Friday, May 29, 2020

The Rundown: 2.1M File, State Of Agony In Minneapolis

The Labor Department reported Thursday that another 2.1 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week even as businesses around the country have gradually begun to reopen, bringing the total number of Americans who've filed for unemployment since the coronavirus shutdowns began in March to a staggering 41 million. But there were some positive signs in the data, as the overall number of Americans currently getting unemployment benefits fell for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million. Additionally, the number of first time unemployment applications fell for an eighth straight week.

President Trump tweeted a message Thursday morning acknowledging the U.S. passing 100,000 deaths a day earlier.

There have been more than 101,600 deaths in the U.S. from the virus as of last night, according to Johns Hopkins University's count, and more than 1,721,000 confirmed cases.

In other developments:
  • Illinois Ending Stay-at-Home Order: Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced yesterday (May 28th) that he's ending the stay-at-home order he put in place 10 weeks ago, after every region of the state has met the conditions needed to do so. That moves Illinois into the third phase of Pritzker's plan, which will allow the reopening of manufacturing and retail, outdoor dining at restaurants, and small social gatherings.
  • Union: At Least 44 Meatpacking Workers Have Died: The United Food and Commercial Workers union released an estimate yesterday that at least 44 meatpacking workers have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus, and another 3,000 have tested positive. Meat processing plants have been hot spots for the virus, and many have temporarily closed at some point, with the union saying it's led to a 40 percent reduction in pork production and a 25 percent reduction in beef. However, most of the plants have stayed open since President Trump declared them critical infrastructure a month ago. Although many plants have installed physical barriers between workstations and set up hand-sanitizing stations, the union called for more safety measures to be implemented.
Wall Street Journal 5/29/20
➤PROTESTS CONTINUE IN MINNEAPOLIS, ELSEWHERE OVER FLOYD'S DEATH; POLICE STATION SET ON FIRE: Protests continued in Minneapolis for a third day and spread to other places in the country Thursday over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died Monday after a white officer held him facedown on the ground handcuffed with a knee on his neck for more than eight minutes as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe and finally became unresponsive. Cell phone video of the incident sparked national outrage.

Some of the protests have turned violent and led to looting, and last night protesters in Minneapolis broke into a police station and set it on fire. The 3rd precinct station had been the focus of many protests, and staff had evacuated it before the protesters broke in. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard earlier in the day, and 500 of them were being sent to Minneapolis and surrounding areas. However, there were peaceful marches as well in the city. Protesters turned out in New York City's Union Square, where they clashed with police, and demonstrators blocked traffic in Denver. There were demonstrations in Los Angeles and Memphis on Wednesday.

D.A. Says Won't 'Rush to Justice': Derek Chauvin, the officer who held his knee on Floyd's neck, was fired the next day, as were the three other officers who were with him and did nothing to intervene. There are growing calls for criminal charges to be brought, including from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman said yesterday, "That video is graphic and horrific and terrible, and no person should do that. But my job in the end is to prove that he violated a criminal statute, and there's other evidence that does not support a criminal charge." He said they will investigate, quote, "as expeditiously, as thoroughly and completely as justice demands," but stated, "I will not rush to justice." The U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica MacDonald called it "imperative" that the public understands, quote, "how seriously we are taking this and how quickly and swiftly we are moving on this." The FBI is also investigating. 

911 Call Transcript: The city released the transcript yesterday of the 911 call from a convenience store that the officers responded to about a man using a counterfeit $20 bill. The caller described the man as "awfully drunk" and "not in control of himself." When the 911 operator asked if the man was under the influence of something, the caller said, "Something like that, yes. He is not acting right." Police said Floyd matched the description of the caller and stated that he resisted arrest. However, CNN reported that surveillance video from a nearby restaurant appears to contradict that Floyd was resisting.

Chauvin Complaints, Shootings: The Minneapolis Police Department said yesterday that Chauvin had 18 prior complaints filed against him. It's unclear what they were for, but two of them were closed with discipline, which CNN said was apparently a letter of reprimand. He was also involved in two shootings. In the first, he was one of six officers who fatally opened fire on a stabbing suspect in 2006 after a chase that ended when the suspect pointed a shotgun at them. A grand jury decided the use of force was justified. In the second, Chauvin shot a man two years later while responding to a domestic dispute. Chauvin shot the suspect, who survived, twice in the stomach after he went for Chauvin's gun.

➤TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER CHALLENGING SOCIAL MEDIA PROTECTIONS: President Trump signed an executive order Thursday challenging social media companies' protection from lawsuits, two days after Twitter labeled two of his tweets claiming that mail-in voting would lead to widespread vote fraud as "potentially misleading." Trump called the fact checks "editorial decisions" that were political activism, and said it should lead Twitter to lose its liability protection for what's posted on its platform. The protection is given because the platforms aren't considered publishers. The executive order directs that rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission be asked to study whether they can put new regulations on the companies. However, experts doubted much could legally be done without Congress acting. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday night that Twitter would continue to, quote, "point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally."

➤BOSTON MARATHON CANCELED FOR FIRST TIME: Organizers announced yesterday that the Boston Marathon had been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time that's happened in its 124-year history. The marathon had already been postponed from April 20th to September 14th, before now being scrapped altogether. It will be replaced by a virtual event in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will get their finisher's medal. They can run between September 7th and 14th.

➤NFL COACHES EXPECTED TO BE ALLOWED AT TEAM FACILITIES NEXT WEEK: NFL coaches may be allowed back in team facilities starting next week, according to a memo sent by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Thursday to all 32 teams. In the memo, obtained by the AP, Goodell says, "We expect that next week clubs will be permitted to include members of their coaching staffs among the employees permitted to resume work in the club facility." A limited number of team personnel, but not coaches, have been allowed at facilities since May 19th. The only players who are allowed are those undergoing therapy and rehab for injuries.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram 5/29/20
➤TEXAS TO ALLOW FANS AT OUTDOOR SPORTING EVENTS AT 25 PERCENT CAPACITY: Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that fans will be allowed to attend outdoor professional sporting events in almost all counties in the state at up to 25 percent capacity starting this Sunday. Guidelines from the state recommend that fans and employees remain six feet apart from anyone who's not in their household. Any indoor sporting events will still have to be held without fans.

Radio Correspondent Mark Knoller Included In CBS News Layoffs

Veteran White House correspondent Mark Knoller has reportedly been laid off by CBS News, promoting reactions of lament from journalists across the media spectrum.

Knoller, who has been at CBS News for 32 years, primarily reporting for CBS News Radio, wrote in a tweet that he's still with the organization "for the time being."

A CBS News spokesperson directed The Hill back to Knoller's tweet when reached for comment. Knoller's layoff was reported on Twitter by New York Magazine and HuffPost contributor Yashar Ali.

Knoller has won universal respect in the journalism world for his objectivity. He's also been referred to as a "human encyclopedia" known for counting certain aspects of each presidency.

CBS News Layoffs Impact Philly, Chicago

Lesley Van Arsdall
Veteran sports anchor Lesley Van Arsdall was one of more than a dozen staffers this week to fall victim to cutbacks within the news operation at CBS3.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports also ousted were Chandler Lutz, the morning traffic anchor; Cleve Bryan, the station’s South Jersey reporter; and Chantee Lans, the general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor considered to be a rising star. Several engineers, writers, freelancers, and producers also lost their jobs at the Philadelphia news outlet, a station staffer said.

“It’s really lean now," said the station staffer, who was not authorized to speak to the media. "And we were already so lean to begin with.”

The layoffs came as part of a nationwide staff reduction this week by the station’s parent company ViacomCBS.

Citing financial pressures from the coronavirus pandemic and an ongoing corporate restructuring, ViacomCBS slashed more than 300 personnel across its news and entertainment divisions, according to the Los Angeles Times.

CBS merged with Viacom in December to create a new multinational multimedia behemoth then valued at $15.6 billion.

Though TV news viewership has soared as Americans hunger for pandemic news, advertising revenue has shriveled to close to zero because most ad-placing businesses have remained shuttered since mid-March because of COVID-19 .

Pam Zekman
By Thursday afternoon, the station’s website had scrubbed any evidence that Van Arsdall, Lutz, Bryan, or Lans had ever worked there.

Van Arsdall, 47, spent nearly 20 years at the station and was named the station’s weekend sports editor in 2011. She joined the Eyewitness News in team in 2003 as a general assignment reporter. Previously, she was a reporter and anchor at Newsradio KYW 1060 AM.

In Chicago, the legendary Pam Zekman, one of Chicago television’s premier investigative reporters, was among at least a dozen employees at WBBM-Channel 2 who lost their jobs today in sweeping companywide layoffs at CBS, according to Chicago Media Waatcher Robert Feder.

Others cut reportedly included morning news anchor Erin Kennedy, sports anchor Megan Mawicke, meteorologist Megan Glaros, and reporters Mike Puccinelli and Mai Martinez, according to insiders. Additional staffers, including some outside of the news department, were expected to be notified before the end of the day.

Lansing Radio: WQTX Imports DeDe In The Morning

Duke Wright’s Midwest Communications, Inc. owned WQTX Stacks 92.1 in Lansing, MI has debuted “DeDe in the Morning” from 5-10 am weekdays.

“The playlist on Stacks 92.1 has a very fun, upbeat vibe. We needed a morning show that fit that vibe. All fun and no drama “says Terry Stevens, Operations Manager. “After listening to DeDe in the Morning and seeing the results she delivers in markets similar to ours, we are 100% confident that DeDe and her team are the perfect fit for AM Drive on Stacks 92.1! Lansing is going to LOVE her!”

DeDe states: “Thank you Midwest and the Stacks 92.1 team. We all need to laugh right now, and we are excited to bring our fun and laughter to Lansing.”

Head of Content Geo Cook comments: “The rapid expansion of the DeDe In the Morning brand across the country continues to exceed expectations. DeDe’s comedy, format versatility, unique content, and unrivaled commitment to community has fueled #1 ratings in PPM and diary markets, even in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. We are ecstatic to partner with Midwest Communications owner Duke Wright, VP of Programming Jeff McCarthy, OM Terry Stevens and the Stacks 92.1 team to help them dominate in Lansing with DeDe.”

DeDe in the Morning is distributed nationally via a partnership between Service Broadcasting Group (SBG) Urban KKDA (K104)/Dallas and Compass Media Networks

R.I.P.: Tony Redz, Well-Known D-C Radio Personality

Tony Redz
The legendary radio personality Tony Redz Aka Mr. 24/7 has died, a heart attack victim.

The news regarding his death was confirmed by Redz’s former colleague and fellow radio host Sunni on Twitter. The tweet read, “Got a call from DJ Flexx that shattered my heart. Can’t believe our former colleague Tony Redz has passed away. Way too young. Prayers to his family. Unbelievable.”

Redz began his music career in Radio in 1997, at Radio One’s WKYS 93.9 FM. He later moved to CBS Radio’s WPGC 95.5 FM in 2000. He embarked on a 30-city tour as a part of the management deal with Violator Records.

May 29 Radio History

Bob Hope - circa the '40s
➦In 1903...comedian Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in London Englan (Died – July 27, 2003). He was a British-born American stand-up comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career that spanned nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in more than 70 short and feature films, with 54 feature films with Hope as star, including a series of seven "Road" musical comedy movies with Bing Crosby as Hope's top-billed partner.

In addition to hosting the Academy Awards show 19 times, more than any other host, he appeared in many stage productions and television roles, and was the author of 14 books. The song "Thanks for the Memory" was his signature tune. Hope was born in the Eltham district of southeast London, UK, arrived in the United States of America with his family at the age of four, and grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

After a brief career as a boxer in the late 1910s, he began his career in show business in the early 1920s, initially as a comedian and dancer on the vaudeville circuit, before acting on Broadway. Hope began appearing on radio and in films starting in 1934. He was praised for his comedic timing, specializing in one-liners and rapid-fire delivery of jokes which often were self-deprecating. He helped establish modern American stand-up comedy.

Celebrated for his long career performing in United Service Organizations (USO) shows to entertain active duty American military personnel, making 57 tours for the USO between 1941 and 1991, Hope was declared an honorary veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces in 1997 by an act of the United States Congress. He appeared in numerous specials for NBC television starting in 1950, and was one of the first users of cue cards.

He debuted on NBC radio in 1935, and was heard on a weekly basis for the next 23 years, though the last 4 years were repeats.  His TV show debuted in 1952, and his final special aired in 1996 when he was 93.

Hope retired in 1997, and died at the age of 100 in 2003, at his home in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.

➦In 1918...Herbert Arthur "Herb" Shriner born (Died – April 23, 1970). He was a humorist, radio personality and television host. Shriner was known for his homespun monologues, usually about his home state of Indiana. He was frequently compared to humorist Will Rogers.

Herb Shriner - 1949
In 1940, Shriner was hired by NBC for occasional radio appearances, which led to a regular spot in 1942 and 1943 on the comedy-variety program Camel Caravan. During World War II, he served in a United States Army special services unit and performed for two years in USO shows for GIs in Europe. After the war, he appeared on a number of radio shows, including The Philip Morris Follies of 1946 with Johnny Desmond and Margaret Whiting.

In 1947 he appeared in a Broadway musical review called Inside U.S.A. The performances were panned by critics, but Shriner's monologues made it a success and carried the show for over a year. Shriner hosted Herb Shriner Time, a CBS Radio weekday program, in 1948 and 1949 with the Raymond Scott Quintet, singer Dorothy Collins, and announcer Durward Kirby.

Herb Shriner Time evolved into a short-lived, fifteen-minute television show. A half-hour version on ABC ran during the 1951-52 season. Shriner found TV success with Two for the Money, a game show which appeared on NBC in the 1952-53 season, then moved to CBS for three seasons.

He died in an auto accident April 23 1970 at age 51.

➦In 1939…'
When a Girl Marries' aired for the first time on CBS Radio.  It was a daytime radio drama which was broadcast on three major radio networks from 1939 to 1957. It was the highest rated soap opera during the mid-1940s.

➦In 1941...Robert David "Bob" Simon born (Died in a car accident  – February 11, 2015).  He was a radio, TV correspondent for CBS News. During his career, he covered crises, war, and unrest in 67 countries. Simon reported the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, the Israeli-Lebanese Conflict in 1982, and the student protests in China's Tiananmen Square in 1989. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, he and four of his TV crew were captured and imprisoned by Iraq for 40 days. He published a book about the experience titled "Forty Days."

He became a regular correspondent for CBS's 60 Minutes in 1996 and, in 1999, for 60 Minutes II. At the time of his death in an auto accident, he served as 60 Minutes senior foreign correspondent.

Bing Crosby
➦In 1942…Bing Crosby, backed by the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra, recorded Irving Berlin's "White Christmas." The first public performance of the song was by Bing Crosby, on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941; a copy of the recording from the radio program is owned by Crosby's estate and was loaned to CBS News Sunday Morning for their December 25, 2011 program. It was released on July 30 as part of an album of six 78-rpm discs from the musical film Holiday Inn. At first, Crosby did not see anything special about the song.

By the end of October 1942, "White Christmas" topped the Your Hit Parade chart. It remained in that position until well into the new year.  It has often been noted that the mix of melancholy—"just like the ones I used to know"—with comforting images of home—"where the treetops glisten"—resonated especially strongly with listeners during World War II. A few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Crosby introduced "White Christmas" on a Christmas Day broadcast.  The Armed Forces Network was flooded with requests for the song. The recording is noted for Crosby's whistling during the second chorus.

In 1942 alone, Crosby's recording spent eleven weeks on top of the Billboard charts.   In Holiday Inn, the composition won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1942.

➦In 1961...Jack Spector began working as a disk jockey in New York in 1961 at WMCA 570 AM, where he was a member of a group of broadcasting personalities called the Good Guys. He labeled himself Your Main Man Jake and usually closed his shows saying, "Look out street, here I come!"

He switched to WHN 1050 AM in 1972, then for nine years was the host of the "Saturday Night Sock Hop" on WCBS 101.1 FM. He also worked for a brief period as the host of a sports talk show for WNBC 660 AM.

Spector broke into broadcasting in Martinsburg, W.Va., in 1955, then worked for stations in Albany, Providence, R.I., and Chicago before returning to New York. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he attended Brooklyn College and had a brief tryout as a minor-league baseball player with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. He served in the United States Army in Korea.

➦In 1977...the NBC News & Information Service, which was a 24-hour-a-day news service, ended.

NBC launched the NBC News and Information Service (NIS) in 1975.  According to Faded Signals, it allowed local radio stations to launch all-news formats, providing affiliates with up to 55 minutes of news per hour.

NBC aired the service on its Washington station, WRC.  It also added the all-news format on its network-owned FM stations in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.

Many stations signed on with the service, but by 1976, NBC was not sure if its network would ever become profitable.

➦In 1978...former radio personality and actor Bob Crane (Donna Reed Show, Hogan in Hogan’s Heroes), died at age 49, the victim of a brutal murder.

Bob Crane
A drummer from age 11, Crane began his career as a radio personality, first in New York City and then Connecticut before moving to Los Angeles, where he hosted the number-one rated morning show. In the early 1960s, he moved into acting, eventually landing the lead role of Colonel Robert E. Hogan in Hogan's Heroes. The series aired from 1965 to 1971, and Crane received two Prime-Time Emmy Award nominations for his work on the series. After Hogan's Heroes ended, Crane's career declined. He became frustrated with the few roles he was being offered and began doing dinner theater. In 1975, he returned to television in the NBC series The Bob Crane Show. The series received poor ratings and was cancelled after 13 weeks. Afterwards, Crane returned to performing in dinner theaters and also appeared in occasional guest spots on television.

While on tour for his play Beginner's Luck in June 1978, Crane was found bludgeoned to death in his Scottsdale apartment, a murder that remains officially unsolved. This suspicious nature of his death and later revelations about his personal life gradually changed Crane's posthumous image from a cultural icon to a controversial figure.

➦In 1979..."The Source", considered Radio's first rock news network, debuted.

George Fenneman with Groucho Marx
➦In 1997...Radio, TV announcer George Fenneman died at age 77  (Born  - November 10, 1919).  He is most remembered as the announcer and good-natured sidekick for Groucho Marx's comedy/quiz show vehicle You Bet Your Life, which began in 1947 on radio and moved to television in 1950, where it remained on NBC for 11 years. Fenneman's mellifluous voice, clean-cut good looks, and gentlemanly manner provided the ideal foil for Marx's zany antics and bawdy ad libs.

Fenneman was one of a pair of announcers on Dragnet; he shared narration duties with Hal Gibney on radio and the original 1951 Dragnet television series, and then with John Stephenson when Dragnet returned to TV in 1967. It was Fenneman's voice which announced, "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent." while Stephenson would be heard at the end of the episode describing the court trials and verdicts.

➦In 2012…Radio actor Dick Beals, for many years the voice of "Speedy" in Alka-Seltzer TV commercials, died at the age of 85.

In January 1949, as a senior at MSU, Beals got a call to do a radio commercial for WXYZ, Detroit. After the show, the director asked him to be on call for all the children's voices as well as those of small, talking animals on all three network radio shows produced by WXYZ - The Lone Ranger, Green Hornet and Challenge of the Yukon.

In 1952, after performing in an episode of The Green Hornet, WXYZ station manager Jack McCarthy referred Beals to Forrest Owen of Wade Advertising. Owen showed Beals a rendering of a proposed product spokesman for their client, Alka-Seltzer and had him record a voice audition. Four months later, Beals was notified that he had been selected as the voice for Speedy Alka-Seltzer as well as the voice of Sticky, the Vaseline mascot.

Standing just 4'7" tall due to a glandular problem that also gave him his youthful voice, Beals provided the voices of 10-year-old boys well into his 70s.

➦In 2014…Former WNEW 102.7 FM NYC personality Dave Herman died of an aneurysm at 78 while in federal custody awaiting trial on charges of attempting to transport a 7-year-old girl from New Jersey to the Virgin Islands for a sexual liaison.

➦In 2014…Kenneth George Schram died at age 66 from kidney failure (Born - December 17, 1947).  He was a news and radio broadcaster based in Seattle, Washington and was the former host of local-affairs show Town Meeting and KOMO 4’s evening news segments called "Schram on the Street." For several years he hosted a radio show, The Commentators, on KOMO Newsradio with conservative John Carlson.

That show was discontinued in September 2010. Starting September 20, 2010, Schram and Carlson each began hosting new, separate shows on the same station, with Carlson on from 9:00AM to Noon and Schram from Noon to 3:00PM. Schram is also known for his personal award, the "Schrammie", which he gave out on the air to "underscore what I think are among the worst of bone-headed decision, and/or the most appalling of asinine behavior", usually to local or regional newsmakers.

After a 35-year career, Ken Schram was fired from KOMO 4 and Radio on December 7, 2012, citing cutbacks to full-time employees.

Melanie Brown is 45

  • Singer Gary Brooker of Procol Harum is 75. 
  • Actor Anthony Geary (“General Hospital”) is 73. 
  • Singer Rebbie Jackson is 70. 
  • Composer Danny Elfman (Oingo Boingo) is 67. 
  • Singer LaToya Jackson is 64. 
  • Actor Ted Levine (“Monk,” ″The Silence of the Lambs”) is 63. 
  • Actress Annette Bening is 62. 
  • Actor Rupert Everett is 61. 
  • Actor Adrian Paul (TV’s “The Highlander”) is 61. 
  • Singer Melissa Etheridge is 59. 
  • Actress Lisa Whelchel (“The Facts of Life”) is 57. 
  • Guitarist Noel Gallagher (Oasis) is 53. 
  • Singer Jayski McGowan of Quad City DJ’s is 53. 
  • Actor Anthony Azizi (“Threat Matrix,” ″Lost”) is 51. 
  • Guitarist Chan Kinchla of Blues Traveler is 51. 
  • Actress Laverne Cox (“Doubt,” ″Orange Is The New Black”) is 48. 
  • Guitarist Mark Lee of Third Day is 47. 
  • Cartoonist Aaron McGruder (“Boondocks”) is 46. 
  • Singer Melanie Brown (“Scary Spice”) of the Spice Girls is 45. 
  • Rapper Playa Poncho is 45. 
  • Singer Fonseca is 41. 
  • Actor Justin Chon (“Deception,” ″Dr. Ken”) is 39. 
  • Actor Billy Flynn (“Days of Our Lives”) is 35. 
  • Actor Blake Foster (“Power Rangers Turbo”) is 35. 
  • Actor Brandon Mychal Smith (“Sonny With a Chance”) is 31. 
  • Actress Kristen Alderson (“General Hospital,” ″One Life To Live”) is 29. 
  • Actress Lorelei Linklater (“Boyhood”) is 27.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

CBS News Hit Hard With Layoffs

CBS News was hit hard by a round of corporate cost-cutting that saw "a single-digit percentage" of the network's news staffers laid off, according to an estimate given by network president Susan Zirinsky during a Wednesday afternoon all-hands conference.

According to The Holllywood Reporter, an estimated t50 staffers were cut, though the network has not said specifically how many were affected.

"Everyone is shocked," a CBS News staffer tells THR.

Susan Zirinsky
Zirinsky said in a memo earlier Wednesday that management "had to make some extremely difficult decisions" due to "the economic fallout from the pandemic coming on top of the cost savings initiatives already underway from the merger of CBS and Viacom."

The exec was apologetic and sympathetic during the network's post-cuts meeting, according to multiple staffers on the call, explaining the rationale for the cuts and engaging with the human cost of the layoffs.

"There isn’t a single person leaving who did a bad job," she said. "It’s economics. It is absolutely the financials that has forced us to make these decisions. ... I’m really sorry. There is not a person who won’t be missed.”

CBS News was the first national television news network to have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus among its staff, telling employees to work from home on March 11 after two employees tested positive.

Here’s Zirinsky’s memo to staff:

KCBS L-A Cuts Prominent Anchors

Prominent anchors Jeff Michael and Sharon Tay, along with meteorologist Garth Kemp, were cut from CBS TV stations in Los Angeles late Wednesday amid sweeping corporate layoffs, The L-A Times reports.

Michael has been co-anchor of KCBS-TV Channel 2’s premier newscasts at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. for more than three years.

The Emmy Award-winning anchor joined KCBS in early 2017 after working as an anchor at rival Fox’s KTTV-Channel 11 for nearly two decades.

Michael became known to L.A. TV viewers in the early 1990s as a crime reporter for KABC-TV Channel 7. He provided live coverage of the Los Angeles riots in 1992, the infamous slow-speed chase of O.J. Simpson’s white Bronco and dispatches from Simpson’s criminal trial, among other major stories.

Kemp is another fixture in local broadcasting. The familiar weatherman joined KCBS in 2016, providing forecasts during the evening newscasts. Before that, he worked more than 15 years at KABC as a meteorologist.

Tay has been with KCBS and its sister station KCAL-TV Channel 9 for nearly 13 years. She became a primary co-anchor for KCAL’s signature newscasts about a decade ago.

The cuts were part of a company-wide cost-cutting that comes nearly six months after the merger of Viacom and CBS, a corporate union that executives said would bring $750 million in savings.

Since the stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus outbreak, TV stations, newspapers and other local media have been reeling from dramatic cuts in advertising. Movie studios, retail chains and car makers and dealerships, which typically are heavy buyers of TV station time, have slashed their ad budgets.

TV station economics were fragile even before the pandemic. KCBS, in particular, has struggled for years in the ratings and has experienced low morale and management turnover. Its newscasts trail KABC, Spanish-language KMEX-TV Channel 34, KVEA-TV Channel 52 and KNBC-TV Channel 4 in viewers.

“We are restructuring various operations at CBS as part of our ongoing integration with Viacom, and to adapt to changes in our business, including those related to COVID-19,” a CBS spokesman said in a statement. “Our thoughts today are with our departing colleagues for their friendship, service and many important contributions to CBS.”

As many as 400 employees at ViacomCBS were affected by the cuts, according to people familiar with the plans who were not authorized to discuss them publicly and requested anonymity. Many of the cuts were in Los Angeles, where CBS Entertainment is located, and the corporate headquarters in New York.

About a dozen people were cut from CBS’ TV station in Chicago, WBBM-TV Channel 2.

Boston Radio: WODS Flips to Adult Hits

Entercom today announced the launch of Boston’s newest radio station – BIG 103, “Music Unleashed,” effective immediately. The variety hits station on WODS 103.3 FM will boast a vast music library spanning multiple music genres from the 1980’s 1990’s and 2000’s and feature artists like Guns N’ Roses, Prince, Journey, Madonna, Pearl Jam, The Notorious B.I.G., AC/DC, Britney Spears and Blink-182, among others.

“As we continue living through one of the most challenging times in our country and the world, we are committed to providing comfort by delivering optimistic and entertaining content to our listeners,” said Mark Hannon, Regional President and Market Manager, Entercom Boston. 

“BIG 103 will be a straight-forward, no nonsense sanctuary for fans focused on great music and artists, accented with an irreverent tongue-in-cheek approach that reflects the spirit of our city.”

In addition to the expanded music library, BIG 103 will also feature limited interruptions during its on-air programming through the “2-Minute Promise,” which will not stop the music for more than two minutes at any given time. To further focus on the music, artists and attitude that will define the station, it will initially launch without DJs.

WODS 103.3 FM (8.7 Kw)
Listeners can tune in to BIG 103 in Boston on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The Rundown: U-S Reaches Grim Milestone

WSJ Graphic
The U.S. reached a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday (May 27th), with the number of deaths passing 100,000, a threshold reached in under four months. The number of confirmed cases there have been as of last night was nearly 1.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University's count. Worldwide, the coronavirus has killed more than 350,000 people and there have been more than 5.6 million cases, with the U.S. having the most confirmed cases by far. In a tweet Tuesday, the day before the country reached the 100,000 toll, President Trump said, "For all of the political hacks out there, if I hadn’t done my job well, & early, we would have lost 1 1/2 to 2 Million People, as opposed to the 100,000 plus that looks like will be the number."

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released a video yesterday in which he sought to offer comfort to those who'd lost a loved one, saying, "this nation grieves with you." The former vice president also said the sad milestone is one, quote, "we should have never reached -- that could have been avoided."

Studies Suggest More Asymptomatic Than Thought: Two new studies out yesterday suggest that the number of people who have the coronavirus and are asymptomatic may be a lot higher than thought. The first study found that 42 percent of cases from a group of 78 people in Wuhan, China, who tested positive were asymptomatic. They were more likely to be younger, in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, and to be women. The second study found that 81 percent of people on cruise to Antarctica who tested positive were asymptomatic. There were 217 people on board and 59 percent tested positive. Asymptomatic spread is a main reason everyone is being encouraged to wear a face mask. However, in some good news from the Wuhan study, it indicated people who are asymptomatic may not be infectious for as long. The asymptomatic patients shed the virus for about eight days, compared to 19 days among those who had symptoms.

USA Today Front Page 5/28/2020
➤MAYOR CALLS FOR CHARGES AGAINST OFFICER WHO PUT KNEE ON MAN'S NECK; SECOND NIGHT OF PROTESTS: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday (May 27th) called for criminal charges to be brought against the white police officer who was seen in cellphone video kneeling for some eight minutes on the neck of a handcuffed, 46-year-old black man who repeatedly cried out that he couldn't breathe and died in police custody. Frey said, "I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" The officer, Derek Chauvin, and three other police officers who were there with him were fired Tuesday, the day after Floyd's death. Police said Floyd matched the description of someone who tried to pay with a counterfeit bill at a convenience store and that he resisted arrest.

Protesters demonstrated for a second day Wednesday outside a police precinct, with some throwing rocks and bottles at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. There was also reported looting at a few nearby stores, with a fire breaking out in one of them. It was the second day of demonstrations, after protesters marched on Tuesday evening more than two miles from the site of the fatal incident to the precinct, with some damaging property. Police also fired tear gas and rubber bullets then. Some people also showed up outside Chauvin's home Wednesday, where paint was spilled in his driveway and someone wrote "murderer" in chalk. An officer told them Chauvin wasn't there. Hundreds protesting Floyd's death blocked a Los Angeles freeway yesterday and broke windows of California Highway Patrol police cars. An attorney for Floyd's family, Benjamin Crump, urged that protests be peaceful, saying, "We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors."

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and state Attorney General Keith Ellison promised there would be a thorough and transparent investigation, but didn't back Frey's call for Chauvin's immediate arrest, saying the legal process needs to play out. The FBI is also investigating whether the officers deprived Floyd of his civil rights. President Trump called Floyd's death a, quote, "very, very sad event," and tweeted that he'd asked for the federal probe to be expedited. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said of the officers' firing, "I don't think that's enough," and called Floyd's death "part of an ingrained, systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country."

➤UCONN STUDENT WANTED IN TWO MURDERS IS CAUGHT: A 23-year-old University of Connecticut student wanted in the murder of two people was caught in Maryland after a six-day manhunt, police said last night. Peter Manfredonia was captured near a truck stop in Hagerstown. Manfredonia is suspected in the machete killing last Friday of 62-year-old Ted DeMers in Willington, Connecticut, and the fatal shooting of his high school friend Nicholas Eisele, also 23, two days later in the town of Derby. He also allegedly injured another man in Willington and kidnapped Eisele's girlfriend, before freeing her in New Jersey. DeMers' wife has said Manfredonia was looking for a woman he knew who is their neighbor when he walked down the road in front of their home wearing a motorcycle helmet and said his motorcycle had broken down. When Ted DeMers gave him a ride back to his bike, Manfredonia allegedly killed him with a machete. An attorney for Manfredonia's family says he's struggled with mental health issues.

➤WHITE HOUSE SAYS TRUMP WILL ISSUE SOCIAL MEDIA EXECUTIVE ORDER AFTER TWEETS LABELED: The White House said Wednesday that President Trump will issue an executive order related to social media today, after Twitter on Tuesday labeled two of Trump's tweets claiming that mail-in voting would lead to widespread vote fraud as "potentially misleading," the first time it's done so for any of his tweets. It's not clear what the order will say, but Republican allies have indicated it could seek to remove from Twitter the speech liability immunity social media platforms have that traditional publishers don't because they're considered passive distributors of third-party content. Trump blasted Twitter's action, tweeting, charging that his free speech was being stifled. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stood by the company's actions, tweeting last night that it will, quote, "continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. . . . This does not make us an 'arbiter of truth.' Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves."

➤DISNEY WORLD ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR RE-OPENING IN MID-JULY: Disney World announced its plans for reopening from its coronavirus pandemic shutdown after they were approved yesterday (May 27th) by an Orlando, Florida, task force. They call for Disney to reopen the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11th, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15th. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has to give final approval. They will open with limited capacity, although not revealed was what percentage of capacity will be allowed in, and advance reservations will have to be made for entry. Employees and guests will be required to wear face masks and social distancing will be enforced. There also will be temperature checks for employees and guests before entering the parks. Events that cause people to gather, including fireworks shows, character meet-and-greets and parades, will be suspended. SeaWorld in Orlando also announced plans to reopen on June 11th, and Universal Orlando said last week it plans to reopen on June 5th.

MLB PLAYERS WANT MORE GAMES, FULL PRORATED SALARIES: After a proposal from MLB on Tuesday (May 26th) for a coronavirus-delayed 82-game season in which the players would take salary cuts on a sliding scale that would see star players lose as much as 77 percent of their salary this year, the players' union is expected to counter with a plan that would have teams play more than 100 games, and in which players would be guaranteed full prorated salaries for the season, according to media reports last night (May 27th). Players were unhappy with the league's proposal, and Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, one of eight players on the union's executive subcommittee, tweeted yesterday the significant pay cuts in it wouldn't be accepted.

Jacobs Media Survey Reveals Activities Consumers Are Ready To Do

Jacobs Media has released some of the key findings from its second national audience survey of core radio listeners, focusing on reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic. The study, fielded in mid-May, examined a variety of behaviors, including the activities with the most interest – as well as the highest perceived risk.

The findings provide a road map for businesses, community leaders, as well as media executives, their sales teams, and their advertisers about the activities ready to take off, as well as those that may require more time, preparation, and education.

“None of us has lived through a disruption like Covid-19 before,” Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs remarks. “Now as we prepare to re-open, not all activities are created equal. While consumers are interested in going to a restaurant or a concert, they are also very concerned about the risks involved.”

Jacobs Media’s VP/GM Paul Jacobs notes, “In light of these findings, many customer-facing businesses will need to retrench and refocus. Savvy media marketers and salespeople can use this data to work strategically with clients representing many verticals.”

The chart below represents the top seven activities that generate the most interest, along with their corresponding levels of risk. The additional activities can be found here.

This second Covid-19 study was conducted May 12-14, 2020. The web survey was comprised of 16,004 respondents - listeners of 98 commercial radio stations representing a variety of formats in the United States and Canada. The survey is primarily made up of radio station database members. It is unweighted, and does not represent all commercial radio listeners or the general populations of the United States and Canada.

The full survey results from this second Covid-19 study, and the first (conducted in early April), can be found here.

Urban One Reports Drop In Revenue

Urban One, Inc. today reported its results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.:
  • Net revenue was approximately $94.9 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2019. 
  • Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $37.6 million, an increase of approximately $4.3 million from the same period in 2019. 
  • The Company reported an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, compared to operating income approximately $14.8 million for the same period in 2019. 
  • Net loss was approximately $23.2 million or $0.51 per share (basic) compared to net loss of approximately $3.1 million or $0.07 per share (basic) for the same period in 2019. 
  • Adjusted EBITDA2 was approximately $32.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, compared to approximately $27.7 million for the same period in 2019.
Alfred C. Liggins, III, Urban One's CEO and President stated, "We got off to a great start to the year, with robust political advertising pushing same station revenues to +3.2% and +13.2% for January and February respectively. Then the impact of COVID-19 hit our radio markets, and March rapidly turned from positive to finish -14.1%. Despite this, we were able to post double digit Adjusted EBITDA growth for the quarter, and this is a testament to both our diversified mix of assets and the dedication and skill of our employees.

"On a same station basis, radio advertising for April was down 58.3%, and Q2 is pacing -58.1%. Both local and national advertising is impacted by broadly similar percentages. Like many other businesses, we were forced to reduce fixed costs by means of furloughs, layoffs, significant salary cuts, and reduction of all discretionary expenditure.  Our diverse mix of assets will help us through this crisis; in particular our Cable TV and Digital segments are not impacted to the same extent as radio, and due to a combination of strong ratings, deferred programming and marketing expenses plus other cost cuts, we expect the TV segment to deliver incremental EBITDA to help offset some of the declines in radio.  Liquidity remains strong, and I believe we have seen a floor in the revenue declines. As markets begin to re-open State by State, we intend to partner with our clients using all of our platforms to help them re-start their businesses and serve their communities in these unprecedented times."

TV Ratings: CBS Wins Another Season Of Broadcast TV

CBS finished the traditional television season, which ended last week, as the most-watched broadcaster for the 12th consecutive year, The Associated Press reports citing Nielsen data.

CBS has won 17 of the last 18 years.  CBS has won for so long the distinction has lost much of the meaning it had when the streak began. Broadcast networks no longer dominate the television landscape as they used to and, with streaming and cable networks a big part of the mix, TV doesn’t effectively turn out the lights in the summer the way it once did.

Nielsen’s rankings also don’t reflect streamed viewership of given programs outside of a seven-day window in which they were first telecast.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” ranks as the most-watched regular program of the year, back in the fall when sports were on television. “NCIS” was the most popular scripted series for the first time since the 2012-13 season, with “Young Sheldon” as the top-rated comedy.

Three of the four top networks lost viewership compared to last season, which isn’t unusual in this era of more entertainment choice.

CBS averaged 7.58 million viewers in prime time, down 15 percent from last season, Nielsen said. Second-place NBC averaged 6.5 million viewers, down 10 percent from last year and fourth-place ABC had 5.4 million, down 4 percent.

Fox was up 17 percent to 6.3 million, primarily because the network had a package of Thursday night NFL games in the fall that it didn’t have the season before. Fox’s ratings were also juiced by showing the Super Bowl in February.

Heading into the quieter summer, CBS won in prime time last week, averaging 4.1 million viewers. NBC was second with 3.6 million viewers, Fox had 2.88 million and ABC had 2.85 million. Univision had 1.5 million viewers, ION Television had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 810,000 and the CW had 680,000.

Broadcast Top 20 Prime-Times showsd (total viewers):

1. “The Masked Singer,” Fox, 9.01 million.
2. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 7.64 million.
3. “The Voice” (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 7.55 million.
4. “NCIS” (Tuesday), CBS, 6.74 million.
5. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” ABC, 5.97 million.
6. “FBI” (Tuesday), CBS, 5.62 million.
7. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 5.47 million.
8. “Man With a Plan,” CBS, 5.43 million.
9. “The Voice” (Tuesday, 8 p.m.), NBC, 5.17 million.
10. “NCIS” (Wednesday), CBS, 4.92 million.

11. “Mom,” CBS, 4.84 million.
12. “S.W.A.T.,” CBS, 4.83 million.
13. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 4.71 million.
14. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 4.47 million.
15. “Holey Moley,” ABC, 4.44 million.
16. “FBI” (Wednesday), CBS, 4.42 million.
17. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 4.4 million.
18. “Ultimate Tag,” Fox, 4.35 million.
19. “MacGyver,” CBS, 4.32 million.
20. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Tuesday), Fox News, 4.31 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” led among the evening newscasts, averaging 9.6 million viewers last week. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8.5 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.8 million.

Fox News Channel led among the cable networks, averaging 3 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.8 million, CNN had 1.35 million, TLC had 1.25 million and HGTV had 1.21 million.

Judge Tosses Lawsuit Against Fox News

A Seattle judge threw out a lawsuit by a little-known watchdog group targeting Fox News for its coverage of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, The Hill reports.

The lawsuit, filed by the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics (WASHLITE) on April 2 in King County Superior Court, argued that the network had disseminated false information about COVID-19, a charge the network vehemently pushed back on.

Superior Court Judge Brian McDonald called the lawsuit "laudable" but ultimately moved to toss it out, stating that "if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

"This Court concludes that WASHLITE’s [Consumer Protection Act] claim against Fox is barred under the First Amendment. Fox’s motion to dismiss is granted.”

Fox News said the group that filed the lawsuit had falsely portrayed its commentary.

"Using a false portrayal of FOX News Channel’s commentary, WASHLITE attempted to silence a national news organization to settle a partisan grievance," it said in a statement.

"This was not only wrong, but contemptuous of the foundation of free speech and we are both pleased the court dismissed this frivolous case and grateful to the First Amendment community that rallied to our side," the network continued.

WASHLITE said it will appeal the decision in state appellate court.

Trump's Executive Order Targets Social Media Bias

(The Epoch Times graphic)
A draft of an executive order President Trump is expected to sign on Thursday would seek to limit the broad legal protection that federal law currently provides social-media and other online platforms, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the draft.

The draft order would make it easier for federal regulators to hold companies such as Twitter and Facebook liable for curbing users’ speech, for example by suspending their accounts or deleting their posts, the people said.

The draft isn’t yet completed and is subject to change, the people said. It comes after Twitter on Tuesday moved for the first time to apply a fact-checking notice to tweets by the president on the subject of voter fraud. Mr. Trump on Tuesday accused the company of stifling free speech and vowed to take action.

The executive order would mark the Trump administration’s most aggressive effort to take action against social-media companies, which the president has threatened to do for years. The order would also likely be challenged in court, experts said.

As drafted, the White House order would seek to reshape the way that federal regulators view Twitter and other social-media companies—not as hosts of speech but as monopolies that control millions of Americans’ daily experiences on their platforms, according to one of the people. It could also lay groundwork for treating them as public squares where individuals’ First Amendment rights are protected. The draft order is far-reaching in scope, the people said.

The current federal legal protections for social-media companies were adopted by Congress in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. That law gives online companies broad immunity from liability for their users’ actions, as well as wide latitude to police content on their sites. Critics across the political spectrum have argued that the law now provides the tech giants too much power.

Tucker Torches Twitter

Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson accused Twitter on Wednesday of "purg[ing]" political viewpoints one day after the social media platform "fact-checked" a tweet by President Trump opposing mail-in voting during elections.

The "Tucker Carlson Tonight" host opened his show by "stating the obvious," telling his viewers that Trump tweets "an awful lot, and many wish he wouldn't."

"Whether or not it’s politically wise ... Donald Trump has an absolute right as an American to express what he actually thinks, even if every other person on Earth disagreed with him," Carlson said. "When they used to tell you this was a free country ... that’s what they were talking about, the freedom of speech."

Fox News reports Carlson then turned to the Twitter fact check of Trump, which read in part: "Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud."

"As a factual matter, that is a lie," Carlson said. "And there is no other way to interpret it. But worse than a lie, it is a form of political censorship."

He claimed that Twitter "openly purges users" whose views do not line up with those of company officials.

"It’s bewildering that they are allowed to do this," Carlson said. "Because like all the tech companies, Twitter only exists because Twitter enjoys key exemptions from federal law."

Carlson next discussed a Twitter official named Yoel Roth, who holds what Carlson described as the "Orwellian" job title of "head of site integrity."

New Shawn Parr Show To Launch In 16 Markets

Shawn Parr
Key Networks announces that it will launch popular Country radio host Shawn Parr’s new weekday show, Shawn Parr’s Across the Country on Monday, June 1, 2020, in 16 markets across the U.S.

The program’s inaugural affiliates include: WGSQ-FM/94.7 Country Giant, Cookeville, TN; KBCR-FM/Big Country 96.9, Denver-Steamboat Springs, CO; WAKX-FM/Kix Country 98.7, Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL; WYOT-FM/102.3 The Coyote, Rockford, IL; WKOA-FM/K105, Lafayette, IN; and WXFL-FM/Kix 96 in Florence, AL.

The four-hour localized Country music entertainment program features Parr’s trademark warmth, wit and love for Country music, and is available for stations Monday-Friday via FTP delivery. The show is customized to air anywhere in a station’s lineup between 6am-Midnight – Mornings, Middays, Afternoons or Nights. Shawn Parr’s Across the Country delivers exclusive access to Country artists and showcases the best of Country music in a highly entertaining and PPM-friendly format.

Known as “The Ambassador of Country Music”, Shawn Parr is one of Country radio’s brightest and most familiar voices. With nearly 30 years in Country radio, including 10 years as a nationally syndicated on-air host, Parr takes Country fans front row-center to Country’s biggest stars and hottest music. Based in the Music City, Parr is widely known for his work as the voice of The Academy of Country Music Awards, The Golden Globes, American Music Awards, and many other national television specials.

Sports Fans Prefer Nat Sound During Games

Forty percent of self-identified sports fans believe artificial crowd noise would make the experience of watching live sports from an empty stadium on television less enjoyable, according to a Morning Consult poll. By contrast, just 16 percent of fans said they believe the addition of canned cheering would make the telecasts more enjoyable.

Fortunately for broadcasters and sports properties, these attitudes might not translate into action: Fifty-nine percent of sports fans who offered an opinion on the question said they are just as likely to watch games without crowds as they would be to watch events with fans in attendance, even though 48 percent of fans believe watching sporting events without fans will be less enjoyable.

Like Fox Sports, ESPN has also experimented with artificial crowd noise on its telecasts of Korean baseball. Mark Gross, senior vice president of production and remote events at ESPN, said that while he did not anticipate being a proponent of adding in crowd noise, he quickly decided that having it at a low level is the best option.

“We want things to feel authentic, and I didn’t think having a sort of fake crowd noise would feel authentic,” Gross said. “But I think at the level that it’s at, you can just hear it enough so it doesn’t feel, you know, incredibly hollow inside a 25,000 seat stadium.”

He added, “I don’t think we’ll get to a position where somebody’s at the plate in a Major League Baseball game and he hits a home run and we have somebody bringing the audio up on the crowd noise. I don’t think we’re going in that direction.”

Playing background music, another option to fill the silence during sporting events, polled better than the insertion of artificial crowd noise, but was also fairly unpopular. Thirty-six percent of fans said they believe music would make games on television less enjoyable, while 22 percent said it would make the experience more enjoyable. The NBA is the only one of the major North American sports where in-arena music during live game action is commonplace, something that could potentially make the lack of crowd noise less noticeable. ESPN said it hasn’t considered background music for fanless games in other sports.

Aussie News Corp To Stop Printing 100 Regional Newspapers

The Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp said on Thursday it will stop printing more than 100 regional newspapers after the coronavirus shutdown gutted advertising revenue, accelerating a downturn in the country’s media sector, Reuters reports.

From next month, the company which dominates Australia’s media and political landscape said it would take 76 regional mastheads online only and shut another 36 altogether. It said the closures would lead to job cuts, without saying how many.

The move shows the knock-on effects of government-mandated closures of stores as well as the suspension of property inspections and tourism operators to slow the spread of the virus since March. Advertising spending by those industries, the lifeblood of the news media, has since collapsed.

“Print advertising spending which contributes the majority of our revenues has accelerated its decline,” said News Corp Australasia Executive Chairman Michael Miller in a statement.

“We are reshaping News Corp Australia to focus on where consumers and businesses are moving.”

The pressure on traditional media has been evident for years in Australia as advertisers chase the audience reach of internet giants like Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google. News Corp has led a campaign to force digital companies to pay for Australian content they share, which is still underway.

Like others in the Australian media, News Corp hoped to protect its revenue by diversifying, with a stake in real estate advertiser REA Group Ltd and an Australian cable TV station called Foxtel.

This month, News Corp posted a $1.1 billion loss for the March quarter, mostly because of a write-down on the carrying value of Foxtel which makes money broadcasting sports that are now paused due to the virus.