel ready to challenge Home Box office. The channel has been surrounded by controversy since movies of the four participating companies will not be made available to competitors for some nine months after their release/airing on Premiere. Can they survive? The Justice department just announced it would investigate the new venture. “Premiere” is scheduled to launch in early 1981. (Note – never happened).


Saturday night television listings/programs/TV guide – May 15, 1980

CBS – Tim Conway Sow, Movie

NBC – BJ and the Bear. Sanford, Joe’s World, Prime Time Saturday, Saturday Night Live

ABC – Love Boat, Fantasy Island


Tim Conway – with regulars Jack Riley, Bert Berdis, Eric Boardman, Dick Orkin, Miriam Flynn and Maggie Roswell. Mel Tillis guests.

BJ and the Bear – BJ mixes diesel and moonshine to get better driving mileage.


Music news – May 15, 1980

In Memphis - Dr. George Nichopoulos, personal physician to the late Elvis Presley, is indicted by a county grand jury on charges of over prescription of controlled drugs to the singer.

Kiss drummer Peter Criss is leaving to embark on a solo career.

After a 3-year hiatus – ZZ Top is back and has played to an estimated 800,000 during their current tour which began Nov. 20.

Killed in auto accident (May 3) – Tommy Caldwell - bass player and singer for the Marshall Tucker Band.

Music Television Monday Night on ABC-TV – “One Voice” with Dionne Warwick and Barry Manilow.


Top Pop Hit Music In Britain – May 15, 1980

Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

What’s Another Year – Johnny Logan

Call Me – Blondie

Coming Up – Paul McCartney

Toccata – Sky

Silver Dream Machine – David Essex

Gold Years – Motor Head

My Perfect Cousin – Undertones

I Shoulda Love Ya – Narada Michael Waldon

The Groove – Rodney Frankliin

No Doubt About It – Hot Chocolate


Top music albums – May 15, 1980

Glass Houses – Billy Joel

Against The Wind – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

The Wall – Pink Floyd

Just One Night – Eric Clapton

Women and Children First – Van Halen

Go All The Way – Isley Brothers

Pretenders – Pretenders

Christopher Cross – Christopher Cross

Mouth to Mouth – Lipps Inc.

Gideon – Kenny Rogers

Light Up the Night – Brothers Johnson

Warm Thoughts – Smokey Robinson

Off The Wall – Michael Jackson

Middle Man – Boz Scaggs

American Gigolo soundtrack

The Pleasure Principle – Gary Numan

Crash and Burn – Pat Travers Band

Damn the Torpedoes – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Rarities – The Beatles

Departure – Journey

Duke – Genesis

Lets Get Serious – Jermaine Jackson

Love Stinks – J. Geils Band

The Long Run – Eagles

Spirit of Love – Con Funk Shun

Empire Strikes Back soundtrack


Top pop hit music singles(top-40) – May 15, 1980

Lost In Love – Air Supply

Call Me – Blonde

Funky Town- Lipps Inc.

Ride Like The Wind – Christopher Cross

Sexy Eyes – Dr. Hook

With You I’m Born Again – Billy Preston and Syreta

Another Brick in The Wall – Pink Floyd

Cars – Gary Numan

You May Be Right – Billy Joel

Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer – Kenny Rogers/Kim Carnes

Biggest Part Of Me – Ambrosia

Hurt So Bad – Linda Ronstadt

Stomp – Brothers Johnson

Brass In Pocket – Pretenders

Coming Up – Paul McCartney

The Rose – Bette Midler

Against The Wind – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Heart Hotels – Dan Fogelberg

Do Right – Paul Davis

Fire Lake – Bob Seger

Steal Away – Robbie Dupree

Train in Vain – The Clash

She’s Out Of My Life – Michael Jackson

I Can’t Tell You Why – Eagles


Top Movies – May 15, 1980  

The Long Riders

Tom Horn

Friday the 13th

Kill or Be Killed

Hollywood Knights

The Fifth Floor

The Nude Bomb

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