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Dateline: Events/Headlines - Week of January 15, 1981 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Celebrity, Sports, Entertainment & Fascinating Facts



In The News

The United States begins transferring more than $2 billion in Iranian assets to London while negotiators in Washington and Algiers rush to complete an agreement with Tehran that could free the 52 American hostages in a few days.

Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, one of the most prominent and fiery Roman Catholic rights leaders in Northern Ireland, is shot and gravely wounded by three gunmen who burst into her home. She was shot with her husband

A last-minute glitch in the release of the 52 American hostages from Iran, forces President Jimmy Carter to abandon any hope of greeting them as President upon their return. Instead, Carter accepted an invitation to welcome the captives, once they are freed, as Ronald Reagan’s representative after the President is sworn in.

The Reagan Administration says it will not commit itself to Jimmy Carter’s agreement with Iran until it reviews “very closely” the terms that freed the 52 hostages.

 Just as soon as Ronald Reagan is about to be sworn-in as President, the 52 American hostages are freed – in exchange for $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets. The captives had spent 444 days in captivity. After leaving Iran, two planes touched down in Athens, Greece for refueling and continued on to Algiers. Said one wife, “My god, it’s over. It’s done.”

The free hostages tell of beatings and other atrocities at the hands of the Iranian captors as they telephoned their loved ones. One said he was beaten and placed in solitary confinement for more than five months after he tried to escape. Another said he was told by Iranian interrogators trying to extract information from him that his mother had died (she is still very much alive). 

Arriving in Frankfurt, former President Jimmy Carter praises the courage of the 52 American hostages whose captivity in Iran dominated much of his presidency.

The Empire State Building glows red, white and blue in honor of the hostages’ imminent release from Iran.

The Justice Department and AT&T reach an “essentially complete” settlement of the government’s six-year-old antitrust case aimed at breaking up the communications giant.

 Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and his wife Joan, announce they plan to divorce after 23 years of marriage. They had been living apart – she in Boston and he in Washington. “With regret, yet with respect and consideration for each other, we have agreed to terminate our marriage.” “We have reached this decision together, with the understanding of our children and after pastoral counseling.”

Passing – Marguerite Oswald – mother of Lee Harvey Oswald. (73). She sold mementos of the assassination to stave off dependency on welfare.


Radio news – January 15, 1981

Radio Ratings – New York City

Disco WKTU – 8.3

WBLS – 7.1

WOR – 5.2

WINS – 4.9

WCBS – 4.8

WNBC – 4.7

WABC – 3.6


More Radio -

Ratings - Boston – Top-40 AM WRKO takes a dive from a 4.0 to a 2.7. Could this be the end of the Big 68?

KLIF, once a top-40 powerhouse in Dallas during the late 1950’s, 1960’s and into the 1970’s goes country. KLIF’s new logo is “Country… Texas Style.”

KHJ-AM – another former top-40 powerhouse is now country with the new slogan – “We All Grew Up To Be Cowboys.” Although KHJ went Country on November 7, the campaign is just kicking off with new TV ads.

Trend – Some beautiful music stations are giving up the instrumentals and adding more vocals. Schulke, a beautiful music program provider has another format – Schulke II, with all vocals.


Music news – January 15, 1981

Wendy Williams (31) – lead singer of new wave rock band, the Plasmatics, pleads innocent to charges of making obscene gestures during the group’s performance in Milwaukee. She was arrested backstage at the Palms for allegedly making obscene gestures with a sledgehammer. She also fought with officers and kicked at least one officer in the hand.  

 Looks like “”Back in Black” is AC/DC/s most popular album to date. Not bad for a band who won’t do press junkets or interviews. And, their lead singer, Bon Scott, died just before the album was released. If the group was having trouble getting radio airplay, it isn’t now.

Yoko Ono takes out a full-page newspaper ad asking for restraint from those individuals and companies planning major exploitation projects in the wake of John’s death. Those who want to merchandise Lennon’s name “on a small scale” would “have my blessings” said Yoko. The ad is the second full-page newspaper message from the Lennon family in about a year. The other one was an open letter explaining why Lennon and Ono had remained reclusive for several years.  

Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie and his wife, Julie Ann are arrested at their Napili, Maui home and charged with promoting cocaine. Mr. McVie was also charged with hindering prosecution after she allegedly tried to get rid of the cocaine before police found it. 

Sid Bernstein will present and promote all acts playing at the Copacabana. The deal will include both the 508-capacity downstairs room and the 470-capacity upstairs room. Says Bernstein – “We feel there is a definite need for this type of club in that area. We have researched it and found there are 80,000 people staying in hotels within a 10-block radius of the club.” The Copa is located on the upper East side of Manhattan.


Television news – January 15, 1981

Mary Crosby is much in demand, thanks to her appearance in “Dallas.” She just finished a TV pilot called “Golden Gate.” She’s also played her first leading role – in an NBC-TV movie (remake) of “Midnight Lace.”

Chuck Barris Productions buys back the pilot of its talkshow “Leave It To The Women” from NBC-TV for $225,000. They’ll place into syndication beginning in September.

Ted Turner’s Cable News Network enters the New Year with entry into 4.3 million cable homes and growing. Although advertising revenues are climbing ahead of projections, financial analysts estimate they amounted to only $5-6 million in 1980, with a total CNN loss in excess of $15 million. CNN charges systems 15-to-20cents per subscriber per month. As of mid-December, CNN was carried on some 615 cable systems in 48 states and the Virgin Islands. CNN expenses are $3 million a month and the company expects to break even early 1982. Turner is raising $25 million to cover CNN’s debts, most of it from selling 1 million new shares of common stock. 

The talk of TV talk shows - Although it’s been in syndication for over a decade, The Phil Donahue Show is now making big ratings inroads and is challenging traditional talk shows with its audience participation format. Where it’s aired - the show is on or near top of the ratings.

This Friday on Dallas – It’s wedding bells for Lucy Ewing and Mitch Cooper (Charlene Tilton/Leigh McCloskey)


Sunday night television listings/programs/TV guide – January 15, 1981

CBS – 60 Minutes, One Day At A Time, Alice, The Jeffersons, Trapper John

NBC – Disney’s Wonderful World, ChiPs, Bob Hope Anniversary

ABC – Catastrophe! No Safe Place, Those Amazing Animals, Movie

PBS – Shock of the New, Masterpiece Theater


Catastrophe! No Safe Place – Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland host this documentary focusing on disasters such as the sinking of the Andrea Doria and the Baldwin Hills dam break.

One Day At A Time – Schneider becomes involved with a young lady.

ABC Sunday Night Movie – “The Choirboys” (1977) – Charles Durning, Lou Gossett, Perry King, Clyde Kusatsy, Tim McIntire, Randy Quaid, Don Stroud, Barbara Rhoades.


Top hit music singles(top-40) – January 15, 1981

Starting Over – John Lennon

The Tide Is High – Blondie

Love On the Rocks – Neil Diamond

Guilty – Barbara Streisand & Barry Gibb

Passion – Rod Stewart

Every Woman In The World – Air Supply

Miss Sun – Boz Scaggs

I Love A Rainy Night – Eddie Rabbit

It’s My Turn – Diana Ross

Celebration – Kook & The Gang

Tell It Like It Is – Heart

Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan

Giving It Up For Your Love – Delbert McClinton

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Together – Tierra

Time Is Time – Andy Gibb

I Made It Through The Rain – Barry Manila


Top Music Dance Tracks Playing In Discos – January 15, 1981

You’re Too Late – Fantasy

It’s A War/Ahjia –Kano

Look Up/Never Gonna Give You Up – Patrice Rushen

Voices Inside My Head/When The World is Running Down – Police

Celebration – Kool & The Gang

All My Love – L.A.X.

I Hear Music In The Streets – Unlimited Touch

Lovely One/Can You Feel It/Walk Right Now – Jacksons

Dirty Mind (album) – Prince

You Ought To Be Dancin’ – People’s Choice 


Top movies  –  January 15, 1981

Stir Crazy

Nine to Five


Seems Like Old Times

Any Which Way You Can

Hangar 18

Raging Bull

First Family

A Change of Seasons

The Mirror Crackd

Ordinary People

The Jazz Singer

The Formula

Private Benjamin

Flash Gordon

Altered States

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